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Ellisfield Village, Hampshire

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FAST BROADBAND UPDATES

UPDATES

NEW Wed December 14, 2016

EDITOR: Yes, nearly 14 months have passed and still nothing to report. At some time, possibly in 2017, the cabinet at the junction of Church Lane and College Lane will have a fibre connection installed. However, there is still no action promised on upgrading the lower half of the village.

Wed October 21, 2015: Superfast Broadband in Ellisfield

At Tuesday's parish council meeting, Cllr Park-Weir was asked if there was any more news about Ellisfield obtaining superfast broadband. He replied that there was not.

EDITOR:
The current situation is that properties in the north of the village (those served from the cabinet at the junction of College Lane and Church Lane) ARE scheduled to be upgraded in Hampshire County Council's "Phase 2". The currently proposed installation date (taken from HCC's website) is:
Coming soon - July 2017 to June 2018. So, "soon" is at least 21 months, perhaps as much as 33 months!

Properties linked to the cabinet in Herriard are too far away to make use of that cabinet's Superfast Broadband connection and they are not scheduled to be looked at until all the Phase 2 installations have been completed (currently September 2018).

It should be noted that because the north of the village IS scheduled in Phase 2, a privately funded installation is now not possible.

However, the southern properties ARE still permitted to enter into a community funded installation because they are not included in Phase 2 AND because the Herriard Exchange itself DOES now have fibre connections ...

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Monday July 13, 2015: Cllr Gavin Park-Weir now Responsible for Fast Broadband in Ellisfield

At this evening's parish council meeting, Cllr Gavin Park-Weir agreed to take over from Cllr Julian Wright (who recently retired as a parish councillor) in promoting the installation of Fast Broadband in Ellisfield.

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Thursday June 25, 2015: Ellisfield's MP Meets BT Director

Ranil Jayawardena (see right), our Member of Parliament, met with BT director Tim O’Sullivan last Wednesday to discuss ways to improve better access to fast broadband for the almost 30,000 homes and businesses across north east Hampshire that do not have access to superfast broadband.

As reported in the Basingstoke Gazette, Mr Jayawardena said: “In the 21st century, all residents should be able to access fast broadband, even in rural areas such as Mattingley, Stratfield Turgis and Ellisfield."

EDITOR: It's good to hear that our MP is aware that Ellisfield needs superfast broadband.

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Thursday May 28, 2015: Latest Broadband Update from Hampshire County Council

Those residents who have signed up for email updates from Hampshire County Council in regards to the roll-out of superfast fibre broadband will have received THIS email today.

There's nothing new to report, except the following paragraph:

"The Government has set out plans to offer improved services to all of those currently experiencing under 2 Mbps of broadband. BT is working on this solution at the moment and we will be able to offer this by the end of 2015."

EDITOR: Note the words "we will" ...

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Monday March 23, 2015: Statement by Ellisfield Parish Council (Posted March 19, 2015)

EDITOR: It has just been noticed that the following was posted on the Parish Council website last week! Please see the "Note" at the bottom of the table of estimated speeds.

Broadband Latest

Despite the decision by HCC/BT to include Ellisfield North in the next wave of the fast broadband programme for delivery by 2019 (but to exclude Ellisfield South), we are still exploring the possibility of a village-wide and much earlier solution. We have the previous pledges still standing and, in addition, the prospect of pledges from households who were awaiting BT speed indications in their locality. There still exists the possibility of outside funding bridging the gap, but this remains elusive.

In this  context we have succeeded in securing a modest price reduction, contingent on a local project going ahead, with the result that the total pledges now account for half of the required amount for a village-wide BT Fibre to the Cabinet solution. Furthermore BT have at last now supplied indicative speeds for most of the selected Ellisfield North properties, based on the actual physical line characteristics, as opposed to a notional figure driven by the distance from the cabinet. This is not possible for Ellisfield South given that the network would have to be first reconfigured to make such predictions. EPC have therefore filled in the gaps in the best way possible from known information. The speeds shown below should be considered indicative and not a guarantee.




















We look forward to receiving additional pledges and will review the situation at the end of March regarding the options for bridging the funding gap.

Julian Wright, Ellisfield Parish Council

EDITOR: In his posting above, Cllr Wright mentioned that "BT have at last now supplied indicative speeds for most of the selected Ellisfield North properties". Ellisfield Parish Council was asked which households in the Ellisfield North area were calculated by Cllr Wright, not by BT.
Their response (from Christina Veasey, Parish Clerk) was:
"Understandably the email regarding Broadband needed forwarding for advice and/or any specialist comments which, if forthcoming, will be relayed to you, and/or published, as appropriate."

