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

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, 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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Why register now?

It is important to let Box Broadband know your level of interest now for several reasons.

  • The roll-out will be demand driven and routes will follow advance orders, to ensure the network is commercially viable and thus sustainable in the long term.
  • Further funding has been promised subject to projected connection numbers; a poor take-up at this stage may well cause the project to stall in a few months.
  • The fibre must cross private land, so Box need contact details for all cooperative landowners.
  • In some cases it may not be feasible to go back and extend the network later.
  • Ensuring your property has access to the network will increase its value and give you or a buyer the option to connect later.
  • Those ordering a service in advance will get a special installation deal.

Click here to register or phone Box Broadband Ltd on 0330 113 0180.

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Box Broadband Announce Start Date

Box Broadband have now confirmed that they intend to start ground works on 24th April. This initial work by Boxcom will be the installation of duct and fibre optic cabling in fields and tracks. Once the long haul routes are complete, the head-end cabinet will be installed and connected. The first postcodes to get symmetric Gigabit pure fibre to the premises (FTTP) service availability will be announced based on progress, and depending on factors such as demand, Council permits, way-leaves, and efficient network design. The plans published on the Box Broadband web site should be updated as the project progresses. Subsequent coverage will be confirmed during the network construction, which will be demand driven, i.e. areas with highest demand will be connected first.

If you have not already done so, remember to register your intention to order the service on the Ewhurst, Ellens Green and Walliswood page. This form now asks you to select a service speed (50, 200 or 1000 Mbps) which will help Box with planning, but does not commit you at this stage. Also consider organising a local campaign in your street to ensure everyone is aware of the benefits, increasing demand, and get the service sooner.

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Funding Our Community Project

Box Broadband will need additional funding to complete our community FTTP network. Please do contact Chris Box on 0330 113 0180, or through their web site at, if you can help to facilitate access to any source of funding, large or small. You can also request further details of the Community Funding Scheme.

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Boxcom Testimonials

I have received two independent references for Boxcom’s work on past Gigaclear FTTP deployments. These come from key people in the two projects, who are both ex colleagues of a Ewhurst parishioner.

Appleton and Eaton Broadband Group:

“Boxcom had a great team of engineers. Work was done on budget and on time. I heard no complaints during the project and most comments were of praise. The FTTP service was literally life changing; terrific Mbps speeds download and upload, reliable performance and cost effective. I can make high quality video calls, and having switched to an internet telephony service (VOIP), I have a better quality telephone service that costs me less.”
Graham Rose

Underriver, Godden Green and Wildernesse Estate Group:

“Gigaclear contracted all ground works to Boxcom; Chris Box the owner was very good. To lay the fibre, Boxcom had to dig a long run from the fence to our house. That was done in double quick time by a small and efficient team of ex Ghurkha soldiers. The fibre here is superb; BLAZING fast speeds and great telephony (with the surreal ability to answer one’s landline whilst being anywhere in the world.)”
Graham H

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Box Activity

Boxcom vans and staff are working in the area this week. Today they have delivered flyers to premises on their Phase 1 routes and have taken the opportunity to speak to anyone encountered along the way. Chris Box is meeting landowners regarding wayleaves for cross country fibre cable laying. They will be back later in the week, and are happy to make appointments to meet those with questions. Chris has also offered to host another drop in, perhaps in the Ellens Green Memorial Hall. Will anyone keen to help Box organise this please let me know.

The flyer is designed to identify all those intending to order the service if and when it is available. To support this process there is a new web page at . Due to the pace of progress, the page is still being developed. I understand that it can already be used to confirm intention to order, by clicking on the “I want to register my interest” button and then entering the preferred package in the comments box.

Meanwhile, everyone who registered a valid email address with Box, but did not provide a full name and address or phone number, should now have received an email from Box requesting these details to be submitted using the improved “Register my interest” button at Please note that the postcode lookup issues on the early version of the web page have now been resolved. I would assume that there is no need to re-register here if you are confirming using the “Ewhurst” page as in the previous paragraph, so this probably relates more to those not in Phase 1.

Also please note the new Box Broadband telephone number: 0330 113 0180

Link to Box Broadband Phase 1 Flyer

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Box Broadband Project Status

Box Broadband Ltd is now very close to announcing the start of their network build, subject to confirmation of funding. They have been very busy in planning, dealing with local authorities, web site development (more pages coming soon), exploring funding options, recruiting, setting up support services such as call handling, and much more. The proposed product range has been reviewed as a result of our feedback; please see the new pricing at

Box plan to start the build in Ellens Green; this is closest to the connection point with existing available fibre. The first cabinet planned will cover Ellens Green, southern Ewhurst (as far as Lower Breache Road), and Walliswood. The second will cover northern and eastern Ewhurst, including Pitch Hill and Forest Green, and the third will cover central and western Ewhurst. The extent of coverage away from the main routes will have to depend on the number of connections ordered and available funding. Box analysis indicates that the southern area network can be built quickly and is most likely to achieve the required level of initial take-up, thus providing the best showcase for their services. We believe that as soon as members of our community are enjoying pure fibre broadband, demand in other areas will strengthen and further funding will become available. This should allow the Ewhurst project to complete sooner, rapidly followed by expansion into adjacent communities, and thus securing long term commercial viability.

