Gloucestershire

Reference Library – England – Gloucestershire Broadband

Are you really living in a broadband ghetto?

Rotten luck, Ryedale. Poor old Purbeck. Rother’s in a bother. At least that’s what you’d think if you read the latest report from consumer watchdog Which, which identifies the rotten boroughs of Broadband Britain. Ryedale, Purbeck and Rother were among the 20 local authorities named and very much shamed by Which – the latest in a string in of such headline-grabbing reports. Last year, for example, it was the aptly named village of Miserden in Gloucestershire that was outed as the poorest place for broadband by Cable.co.uk, racking up an average speed of only 1.3Mbps – slower than base camp at Everest! The utter peasants.

The problem with all these reports is that they’re complete rubbish. And I’ll explain why. Almost all of them are based on results collected by broadband speed-test sites. In Which’s case, the results came from a firm called Speed Checker Ltd and, in Which’s defence, they collected an awful lot of them – 719,000 speed tests between January and March this year, to be precise. I’m sure you’re familiar with such speed-test sites: you click a button on the site, it spends a minute or two downloading and uploading test files to measure the speed of your connection and spits out the results.

These sites are very useful for testing whether you’re getting the speed your broadband provider claims you should be getting, but they’re utterly hopeless for gauging the speed of an entire district. Why? Because they don’t measure the maximum possible speed of your line, they measure how fast your current connection is. Here at home, for example, I upgraded to BT’s top-grade Infinity broadband a couple of years ago and generally achieve somewhere between 60-70Mbps for downloads – a speed that’s roughly twice as fast as the median download speed recorded in Which’s fastest area, Tamworth in the West Midlands. If I hadn’t bothered to upgrade, however, and had stuck with ADSL – like the people next door – my average download speed on such sites would be around 4Mbps, which is slower than the median speed of the Orkney Islands, Which’s newly Christened ‘village of
the damned’.

Unless these surveys take a properly representative sample from each area, the results are almost meaningless. They don’t tell you how fast an area is; they tell you the median speed of a bunch of people on a random assortment of tariffs in that area. What’s more, the type of people who tend to visit speed-checker sites are either people suffering from terrible speeds or braggarts like me who want the satisfaction of seeing the speedometer shoot up on their fibre connection. The sample’s about as representative as only polling people called ‘Nigel Farage’ ahead of an election.

So if you were thinking of retiring to Ryedale, but have been put off by Which’s damning verdict – don’t be. Get an accurate read of the exact speeds a property is expected to reach by punching its telephone number into www.dslchecker.bt.com1. You’ll get a precise and rather technical breakdown of exactly the speed the line is capable of achieving, not a piece of over-extrapolated guesswork. If you live in Tamworth, stick ?5,000 on your property price and hope your buyers don’t read this.

References

  1. ^ www.dslchecker.bt.com (www.dslchecker.bt.com)

Thousands of South Gloucestershire residents to benefit from rollout of ultrafast broadband

THOUSANDS of people in South Gloucestershire are set to benefit from an ongoing rollout of ultrafast fibre broadband.

The new BT service will be provided to even more towns and villages in the region following a successful bid by South Gloucestershire Council for funding totalling ?3million. The investment will bring ultrafast and Next Generation Access broadband to approximately 4,300 homes and businesses in South Gloucestershire by the end of 2018. Communities to benefit in the latest phase of the programme include some rural areas not previously covered by the rollout and remaining communities from the previous two phases.

These include: Almondsbury, Alveston, Aust, Bitton, Bromley Heath, Cold Ashton, Cromhall, Dodington, Downend, Doynton, Falfield, Frampton Cotterell, Hanham Abbots, Hanham, Hawkesbury, Horton, Iron Acton, Kingswood, Marshfield, Olveston, Patchway, Pilning, Severn Beach, Pucklechurch, Rangeworthy, Rockhampton, Soundwell, Siston, Sodbury, Tormarton, Tortworth, Westerleigh, Wick, Abson, Wickwar, Winterbourne and Yate. All areas are subject to the standard survey and planning work which will need to be carried out. Cllr John Goddard, Cabinet Member for Corporate Resources, said: “So far, more than 20,000 homes and businesses have been able to access fibre broadband as part of our rollout across South Gloucestershire.