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Monday March 16, 2015: Statement made by Cllr Wright at Parish Council Meeting

Cllr Wright stated that BT have put in a reduced quote for installing fibre broadband into the village (he did not provide the new figures), that estimated speeds would be announced soon to those residents who had requested this information (EDITOR: Over four months ago!) and that investigations were proceeding regarding the possibility of setting up a "vehicle" whereby residents' contributions could be made tax efficient.

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Monday Jan 26, 2015: Statement made by Cllr Wright at Parish Council Meeting

(The following text was extracted from the Open Forum section of the 26th January Parish Council minutes.)

At least 20 residents attended specifically to understand the current situation with the village’s Broadband project.

In terms of the county programme, the contract had now been let for wave 2 of the HCC/BT Openreach Superfast Broadband programme. Cllr Wright explained that the HCC programme is due to deliver Superfast broadband to Ellisfield North in December 2018. Other parts of Ellisfield would be eligible for future waves.

The alternative private project was significantly short of its fundraising target. External funding is being sought from various sources. In the absence of additional funding then residents would need to roughly double their pledges. Residents expressed the view that they would like to see a higher participation rate than the current 40% before considering increasing their pledges.

Residents’ seemed irritated that despite many requests, BT had not provided estimated speeds likely under the proposed BT Infinity service. An important factor here is line quality which can significantly degrade the speed attained but individual residents need to report line faults/issues to their service provider. Cllr Wright undertook to follow up again with BT on predicted speeds.

Cllr Wright confirmed minimum guaranteed Broadband speed was >2 Mb from late 2015/early 2016. It is uncertain what form this programme would take and whether the funds could be redeployed elsewhere such as a subsidy to the village’s private project. In addition HCC are considering offering to part-fund private projects in general.

Cllr Park-Weir stated that there were potential tax and VAT reliefs possibly reducing Ellisfield total contributions. A resident suggested this was specialised accounting but had contacts useful to advise EPC. Alternatively SEEDA enterprise funding might be feasible but needed investigation. Cllr Park-Weir was keen to contact new ‘accounting’ contacts in case.

Cllr Wright also asked residents to consider differing scenarios across Ellisfield i.e. the ‘top of village’ might have earlier installation because technology and distances there were simpler than for ‘lower village.’ Residents apparently strongly resisted this option wanting all households treated equally, in similar timeframes, so as not to divide Ellisfield. EPC committed to continue with a single village-wide project if this was financially viable.

As no decisions could be made yet, Cllr Wright undertook to continue investigating. All residents were assured that all Ellisfield households would be surveyed for final funding decisions when further information became available.

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Saturday January 11, 2015: Hampshire County Council Update

Ellisfield Parish Council has emailed out the following:

"Hampshire County Council (HCC) have now signed a contract with BT Openreach for the second stage of their Superfast Broadband programme and issued a press release explaining that Superfast coverage will extend to 95% of the county, completing by mid 2019.

"HCC have given Ellisfield Parish Council (EPC) an early view of the scope of the second contract, prior to the details being published on the HCC website by the end of January. We understand that the Ellisfield North (Herriard 2) cabinet is included in the later stages of the programme but the Ellisfield South, Berrydown Lane and Grammarsham Lane properties are not covered.

"By way of reminder the Ellisfield North (Herriard 2) cabinet is the existing BT cabinet at the junction between College Lane and Church Lane. This cabinet is connected to 50 houses plus the solar farm and anaerobic digester sites (Bell Lane, Green Lane from Meadow View, College Lane from College Farm, Church Lane, Northgate Lane and Bushywarren Lane).

"Given the rural demographics we are pleased to see that there is at least some HCC investment  proposed for Ellisfield. The EPC Broadband Team will continue to work on options to provide Superfast broadband to the whole village, through public or private funding or a combination of the two.

"We still have not received the estimated fast broadband speeds achievable for the various houses for which it was requested and will continue to press for this BT promised information.

"In addition we are still investigating whether any of the businesses on Bushywarren Lane would benefit from a quicker roll out of fast broadband and so would contribute to this or would be willing to make a community support donation to help the disadvantaged residents in Ellisfield South.