Everyone who registered their interest at should be contacted by the company by the end of March, and their coverage status confirmed. If not already covered, Box should indicate what is needed to achieve a viable network extension in that area. I will publish a further update to confirm, as soon as I am told this process is complete, to check those who might not be properly registered (e.g. a mistyped email address).

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Box Broadband Project Funding

Box Broadband is now seeking to fund part of the network build from local community investment. A number of people have already expressed an interest in contributing, and we believe that ownership of a share in the fibre network will reinforce the project’s community spirit. A local investment scheme can also provide more favourable terms than commercial sources, which all contributes to encouraging take-up and expansion, and thus long term viability. If the response is good, work can start on construction very soon. The company is working hard to finalise this community funding scheme and hope to launch in the next few days. I will publish further details when available.

Box are still working on other funding sources, but at the moment these appear to be more likely to bear fruit after the first stage is completed, or even later. For example, some sources are only interested in existing infrastructure assets; others are looking for much larger projects. The original plan, for a government loan, would simply have taken too long to get through all the red tape, with no guarantee of success at the end. It also requires members of the parish to set up and run a suitable company, such as a Community Interest Company (CIC); will any volunteers please step forward!

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Links to Recent Questions and Answers

Why have you shown the wrong speed for my postcode?

My friend says your article in the last “Ewhurst & Ellens Green News” was well worth a read, but I missed it; where can I get it?

Is the SCC Gainshare deployment good value for money?

Will the Gainshare deployment be FTTC and not FTTP?

How does the Gainshare deployment impact Box Broadband?

My upload speed is way lower than the download speed; is this a problem?

Where can I order BT’s “FTTP on Demand” product?

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Status change for Openreach “FTTP on Demand” product

“FTTP on Demand” is now showing as “available” for all Ewhurst cabinets, and I expect for all Cranleigh cabinets which currently support FTTC. This was already the case for Oakwood Hill and many other exchanges. However, I have not heard of anyone in Surrey successfully getting a quote for the service, let alone installation. As far as I know, BT are the only ISP claiming to offer the product in Surrey at present, and only to “business” customers. However, those who have enquired have been directed to the “lease line” or “private fibre/FTTP” product, with BT sales people apparently believing it to be the same thing. If anyone with a BT business line would care to try for a quote, please let me know. Whilst the “FTTP on Demand” service would be cheaper than “lease line/private fibre/private FTTP”, it remains far more expensive than the symmetric FTTP service planned by Box Broadband. Much more information, including wholesale price guide, can be found in the comments below the launch article.

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Superfast Surrey – Gainshare deployment

Surrey County Council (SCC) have finally announced the areas to be covered by their “Gainshare deployment” (previously “phase 2″) i.e. the further work by BT Openreach, paid for with the refund due under the SCC/BT/BDUK contract, following the high levels of “fibre broadband” take-up from the original deployment. The announcement essentially takes the form of a list of 796 postcodes which should benefit, split into two delivery stages, and an indication whether all premises in the postcode should benefit.

I have compiled a shorter list of the relevant postcodes in our area of interest, in a more easily understood format. This includes the Parish postcodes which SCC have previously identified as still requiring improvement, plus those representing entries in my “register of interest in faster broadband”, including some in the immediately surrounding area. The column “EB Register” shows the number of entries in my register.

