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Welcome to our community website.

This is the official site for Sherfield English Parish Council, and all village community groups.

Sherfield English

hatchet_sign_01 Church_from_Church_Lane_02 st leonards SE Drs hill spring lane P1030957

Broadband

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August 2020

The first FTTP (fibre to the property) Openreach project in the village is now up and running.  About 25 properties on the top of Doctor’s Hill are now able to benefit from almost infinite fibre broadband speeds!  The infrastructure has been built by Openreach and a broadband service can be taken from any company that provides FTTP in our area.  A similar FTTP scheme for lower Doctor’s Hill and the neighbouring part of Newtown Road is now being built, but Openreach has not yet given a completion date.  These are both Community Fibre Partnerships, contracted through Openreach by groups of local residents.  Openreach quotes were around £1,000 per property which has been covered by the government ‘Rural Gigabit’ voucher scheme; there was no cost to local residents for the infrastructure.  Please do note that for eligible residents to benefit from a FTTP service you will have to request to update your current service and may have to change supplier.

Excited by our success on the above two projects we have been trying to set up similar small, manageable projects around the village.  However, despite several projects being put forwards in the last 4 months, the quotes and suggested schemes coming back from Openreach have been much less favourable with too many properties included at too high a cost; £1,800 - £3,000 per property with large numbers of properties drawn into the schemes that were not actually submitted.  Thus with quotes @£70,000 - £100,000 rather than £20,000 ish no further schemes currently look viable, but some coordinators are still negotiating….especially as the new FTTP infrastructure is about to be built right past their properties anyway….

Any queries then please email me on [email protected]

Best wishes, Ursula

(with congratulations to Eric and his team for successful project completion, John and Sarah for their project in hand, Kevin, Bryan, Jon, Emad, David & supporters for their work towards achieving improved connectivity for our communities….)

 

May 2020

 

OpenReach Community Fibre Partnership agreements to install ‘Fibre-to-the-Property’ (FTTP) will give residents and businesses the ability to choose a FTTP provider and level of service from 30Mbps to 300Mbps  The contract cost is fully covered by the Government’s ‘Rural Gigabit Voucher Scheme’, and the service will start sometime in the next 12 months.  If you are part of the schemes below you will already have been contacted by your local broadband co-ordinators.  Elsewhere in the village, if you currently get less than 30Mbps you are encouraged to seek a similar scheme.

 

Upper Doctor’s Hill - FTTP Community Fibre Partnership scheme with Openreach – Fibre hanging off nearby poles and road closures ongoing so….hopefully completion imminent!

Lower Doctor’s Hill & nearby Newtown Road residents - FTTP Community Fibre Partnership scheme with Openreach signed and cost fully covered by rural gigabit Vouchers.  Installation perhaps by end of 2020.

Gambledown - FTTP Community Fibre Partnership scheme with Openreach signed

West Wellow 3 Branches Lane/Pound Lane OR Newtown Road/A27 area – I have had some interest in putting together a scheme for these 2 areas – if you are happy for me to pass on your details to a possible scheme co-ordinator then do contact me again now!

 

The latest scheme costings were a third of the initial Openreach estimate and the lowest price per property seen locally, at £670 per property.  Rural gigabit vouchers are now worth £1,500, residential and £3,500 per business (small sole traders count) and therefore will now easily cover scheme costs.

 

Check your cabinet connection and available options using http://www.dslchecker.bt.com/adsl/adslchecker.welcome

 

Register your interest in a community fibre partnership on Openreach website https://www.openreach.com/fibre-broadband/community-fibre-partnerships/how-to-apply-for-a-cfp

 

Do email if you have any questions about setting up a local scheme.  We now have community models that work.

Ursula, [email protected]

 

 

March 2020

Full-fibre broadband is set to reach another part of the village Further to last year’s FTTP scheme for the top of Doctors Hill a second group of 30 properties at the bottom of Doctors Hill and in Newtown Road have accepted an offer from OpenReach to install ‘Fibre-to-the-Property’ (FTTP).  The contract will give residents and businesses the ability to choose a FTTP provider and level of service from 30Mbps to 300Mbps, which is approximately 100 times faster than currently!  The contract cost is fully covered by the Government’s ‘Rural Gigabit Voucher Scheme’, and the service will start sometime in the next 12 months. Another advantage of FTTP is that you no longer have to have, or pay for, a ‘landline’. Your existing phone number can be transferred to the much higher quality digital service.  It is also noted that FTTP monthly costs have fallen dramatically in the last 12 months and it could now be cheaper to have an FTTP service than households currently pay for broadband.