"We will be providing a full update on the broadband project at the next EPC meeting on Monday 26th January (the meeting will commence at 7:30pm in the Memorial Hall)."

EDITOR: It'll be good to find out the timescale for the installation of fibre to the top of the village and to hear what the parish council proposes for the rest of Ellisfield.

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Sunday January 4, 2015: "Fast" Broadband in Ellisfield

It is now exactly two months since the Parish Council emailed residents regarding the "pledges" made (and required) to raise the money for fibre cable to be installed in Ellisfield.

In the Q&A PDF document attached to that email it was stated that BT had been asked to provide estimated speeds to the 12 households that had requested this information.

Those 12 Ellisfield households are still waiting ...

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Tuesday November 4, 2014:
"Fast" Broadband - Email and PDF of Frequently Asked Questions

Ellisfield Parish Council has sent out an email announcing that 38% of Ellisfield households (ie, approximately 45 out of 120) have "pledged" the sum of £34,136 (ie, more than half of the quoted £66,329) towards a Community Funded installation of fibre in two existing underground ducts from the Herriard exchange to cabinets at the top of Church Lane and at the bottom of College Lane. The email was as follows:

"Dear Ellisfield Resident

"The total pledges made to-date amount to £34,136, a big thank you from the broadband team for a tremendous achievement in such a short space of time.

"We have recently taken soundings from two completed private projects. The biggest lesson to be drawn is the need for a village to be united, all pulling in the same direction.  The Rotherwick project attracted pledges from 71% of the village and the Preston (Herts) project an amazing 92%.  Ellisfield today stands at 38% reflecting a large number of undecided residents. We are keen that you make your decision in a fully informed manner and to that end have produced the attached FAQ document (to navigate click on desired question in the contents and then “Home” key to return).  Please note that BT are in the process of modelling a number of on premise broadband speeds and that the document will be reissued when we receive the information.

"In parallel with completing the village fundraising, we are now looking at potential commercial sponsors and will be engaging in initial discussions with Hampshire County Council."

Also, a Q&A PDF document was attached to the email. Rather surprisingly (seeing as the whole project is about attaining faster broadband), it transpires that only 12 households have asked for a formal statement from BT as to what speed they would get if they were able to upgrade to fibre to cabinet broadband. BT have still not yet provided this information. UPDATE (December 4): Still waiting. UPDATE (January 4): Still waiting ...

EDITOR: Interestingly, there is a statement in the Q&A document that says that an "unused underground cable ducting" running between Herriard and College Lane has "been discovered". However, I believe (and I'm happy to be proved wrong) that this ducting actually carries BT's 100 core copper cable which connects all the houses in the south of Ellisfield to the Herriard exchange. If that's true, why were BT surprised to find it?

See the October 25 News Item below for a few other questions not addressed in the Q&A PDF document.

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Saturday October 25, 2014:
Ellisfield Broadband Fundraising Team to Meet This Weekend

The Ellisfield Broadband Fundraising team (the names of the residents on this "Team" are unknown) are meeting this weekend. An email went out from the Parish Clerk saying that "if you haven’t yet but would like to make a pledge, perhaps I could ask you to reply to this email by Saturday evening".

EDITOR: If you have "pledged" money (or plan to or are thinking about it) without knowing what speed you're likely to attain when fibre is installed, then it's strongly advised that you email your phone number to Ellisfield Parish Council as requested (see October 13 News Item below).

Editor Comments:

Questions, questions ...

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Monday October 13, 2014:
Email From Ellisfield Parish Council Regarding "Community Funded" Installation of BT's
Fibre to Cabinet Broadband

The email sent out today by Ellisfield Parish Council explaining BT's quotation for installing fibre to the existing College/Church Lane cabinet and for installing fibre to a new cabinet at the bottom of College Lane has been converted to a PDF document (click on link to display).

This PDF also contains, on the last page, the map showing distances from each cabinet to Ellisfield properties (display the PDF in Full Page mode to view the map's details).

Estimated speeds following installation of fibre to cabinet range from 80Mbps (for properties close to a cabinet) down to little more than 10Mbps.
EDITOR: It is therefore important that residents who are interested in what speed they may attain email their phone number to Ellisfield Parish Council as requested.

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Monday October 6, 2014:
BT's "Fast Broadband" Presentation at the Parish Council Meeting

The village was well represented by many Ellisfield residents eager to hear more about BT's quotation of £66,329 (excluding VAT) for providing "Fibre to Cabinet" broadband to the whole of Ellisfield (excluding 4 houses on the extreme outskirts of the parish).

