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Ultrafast Broadband for one Lincolnshire Village - Tallington!

#1
I am proud to announce that after long discussions with a different provider - Gigaclear, my village will now get a 1Gb FTTP service early in 2015 IF at least 30% of residents in the area covered, sign up.

Unfortunately, Tallington is the only village in Lincolnshire on the Barnack exchange in Cambridgeshire and would not have got a better service under the OnLincolnshire/BDUK/BT roll-out despite LCC's assurances. That is why I campaigned for a cross-border solution and got Gigaclear to support us. The whole project has got the backing of Peterborough City Council and the new CityFibre company in Peterborough will provide the backhaul.

Full details are available here:
http://www.gigaclear.com/ultrafast-fibre-to-the-premises-broadband-planned-for-peterborough-villages/
#2
Good Morning Ken,

We are very pleased to hear that the residents of Tallington are potentially going to benefit from a FTTP service delivering 1Gb. Certainly FTTP is always the best option, though not necessarily the most cost effective and this news is indeed encouraging.

I wouldn't argue with your comment that Onlincolnshire wouldn't deliver a better service. 1Gb via FTTP is about as good as it gets, but I would make the point that, we are going to deliver Superfast broadband to the vast majority of premises and this is contractually built into the project plan. To that end, I should be very grateful if you would keep us informed of what is happening in Tallington, because if the whole community is going to get FTTP, we would need to consider the State Aid position with us potentially building over an existing Superfast coverage area.

Congratulations on what looks to be a significant result for the community.

Regards
Steve
#3
Dear Steve,
as you will see from the link in my first letter, the whole of the Tallington village will be covered. Every house and business will have a 1Gb fibre service provided to the edge of their property (like the water meters) whether the resident takes up the service or not. That way the whole village is futureproof and the major work is just done once.

As the BDUK State Aid provision wasn't going to reach us until the last phase in any case and we already knew the outcome from a recent BT Openreach letter from their head of community liaison we decided to go back to our original supplier that we would have used when we won the RCBF round 2 bid that LCC and BT Sales blocked.

I agree that to stop overbuilding, the local postcodes should be descoped from the BT rollout but you will find that extremely difficult as BT will do everything in their power to hang on to the terms and conditions in your (poor) contract! Obviously the savings LCC should now make can be used elsewhere OR you could send me the cheque for £57,300 that we would have got from RCBF and we can reinvest it locally.

Superfast via FTTC is what you have allowed BT to provide to those able to get it - 25Mb if they are lucky or a fall back of 2Mb. None of which is futureproof as the original contract requested and the RCBF bid demanded. We know we have done the right thing.....

Best regards from a very happy Lincolnshire Broadband Champion,
Ken
#4
Good Afternoon Ken,

Thanks for getting back to me and clarifying the plans for Tallington.

As I mentioned previously, we are genuinely delighted that Tallington will get such a top spec. product and wish you luck in that venture.

With regard to your comment about LCC blocking your RCBF bid, I think it fair to mention that at no point did we ever 'Block' the bid. We did write to RCBF (Melanie Fischer DEFRA) on 23rd October 2012 requesting they give you more time with your bid, on the basis that we didn't have sufficient clarity from BT at that time regarding their intentions towards Tallington. I believe we did all we could at that point to support Tallington.

Anyway, that's water under the bridge as they say, so good luck with the project and please do keep us updated.

Kind Regards
Steve
#5
Dear Steve,
as promised I can now give an update on this marvellous flagship FTTP project - recently named Peterborough Vale, of which Tallington is just 1 of 9 villages involved.

Peterborough City Council have joined with CityFibre to provide a core ring around the city to link all commercial and educational sites to a new 1Gbps fibre backhaul. They have then jointly supported the community broadband company, Gigaclear, to provide the opportunity for villages on the Bainton Exchange (plus Marholm and Helpston) to sign up for their ultrafast fibre to the home service. The Bainton Exchange is currently a phase 7 BDUK procurement but will be descoped if the takeup is confirmed.

