Many thanks to everyone who contributed to Hambledon’s superfast broadband survey and to Jon Petersen for analysing the results. For those of you who are interested, they can be found at http://www.hambledonsurrey.co.uk/superfastsurvey/. For what happens next, read on.
Peter Howell-Davies, the Hambledon Parish Clerk and Tim Forrest (representing Chiddingfold Parish Council) have met Peter Martin (Deputy Leader, Surrey County Council) and members of his Superfast Surrey team to discuss progress to date and the problems facing Hambledon and Chiddingfold. BT claim that 96 per cent of Surrey premises can now access speeds of at least 15 mbps but this is not borne out in practice. It takes no account of variations as between urban and rural areas – for example, the recent Hambledon survey of premises which get their broadband via Cabinet 6 shows that the superfast guarantee applies to only 61 per cent of them. Data issued by BT seem to bear little relation to what is happening on the ground as revealed by the actual experience of individual users, and might not therefore be the best basis from which to determine who should benefit from further Surrey Superfast intervention or BT up-grades. The results of the Hambledon survey are therefore being passed on to Superfast Surrey.
Once data produced by BT (and, we hope, others such as Hambledon Parish Council) has been analysed, intervention work to make good shortfalls in coverage has to be approved by the EU. Only when this has been done can Superfast Surrey and BT move on to recommending which premises should benefit from intervention. Proposals to this end then have to be submitted to one month’s public consultation before they can be signed off.
Whatever intervention package is proposed, it will have to show that it represents value for money and fairness. The latter criterion could prove particularly difficult in the case of what are currently estimated to be up to 20,000 disenfranchised rural premises across the county, given their location and, in some cases, the distances between them. Intervention may also be required in some urban areas.
In 2012 Surrey County Council awarded a contract to BT to ensure a superfast broadband service to all Surrey residents and businesses. Those living adjacent to the Hydestile Crossroads have already discovered that there are limits to the coverage; but it was hoped that the up-grading of the BT cabinet at the A283/Lane End Crossroads at the end of 2013 would enable everyone with an 01428 telephone number to connect to superfast.
Yet again this is not delivering in practice and a group of concerned residents is therefore trying to create a picture of where the service drops off.
To enable the group to put pressure on Superfast Surrey to install another cabinet to serve those on the edges of the village (excluding Hydestile/Feathercombe Lane which are being dealt with by a separate campaign) data is needed from as many residents as possible to create a picture of available speeds. In theory, those living within 2 km. of the Lane End cabinet should be able to access superfast but not all of them can and those living outside that radius almost certainly cannot.
Some villagers will have already received an e-mail from Louise Rhodes asking them to carry out speed tests. If you have not heard from her, do please get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org) so that she can let you know how to do the tests. The more information she receives, the more likely it is that Hambledon will get good superfast coverage – and remember, even if you don’t want superfast, your successors certainly will!
Jane Woolley, Hambledon Parish Council Clerk
SUPERFAST BROADBAND CAMPAIGN – AN UPDATE
Enton and Rake Lane now have fibre Broadband
Following our Campaign in February, Openreach reversed their decision not to upgrade the street cabinet no.26 next to Milford Station. This cabinet went live last month and is now Fibre enabled. Residents that suffered speeds of less than 3MBps are now enjoying real speeds of upto 70MBps. The campaign success was undoubtedly 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.
Phase 2 of the campaign
Residents with phone: Wormley 01428 …
A number of residents of North Hambledon on the Wormley exchange have contacted me – they should be able to get superfast broadband Infinity now that Wormley upgrade to fibre is complete, as promised by Superfast Surrey (Surrey CC). However residents are gradually discovering, one by one, that they won’t get super fast broadband at all. This is mainly for people 1.5km beyond cabinet 6 on the Petworth Road on the edge of Hambledon. This means anyone near the Merry Harriers or North of there, or outlying areas such as Vann will not ever get super fast.
My message to residents in such a situation is to contact me Email me and I’ll happily put you in contact with others in similar position. My advice is also to contact the Superfast Surrey Team and ask in strong terms: “where’s my Superfast? – you promised 99.7% of Surrey would be covered?” The person to contact is the Senior Digital Officer Lucie Glenday. She will delegate but in my experience all her team are not empowered to answer questions other than the FAQ on their website – which don’t tell us anything new. They say there is a review going on, but one could ask why they did not anticipate so many people were not covered by their Superfast plans that requires them to have an additional review. (we calculate over 2000 in SE Godalming alone). Their website also says they plan to develop alternative solutions for the excluded residents. I have yet to get anything tangible from them to qualify exactly what Superfast Surrey consider as an alternative. As of July, they have no alternative solution.
Contact Surrey CC: email@example.com
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?
Hambledon has now got Fibre enabled to Cabinet 6 of the Wormley Exchange. The first residents to use the service are seeing speeds of upto 35Mbs (once they sign up to the increased tariff and extra box installed). The closer to the cabinet the higher the speed possible. Cabinet 6 on Petworth Road is not too far from the Wormley Exchange at the top of the hill near the bridge over the Railway.
For those residents that need to check if their postcode is included in ths Superfast Scheme go to:
www.Superfastsurrey.org.uk If you are included, you need to go to BT, or TalkTalk to request upgrade to their BT Infinity products (extra monthly cost and install fee)
For those residents that are not in the scheme (particularly those to the North of the Village, Feathercombe, Hydestile, & Enton) go here www.GU8Superfast.co.uk to see the campaign to get SuperFast enabled.