FEP as the Community-lead for Fastershire Broadband in Cinderford Proposal
In September 2020 Cinderford Town Council referred a local resident to the FEP Digital Connectivity group to raise issues and request help regarding the poor performance of Broadband in the Central Cinderford area. Following discussion with the resident a timeline was outline, identifying the hard work put in by the resident and town council of Cinderford, but also highlighted a lack of overall success in improving the local broadband speed.
Resident researched local broadband speed in Cinderford (connections were listed as FTTC (upto 80mbps))
Resident moved to Cinderford
Order placed for FTTC Broadband connection
Order cancelled by BT as property was not connected to a FTTC enabled cabinet (Green box)
Additional research in issue identified properties directly connected to the BT exchange were not able to have FTTC
Resident in touch with Openreach Rural Community Manager
81 properties identified as connected directly to the Exchange (therefore cannot have Fibre)
Area is classified as a Town so does not qualify for the Gigabit Rural Voucher Scheme
Existing broadband is ADSL 2 often performs at less that 10mbps, and is highly unstable
BT requires the resident to sign up 82 properties to the scheme to reduce the cost per connection to £62 each. This has causes significant issues and anecdotal evidence suggests:
- Not all property owners will take up the offer = increasing costs
- Local residents have reported being misled over previous broadband promises and do not want to “waste time” on another project
- Many premises do have FTTC (with variable performance) so the issue is not “whole area”
Following discussions with Fastershire, a suggestion was put forward by them around their latest funding route. At the Digital Connectivity group on the 7th October 2020, Fastershire gave a presentation on the ‘Cinderford Issue’ and a proposal that FEP acts as the community lead in the deployment of a gigabit network was put forward.
The proposal would place FEP in a contract with Fastershire (Grant Funder), FEP (Contract Owner), and the selected provider (Broadband Network Builder) to design, build and deploy a new gigabit broadband in the Cinderford Area.
The contact would be a tri-party contract, with all operational and financial activity being carried out between Fastershire and the Provider. FEP’s involvement would be as a community lead who aggregates demand.
The approximate process would be
- Enough eligible Cinderford Residents sign up to the Fastershire Website to show there is demand
- FEP / Fastershire put a call out for competitive tendering to install the broadband network
- FEP / Fastershire appoint the broadband network builder
- Payment made directly from Fastershire to the Network Builder
Oversight and support from Fastershire and FEP as required
Stage 1 Kick Off: We need 50 qualifying residents to sign up to the Fastershire Website. This creates a demonstrable market to encourage network builders to bid.
Stage 2 Minimum: To enable the build of a gigabit fibre network within the Cinderford Town Area and to address the lack of Fibre connectivity for the 82 identified premises from the local resident.
Stage 2 Value Added: The build has the widest possible geographic coverage, reaching to non Fibre premises as far across Cinderford as possible. This would allow connections to all premises within the Fibre build area and increases commercial viability.