Ewhurst Broadband Postcode Analysis
Postcode Speed (SCC data April 2016) EB Register Entries SCC Gainshare deployment
GU6 7DH Under 15 Mbps    
GU6 7DL Under 15 Mbps    
GU6 7DP 15 – 29 Mbps    
GU6 7DR 15 – 29 Mbps    
GU6 7DT 15 – 29 Mbps    
GU6 7HG 15 – 29 Mbps    
GU6 7NG Under 15 Mbps    
GU6 7NH Under 15 Mbps 2  
GU6 7NJ Under 15 Mbps    
GU6 7NL Under 15 Mbps    
GU6 7NN Under 15 Mbps 4  
GU6 7NP Under 15 Mbps 5  
GU6 7NR Under 15 Mbps 3  
GU6 7NS Under 15 Mbps    
GU6 7NT Under 15 Mbps    
GU6 7NW Under 15 Mbps 1  
GU6 7PE 30+ Mbps 1  
GU6 7PF 15 – 29 Mbps 4  
GU6 7PJ 15 – 29 Mbps 1  
GU6 7PL 15 – 29 Mbps 3  
GU6 7PN 15 – 29 Mbps 4  
GU6 7PP Under 15 Mbps 2  
GU6 7PT 15 – 29 Mbps    
GU6 7PU 15 – 29 Mbps 1  
GU6 7PW 15 – 29 Mbps    
GU6 7PX Under 15 Mbps 4  
GU6 7PY 15 – 29 Mbps    
GU6 7PZ 15 – 29 Mbps 1  
GU6 7QB 30+ Mbps 2  
GU6 7QF 15 – 29 Mbps 1  
GU6 7QG 15 – 29 Mbps    
GU6 7QH 15 – 29 Mbps 2  
GU6 7QJ 15 – 29 Mbps    
GU6 7QL 15 – 29 Mbps    
GU6 7QW 15 – 29 Mbps 1  
GU6 7QY Under 15 Mbps    
GU6 7RR 30+ Mbps 1  
GU6 7RT Under 15 Mbps 1  
GU6 7SA 15 – 29 Mbps 1  
GU6 7SE 15 – 29 Mbps    
GU6 7SG 30+ Mbps 1  
GU6 7SJ Under 15 Mbps 1 Some by March 2019
GU6 7SL 15 – 29 Mbps 1  
GU6 7SN Under 15 Mbps 2 Some by March 2019
GU6 7SP Under 15 Mbps    
GU6 7SQ Under 15 Mbps 5  
GU6 7SR Under 15 Mbps 3  
GU6 7SW Under 15 Mbps 10 Some by March 2019
GU6 7UN Under 15 Mbps    
GU6 8EE Under 15 Mbps    
GU6 8EG Under 15 Mbps 1  
RH12 3AB Under 15 Mbps 1  
RH12 3AP Under 15 Mbps 2 Some by March 2019
RH12 3AR Under 15 Mbps 2 Some by March 2019
RH12 3AS Under 15 Mbps 2 Some by March 2019
RH12 3AT 15 – 29 Mbps (incorrect) 2  
RH12 3AW Under 15 Mbps 1 Some by March 2019
RH5 5RJ 15 – 29 Mbps    
RH5 5RL 15 – 29 Mbps 4  
RH5 6NS Under 15 Mbps    
RH5 6NT Under 15 Mbps    
RH5 6NU Under 15 Mbps    
RH5 6NX Under 15 Mbps    

So, only 7 of our postcodes should be improved, out of my list of 63 wanting a better service. These 7 are all in phase 2, and in none of them will all the premises benefit. There is no indication as to how many individuals will benefit, or which. The target for those which do is 24 Mbps. Some postcodes may be dropped later if they turn out to be more expensive than expected. More detail can be found via the links below.

Superfast Surrey FAQ

Gainshare Deployment announcement

Full list of Gainshare Deployment postcodes

Gainshare Deployment Map

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Box Broadband Ultrafast Proposals

Firstly, a massive THANK YOU to all those who took time out to attend one of the sessions on Tuesday. The Box team surprised me by presenting costs based on a “commercial” funding model, which they had previously thought unrealistic. This is a very much simpler scheme from our point of view, as I understand it, eliminating the need for us to become involved in fund raising, Government red tape, company formation and accounting etc. However, to make it viable, Box needs a high level of take-up in the area to be covered (essentially the Parish plus some immediate neighbours). The proposals were enthusiastically received by the audience at the two afternoon sessions I attended. Those who commented felt that the monthly fee was realistic for the service being offered.

Andrew Lock has very kindly taken the trouble to write the following in depth report for those who could not attend.

Box Broadband Limited is a new company specifically set up to develop this FTTP network, whereas the parent company, Box Synergy have already installed 100 networks, passed 30,000 potential customers, mainly in the Oxfordshire area, and have converted 7000 to customers. Their presentation focussed on the need to get confirmed interest from the potential 900 households in Ewhurst & Ellens Green of about one third, or 300 households. The incentive for reaching this pre-build commitment would be free installation and fibre router representing a cost saving of c£285. Customers signing up after the network has been constructed are unlikely to be offered this subsidised access as it will require recalling a moling team and connection engineers to the area which is less efficient.

The key take-away from the presentation is that unlike existing asymmetrical broadband provided by Openreach, this would be 100 Mbps minimum both down and up. There is nothing like this provided by BT Fibre to cabinet nor is there ever likely to be as the copper to the home has physical limitations. The benefit of a symmetrical connection is that services like phone calls, Skype, Cloud storage and uploading large files will be superior as they will not be jittery, for example. Indeed such is the upload speed, it would be possible to host your own website from your house/business premises, without the need to pay a hosting company. Fibre to the home/premise (FTTH/FTTP) will allow users to ditch their BT Openreach copper connections, saving the compulsory line rental element of the current broadband services available in Ewhurst, and your existing phone number can be “ported” to an internet phone service referred to a Voice over IP (VoIP). Box have good experience of the Vonage service which even allows your calls to be routed to wherever you are in the world.