“We have always said that we are committed to providing an improved broadband service to as much of the district as possible and this latest investment could see up to 99 per cent of premises covered when combined with the commercial programme.”

Work to provide the service will start later this year with more information on when communities will be able to benefit from the final phase of the rollout publicised in due course.

For more information about broadband in South Gloucestershire visit www.southglos.gov.uk/broadband1

References

  1. ^ www.southglos.gov.uk/broadband (www.southglos.gov.uk)

£3m South Gloucestershire BT Deal Targets Universal Superfast Broadband

£3m South Gloucestershire BT Deal Targets Universal Superfast Broadband

The South Gloucestershire Council in England, which is already working with Openreach (BT) to extend “superfast broadband” (24Mbps+) coverage to 97% of the region by December 2017, has signed a new ?3m contract that will benefit a further 4,300 premises (3,800 via FTTP).123

The deal, which is supported by funding of ?2m from the central Government’s Broadband Delivery UK4 programme and ?1m from the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), aims to complete the extended roll-out in South Gloucestershire by the end of 2018 and this should take local coverage of “superfast broadband” very close to universal levels (currently it’s already at around 95%). The deployment is expected to use a lot more of Openreach5‘s ultrafast Fibre-to-the-Premise (FTTP6) broadband technology than before, although the operator will also continue to roll-out their slower hybrid Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC7) service in a number of areas. Work to provide the service will start later this year.

Cllr John Goddard, Cabinet Member for Corporate Resources, said:

“So far, more than 20,000 homes and businesses have been able to access fibre broadband as part of our rollout across South Gloucestershire. We have always said that we are committed to providing an improved broadband service to as much of the district as possible and this latest investment could see up to 99 per cent of premises covered when combined with the commercial programme. Once complete, thousands more homes and businesses in more rural areas are set to benefit from a service that would not have been available without the council’s continued efforts to bring about these improvements.”

Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Digital, said:

“The transformation of the digital landscape in South Gloucestershire to date has been tremendous, but there’s still more to be done.

I’m delighted that another 4,300 local homes and businesses are now going to benefit from a faster and more reliable broadband service, ensuring they can get the fast and reliable connectivity they need, both now and for the future.”

Some of the communities set to benefit in the latest phase of the programme include several rural areas not previously covered by the existing roll-out and remaining communities from the previous two phases, including: Almondsbury, Alveston, Aust, Bitton, Bromley Heath, Cold Ashton, Cromhall, Dodington, Downend, Doynton, Falfield, Frampton Cotterell, Hanham Abbots, Hanham, Hawkesbury, Horton, Iron Acton, Kingswood, Marshfield, Olveston, Patchway, Pilning, Severn Beach, Pucklechurch, Rangeworthy, Rockhampton, Soundwell, Siston, Sodbury, Tormarton, Tortworth, Westerleigh, Wick, Abson, Wickwar, Winterbourne and Yate.

Take note that the South Gloucestershire Broadband8 project is separate from the joint Gloucestershire and Herefordshire (Fastershire9) scheme that covers the remaining areas.

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References

  1. ^ South Gloucestershire Council (www.southglos.gov.uk)
  2. ^ Openreach (www.openreach.co.uk)
  3. ^ FTTP (www.ispreview.co.uk)
  4. ^ Broadband Delivery UK (www.gov.uk)
  5. ^ Openreach (www.openreach.co.uk)
  6. ^ FTTP (www.ispreview.co.uk)
  7. ^ FTTC (www.ispreview.co.uk)
  8. ^ South Gloucestershire Broadband (www.southglos.gov.uk)
  9. ^ Fastershire (www.fastershire.com)