To do that, 30% of the area has to pre-order a minimum 50Mbps symmetrical service (up to 1Gbps) - then Gigaclear will provide an FTTP pot outside every property - not just those ordering it. This allows future occupants or late adopters to benefit without more roadworks.

Although the residential element of the rollout is promoted by PCC they are not funding it, saving their BDUK investment for other new housing developments; allowing Gigaclear to take the risks and the rewards. As Tallington is a cross border village on the Bainton Exchange it has obviously been included in their scoping exercise. There will therefore be no need for further funding to be sought from LCC for this village, if the project is successful. A win-win situation for you and us, I am sure you will agree.

Full details are available on the new community website UltrafastPeterboroughVale.info which has links to statements from PCC, CityFibre and Gigaclear.

Signs are now going up around the 9 villages and 1500 leaflets have already been delivered. Two roadshows are planned for the 6th and 7th of August at 7.30pm in Helpston and Barnack Village Halls respectively, to which you and the general public are warmly invited.

Regards,
Ken Otter - Lincolnshire Broadband Champion


#6
Good Morning Ken,

I trust I find you well and many thanks for the update. It certainly sounds as though things are moving positively in and around Tallington.

We did have some dialogue with Gigaclear a few weeks ago re. the scope and deployment of their project and they did mention the 30% pre-order issue.

Thanks for providing the new website information and we will certainly monitor this with great interest.

I would very much like to attend one of the above meetings and will be happy to take up your kind offer to attend.

Kind Regards
Steve

#7
Dear Steve,
further to the technical information I supplied on the subject adjacent to this one, I can now give a short update on our project to provide Fibre to the Home to 9 villages. 8 in north Cambridgeshire and Tallington in Lincolnshire.

For the benfit of those from further afield, Tallington's telephone lines come 3miles from an exchange across the county border in Barnack!

The two Gigaclear roadshows were held 3 weeks ago and both village halls were bulging at the seams with at least 80 residents at each of the sessions!

Many details were recorded of what the attendees wanted from the roadshows and information packs were sent out in the next few days.

To date (31/8/2014) Gigaclear now have 183 orders for the FTTH service - that is 40% of our target in just 3 weeks! A remarkable figure but only obtained by hard work from the 22 broadband champions we have within these 9 villages.

Our website 'UltrafastPeterboroughVale.info' has had a lot of updates since it was first thrown together and gives good advice for anyone else wanting a similar service.

Three more roadshows are planned for the 7th, 8th and 9th October so perhaps you can make it to one of them. Tallington is the last one so, as it is the only one in Lincolnshire, you would be most welcome.

Regards,
Ken

#8
Good Afternoon Ken,

Thanks very much for the update and it's great to see that things seem to be moving swiftly with Gigaclear. There certainly appears to be a great deal of interest in the project.
I would be very happy to accept your kind invitation to attend a roadshow and if you would be kind enough to let me know which you would prefer me to attend, I will make sure I'm there.

Kind Regards
steve
#9
Hi Steve,
we would welcome your attendance at any of these 3 roadshows.
The Ufford one would give you a good chance to see the enthusiasm that this project has engendered and you may then wish to come to one of the others as well.

As you say - this is a ground breaking rural ultrafast solution that can be recommended and rolled out in any similar rural location - FTTH being the best and futureproof, rather than FTTC which will need upgrading again sooner or later.

The only stipulation is that 30% of residents need to order it before Gigaclear will instal it which is what we are doing here - raising the profile and getting the order numbers up. The monthly costs don't bear comparison; with BT's price increases in December, our project will save customers money if they take up the £7 telephone package as it does away with the need for a landline completely.

A quick update - the Tallington roadshow has had to be moved to the 10th, at 7.30pm on the Friday night due to a clash of bookings.

See you at one of them,

Regards,
Ken
#10
Good Morning Ken,

Thanks very much for the update and I'm glad to note that things are moving in a positive direction.
I would welcome the opportunity to attend the meetings and Ufford would be fine for me. When you have opportuntiy, could you please provide location, date etc. and I will be happy to see everyone there.

