Phase 2 of our campaign

GU8 Logo small  After the success of securing the superfast future for Enton and Rake we have turned our attention to the wider neighbourhoods of Hydestile, Feathercombe and Hydon Heath who are not going to get a Superfast service.   We have continued our discussions with Openreach and are working through the suggested options for bringing fibre to our community.   We are also exploring viable alternative technologies.  Anticipating the need for a co-ordinated approach and vehicle for possible fund raising we have created a new Project name:  GU8 Superfast Community Project.

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Phase 1 – a success! Enton gets green light.

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May 2014   Our First Success!
Following our intervention, Openreach recently agreed that they will fibre upgrade street cabinet no.26 at the junction of Rake Lane and Station Lane. This is a complete reversal of their earlier decision not to do so. It has undoubtedly been achieved because of the strong resident support that we received, with over 90% of the 140 Enton/Rake Lane area households and businesses who will now benefit having signed up to our campaign.  Community power does work. We are thankful too for support from Peter Martin, Deputy Leader of Surrey County Council.

So what now?
There are a further 80 households and businesses currently served by cabinet 26 that are simply too far from it to benefit from the upgrade when it happens later this year. Continue reading

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Who is not going to get Superfast?

The extent of the problem.

Screen Shot 2015-02-15 at 23.44.09This map shows our area and the circles denote the technical limit of Fibre services. Beyond the circles Superfast is not possible, and there are no plans to change this for the future.  All homes outside of the circles have no prospect of Superfast speeds.  This situation is probably replicated throughout Surrey in many rural and sub-urban communities. However, Superfast Surrey regard you as counted in the “100% as having superfast” if your cabinet is connected to the exchange by fibre, even though the fibre service won’t work on your line beyond 2km distance.

Continue reading

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How far does the problem extend?

3rd February 2014:
We are currently exploring a number of “alternative” solutions to our Broadband needs. We have widened the campaign to Group 4 –Cabinet 48 homes too. To provide a tangible list of potential customers we have been asked to collect a list of telephone numbers and addresses of those residents that would take-up BT-Infinity (or other suppliers’ service) if offered to them.  This list is of those residents further than 1.5km from their nearest cabinet.  This would mean Hydestile, Feathercombe, Clockbarn Lane – effectively all homes East of Enton Green,  North of the Merry Harriers pub, South of Busbridge Lakes on Hambledon Road, and West of the Clockbarn/Salt Lane junction.

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How bad is your broadband?

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I live in Hydestile and have very poor broadband bandwidth.  I can get 1.8Mbps on a good day.  This is via ADSL2 on a BT line.

Surrey Council paid £35m for the Superfast Broadband Scheme to install Fibre Optic cable to areas not viable for BTs commercial roll out.   This was projected to cover Hambledon with FTC (Fibre to Cabinet) by December 2013.

However I have learned that Hydestile is not covered as the cabinet serving our area is not to be upgraded for fibre.   There are probably 180+ properties and businesses that are excluded: Hydestile, Feathercombe, ClockBarn, The Hydons, Enton, and Rake Lane.

These areas are served from a Cabinet (no. 26) near Milford Rail station, and it appears we were not included by the Surrey Superfast scheme because we would be covered by the BT commercial roll out.  Yet, despite BT maintaining that we are still in the commercial roll out, in reality Cabinet 26 is said to be unviable because it is "too expensive to upgrade with power" (exactly the criteria for others to be included in the SuperFast Surrey scheme).    So we can't be helped by Surrey CC. and BT won't do anything to upgrade.  Indeed  BT website still says upgrade in March 2014 - but that has been put back every 6 months since 2013 - so there is no reason to trust it. The "unviable for upgrade"  statement has also been changed to "delayed" after I complained - indicating to me that this cabinet is on hold until someone else intervenes.

There is a second area that is currently not served.  If you use the BT line checker it may say you are ready for BT Infinity (their fibre product) or it may say you will be ready in March 2014.  What the website won't tell you is BT do not install the product for homes above 1.8km from the cabinet. On poor cables (like cabinet 26) that restriction is nearer 1.5km. This also applies to Cabinet 48 in Busbridge too.  Cabinet 48 is already Fibre enabled.

Paul Osborne

 Map showing location of Cabinet 26 on corner of Rake Lane and Station Road in Milford.

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