 

If you are part of either of the above two schemes you will already have been contacted by your local broadband co-ordinators John, Sarah or Eric.  Community thanks to all three for co-ordinating and sorting the paperwork.

 

Anyone else in the village who is currently getting a miserable broadband service is encouraged to seek a similar scheme.  The political situation is improving, vouchers are larger and FTTP installation prices are rapidly decreasing as technology improves and demand increases.  The latest schemes final costing was a third of the initial Openreach estimate and the

lowest price per property seen locally.  At £670 per property rural gigabit vouchers worth £1,500, residential and £3,500 per business (small sole traders count) will easily cover the scheme costs.   Check your cabinet connection and available options using http://www.dslchecker.bt.com/adsl/adslchecker.welcome Register your interest in a community fibre partnership on Openreach website https://www.openreach.com/fibre-broadband/community-fibrepartnerships/

 

Do email if you have any questions about setting up a local scheme.  We now have community models that work. John & Ursula, [email protected]

 

November 2019

Whiteparish exchange– A36, Salisbury end of village.  FTTC available to some– contact your supplier to upgrade to a fibre service if you are within about 1.2 km of this cabinet.

Wellow 15 (5) – Outside The Hatchett.  FTTC – some residents along A27 who were on Wellow 5 are now connected to the new FTTC Wellow 15 cabinet.  Contact your supplier to upgrade to a fibre service if you are within about 1.2 km of this cabinet and think you may be connected to it.

Wellow 5 – Mill Lane – ‘behind’ Wellow 15 at Hatchett corner

I suggest you talk to your neighbours and look at using the rural Gigabit voucher scheme and request an FTTP scheme quote.  Previously we have had reasonable quotes for your area and now vouchers rebates are higher – so try again.

West Wellow 3 - A27 south of The Hatchet, Church/Pound Lane.

I suggest you talk to your neighbours and look at using the rural Gigabit voucher scheme and request an FTTP scheme quote.  Previously we have had reasonable quotes for your area and now government voucher contributions are higher so may cover the whole cost - it might be worth trying again.

Lockerley 4 –Doctor’s Hill, Newtown Road, The Banks, North Common, Gambledown, Carters Clay

Upper Doctor’s Hill – scheme co-ordinator Eric.  The first community FTTP scheme now signed and waiting to be built.  You will have already been directly contacted if you are part of this scheme.

Lower Doctor’s Hill (and Newtown road neighbours) – scheme co-ordinator John.  Just waiting for final quote for small scheme of about 10 houses.  Currently about £1800 per property which is just a little bit more than the rural gigabit vouchers will cover, hoping presence of neighbouring scheme might bring final costings down.

Newtown road (A27 end) - scheme co-ordinator Sarah.  Initial quote received and again (about £1700 property) which is just a little bit more than the rural gigabit vouchers will cover- hoping presence of neighbouring scheme might bring final costings down.

Romsey exchange – Dunwood Manor.  Talk to your neighbours!  Group together in smallish clusters and look at rural Gigabit voucher scheme.

 

Check your cabinet connection and available options using http://www.dslchecker.bt.com/adsl/adslchecker.welcome

Register your interest in a community fibre partnership on Openreach website https://www.openreach.com/fibre-broadband/community-fibre-partnerships/

Do email me if you have any questions about local schemes or would like to start your own!  Previous updates can be found on village website.

 

September 2019

Very slowly the connectivity of the village is increasing but, like most of our internet, rather at a snail’s pace and sometimes it’s all rather frustrating….