Currently, there are two BT cabinets in Ellisfield, one at the junction of College Lane and Church Lane (serving the top of the village) and one at The Fox (serving the rest of the village).

BT's quotation outlines two separate costs. The first is for installing fibre to a replacement College/Church Lane cabinet. The second is to provide fibre to a brand new cabinet at the bottom of College Lane.

After the BT presentation, the Parish Council confirmed that it would communicate with all residents (and local businesses) in regards to obtaining pledges sufficient for placing a "Community Funded Contract" with BT. If an order can then be placed with BT by the end of this month, BT have committed to having everything installed by next August.

(The Parish Council will also be talking to Hampshire County Council regarding a "per property grant" which would be used to reduce residents' contributions.)

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Tuesday September 30, 2014:
Parish Council Email Regarding Bringing Fast Broadband to Ellisfield
(BT Quotation obtained by Parish Council to Install "Fibre To Cabinet" is circa £80,000 ...)

EDITOR: I have highlighted in bold the items of most interest.

Also, please note that the purpose of the working party proposed by the Parish Council is purely to "assist with fund raising for the recommended village-wide solution, specifically BT Infinity 2".

It is NOT about sharing knowledge or discussing alternatives.

Cllr Wright informs me that "we all need to act in a selfless manner in the best interests of the village and that’s a pre-requisite for anyone engaging in the working party".

For those Ellisfield residents not on the Parish Council email list, here is what was sent out yesterday evening:

"IF YOU:

.. THEN FAST BROADBAND WOULD BE OF CONSIDERABLE VALUE

"IT COULD BE ACHIEVED IN SHORT ORDER IF BT BRING “fibre to the cabinet” to the cabinet at the College Lane/Church Lane junction and put a new cabinet at the Axford Road end of College Lane. This would enable “superfast broadband” to be delivered by existing copper wire to houses in the village. The resulting download speed would be dramatically increased from the current 1.0/1.5 Mbps to 80 Mbps for those living near the new cabinets (speed will be less for those further away). In the longer-term “fibre to the cabinet” opens up the possibility of “fibre to the home” and speeds up to 300 Mbps.

"Right now the EPC, thanks to Julian Wright’s considerable efforts, has obtained a design and quotation from BT Openreach to do this. The sum is quite large but we want to explore the possibility of obtaining the funds in part from residents; in part from Hampshire County Council and in part from businesses in the parish.  At this stage we are anxious to ascertain the appetite among villagers for putting their hands in their pockets to support the project. The total project cost is c£80,000. For example if 25 owner occupier households (no business) were willing to contribute £500 each; If 15 owner occupiers running part/all of their business from home contributed £750 each and the owners of rental properties (approx 8) another £750 each that would raise  £29,000 in total or 36% of it which might be enough to persuade Hampshire to grant us £300 per house – say £36,000 or £65,000 in total and we are a reasonable way to the total. Whether this would be possible depends on the interest within Ellisfield in trying to do this collectively.

"Whether BT Openreach would offer a discount for a period to reward those who participate is naturally another area we want to explore; as is the possibility of a discount being negotiable on the cabinet project cost if enough people sign up.

"Monday’s EPC meeting offers an opportunity for villagers to let us know their feelings and hear more from BT about their perspective. In addition if you cannot come but might be prepared to participate, it would be terrific if you could let Jacqui know that. If you would be prepared to be part of a working party to try and make it happen that would be really good to know too."

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EVENT:
Parish Council Meeting, Monday October 6, 2014

BT will be attending this meeting to "present their solution for Superfast Broadband for Ellisfield".

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May, 2014:
Fast Broadband - Statement by Ellisfield Parish Council in their May Newsletter

Your council continues to work towards securing improved broadband speeds for the village.

We remain eligible for some form of improvement to be offered by Hampshire County Council (HCC) to improve speeds beyond the 2 megabit per second minimum by end Q4 2015. The next round of HCC procurement to increase coverage of Superfast Broadband in the county from 90% to 95% is underway, with implementation scheduled for 2016/17.

There is no guarantee that Ellisfield will be included in the 2016/17 project and so we have lodged a request for a direct quote from BT.

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Wednesday November 6, 2013:
Fast Broadband - Statement by Ellisfield Parish Council

On Monday, October 14, this website ran a News item (see below) regarding the Hampshire County Council (HCC) Big Picture Map which showed the proposed roll-out of superfast broadband throughout Hampshire.