Kind Regards
Steve
#11
Sorry Steve,
it wasn't until I came back to the forum to find out why you hadn't attended the Ufford meeting that I saw the message above!
Both the Ufford and Bainton roadshows were earlier this week and we now have over 50% of the total orders for Gigaclear to start putting fibre in the ground throughout the 9 villages (1430 houses).
In fact, as 3 of the villages out of the 9 have exceeded their targets then the first box is planned for one of them within a few weeks. We will then have one village hall online (free) with a 1Gbps service to allow it to be demonstrated to everyone else.
Obviously that will boost take-up once residents see it has arrived at last!
The final roadshow presentation this month is at Tallington on Friday night this week (10th October) at 7.30pm in the village hall on the Main Road.
You would be very welcome.
Ken
#12
Anyone wishing to see what we have achieved and how, is welcome to look at our Broadband Champions website. There are now 23 of us across the 9 villages all working away to promote it in their own and other's villages. There have been over 1500 page hits since we started it 2 months ago:-

www.UltrafastPeterboroughVale.info

Regards,
Ken
#13
Good Afternoon Ken,

Thanks for getting in touch and it's great news that things are progressing as well as they appear.
I had intended to be at Tallington on Friday night if that is OK with everyone and look forward to hearing what Gigaclear has to say.

Regards
Steve
#14
First an apology, my previous message had a link to our website UltrafastPeterboroughVale.info that was incorrectly handled by the forum software.

Thank you Steve for attending the Tallington roadshow. The event was led by our retiring Tallicom chair, Philip Sagar, as the village company set up to get a better broadband service for all villagers (not just 3/4 of them as BT still propose) has performed its purpose.

The Peterborough Vale Broadband Champions are now promoting their service to the area.

Gigaclear are now taking orders for a minimum 50Mbps (up to 1Gbps) symmetrical Ultrafast Broadband Fibre to the Home (FTTH) service in all 9 of the villages including Tallington. The cost, including a phone service with up to 20 additional facilites such as caller display etc. will be £44inc VAT; less than anything similar offered by any other supplier.

The 30% threshold that Gigaclear required to even start in this area has been exceeded in several villages and that cluster of 3 will be started on first while the other villages catch up. As it takes up to 2 months to connect everyone on a 400 line cabinet and there will be 4 cabinets to cover the 1430 properties (at present) it is forward projected that all villages will have exceeded their 30% requirement before the end of November.

I will supply more info later - or you may lo at our website to get a daily update.

Best regards,
Ken Otter
#15
Dear All,

Ken is clearly too busy celebrating to post an update so I'll take the opportunity instead.

This morning it was announced that the required registration target for an FTTP roll-out by Gigaclear was reached. This means that in the very near future the Peterborough Vale area will benefit from a future proof and leading edge FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) broadband service.

I want to congratulate Ken, the many other volunteers and the Gigaclear team on this fantastic achievement. The availability of true fibre broadband (1gbps) will bring many social and economic benefits to the area.

It goes without saying that we hope Gigaclear find opportunities to expand their coverage area very soon :)

Thanks, Ben Haines (www.fibrelincs.org.uk)

#16
Good Afternoon Ben,

Thanks very much for the update and as you say, Ken is probably still in celebration mode.

Clearly this is quite an achievement for Ken and his team, who we know worked tirelessly to bring this opportunity to life and it certainly looks as though they have achieved their goal. My congratulations to them all and hopefully the scheme will prove successful and everyone can reap the various benefits it will bring.

we will be interested to see how things progress and how the residents of the area are benefiting as the deployment matures.

Regards
Steve

#17
Thank you Ben and Steve,
yes I have been celebrating today; the news arrived 12 hours ahead of schedule! 111 days of campaigning by a team of 22 from many of the villages involved has worked wonders.