There is some good news and hope for those of you still struggling on single figures (or less!).  A few months ago the ‘Rural Gigabit Voucher Scheme’ was announced which awards larger grants for FTTP (fibre to the premise) infrastructure in rural areas such as ours.  For a group of two or more properties the government may pay up to £1500 per residence or£3,500 per business (any kind of business so small sole trader counts, but not working at home for another employer unless you are self-employed).  At about the same time upper Doctor’s Hill was given a quote from Openreach of around £1,200 per property for a FTTP solution (the best!).  Suddenly the increased vouchers and the lower per property cost meant that a community partnership became achievable as only 50% of the properties needed to sign up and complete paperwork for the vouchers in order for the whole scheme to go ahead for the 22 properties on the list.  I am delighted to report that contracts have now been signed with Openreach and that this scheme should be delivered within in the next 12-18months.  You will have already been notified by myself if your property lies within this scheme.

We are really hoping the Upper Doctor’s Hill project will be the start of the rest of us achieving a reliable and speedy broadband connection and will provide the blueprint for others to easily follow in their footsteps.

There seems to be particular advantage in looking at larger schemes and therefore my current advice would be to gather a small set of your neighbours together, for example between 2 and 10, and register yourself for a FTTP community partnership.  When/if you get a quote then do contact me and I’ll guide you through the next stage of the process.

Exchange Summary

Whiteparish exchange– FTTC available to some– contact your supplier to upgrade to a fibre service if you are within about 1.2 km of this cabinet.  Salisbury end of village.

Wellow 15 (5) – FTTC – some residents at end of Mill Lane and along A27 who were on Wellow 5 are now connected to the new FTTC Wellow 15 cabinet - contact your supplier to upgrade to a fibre service if you are within about 1.2 km of this cabinet

Wellow 5 – Mill Lane – ‘behind’ Wellow 15 at Hatchett corner – I suggest you talk to your neighbours and look at using the rural Gigabit voucher scheme and request an FTTP scheme quote.  Previously we have had reasonable quotes for your area so now vouchers are higher – try again.

West Wellow 3  - pockets around the village - I suggest you talk to your neighbours and look at using the rural Gigabit voucher scheme and request an FTTP scheme quote.  Previously we have had reasonable quotes for your area so now vouchers are higher – try again.

Lockerley 4 – currently quotes obtained for lower Doctor’s Hill and Gambledown area but too expensive, ongoing negotiations with Openreach.  Newtown road residents may like to group together and look at rural Gigabit voucher scheme.

Romsey exchange – as above – talk to your neighbours!  Group together in smallish clusters and look at rural Gigabit voucher scheme

 

Check your cabinet connection and available options using http://www.dslchecker.bt.com/adsl/adslchecker.welcome

Register your interest in a community fibre partnership on Openreach website https://www.openreach.com/fibre-broadband/community-fibre-partnerships/

 

So….as usual none of it makes much sense other than as a way for the government to state that communities are enabled to get better broadband but strictly ration its availability to the most determined only…and in the process add layers of administration and therefore unnecessary costs.   Technology is changing everyday and better connectivity at a lower cost is coming to our rural areas, but slowly. The only upside is that many of us may now get FTTP and then suddenly we will have some of the best services in the country and be in the top 10% rather than the bottom 10%   In the meantime I am hoping that the sun stays out long enough to allow me to submit this report as when its damp connection speeds plummet.

Ursula

[email protected]

 

Broadband Update February 2019

West Wellow 3 (WW3)

Last autumn, Mark was offered a FTTP (fibre to the property – best possible solution) Community Fibre Partnership package by Openreach for his local West Wellow 3 area.  This included about 50 properties – A27 from Mill Lane towards Romsey, Pound/Church Lane & The Frenches (plus the odd anomalous property….).  The cost of this was estimated by Openreach to be about £88,000 BUT it was made more attractive by some new government grants avaible to businesses and nearby residential properties.  In my view (if you accept the premise that we might have to pay for faster broadband to arrive in the foreseeable future…) it was a good offer, but only achievable with a really good uptake from the included properties.

Mark and I spent a couple of months last year contacting and getting the views of all those properties included in the offer, many of which receive the worst broadband speeds in our village area.  Emails, individual letters and much door knocking, resulted in about 20 residential properties and 10 businesses showing an initial interest.  However this is not enough to make the project financially viable given the strict terms of the voucher scheme and the on-going complications of trying to work with Openreach and their shifting goalposts.  We did not choose the properties on this quote, but were ‘given’ them by Openreach and a little googling and research indicates to me that very few, if any, projects of this size have actually been completed…..  The Openreach algorithms that calculate these costings do not seem to understand rural areas and despite our attempts to liaise with Openreach it has not been possible to work out how we can tweak the scheme to make it more affordable for the majority of properties.

