June Broadband Update
This update reports on the recent meeting with Voneus, announces upcoming meetings with BT Openreach and Superfast Essex and also updates on the County Broadband situation and the Community Broadband Group.
Next Broadband Meeting
A representative from BT Openreach will hold a meeting to explain an outline proposal to bring broadband to the village. This meeting will be held on 24th of June 7pm at the Orpen Hall. As previously explained this would not be a free service and financial contributions would be expected. A copy of the original quotation obtained earlier in the year by a resident of the village can be found here: https://tinyurl.com/hwl87xe. A summary of this meeting will be provided in the next update.
County Broadband Fibre to the Home Update
County Broadband’s fibre to the home project for West Bergholt has now reached at least 35% interest from within the village (as at 13th June). This means their project ‘is now live’ and they can now start to plan their fibre to the home service on a zero installation fee basis. They will be contacting everyone soon with details on how to sign up for fibre to the home.
Their announcement on June 14th was published on their website, where there is a video about Fibre to the Home and comparisons to other technologies.
Superfast Essex (Bduk) meeting the Parish Council to discuss West Bergholt’s status
The date and arrangements for the Superfast Essex meeting with the Parish Council has changed. The Superfast team will not be present at the Parish Council on 22nd June as previously indicated. A new date has been arranged and the meeting will not be open to the public.
The purpose of this meeting is to advise the Parish Council of the current position of the village with regard to the Superfast Essex scheme and to answer the Parish Council’s specific queries. Following the meeting, a summary of the discussion will be provided in a future email.
Review of Voneus Presentation and Meeting
As mentioned in the previous broadband email sent out, for those who were unable to attend on the Monday evening to see the Voneus presentation and to ask questions I will provide a review. The event was attended by 17 people with reasonable interest. About a quarter of that audience leaving their contact details for interest with the Voneus proposal at the end of the meeting.
Voneus were established in 2011 and they focus on connecting and enabling difficult to reach and poorly connected communities in the UK. Representatives explained that ‘they are based in London, with 7 deployments in the UK so far and looking to expand to 3 more areas in the country’.
Voneus have used three methods to enable villages in the UK with internet service, these include fibre to the home at up to 100mbs, fixed wireless access at 100mbs, and satellite at up to 20mbs download speed.
The service that Voneus proposed specifically for West Bergholt is fixed wireless access at up to 100mbs download and when asked: ‘up to 25mbs upload speed’. A diagram and explanation of this proposal on an infrastructural level has been created by Aaron akin to the presentation given in April, see here: https://tinyurl.com/j5txadn. If there is sufficient support from the village for their project the network will be installed Q4 2016.
The Voneus pricing model is simple, £24.99 per month for ‘Voneus Essential’ which has a 15GB monthly data usage cap and £39.99 per month for ‘Voneus Freedom’ with unlimited data usage. Both pricing options are at the speed mentioned above. There is an installation fee of £49.99 to new customers.
Voneus have also developed their own optional VoIP landline phone service starting at £11.99 per month. The Voneus VoIP landline phone service, like all VoIP services available in the UK should allow you to keep and transfer your existing traditional landline phone number or you can choose to have a new number of your choosing. They have also created their own ‘Trybe’ mobile application which works alongside the VoIP service.
When asked about maintenance of the Voneus broadband network infrastructure deployed sparsely across the UK given that they are based in London, it was stated that ‘engineers local to each area are hired out on a contractual basis’ however that ‘there are no engineers associated with Voneus currently in the Essex county’ and that they could not give an expected time by which repairs to faults would be resolved. Voneus did however emphasise that once committed they deploy their service on the time agreed and at minimal disruption to the village.
More information about Voneus can be found on their website www.voneus.com outside of that two articles can be found on the internet:
- Article about BT leaving the Cotswolds “in the dark ages”,
- Article suggesting internet at Everest base camp is better than in Cotswolds.
If you would like to ask any questions or to register your interest with Voneus’ fixed wireless access proposal for West Bergholt you can contact them via email [antibot mailto=”[email protected]”] or by phone 020 3026 4123.
The Community Broadband Group
So far 8 individuals (including 3 parish councillors) have responded, this will be sufficient, however, if you still want to join please respond to this email or directly to [antibot mailto=”[email protected]”] by the 22nd of June. Maximum 2 places remaining, fcfs.
A meeting specifically for the group will be held towards the end of June, to review all of the broadband meetings held to date, the potential options available to the village, and to produce an assessment. This will be a private meeting, to be attended by the (10 or less) respondents only. These individuals will be invited in a separate email with the time and location details.
The assessment, potentially including a recommended course for the village to take, will be made available in a future email and should be made publically available on the West Bergholt website soon afterwards. However, it is ultimately up to the residents of West Bergholt to register their interest once opportunities arise to do so, and when services are available by signing up to one of the suppliers in the normal way via a contract.
If you want to be a member of the group which assists with this process, please let us know – we envisaged this group being no greater than 10 strong to keep meetings manageable. Otherwise you will be assumed to simply want the updates which we provide periodically.
Role of the Parish Council
As the Chairman Chris Stevenson mentioned at the April meeting, the Parish Council wants to emphasise that the intention of this initiative is for informational purposes, and the Parish Council has no preference at this stage, for any of the potential broadband options or suppliers for the village. The Community Broadband Group once established will enable the pros and cons of each of the options to be evaluated, and this assessment will be made available once all of the suppliers have outlined their plans. It is ultimately up to the residents of West Bergholt to register their interest once opportunities arise to do so, and when services are available by signing up to one of the suppliers, in the normal way, via a contract.