It has been over two months since the campaign was launched in the Chargrove Lane area of Cheltenham. Therefore, those in campaign HQ thought that we should provide an update.
If any of you would like to comment on the updates please add a comment to the end of the page or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Residents Leaflet Drop
We cannot start this update without thanking the large number of residents who have registered with us to show their desire for fibre optic broadband in the area. New registrations are continuously arriving in our inbox and we hope that all residents are asking their neighbours to see if they are registered or not.
The information that has been provided is invaluable in demonstrating that there is a desire for the cabinet to be upgraded. Please don’t forget to register with BT too.
Discussions with Fastershire
We have been in discussion with Fastershire as we have been expecting Fastershire to plug the gap of the BT commercial roll out.
The campaign has been told by Fastershire that the Superfast Extension Project (“SEP”) funding will be reviewed under the Open Market Review that was due to start either in October or November 2014. This will then be used to determine which areas are available for funding.
Fastershire haven’t been able to confirm if our cabinet will be included within SEP, as they work at postcode level. However, the slightly positive news is that all postcodes within Gloucestershire and Herefordshire will be put into the evaluation.
There is anecdotal evidence that we might not be considered for SEP funding due to problems with EU legislation on state aid. However, the campaign will continue to lobby for Cheltenham 151 to be included within this project. We will post an update of the Review once we receive it.
Progress by Martin Horwood MP
The campaign has been pleased by the support we have been receiving from our MP. We are waiting for the outcome of discussions with BT, Fastershire and Virgin Media about the roll out of super-fast broadband in the area.
Yesterday, Martin secured a debate in Parliament about the poor broadband offering in Cheltenham (read more here). We are waiting for the outcome of Ed Vaizey’s (Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries) and we hope that should set a road map for Fastershire to fund the cabinet upgrade.
BT Openreach Gap Funding
A method that some other residents groups have used to obtain fibre optic broadband has been raising the difference between what BT would contribute and the total cost of providing Fibre-To-The-Cabinet (“FTTC”). After a large number of emails, we managed to get in contact with the relevant people and BT and they have provided an estimated cost of £14,629 (exc VAT).
Within campaign HQ we feel that this is a large amount of money. We have been in contact with other groups in Cheltenham (e.g. Cheltenham 209) and this cost is significantly lower than the costs provided to them.
Either way, we feel that asking residents to fund the upgrade to FTTC should be the last resort and we should wait for the outcome of Fastershire’s Open Market Review and Mr Horwood’s debate in Parliament.
In the meantime, we are contacting the other residents groups who have experience in this area to get a head start should this be our only viable option.