Lockerley 4

Excited by the seemingly ‘good’ value of the WW3 project I tried again to ask for a FTTP for a section of the Lockerley 4 area (Doctors’ Hill/Newtown road) that had a relatively high density of housing and low broadband speed.  However results were very disappointing and I got sent back at quote for £400,000 which was completely unviable, and failed to make use our local knowledge and the detailed information I had sent to them.

Conclusion

Some of the village now has superfast broadband (Whiteparish cabinet) and some will hopefully get a fast FTTC solution (West Wellow 5/Mill Lane properties, new FTTC cabinet outside The Hatchett) in the near future.

In theory, FTTP schemes should not be limited by the current telephone exchange of a property and we should be able to use our local knowledge to choose compact geographical areas that would have a good uptake and lower installation costs to tempt Openreach…..but the changing staff, shifting goalposts and computer algorithms are set to thwart us and I am afraid even my optimism/determination to challenge is increasingly tinged with the realisation that most of the offers are just a publicity exercise.  However, I am now told that we can include properties across exchanges for FTTP and so I plan to submit a Lockerley 4 (small area of Doctor’s Hill/ Newtown Road) request for a quote for a much smaller number of properties that I know will have good uptake and are relatively densely packed, just to see if this approach might be slightly more achievable than village-wide projects.

We have looked at using radio transmitters with Gigabeam, who were lovely and innovative but our gently rolling landscape with lots of trees is not ideal.  I understand from another technically minded local resident that smaller local 5G networks might give us a solution into the future and of course there are those ‘fibre enabled’ telegraph poles and planning notices that keep appearing round the area…..

 

Do keep nagging our local representatives in local and national government and get in touch if you have any questions or are inspired with an idea to move us forwards.

 

 

Better Village Broadband Update February 2018

 

Last summer, 2017, Openreach offered to look at a community, village wide solution for better broadband. This has not materialised and we are back to dealing with the individual exchanges within the village, although FTTP solutions may be extended across exchange boundaries, unlike FTTC solutions.

 

Further to meeting with Openreach and Hampshire Broadband last month, 24/01/18 :

Whiteparish 1 - new fibre cabinet (joint Wiltshire/Hampshire project) – may now be operational ….? - Openreach were having difficulties bringing power to the cabinet.  Once it is live then local residents on this exchange (you can check on Openreach website, https://www.homeandbusiness.openreach.co.uk/fibre-broadband/when-can-i-get-fibre) will be able to ask their internet service provider for the faster fibre service.  This will involve an extra monthly cost.  Most properties on this exchange, I have been told, should be able to get superfast (>24Mbps) and many much faster service.  I do have list of distribution points that are connected to the new cabinet – to find your distribution point then go outside and follow your cabling back to a telegraph pole with small white circular discs on – your distribution point number/pole.

Lockerley 4 – no plans for the area at all despite many properties getting very poor broadband at lower than 2Mbps.  We have asked again for a FTTP (fibre to the property solution) for the Doctor’s Hill, Newtown Road, Carters Clay circuit with costings for additional spurs to outlying houses.  I will be chasing this early March as we were given a 6 week time indication.  Openreach and Hampshire Broadband were given an updated list of all those in the Lockerley locality regardless of current exchange connection who have registered with us, 103, as interested in faster broadband over the past year.  They were also sent a list of about 200 properties in Lockerley 4 area which have been identified within and around the parish boundaries along with notated maps of the area in order to help them understand our locality with reference to broadband requirements.

West Wellow 5 – this area (Mill Lane) was offered a FTTP solution but it was put on hold whilst Openreach looked at a more community based solution.  We asked that the quote be looked at again and updated.  There are some FTTC solutions in draft form and some works have been carried out, although I have been told plans are still draft, eg still looking at where fibre cabinets could be sited, so lead in time to see installations completed is many months.

