Superfast Surrey Phase 4

The June newsletter from Superfast Surrey was published on Friday. Today marks the end of another roll-out quarter, and as far as we can tell from the Tumblr postcode announcements and our own BT availability checks, the project progress appears to be more or less on track.

Since the last update, I have received the following replies to my enquiries from Superfast Surrey:

High Level Review – Ewhurst Parish With regards to the high-level review that Superfast Surrey undertook of broadband speeds in the Ewhurst Parish, this involved reviewing fibre broadband speeds to each premises and plotting the broad areas adversely affected by long copper lines. This work was based of speed mapping provided by BT. As the premises analysed in the review had already been connected to the fibre network as part of the BT commercial roll-out and were therefore not included in the Superfast Surrey deployment, the document was passed to BT Senior Management on 31st January 2013 for their consideration. Superfast Surrey have no oversight over the commercial programme and we have received no indication as to the timeframes of when this report might be reviewed. We are awaiting contact details from Openreach for commercial rollout enquiries, but in the meantime Surrey County Council will continue to raise the concerns of those residents who are in the commercial roll-out with BT Group.

Clawback Surrey County Council’s contract with BT incorporates provision for clawback based on the level of take-up across the intervention area. It is too early to assess the level of clawback and consequently no decision can be made at this time on how any funds may be reinvested.

Contract performance monitoring Contractually, 94% of the premises in the Superfast Surrey deployment area will get Committed Access Rate Speeds of 15 mbps or more. Surrey County Council is overseeing the delivery of the contract to ensure that it is delivered within the agreed timeframes and budget and meets the contractual requirements regarding speed and number of premises connected. Due to contractual and commercial sensitivities, it is not possible to publish this data until the end of the programme. It should be noted that BDUK also undertake independent monitoring of BDUK contracts.

Solutions for long lines With regards to any improvements to premises with slow speeds, the Superfast Surrey Programme Team will begin a review of all the premises with slow speeds in the Superfast Surrey deployment area in June with a view to identifying what if any improvements can be achieved within the constraints of the budget available. For this reason, we are unable to advise you at this time of what solutions may be considered. For a very small minority of residents and businesses that have been acknowledged as being outside the confines of our standard fibre deployment, the team is also investigating if there are alternative technologies that could be deployed. In these circumstances and where appropriate, we will engage with specific residents.

In view of the last response above, during June I advised all my relevant contacts to email Superfast Surrey and press their case. This applies to any premises covered by Superfast Surrey (i.e. non commercial areas) who cannot achieve 15+ Mbps download using FTTC services. In our Parish this probably includes many Ellens Green residents.

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13 Responses to Superfast Surrey Phase 4

  1. David Nye says:

    A recent Thinkbroadband poll suggests that Surrey are communicating a lot better than other councils on broadband issues.

  2. Walter says:

    For those of you who are not avid readers of the Surrey Advertiser herewith a copy of my letter published on 1 Aug 2014.
    Your “In brief” article of the 25th July reported the superfast Surrey broadband project progress as announced by Cllr Peter Martin, the SCC Deputy Leader. However, it seems to me that SCC continues to publish the postcode lists for all premises connected to upgraded green street cabinets whether or not an improved connection is possible. There are many cases where a connection using the upgraded infrastructure provides no improvement as the final telephone wire connection from the street cabinet to the premises performs poorly; either being too long or badly maintained or a combination of both.

    For example, there are 42 properties in the Hound House Road and Lawbrook Lane areas near Shere and Peaslake connected to cabinet 2 where nothing is available. Many are not difficult to reach, as those with services in Walking Bottom Peaslake can confirm, but for historical reasons the no-service ones are connected to the wrong cabinet. Presumably BT cannot afford to rewire the area. This partial solution is indeed “The wrong Technology” (BBC Newsnight Aug 2013) and is “One of the biggest mistakes humanity has made” (Dr Peter Cochrane, former BT Chief Technical Officer, in evidence to the House of Lords in 2012).

    Meanwhile BT’s “commercial development” in Ewhurst, which was suddenly deployed by BT to stop a community project that had secured EU funding, does not provide any new services now in two sections in Coneyhurst and Horsham Lanes that were previously able to order an improved service. Again, very worryingly, presumably BT cannot afford to replace the cables. Does this mean that BT will refuse new faster services throughout Surrey once the cables are irreparably damaged ?

    In general, those premises within 300 metres of their green cabinet can usually obtain the faster services but beyond that is a lottery, especially in the rural areas that the SCC funding is supposed to help.

    The likelihood of this kind of outcome was flagged with supporting evidence to SCC in August 2011, but I believe reality has been ignored in favour of exaggerated PR claims. Perhaps the Surrey Advertiser should ask SCC to indicate what methodology they used for the claiming 68,000 connections, and the raw test data on which the claim was made. If SCC and the councillors in charge have the information, let us see it!

    Indeed I was told by a senior BT employee that 1,200 in Ewhurst “had access” which is correct using the BT Spin. Those that can count in the area know there are only around 900 properties served by the three cabinets and those cabinets have cable capacity for around 600 services.

  3. David Nye says:

    As we approach the end of phase 5, Superfast Surrey have published their latest newsletter, containing a little more interest than usual. They have also published a factsheet with useful information on optimising and troubleshooting a fibre connection.

  4. David Nye says:

    Sorry, that should have been: October edition of the Superfast Surrey newsletter

    I just copied the link from the email I received from SS; well spotted David C.

  5. David Nye says:

    Another milestone on the Superfast Surrey project which is reported to be pretty much on target for completion at the end of December 2014. Some BT Openreach FTTP is now being built, albeit in very small areas; I have not seen any official announcement, nor any clear explanation of how the coverage was selected (media reports just point out the obvious; that installation costs are taken into account).

  6. David Nye says:

    Very useful piece on line bonding and connection optimisation, including a comprehensive list of factors which may degrade performance:

    Review of the Billion 8800NL modem:

  7. David Nye says:

    Is the truth finally catching up with those who have been neglecting us for so long?

    Whole Surrey villages unable to get FTTC “fibre” broadband.

    If SCC cannot cost justify a whole village, then there seems little hope for the Ewhurst outliers. And if Ewhurst is at all typical of Surrey villages, then “hundreds” must surely be thousands across the county.

  8. Walter says:

    Yet there are well over 700 properties scattered over vast areas of rural Lancashire, as well as some in Cumbria and Yorkshire who have a fully future-proofed 1,000 Mbps download and upload – genuine Fibre-To-The Home service. The project has done so only with private funding and many volunteers including whole families in all weathers starting in 2012. Their scheme is a not-for-profit Community Interest Company (CIC) so eventual surplus must be used only for their Communities such as fee reductions, local bus services etc.

    Because our private scheme was destroyed by BT who have surely deceived SEEDA (and SCC ?) into thinking they were providing a future-proofed solution. Many outliers are already far too painfully aware of the BT failings of their partial solution without any remedial solution available.

    B4SH (Broadband for the Surrey Hills) using dark fibre over private land with free wayleaves and unencumbered by public servants seems the only viable solution in a reasonable timescale. Otherwise all we need are local benefactors prepared to fund the CIC probably for around 10 years who should eventually receive interest at around 5%.

  9. David Nye says:

    Phil reports that premises connected to Hindhead cabinet 17 will be getting “native” FTTP instead of FTTC.

  10. David Nye says:

    Phil reports that Openreach FTTC crews are now being transferred from Surrey to Hampshire because there are few cabinets left to do in Surrey. Also that Runfold and Elstead exchanges are now showing FTTP on Demand availability.

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