Those who looked at the map will have seen that it showed the Herriard exchange being upgraded before the end of 2015. It also showed the southern part of Ellisfield as being in the 2015 roll-out.

This map was discussed at the Ellisfield Parish Council (EPC) meeting that evening and Cllr Julian Wright promised to investigate and report back - here is his statement (emailed out this morning):

  “A meeting was held on the 23rd October between EPC, HCC and BT to discuss the provision of superfast broadband in Ellisfield. The following clarification was agreed:
   “BT will be providing superfast broadband (VDSL) via the Herriard cabinet (located near the Fur and Feathers). Regrettably the VDSL technology is currently short-range and will not support superfast broadband over long copper connections. In some cases lines in Ellisfield are up to 7 km long in the lower part of Ellisfield (some of the area marked in green on the map). The existing ADSL broadband service will however remain in place.
   “The rest of Ellisfield is served by the cabinet at the junction of Church Lane and College Lane and is not currently included in the 2015 superfast programme
   “All of Ellisfield is eligible for some form of broadband upgrade by the end of 2015 owing to the slow, sub 2 Mb, download speeds. Ellisfield is also eligible for consideration as part of the 2017 superfast roll-out.
   “BT, HCC and EPC are now working together on how to best address Ellisfield’s broadband needs. The first step in the process is for BT to conduct a detailed survey to inform a second meeting to be held in a few months’ time.”

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Posted Monday October 14, 2013:
Fast Broadband - Area Map Published by Hampshire County Council

Hampshire County Council (HCC) have published what they call “The Big Picture Map” (click to display the relevant HCC page in a new tab) showing the areas in Hampshire that will benefit from superfast broadband coverage in a countywide scheme to provide a high speed network.

The map shows planned coverage by the end of 2015 and HCC will be publishing more detailed maps as each phase enters deployment.

This map was passed on to Ellisfield’s Cllr Julian Wright last Friday and, at this evening’s Parish Council Meeting, he promised to investigate the ramifications for Ellisfield residents and pass on his findings to this website.

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Posted Tuesday May 14, 2013:
Presentation at the Annual Parish Meeting on Friday, May 17 (7.30pm for 8.00pm Start)

Julian Wright and Sarah Galbraith will be making a presentation sharing their experiences with (from Julian) 3G and (from Sarah) satellite broadband. Julian will also be announcing an Ellisfield fast broadband community initiative.

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Posted Friday April 12, 2013:
Statement by Ellisfield Parish Council

“Many of you attended Monday’s meeting to hear about local broadband developments.  We have had a number of e-mails from people unable to attend and so we thought it would be useful to summarise the situation:

"Hampshire County Council have signed a contract with BT for a programme that will roll out super-fast broadband to 90% of premises across the county by the end of 2015.

"There are 3,500 premises in Hampshire within the final 10%  that have broadband speeds less than the 2 mega-bit minimum standard. In these cases, which includes Ellisfield, BT will deploy point solutions to individual properties based on satellite, 4G or other technologies but this is currently scheduled for the final part of the three-year roll-out.

"We are working with HCC and others to see what opportunities there may be for a comprehensive permanent solution, to super-fast standard, for Ellisfield and neighbouring villages and how this might be funded.

"All of this is taking time and there are clearly some in the village who would like to invest in an immediate solution, albeit potentially a stop-gap. We have had a satellite system running in the village for a few months and as of Friday 5th April have started trialling specialist 3G equipment. We plan to report back on the results of the 3G trial in May, contrasting this with what we already know about the satellite offering. This may be part of a parish council meeting or as a stand-alone event. We will announce a date in due course.”

UPDATE: This report will now be given at the Annual Parish Meeting (see above post).

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Posted Mon Mar 25, 2013:
HCC Broadband Contract Signed

Hampshire County Council (HCC) has awarded a £13.8 million contract to BT to deliver their broadband plans for Hampshire. Work will start immediately on the project and the first premises will be connected by the end of 2013.

HCC state: “Without the intervention of the Hampshire Broadband Programme around 20% of premises in Hampshire would not have been able to access fibre broadband services by the end of 2015.”

It is well known that parish councillors Tim Guinness and Julian Wright are determined to ensure that fast broadband reaches Ellisfield. Whether or not this HCC/BT contract helps them to fulfil their wishes remains to be seen.