West Wellow 3 – need to check again but not sure any works proposed even though these probably receive the poorest broadband BUT are geographically dispersed around the village so most uneconomic.

Romsey – (Dunwood end of parish boundaries) – no plans for any broadband upgrades.

 

There are significant grants available from Hampshire Broadband and Openreach community packages to support Community initiated schemes.  We are looking at costs to a household of between £500 and £1500 per property for FTTP solutions for more densely built areas of the village.  Outlying properties are likely to have to pay more than this.  We had hoped that the new government announcement of a minimum service of 10 Mbps might avoid local community projects being needed, however, it would seem that if householders want a good broadband service in the nearer future then we need to again consider community projects, which would still take 12-18 months to install.  It should be noted that if a FTTP infrastructure is installed there are limited companies providing a FTTP service and the monthly costs are higher.  Into the longer term I would presume costs will come down as more companies are able to provide services.  Presently I am told there are only 7 including BT, Z-internet, Spectrum, Anderson & Arnold – I haven’t checked these out myself yet.

 

Other services – Hampshire Broadband were keen to say that they knew several properties who were successfully using alternative technologies in the shorter term and that there are some grants avaible to support installation costs if you currently get less than 2Mbps.  There is a list on their website of companies providing 4G aerials, for example, ruralbroadband.co.uk.  I am told the cost for this service is about £40 per month for 100GB and that the installation costs are more or less covered by the less than 2Mbps grant @£200ish – again do check these facts.

 

Village Public meeting – this is postponed until workable solutions for the village are put forward.

 

Conclusion – we understand the problems & solutions a bit more, but progress is still slow.

 

Broadband Update - November 2017 – Still Waiting!

I have been nagging BTCommunity(OpenReach) Broadband further to the

meeting last June and their promise of new plans for a better community

wide solution by mid-September. I eventually got a response saying that plans are progressing and they will get back to me as soon as possible….

There is good news around in that more money has been promised toensure everyone gets access to faster broadband although the words fast don’t apply to many of us, just a little more reliable and better than super slow would be an improvement! We are pressing for an open to all network providers FTTP (fibre to the property) solution as this would be best, long term, and provide superfast speeds to all those who decide to opt in. I have given BTCommunity(OpenReach) and Hampshire Broadband a digitally annotated map of our area but it seems hard for them to locate all local properties, partly because we are spread across so many telephone exchanges and odd historical routings. I am told that a FTTP solution would not need to follow existing exchange or telephone line routings which would make much more sense for many properties. In the meantime if you do not receive email updates directly from me but may be interested in better broadband for your property then do email me, address below, with your name, address and landline details please. It may be important to opt in now to ensure you don’t miss out later on. Registering an interest does not commit you to taking up a FTTP broadband service but may give you/the next property owner the opportunity to do so in the future. AND If you have a very bad broadband day do drop me an email as I think it might be interesting to compile and send an anonymised monthly/weekly listing to the relevant parties.

Best wishes, Ursula

 

Village Broadband Update – 15th July 2017

I was contacted by a new regional manager for Community Broadband and on Friday morning, 23rd June he arrived for a chat.  Discussions were very useful BUT we seemed to go a little backwards in the process….., I hope, in a positive way!

Due to the complexities of our local telephone systems (5 local exchange connections) and previous advice given we were being forced to work very much in sections around the village and had submitted requests for faster broadband for all of the village and neighbouring areas, according to local telephone exchanges and slightly hindered  by our border with another county.  BT Openreach and Hampshire Broadband have now offered to look at the village in a far more holistic way, which we currently think may be a better option, as Fibre to the Property (FTTP) for all looks like the best option and the one to make it really worth running the community project and raising money for.  I have asked for all areas neighbouring the village to also be included in the review.

Technical info:

FTTC – fibre brought to a new/nearer sub cabinet on your exchange cabinet and copper from the fibre cabinet to your home.   This limits speeds and you can be at most 2km from a cabinet to get benefit from it.  Speeds 50 – 3 Mbps depending on distance from your local fibre cabinet.  Some residents on Lockerley 4 can already opt into this via their broadband provider and pay a higher broadband service monthly charge.

