As part of the resident-funded installation of broadband to Hydestile, Openreach and their contractors have been working hard this week in Home Farm Road, Busbridge, at the Crossroads and at Hydon Heath.
Technically there have been some challenges in Hambledon Road and an underground duct will need replacing – we are told there will be roadworks next week, and a possibility of emergency road closure of Hambledon Road (north of Clockbarn Lane). This is because of the very narrow parts of Hambledon Road which prevent safe working. The closure will be short notice and hopefully for a short time. We have leveraged our good relationship with Surrey CC Highways to expedite matters and have been negotiating to reduce the inconvenience but safety trumps most arguments. So please be understanding if you should encounter a Road Closed sign – it will be for a very valid reason.
More detail at www.GU8Superfast.co.uk
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.
Superfast broadband is being rolled out across the country, primarily by BT Openreach but in Hambledon’s case assisted by government via Surrey County Council. Superfast, with its new fibre optic cabling to roadside cabinets, enables far greater broadband internet speeds for those residents that take up the superfast fibre service.
Superfast is becoming important to many residents. As more devices such as smartphones, tablets, computers and televisions connect to the internet, the speed of the line is critical. In addition, lack of superfast broadband is impacting house prices as buyers are increasingly checking broadband speeds before buying properties.
There is good news for those of us on the Wormley (01428) exchange who live within about 1.8kms of BT’s cabinet 6 (at the A283/Lane End crossroads). Those Hambledon residents have a choice to sign up for superfast broadband today – simply contact your internet service provider to upgrade immediately. The monthly cost is about the same as the older service. BUT there are a number of villagers on the 01428 exchange who are too far away from the cabinet to be able to receive superfast.
The Parish Council is therefore asking all villagers to complete the following “Expression of Interest” form so that it can quantify those who already can – but in particular those who currently cannot – benefit from superfast. This information will assist it in lobbying BT and Surrey County Council which is shortly going to carry out a review to ascertain how to connect the “hard-to-reach” properties and enable all villagers to receive superfast.
Responding to the “Expression of Interest” does not mean that you have to take up the service. It puts no obligation on anyone but it could help determine future needs and benefit many villagers.
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
Update from Webmaster,
Superfast broadband should be covering all of Surrey by now – that was the ambition of Surrey County Council back in 2014 – with promises of 99.7% being able to get 15Mbps or above. That promise had a caveat that wasn’t mentioned by Surrey Council… that they aim to enable only cabinets – not all residents‘ homes. Those living more than 2km from a cabinet won’t be getting Superfast. That leaves large numbers of residents of Surrey discovering that they can’t get Superfast broadband and there is no plan for them to be enabled in the immediate future. In our area there are homes to the East (Vann) and North of Hambledon (Merry Harriers area) that are beyond 2km from the cabinet on the Petworth Road – Superfast Surrey (Surrey County Council) say they are reviewing this (see letter below). Areas of Milford are also excluded.
Residents of Feathercombe, Hydestile and Hydon Heath are also too far from their cabinets and specifically excluded from Surrey CC intervention. Those residents have clubbed together to pay Openreach a substantial amount to install new cabinets to bring the promised Superfast to those hamlets… in Spring 2016. Their self-funded superfast project website is here: www.GU8Superfast.co.uk
So the Surrey CC dream is not quite reality. There is a faint glimmer of hope for those left behind. Surrey County Council have announced their OMR (Open Market Review) – a plan to see who is left behind without Superfast capability. One could ask how they commissioned many millions of pounds worth of broadband expenditure without knowing the scope of their intervention.
In response to one of our determined residents, Superfast Surrey sent this letter below. That resident also urges everyone to spend 30 seconds filling in the form to tell Openreach that they haven’t got Superfast capability: http://www.superfast-openreach.co.uk/faq/contact-us-form.aspx
Surrey County Council has now finished the main phase of its Superfast Surrey Broadband programme to bring fibre broadband to those areas in the county not included in commercial roll outs.
In December 2014 it was decided that before any further decisions could be made with regards to the outcome of slow speeds review, the Superfast Surrey team had to focus on the completion of the main phase of the contract and identify options for using any remaining funds to enable a decision to be made on the future scope of the programme.
