Community Fibre Invitation to Register

I have been looking at the BT Community Fibre Programme as a potential way to improve broadband performance for those of us too far from our cabinet to achieve “superfast” speeds. The programme is open to “communities” below the BT “superfast” threshold (24 Mbps) where there are no plans already in place. It uses the “gap funding” model, where BT contribute the “commercially viable” cost and the community raise the remaining funding.

The community can opt for Fibre To The Premises (FTTP), which currently supports 40, 80, 110, 220 and 330 Mbps connections, and which provides the same fibre broadband service speeds to every home covered, whatever the line length. The 40 and 80 Mbps FTTP services typically cost the same as their Fibre To The Cabinet (FTTC) equivalents, but unlike FTTC you actually get the speed you pay for. Alternatively the community can choose additional FTTC cabinets (or possibly “mini cabinets”), which aim to reduce copper line lengths to the point where everyone gets at least 24 Mbps (and up to 78 Mbps). With either fibre broadband option you can choose your ISP and package in the usual way.

The next step is to compile a list of residents who are currently “below 24 Mbps” and wish to improve their broadband service to “superfast” speed. There is no commitment at this stage; BT just need the information to define the area(s) to be covered, cross check with their own and Surrey County Council (SCC) plans to ensure no overlap, and to work out the ball park costs to the community. The community then decides whether to launch a Community Fibre Partnership (choosing FTTP or FTTC) or not. If we do not continue, then we still have the hope that SCC will include some or all of us in their next phase, but in that scenario we will not have any influence over the choice of FTTP or FTTC.

If the Community project goes ahead, then of course the new service will be available to everyone in the area(s) covered, whether they register interest now or not, and whether they contribute to fund raising or not. However, if you do not register interest at this initial stage then there is a chance that your area may not be covered as a result. Even if you do not anticipate ever needing better broadband performance yourself, remember that the available broadband speed now has a significant impact on property value and saleability.

To register your interest, BT are asking for the following details:

Please use the contact form to let me know you wish to be included. I will only use these details for our attempt to improve our local fibre broadband service and to keep you informed. Whilst the BT Community Fibre Programme only applies to homes where a 24+ Mbps fibre broadband service is not already available, I will be pleased to receive details of any others interested in local FTTP, so that I can keep you informed of future developments.

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6 Responses to Community Fibre Invitation to Register

  1. Walter says:

    This can be a viable and fully future-proofed option and it provides the same speeds upload and download. However it requires local fund-raising and a team of volunteers who are yet to show sufficient enthusiasm.

  2. David Nye says:

    I have been searching for potential FTTP solutions for several years, and BT are the first to come back to me with a proposal I can help to progress. Obviously I would love us to have more options. Perhaps the only thing preventing the launch of a DIY solution (like the one Walter mentions above) is the lack of a project leader with the necessary commitment, time and skill set to drive it forward.

  3. Walter says:

    Those who doubt that a really rural scheme is viable might like to read the following article. However I am not aware of sufficient interest to launch such a scheme in Rural Surrey. You might smile at some of the inane comments too !

  4. Walter says:

    Meanwhile Connecting Devon and Somerset have now awarded 4 out of the 6 true symmetric fibre broadband area contracts so far; although it has taken a long time. How come Surrey isn’t attempting anything so radical, future-proof without any distance limitations.

  5. Walter says:

    You’ll see here how it can be done – all we need are a couple of enthusiastic people who can initiate the start up.

  6. Walter says:

    You might be interested to know that the BBC article above has received over 1,000,000 hits as of 29 December 2016. Thank you for contributing to this remarkable total ! It might also show that the UK is waking up to the need for full symmetric future-proofed Fibre-To-The-Home solutions. Cobbling yet another partial solution on top of all the existing broadband products is an expensive, less-reliable, time-consuming operation which will have to be replaced eventually.

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