Many thanks for all of those who attended the meeting last Tuesday – I hope you found it useful and informative. The turnout was fantastic and the feedback very positive afterwards.
Here is a summary of the main points covered, and a few updates that have happened in the past few days.
In attendance from BT were Kevin Rutterford who is the Programme Delivery Director at BT for Cheshire and surrounding area. Kevin has been my main contact at BT thus far and is responsible for the rollout of fibre throughout Cheshire under the Connecting Cheshire programme. Also present were Glen Fendall and Gary Aldred from the newly setup Community Fibre Team – a dedicated unit within BT setup to oversee self-funded superfast rollouts such as ours.
We had a turnout of over 40 made of primarily of local residents. I also had a number apologies prior to the meeting from interested parties. As I expected, there is a keen interest for the project across the community, which I hope is a barometer of its eventual success.
The plan is to run a new fibre-optic down the Chelford Road from Knutsford, and install a new superfast-enabled cabinet on the corner of School Lane and Chelford Road. The existing copper wiring will be reconnected to this cabinet and will be a short enough distance to enable superfast to all households in the catchment area.
Our scheme will be the first one of its kind in Cheshire, but not far behind us is the neighbouring Peover Parish, who have the exact same issue as us: the distance from the cabinet is too far to carry a ‘superfast’ signal.
Expected Broadband Speeds
A ‘superfast’ service must be (contractually) over 20 mbit/sec. In practice though most households will get a much better connection.
Most of us are getting between 1 and 2 mbit/sec currently, with some getting less than 1 mbit/sec. If you are getting less than 1 mbit/sec then there may be an issue with the wiring in the household, which could carry over to the new superfast service giving a sub-optimal speed.
To check your current speed run the checker here. If you are getting much slower than 1 mbit/s then you could try some of the suggestions on this page (warning: that link is a bit technical in nature).
The price for the works is expected to be in the region of £35,000, which covers around 65 households and and handful of businesses. BT are currently in the process of performing a detailed survey after which they will produce a contractual, fixed price for the work.
All contributions, regardless of value are most welcome. Below is a suggested contribution range that will get us to our target. It is important that the contributions are fairly balanced across the community – the fairest way to do this is to contribute based on the benefit you will receive from the service. For example, for myself working from home a couple of days a week, the sluggish connection is a continual frustration. For others it may be only an occasional annoyance. These contribution suggestions I believe are the fairest way to do it and I believe will get us to the target is the simplest fairest way. Although not necessarily applicable to all, the value-add to the house price is significant (some reports say up to 20%), and could well outweigh the usage argument when considering your contribution.
All contributions will be confidential, so no-one will know who has contributed what. Please use the pledges link above to register your contribution.
Start to finish, the project will take 12 months and (all being well) will complete by January 2017. The following gives a high level overview of the scheme and how it will play out throughout the year.
The Contract and setting up a Legal Entity
To enter into the contract with BT, we need to setup a legal entity for the scheme. To this end, I will provide more details shortly once this is in place. Thank you very much Simon for your very valuable input.
The Other Side of Ollerton
Representatives from the cluster of houses near Ollerton Crossroads were present at the recent meeting, and suggested a joint approach to the scheme. Most residents in this area, whilst not qualifying for a Superfast service, are still getting between 4-9 mbit/s. Theirs is a slightly different value proposition, but still there may be overall savings in us ‘clubbing together’. BT have agreed to have a look at this approach to see if can reduce the overall cost.
There is an agreement with BT that the formation of alternative plans will not delay our scheme’s progress.
The next critical task is the setup of the legal entity, and then to start receiving contributions. I will post another update once I have some more solid information on this.
If there’s anything else you want to know then please feel free to email or call me and I’ll get back to you as soon as I’m able – please contact me using the contact link above.