Options were developed that not only acknowledged Openreach’s analysis of premises with slow speeds in the Superfast Surrey deployment area but also took into account feedback from residents and businesses in the commercial rollout area that were not covered by the fibre network or who were on slow speeds.
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.
The Surrey Superfast Broadband Team have a website. It has a Postcode Checker so you can see if your line is going to be upgraded. Beware, the system is a little clunky, and it seems to me that the Wormley Exchange (01428) is part of the Surrey CC Project BUT I can’t find any information that indicates that those village residents on the Godalming Exchange (01483) are part of the project. My deduction is that 01483 lines will have to wait for the BT commercial roll-out of fibre. The cabinet at Milford Station, for example, that serves Salt Lane is not due to be upgraded until March 2014.
For those of you that completed the Superfast Broadband Questionaire, here is an update:
Superfast Broadband in Surrey – the latest position
Surrey County Council is following a competitive dialogue procurement process to select a private sector company to extend the roll-out of broadband in Surrey to those areas that are not commercially viable for the private sector to invest alone. The aim is to ensure that homes and businesses can access superfast broadband and make use of the benefits it offers, no matter where they are located in the county.
Final proposals were received from two bidders in June. These provided detail on issues such as technology, deployment, speeds and cost. The proposals were evaluated against a set of criteria, which took into account both cost and quality to find the best solution for Surrey.
On 24 July 2012 Surrey County Council’s Cabinet considered the proposals and took the decision to award the contract to the preferred bidder.
The project is now in a ten day standstill period, as required by the Public Contracts Regulations (2006).
The contract will be finalised with the preferred bidder and signed during August.
At this point the County Council will be in a position to provide further details around this ground breaking, superfast broadband contract for Surrey. A joint press release shall be issued with the Supplier and a bulletin will be circulated to provide information.
Surrey County Council will work with the Supplier to develop the deployment schedule. Information on where and when superfast broadband will be deployed will be available in the Autumn.
Superfast Broadband Project Team
Surrey County Council
Dont forget to register your interest for BT to extend their BT Infinity coverage to Hambledon. If more residents expressed their interest in BT Infinity the logging of this demand may give BT a greater impetus to roll out towards Hambledon. So please use their BT Infinity availability checker and confirm your interest so we can build a weight of demand. Just go here: http://www.superfast-openreach.co.uk/where-and-when/
We have heard about initiatives for Superfast Broadband but they are not going to change anything for a very long time. Hambledon remains in the slow lane, with Broadband bandwidth crawling along under 2Mbs – amongst some of the worst performing areas in the country. BT has an interim solution – the relatively new BT Infinity system that promises slightly better speed of broadband – by installing fibreoptic cables to street cabinets. It is being rolled out slowly to many parts of the country – but BT is being selective about where it installs fibre. Milford has got BT Infinity already but the cabinet serving Hydestile and North Hambledon (at Milford Station) is not scheduled for upgrade yet. Maybe there are town planning delays to this, or more likely I am guessing it is driven by demand for broadband and potential catchment area. So maybe if more residents expressed their interest in BT Infinity the logging of this demand may give BT a greater impetus to roll out towards Hambledon. So please use their BT Infinity availability checker and confirm your interest so we can build a weight of demand. Just go here: http://www.superfast-openreach.co.uk/where-and-when/
If 30 or so people register interest it may make the difference.
If you want to check your broadband speed – try this: http://www.speedtest.net/
As part of his brief as Secretary of State for Media, Culture and Sport, Jeremy Hunt has launched a campaign to promote superfast broadband. As our local MP, he is also working closely with Surrey County Council to ensure that, by 2015, everyone in South West Surrey will be able to access speeds of at least 2 Mbps and that 90 per cent of households and businesses will have access to superfast. These will soon be necessities of every day life so, to ensure that Hambledon does not get left behind, it is important for all of us to register a demand now.
The best way of doing this is by completing the Surrey Strategic Partnership’s Superfast Broadband survey. The Parish Council has therefore arranged for everyone to receive a copy of the survey and hopes that all households and businesses in the village will complete and return it, either by e-mail or by post. The responses will be used by Surrey County Council to support its conversations with industry and help secure funding for the project. It is currently in discussions with five selected companies and aims to place a contract with one of them by next July.
Superfast Surrey Survey