Some time ago I asked Kenney Jones whether his plans for the Polo Club include Fibre To The Premises (FTTP or FTTH), and if so, whether this can be done as part of a community broadband project. We discussed the support this would be likely to attract from those still suffering super-slow broadband. But now it seems that there is no mention of broadband in the “outline” plans, and the Curtin & Co representative tells me that my suggestion was not followed up.
My thinking is that the proposed “state of the art” facilities will be expected to include state of the art broadband, which means “gigabit FTTP”. Having run fibre to the proposed hotel and houses, the additional cost to make this fibre accessible to all the surrounding properties will be very small indeed (assuming each subscriber pays their own installation costs). Starting from this base, provided by the developer, we would be able to seek additional funding to extend the fibre to the rest of Ewhurst, and the surrounding area, much more easily than if starting from scratch.
There seems to be some strong local opposition to the polo club plans (currently 318 objections vs. 199 supporters), so my thoughts turned to the rumours of what might happen if Kenney’s application is refused, and any opportunity to which this might in turn lead. We know the club is not financially viable as it stands and that creditors forced it into receivership last year, and thus it was briefly put up for sale (read the Express article here). So it seems quite likely that the club will be sold if this development plan is refused. Such a large flat and open space will clearly be extremely attractive to other developers, and we know that these companies often manage to obtain planning permission in spite of strong local opposition. In this case, we would be fighting the prospect of a large housing estate on the site. But the “silver lining” might be that such an estate would most certainly require new broadband infrastructure, and with some effort we may be able to include FTTP for the whole village as part of the deal. Alternatively, I heard one tongue in cheek suggestion that perhaps the “S.E.E.” group can raise the funds to buy the plot for the community!
Of course I am aware that many readers may now be perfectly content with their Fibre To The Cabinet (FTTC) broadband service. However, “ultra-fast” broadband is highly desirable to an increasing number of people, and even necessary to some. At the moment such people essentially have the choice of living or working in certain cities, or one of about 600 properties in the “rural North” (see B4RN). Note that the BT version of FTTP does not currently count as “ultra-fast” in this context, mainly due to the relatively poor upload speed; maximum 30 Mbps, compared to the standard 1000 Mbps i.e. “gigabit”. Most analysts agree that we will all want or need “gigabit broadband” in a few years, and this can only be provided in rural communities by FTTP/FTTH.
Unrelated to broadband, I’m puzzled that those residents who were most inconvenienced by the Polo charity event traffic jam are now opposing the plans because of this issue. Surely we need to make sure that the plans include all weather parking and access roads, to solve the problem? Also, improved entry so that arriving vehicles do not have to stop for guidance (or look for sign posts) on which way to turn at the gate e.g. two entrances. If the club stays as it is the queues are likely to happen again, whenever it rains just before an event. Personally I’m more worried about the construction noise, and passing traffic, shattering our peace.
Whatever your own position, please support our campaign for “gigabit broadband” via FTTP in Ewhurst and the surrounding area.
If you wish your views to be considered in the planning decision, then use the “On-Line Comment” form by Friday 05/12/14 at: the Waverley planning application page.
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