FTTP – fibre broadband to your door, brought on existing pathways, so for us, mainly overhead on telegraph poles to junction boxes on local poles.   If you choose to opt into the service (any provider) it is brought right up to your house (some distance limitations/additional costs may apply).

Please note – that whilst both systems are designed with over capacity, still there may not be capacity to opt in at a later date, especially true for FTTP.  So I urge all residents to take a long term view on broadband connections to your property.  It is likely that any costs incurred will be reflected by an increase in your house price/saleability of your home now and into the future.  It is also likely that your perception of existing broadband services will decrease over time due to an increase in the online data load.

Funding:

Hampshire Broadband have a package now available which will pay up to £1,640 per property (at a 50% match funding rate).  With a whole village approach, hoping costs will be more affordable.

In summary:  I am waiting for Openreach to get back to me with more information, more engineering plans and perhpas a 3 way meeting with Hampshire Broadband.  We were told that for FTTP it should now be possible to deliver it on a geographical basis not a telephone exchange basis. All previous quotes for FTTP and FTTC are now on hold (Lockerly 4, Wellow 5 and Wellow 3) whilst a whole village solution is investigated.  About 6 properties on Wiltshire border, mainly Bunny lane, Whiteparish1 exchange have been offered FTTP from a Wiltshire based scheme.

Apologies – I am typing this very quickly at the last minute to meet newsletter deadlines so you might not quite be following but happy to answer questions by email…I will also send out this information via my village email/broadband contact database.  If you do not currently get broadband emails from me then do email me, address below, with your name, telephone number, address please and current average broadband speed, if known.

Best wishes

Ursula

 

Update, May 2017

Summary - still chasing to get more answers….and understand the best options for the village.

Lockerley 4 - Initial costings for Fibre to the cabinet received but waiting for these to be revised to include third cabinet.  For the additional two cabinets, Tote Hill and Newtown Square quote of £35,000, @£500 per property.

Romsey  - Cabinet on A27 outside Hampshire Collegiate School is now fibre enabled but this cabinet is too far from parish properties (Dunwood area) to make much/any difference to speeds.

West Wellow 3 - Limited FTTP quote for some properties but very expensive per property, £75,000 for 13 properties, @ £5,500 per property.  Exploring other options. Contact me for details, if interested.

West Wellow 5 - I have now received the engineer’s costings to provide a better broadband Service to many properties on the West Wellow 5 exchange under the BT Community Fibre Partnership Scheme.

A fibre to the property (FTTP) solution has been suggested for a total cost to all the households of about £75,000.  47 properties are listed and this therefore works out at about £1,600 per property.

This offer is subject to further surveys and has a timescale of up to a year for installation.

BT community Partnership FTTP provides local distribution points to each house listed and then the householder may take a Broadband Service from any provider.  FTTP provides the fastest possible broadband speeds available – ie limited only by the copper cabling from the distribution point outside your house into your house and your own internal connections and computer equipment.  It is the best solution currently available and gives access to much faster speeds than Fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) which relies on existing overhead copper wires from the nearest fibre enabled cabinet to your home/business and currently has an effective limit of about 1 km from the cabinet.  In our rural location it is unlikely to provide you with fastest (or perhaps even any kind of fast!) internet speed unless you live right next door to the cabinet.

In order for this project to go ahead then the cost of the installation must be raised in full.  There are various suggested methods of doing this and I remain unclear at present as to whether any grants would be available to support this scheme.

Compared to other options and quotes that I have looked at this one does seem quite a good option.  If you would like to get faster broadband in the shorter term.  The £1,500 cost per property is likely to be offset by the saleability/value of your house.

If you are interested please contact me asap AND we would need a fund raising co-ordinator for YOUR West Wellow 5 exchange.

I am happy to discuss details and if I have enough interest I will hold a meeting at the village hall to present the plan and answer any questions.  It would be hoped that our BT Community Fibre Partnership Programme manager would also be able to attend.

Whiteparish 1 – plans to place a fibre cabinet next to existing cabinet at northern end of village, but only to enable the fibre to a selection of Whiteparish exchange properties – ie those within about 1km of the new cabinet.

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to register with me your interest in Better Village Broadband:

 

 

 

 

 

[email protected]