A marvellous result for the determination of several rural villages not to be left behind and a good example of a real community led project. We now have the guarantee of Fibre To The Home for everyone in the 1431 houses in our 9 villages. One village in Lincolnshire (Tallington) and 8 over the border in the old Soke of Peterborough.

That FTTH service is a minimum of 50Mbps symmetrical up and download which, with a VOIP phone service will cost less than an equivalent FTTC service being offered everywhere else! (1Gbps is available if required) It is hoped to be able to expand this model to other local rural areas as soon as the system goes live here in early 2015.

Meanwhile please keep an eye on our UltrafastPeterboroughVale.info website (link above) for completion dates when residents will be able to bring their own equipment along to the village halls to see the outstanding benefits of ultrafast broadband speeds plus unlimited data uploads and downloads at an acceptable price.

It is no longer a dream...

Ken
8)

#18
Now that Gigaclear, the company I invited to provide Tallington (and 8 other villages in Cambridgeshire) with FTTH is ready to break the soil and provide up to a 1Gbps symmetrical service can you explain why BT is wasting their (and your) money on trying to overbuild in these designated areas?
Only one village, Marholm, was in a BT/BDUK Phase 4 but hadn't been started. All other's, including Tallington, were in Phase 7.
BT are now spending BDUK money like water to put Superfast FTTC cabinets in all of the other Cambridgeshire villages because Gigaclear have publicly announced they are starting their Fibre to the Home rollout.
Obviously that doesn't affect Lincolnshire and your budget does it?
Surprise, surprise - BT are now targetting Tallington by trying to get round BDUK rules and installing a new 'old' green cabinet with copper feeds from Cambridgeshire and feeding a new Superfast DSLAM cabinet alongside with fibre backhaul from Lincolnshire!
As I had received a personal request for £50,000 from BT OpenReach to provide an FTTC service for our village before I contacted Gigaclear, I do know what is involved and also know that it was not supposed to be a BDUK/LCC funded process as we hadn't got an old green cabinet.
This was confirmed by OpenReach's subcontracted surveyors who were measuring up the site opposite my house recently for the 2 cabinets!
However, our Parish Council have just received a letter saying that these boxes (that don't exist yet) would go live by March!
It seeems that BT are using your money to prove they can attempt to crush opposition and stop a better service from spreading.
Can you please confirm that Lincolnshire ratepayers money is not being used to overbuild a private investor's NGA project? Obviously, if it is part of their commercial rollout then so be it if they want to waste their own money.
Regards,
Ken

#19
Good Morning Ken,

I trust I find you well.

Can I firstly clarify the position regarding what BT are doing in Cambridgeshire. Other than any cross-border issues where build affects a Cabinet in one county fed from an Exchange in the other, we have no interest in what goes on in Cambridgeshire. Clearly, we wish our colleagues and the good folk of Cambridgeshire every success with their project, but what BT do in Cambridgeshire remains outside of the scope of this project.
You make a comment re. BT 'Trying to get around BDUK rules' and I assume you are referring to State Aid rules. For clarification, we issued an Open Market Review and Public Consultation prior to signinig a contract with BT in March 2013 and at that point, we had no coherent plans from any operator regarding a future deployment in Tallington. To that end, we included Tallington in our Intervention Area and our plans were always clear in that respect. At the time of signing a contract, the deployment strategy was set.
Following a meeting with you, I recall saying that we would look at how we could deploy Superfast Broadband to Tallington and you commented that it wasn't possible given the location of the existing cabinet. We did say that we were looking at ways around that issue and we have now found a solution. The solution is similar to those we are deploying in other areas of the county, so Tallington isn't unique in this.
With regard to Rate Payer's money, a portion of the money allocated to the project was already committed to Tallington from Day 1 of this project and we have received a number of requests from Tallington to continue with the build, because of concerns regarding the Gigaclear deployment. Obviously, those requests will need to remain confidential. Should we not build in Tallington, we will be restricting the options of residents to Gigaclear only.