The cost is dependent on initial take-up but could be in the region of £56.60/month for the first two years for a 100 Mbps connection which compares well with BT once the old copper line rental is dispensed with, and of course that speed is both up & down so is not directly comparable. Ultimately it would be possible to connect at substantially higher speeds and an illustrative cost of £76.50/month for 1 Gbps circuit was mooted.

Initial scoping of the project suggests Box will install three cabinets to connect to, after which it will hook up with their “back-haul” (ultra high speed connection to Telehouse East in London, via Crawley). Ewhurst’s proximity to Crawley makes our village an attractive starting point to roll-out similar networks across the south east as there is currently no competition (for symmetric FTTH/P) in rural areas. Box will be approaching other towns and villages in the south east and commercially will be driven to start where demand is greatest. For this reason it is important that residents and businesses demonstrate their collective enthusiasm for a 21st century network, as this presents a unique opportunity to leapfrog other rural and even urban areas as BT continues its policy of sweating their 20th century asset of copper (or indeed aluminium in some locations).

It was pointed out that even where residents were happy with their current connection, the availability of fibre to the home would increase the attractiveness of properties in the area to buyers from outside the area, as good quality broadband is now becoming an essential prerequisite to even consider a property. With so few rural properties having access to this sort of connection it would set Ewhurst apart. In fact Box’s experience is that even where businesses have paid Openreach for their own private fibre connections often costing ten’s of thousands of pounds to install, they are migrating to Box solutions when they become available as the monthly rental costs are substantially lower.

Questions were asked about a) proximity to the highway where the main fibre would be installed. Box explained that only isolated households down very long driveways would need to negotiate an additional cost to cover the moling work involved in laying an underground fibre exclusively for that property. b) laying the fibre. It is preferable to bury fibre near the highway, or across fields, rather than share BT’s poles as this has proved unreliable and bureaucratic. Surrey County Council has an obligation to assist new contractors by allowing access to the verges along highways, and modern surveying and utility plans ensure that disruption to existing services is minimised.

Afterwards, informally, I discussed a tiered pricing model according to need, as it was apparent that those in the centre of the village already enjoyed acceptable connections but there were a cohort of outliers for whom the benefits could justify either a contribution to the initial infrastructure or a higher service change. Once the responses have been analysed Chris Box would be in a better position to develop a pricing model that worked for everybody.

Many thanks to Andrew for that excellent summary.

Please register your interest in the project on the fledgling Box Broadband web site, which will be fully developed over time, at

Read my article for Ewhurst & Ellens Green News

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Tuesday Ultrafast Event Times Extended

To help our commuters, Box Broadband have kindly agreed to keep the doors open until at least 8.30 pm, and to re-run their Ultrafast Broadband presentation for late arrivals, if requested. The event at the EYSC (on the central recreation ground, down Broomers Lane near the village shop), will be manned by Box Broadband staff from 2 pm to 8.30 pm. Planned presentation times are now 2.30, 4.30, 7 and 8 pm (if required), and their staff will be available to explain the proposals and answer questions throughout the afternoon and evening. Staff on hand will include an engineer and the Managing Director. Tea and coffee will be provided. I plan to be there for the opening at 2 pm, and for the 4.30 session, and as much of the afternoon as possible. Parish Councillors will also be present at various times.

About 900 flyers were delivered in and around Ewhurst and Ellens Green, but the delivery people are not familiar with the area, so apologies if you or your neighbours were missed. Please do encourage others to attend if you can.

This exciting new opportunity is only possible due to a new government initiative, encouraging “Altnets” to provide a pure fibre optic feed directly into homes and businesses, entirely separate from BT’s network. The £1bn Digital Infrastructure Fund sounds large, but only part will be used in this way, and I expect that relatively few rural communities will be able to benefit. I think that we may need to act fast and demonstrate great enthusiasm. Please drop-in to the EYSC event on Tuesday if you can, between 2 pm and 8.30 pm.

Ewhurst connection speeds currently vary between 1 and 76 Mbps download (upload speeds are much slower) depending on the location, and are often erratic or unreliable. The service still relies on the copper phone lines, which severely limits future speed increases and reliability. Pure fibre to the premises (FTTP) from Box will provide a minimum of 100 Mbps, down and up, to premises in any location, at a similar cost to equivalent services, with up to 1000 Mbps being potentially available at extra cost, and supporting much higher speeds as needed in future. This differs from the BT Community Fibre scheme in several ways, but probably the most compelling benefit is not having to raise the “gap funding”.

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