“Pitch Hill” Zone

Whilst the Pure Fibre Broadband Open Day on Saturday is for everyone, there will be a zone set aside residents and businesses on and around Pitch Hill. Jeannie Cameron, who is coordinating local interest and cooperation for the area, will attend from 10.30am to at least 12.30pm. This will be a chance to discuss the issues together with Box staff, and perhaps some strategic planning. No formal presentation is planned, but I suggest everyone who received Jeannie’s letter, and others from the target area, should aim to be there by 11am, so that there is an opportunity for a full group meeting if this seems desirable.

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Open Day on Saturday 18th November

Box Broadband have booked the EYSC from 10am to 4pm on Saturday 18th November, and this will now be an Open Day for anyone interested. They are particularly keen to speak to those from surrounding areas who need better service. The venue will include a special area for Pitch Hill.

Box staff will also be talking about the construction to date, and the areas already covered by existing plans. They will demonstrate how the service will be connected from the verge into the home or business, and the router. There will be a splicer demonstration and an interactive board. Details on the Vonage telephone packages and Roku box or streaming stick for TV services will be available.

10am – 4pm
Saturday 18th November 2017
EYSC
Broomers Lane
The Street
Ewhurst GU6 7RD

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Somersbury Lane

Boxcom are making good progress in Somersbury Lane, working down from Horsham Lane, and have reached the vicinity of CCM Vehicle Service, Repairs & MOT. More information and map on the Box Blog.

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Open Day

Box Broadband will hold an Open Day at Walliswood Village Hall on 9th December. Save the date! More details to follow.

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Pitch Hill Meeting

Box Broadband have organised a meeting for residents and businesses on and around Pitch Hill. More details later, but please put the date in your diary. It will be at the EYSC, Broomers Lane, The Street, Ewhurst GU6 7PX on Saturday 18th November between 10am and 4pm.

 

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Somersbury Lane plans

Box Broadband have announced the completion of works in Horsham Lane/Road and the coverage map has been updated to show this. The Boxcom team will work on private land next week. Digging in Somersbury Lane is scheduled to start on 30th October, once again with the help of funding from residents who will benefit.

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Horsham Lane/Horsham Road Works Day 10

The works in Horsham Lane have presented several challenges, not least the remains of the Roman road obstructing the “mole” at all road crossings. This SCC roadworks permit is also rather restrictive, possibly due to the Thames Water activity in the same area, so the Boxcom team have so far concentrated on the main excavation and infrastructure, to complete this within the permitted dates. Next week they will return to do the smaller jobs and tidy up. Unfortunately the recent rain has inevitably created a lot of very sticky clay mud, so please be patient and do what you can to help.

Three residents have kindly plugged the funding gap for the 400m segment south of Froggetts Lane (towards Rowhook), and Boxcom plan to start work on this next week as well. Preparation for Somersbury Lane is progressing well.

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Horsham Lane/Horsham Road Works Day 1

I walked up the Horsham Lane this afternoon, to the junction with Froggetts Lane, and found the Boxcom team busy guiding a “mole” under the road, confirming that works there started on schedule today. See the announcement on the Box Blog, which also includes a very positive report on the Rectory Fete. While there, take a look at the updated coverage map on the Box Broadband web site. Chris Box will attend the Ewhurst and Ellens Green Parish Council meeting this evening, to discuss one of the proposed extensions to the network.

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Plusnet speed issue

ThinkBroadband have reported that a significant number of Plusnet customers experienced poor connection speeds on Saturday. Performance has since returned to normal.

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Box at the Rectory Fete tomorrow

Box Broadband will be at the Ewhurst Rectory Fete tomorrow, Saturday 16th September. The Box team will be there to answer all your questions about our new “full fibre” ultrafast broadband and communications network. The annual fete, for St Peter and St Paul Church, is held in the Ewhurst Rectory Garden and Churchyard, from 12 noon to 4pm. Entrance is free, so come along and spend in aid of church funds.

There will be lots of traditional side stalls, games, bouncy castle, BBQ, teas, plants, cake, craft stalls, tombola, raffle, a circus fancy dress competition for all ages, and for the first time, a children’s flower arranging completion in the church. Don’t forget the wonderful Teddy Bear Hunt then return and enjoy the Teddy Bear’s Picnic.

All children are invited to take part in the first ever children’s flower arranging competition at the Rectory Fete on 16th September. Children need to arrange some flowers (from the garden or hedgerow is fine, you needn’t buy anything) in a jam jar and bring along to the Church between 11 am -1 pm on the day of the fete. Please also bring a label with your child’s name and age to display alongside the arrangement. Winners announced at 3.15 pm and everyone gets a prize.

