Superfast Community Action is a success

Our First Success!

Following our intervention, Openreach recently agreed that they will fibre upgrade street cabinet no.26 at the junction of Rake Lane and Station Lane. This is a complete reversal of their earlier decision not to do so. It has undoubtedly been achieved because of the strong resident support that we received, with over 90% of the 140 Enton/Rake Lane area households and businesses who will now benefit having signed up to our campaign.  Community power does work. We are thankful too for support from Peter Martin, Deputy Leader of Surrey County Council.

So what now?

There are a further 80 households and businesses currently served by cabinet 26 that are simply too far from it to benefit from the upgrade when it happens later this year. In addition, there are another 59 properties served by street cabinet 48 (located towards Busbridge, and which is already fibre-enabled), that have seen no benefit. Properties beyond about 1.5 to 2 km from their street cabinet see little or no advantage from fibre upgrade as any speed benefits are lost on the final “journey” from the street cabinet to the front door as data passes along copper or aluminium wire.

Our campaign focus is getting a solution for these 139 households/businesses spanning 13 different GU8 post codes. So far, we have an average of 68% of those households/businesses signed up to our campaign. This is a significant achievement but we are making efforts to increase it.

Where are we with BT/Openreach?

BT/Openreach are looking at a solution that would involve the installation of a fibre-enabled cabinet at the Hydestile crossroads, upgrading infrastructure that is already there. We were originally advised by them that they would provide us with a proposal, including costs, by the end of March.  As this project would be beyond BT/Openreach’s current contractual obligations, there will be some financial contribution required from residents but we will not know this amount until we receive their proposal.

Unfortunately, receipt of the proposal has been delayed by work currently underway to determine whether the underground ducting that runs from cabinet 26 and then under the railway line at Milford station has sufficient spare capacity to accommodate the additional fibre optic cable that will be required. If the spare capacity is insufficient, the major civil engineering works that would be required to lay new ducting under the railway line, together with the disruption to rail services will rule out this routing. In that event, Openreach have said that they will look at an alternative solution which we believe would involve linking with cabinet 48.

We are maintaining regular contact with BT/Openreach and will update you as soon as we have further news to report.  Whilst there may be quite long periods between communications with you rest assured that we will continue to exert pressure to try to get an acceptable solution.

What about Hambledon?

Hambledon is now largely “Superfast Enabled”.  However residents located North of the Merry Harriers are also excluded because of the distance to Cabinet 6 on Petworth Road.  Their Cabinet (on the newly fibre-enabled Wormley Exchange) is covered by the Surrey County Council “Superfast” Surrey Scheme, who seem not to have a plan for those excluded residents.  If you are affected then do contact and press for some meaningful action.