Would like a faster and more reliable broadband service?
An important message from Swalcliffe Parish Council and Swalcliffe Digital Connectivity Group, October 2016
Many of us experience both slow and unreliable broadband. For example 53% in the village survey last year described the service as poor or very poor. Hardly a day goes by without an ‘Openreach’ Van working on a remedial repair somewhere in the village!
We face two problems.
Firstly the local cabling from the village telephone cabinet to our homes is of a very poor quality – a mix of copper and aluminium – which means we have poor reliability, especially in wet weather. This problem will not be solved by simply connecting high-speed fibre to the village cabinet. Broadband speeds will probably only increase a little and the service will still be unreliable for many of us. ‘Openreach’ appear to keep doing remedial repairs rather than upgrading the whole local network (from the village cabinet to households).
Secondly being a small community we haven’t been a priority for ‘Openreach’ to connect high-speed fibre to the village, despite the new cabling being laid under the main road running through the village!
The emerging opportunities
After years of uncertainty and delay, the situation is now becoming clearer and we now have at least two possible options that could improve things for us.
BT/Openreach – At the September meeting of the Parish Council a representative from BT/Openreach explained that we are now scheduled to have high speed fibre laid to a new village cabinet by the end of 2017. This is potentially good news but it will be subject to a survey that they need to undertake. If high-speed fibre is installed we will experience much higher speeds to the village cabinet/distribution point but (and it’s an important but) because of the poor local network we will not necessarily get much improved speeds or reliability in our homes. This means it could be very questionable whether it would be worth paying an additional monthly fee to have the high-speed connection.
Virgin Media – We are sad to report that this is no longer a viable option but we hope to have news shortly relating to a existing service that will become available to the villagers of Swalcliffe.
What we recommend
Arising from the Village planning process in 2014/5 we set up a Digital Connectivity Group to assist the PC with our broadband and mobile phone reception issues (David McLindon, Colin Hill, and Peter Beddowes), and we think the best way forward is:
- Firstly we should keep the pressure on BT/Openreach regarding both the poor quality of our local network and their plan to install high-speed fibre. With this in mind the BT representative has promised to report back on the complaints we made at the meeting and also to come to another meeting in six months to update us.
- Secondly we want to to progress the discussions with Virgin Media in the hope that this could be a realistic and very attractive alternative option.
- Thirdly we are exploring other possible options and we will inform the village if any of these become realistic possibilities.
But we need your active participation please, to get things moving
1. Sugar Net – if you are the slightest bit interested in finding out more about this opportunity we need to have your email address to pass onto them in order to demonstrate our level of interest.
Please fill out the form below:
2. Pressuring Openreach/BT to improve our local network –
we have been advised that it will help our case of getting the local network enhanced if, as a community, we log all our complaints and poor experiences with them
So when you are complaining to your broadband service provider about the service (most of us use BT) please try to get a complaint reference
If you are a BT customer and you can get that from the online fault tracking page here:
Please fill out the form below:
You can then log complaints alongside others from the village either with a complaint reference number if you have one or simply just log informal complaints or any poor service you are experiencing (without a reference number).
If we all follow these simple actions we will be in a much stronger position to make real progress with our Broadband reception.
Please help us to make things better! Thanks