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SCC Roadworks Permit

Surrey County Council have granted the permit for Boxcom to install fibre optic cable down Horsham Lane, from Monday 18th to Friday 29th September.

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Start of Works in Horsham Lane

Four local “community investors” have stepped forward to meet the funding gap, so that fibre laying works can start in Horsham Lane. Subject to Surrey County Council permit, Boxcom plans to start digging at the junction with Froggetts Lane next Monday, working towards Somersbury Lane over the following weeks.

A satisfactory long term funding deal is proving elusive, and construction progress will remain slow until this is secured. A number of potential investors have wanted to see a working network, so it seems probable that funding offers will improve as soon as the first connections go live. However, the issue with connection to the backhaul has not yet been resolved.

The Box Broadband team wish to reassure the community that they are determined to complete the first network as planned. This will include Somersbury Lane, then the B2128 south to the junction with Furzen Lane, Furzen Lane, Lowerbreache Road, part of Plough Lane, and part of Horsham Road in Walliswood. They are also expecting to announce various extensions once negotiations with landowners are finalised. Finally, have a look at their announcement about the cabinet installation.

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Network Connection Update

I understand that the national network provider has encountered an unexpected issue with the backhaul provision which will delay the first connection date somewhat. We’re hoping this will be a matter of days and will publish further information as soon as possible.

The previously reported delays in network construction and change in permit scheme mean that the Horsham Lane/Road segment now awaits funding to become available. Box Broadband remain willing to fund the work. Boxcom are working on private developments in the meantime.

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Box at the Rectory Fete on 16th September

Box Broadband will be at the Ewhurst Rectory Fete on Saturday 16th September. Chris Box, Managing Director, and other team members, will be there to answer all your questions about our new “full fibre” ultrafast broadband network, to provide further information, and of course will be delighted to register anyone interested. The annual Fete is held in the Ewhurst Rectory Garden and Churchyard, from 12 noon to 4pm, and offers “more circus fun with stalls, activities, crafts, refreshments, a fancy dress competition and a raffle.” Entrance is free, so come along and spend in aid of church funds.

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Network connection date

The following statement has been provided by Box Broadband, giving further details of the expected network connection date.

“We have been continuing our work in the Walliswood area. The cabinet base is now completed at the Village Hall and we are carrying out the final work to enable the network to go live.

During the last two months, much has been accomplished regarding land owner access permissions, gaining of easements, and applying for permits from the Local Authority. A number of these agreements have been complex and we are happy to confirm that we are working positively with all stakeholders. This will allow future progress to be substantially faster.

The initial bridgehead construction has taken longer than planned, however we are now close turning on our new pure fibre optic, ultrafast network.

Box Broadband has now received confirmation from the national network provider that their work will be completed around the 5th of September, we are keen to ensure this date is met, and we are able to switch on the network shortly afterwards.

Customer installations will start at the beginning of September.

Our future network construction plans are very much now based on customer demand, registrations of interest will dictate where we build and how far we extend our networks, please register your interest at www.boxbroadband.co.uk.

All of the team at Box Broadband look forward to connecting you.”

The first connection date was always dependent on the national network provider, so it has not been delayed by the issues mentioned in the statement. It is now expected to be one month later than originally hoped. However, it remains unclear when works in Lower Breache Road, Horsham Lane and Horsham Road will commence, and I understand that this delay is due to some issue with the SCC permits.

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Stage 2 Complete

The Froggetts Lane section, from the cabinet 1 location at Walliswood Village Hall, to the junction with Horsham Road/Horsham Lane, is now complete. The bridgehead network remains a little behind schedule, delayed by the unusually complex wayleave arrangements. The first connections are now expected to go live during August if there are no further surprises. I am certain that no other company would have been willing to go to the extraordinary lengths necessary to negotiate the convoluted access conditions in this area, for the benefit of our relatively small community. So I believe that we are extremely fortunate to be working with Box Broadband on this project, and I am profusely thankful to Chris and his team for their persistence, patience and expertise.

On to Stage 3, where Surrey County Council have forced another adjustment to the construction plans. For some reason they have issued the permits for works in Lower Breache Road to start before those for Horsham Road/Lane, so Lower Breache Road will now have to be the next section tackled. This may have little impact on connection dates, however, since the backhaul to the cabinet is now expected to go live in August; the date will be determined by the service provider.