Finally, you may well have seen an article in the recent Trade Press where BT has committed to the deployment of G.Fast and clearly, this will further benefit many of the residents of Tallington.


Regards
Steve
#20
Dear Steve,
many thanks for your comprehensive response.
I will repeat that I did not believe putting in a new 'old' cabinet was allowed under the original BDUK contract because we asked many times for precisely that! Hence the BT request for £50K. Getting the fibre was the easy part - it is only a few hundred metres away.
On the diplomacy issue - it is well known in the village that certain Parish Councillors were acting against the majority's wishes and have consistently promoted BT's FTTC option in the past.
It is however a surprise that this has continued, since those individuals have all now signed up with Gigaclear!
Therefore I am sure other outlying Lincolnshire villages should benefit from the LCC investment sooner - rather than white (or green?) elephants being dumped on our grass verge at great expense with 'no chance of a financial return' (OpenReach's words - not mine!)

Regards,
Ken

#21
Good Morning Ken,

Thanks for getting back to me.

There is nothing in the BDUK guidance that stops us reconfiguring the existing infrastructure to maximise end user speeds. We are currently using this methodology in other areas where existing cabinets are too far away from communities to deliver any benefit under normal FTTC deployment techniques. Clearly, we would only do this where end user location and numbers are sufficient to justify the expenditure and this is the case with Tallington.

Our deployment isn't based on commercial viability. Areas that are deemed commercially viable have already been covered by BT or VM or both.

With regard to the 'Green Elephant' comment, I acknowledge that the cabinets aren't the prettiest things in the world, but conversely, I would be very surprised if the Gigaclear deployment has zero impact on the appearance of footpaths, carriageways etc.

In conclusion, we still see Gigaclear as a very good option for the people of Tallington and we are fully supportive of alternative suppliers working within the county, which can only add value in terms of additional choice and coverage.

Regards
steve


#22
To Steve and all forum members,

it is with a great sigh of relief that I can at last say our FTTH project has now broken ground!

After problems getting road start clearances from Peterborough City Council and other major roadworks taking place on the A47 across our fibre route, the sub-contractors finally got the go-ahead on Tuesday 10th March and started that day.

Our backhaul fibre is now being installed from Wansford, heading for Ufford via Southorpe. The other villages will be added as the dig progresses and more sub-contract teams are set on. A total of 5 groundwork teams are expected within a few weeks which should get us back on track as quickly as possible.

Obviously, we, the 22 Broadband Champions who have been pushing this, are all extremely happy that this moment has arrived and will reasure all residents that pressure will be maintained to keep the project on schedule AND extended once the basic 9 villages are up and running with 1Gbps FTTH available to everyone!

Orders are still being taken but the special free double-speed offer for early adopters has now ended :(

Best regards,
Ken
#23
Good Morning Ken,

Thanks for the update and we are pleased to see that things are now back on track.

Please do keep us updated as things progress.

Regards
Steve
#24
Having deliberately kept my head down I am proud to say that Tallington IS now the fastest village in Lincolnshire!
A 1Gbps - yes 1000Mbps - service is NOW outside every property in the village with a customer access point (like a water meter).
This is NOT a BT FTTC short term solution - it is a futureproof Fibre to the Home product.
Most properties are taking a nominal 50Mbps service but this IS symetrical! 50Mbps Up and Down - constant and not affected by neighbours!
Those who signed up early get a 100Mbps service for a year at the lower price of less than 40 pounds...
IF you need 1Gbps you can have it on demand - a 48hour pass for five pounds!
It has been a long time coming - but worth it in the end. Quality in, quality out! Ken
#25
Good Morning Ken,

Congratulations on this achievement. We do know that you have worked very hard to get this result and it testament to your enthusiasm and drive that Tallington can now benefit from this deployment.

We have never argued that FTTP isn't the optimum solution, but clearly, it comes at a cost and is a cost we cannot meet for the county-wide provision, hence the compromise position of FTTC.

Please do keep us posted in terms of how things develop.

Regards
Steve
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