The Box customer services team have been busy visiting premises for site survey in the Phase 1 area, but a few more confirmed orders are still needed to make our network sustainable. The Phase 1 area now includes Froggetts Lane, Lower Breache Road, part of Horsham Road (RH5 5RL), and Horsham Lane (GU6 7SW). Please call Box Broadband on 03301 130 180 Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm to book your appointment. There is no minimum contract term, so you can switch back to a copper based service at any time in the very unlikely event that you wish to, but still benefit from the increased property value, since the fibre connection will remain available for future use.

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Stage 2 begins

This afternoon I looked around the Boxcom works on day 2 of stage 2 of our network build. I saw the men taking great care to minimise inconvenience to traffic and residents, sweeping the smallest amount of debris off the road, and leaving completed areas very neat and tidy. It’s also clear that this infrastructure is being built to last many decades, with capacity for future expansion as required.

Walliswood Village Hall

Box Broadband issued this update last week:

We are delighted to announce that after a brief delay we are now commencing the next stage of the initial bridgehead network. The gaining of the necessary easements and wayleaves has taken longer than anticipated. Members of the local community have been vital in providing us with valuable local knowledge.

We are additionally in the final stages of agreeing the location of the cabinet and the order is now well advanced relating to the connection of our network to the national fibre optic infrastructure service. More details will be released as plans are finalised.

From Wednesday 7th, teams will be starting work on the first section of highway, residents will be informed of the proposed works on Monday 5th. The planned work does not require any road closures, they will be some sections where the sides of the roads will be temporarily sectioned off, with a combination of give and take and stop and go boards in operation. We aim to carry out the required works causing as least disruption as possible.

The bridgehead will provide network access to Ewhurst (inc. Somersbury Lane) & Ellens Green to the north west, Walliswood to the south and Forest Green to the north east. The crossing of private land including farm land and fields will enable us to construct our network faster, if you are a local landowner and you feel you are able to offer suitable routes we are very keen to speak with you. Please call our team on 03301 130 180.

There will be further key announcements over the next few days, please visit the Box blog to keep up to date.

All the team at Box would like to extend our sincerest thanks to the Lowerhouse Farm Estate, in particular Mr Martin Stapleton, without his generous donation and access over the estate the progress to date would not have been possible.

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First week photos

Box Broadband tell me they have made excellent progress in their first week, and have kindly provided the photos of these works below. They will probably remain on private land, out of sight, for another two weeks or so, before appearing in Froggetts Lane. They have added a blog to their web site at www.boxbroadband.co.uk/blog, where you can also sign up to receive an automatic email link to all new posts. This should greatly improve communication if we all use it. The first Box blog post includes an updated map showing the approximate routes for the smaller initial roll-out, reflecting the amount of funding secured so far. Rest assured that Box Broadband still plan to cover the whole parish and surrounding areas, if the members of the community involved want this, and work to get the necessary additional funding is in progress.

Box start work 1 Box start work 2Box start work 3 Box start work 4 Box start work 5

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FTTP Network Construction Begins

As promised, Box Broadband have started construction work on our first pure fibre optic communications network today. The plan is to become a world-class Fibre to the Premises (symmetric Gigabit FTTP) broadband & telephone service covering Ewhurst, Ellens Green, Walliswood and surrounding areas, subject to demand and funding. The scope of phase 1 has been scaled down to match the start-up funds forthcoming, and covers the area of greatest registration density to date. A Boxcom team is currently digging across private land north of Froggetts Lane and expects to reach the lane itself in about 3 weeks. Once fibre laying here is complete, they will continue down Horsham Lane, into Somersbury Lane, then down the B2128 to Furzen Lane. The link to the backhaul will be in Walliswood, with a cabinet near the eastern end of Froggetts Lane. The backhaul service has been ordered and delivery is expected in 3 months, so we hope to see the first connections go live at the end of July.

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How is this possible? Why here?

Chris Box, Boxcom MD, found my Ewhurst Broadband web site last year when he was looking for opportunities to launch a new service in Surrey and Sussex. He saw that I had already established strong demand in the area. Many meetings and telephone debates later, Chris is convinced that the project can be viable in the long term. However, the necessary start-up funding has been more challenging than expected, given the support promised by central & local government. So Box Broadband decided to start small, in the roads with the greatest apparent demand. Chris has complete confidence in his team and product, so he is sure the first recipients will be delighted, that demand will thus multiply, and funding will follow. From this bridgehead the company hopes to expand into many similar rural locations in the region, where residents are desperate to catch up or overtake the urban centres.

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