Superfast broadband: Thousands more homes and businesses to benefit

A ?28million deal to continue the roll out of superfast broadband means 98 per cent of people in Coventry,1 Warwickshire and Solihull will have access to it. The CSW Broadband partnership will take ultrafast broadband to thousands more homes and businesses in some of the region’s most remote locations.

The investment is being made possible thanks to different funding sources, including local authorities, the Government, BT and the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). CSW Broadband is responsible for the roll-out with BT as its co-funding network partner.

Superfast Broadband: Thousands More Homes And Businesses To Benefit

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More details about the first locations to benefit will be announced early next month. The latest roll-out is part of an ongoing CSW Broadband programme and will be delivered by Openreach.

It will use a mixture of technologies, including fibre to the premises (FTTP) technology, capable of delivering download speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second (Gbps) and upload speeds of up to 220Mbps. The new investment will enable nearly 15,500 more premises in Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire to access superfast fibre broadband, with the majority of them – almost 90 per cent – able to get ultrafast speeds. The CSW Broadband programme is spearheaded by Warwickshire County Council and BT, and part of the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme.

The latest phase of the roll-out includes around ?2million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), with additional funding from Coventry City Council, Solihull Council, Warwickshire County Council, Warwickshire District and Borough Councils, as well as BT. Engineers from Openreach will begin work on this phase next spring. The roll-out is expected to reach the first premises in around 12 months’ time, with all the upgrades due to be completed by the end of 2019. It builds on the first two phases of the CSW Broadband programme.

Cllr Peter Butlin, deputy leader of Warwickshire County Council,2 said: “This announcement is great news.

When the CSW Broadband project started, just over 73 per cent of premises in Warwickshire could achieve speeds of 24Mbps or above.

“We’re looking forward to more than 98 per cent being able to achieve what would at one time have been unthinkable speeds of over 30Mbps.”

“Steve Haines, managing director of next generation access for Openreach, said: “This major investment is a vital new chapter in the story which began nearly three-and-a-half years ago, when the partnership began connecting its first premises in Snitterfield.

“CSW Broadband is already a huge success and now we’re set to go even further as it reaches into some of the region’s most remote areas.

“The roll-out of high-speed broadband across Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull has transformed the way people get online which is why we’re committed to making this exciting technology as widely available as possible.”

Because the fibre broadband network is being installed by Openreach, households and businesses have a choice of fibre broadband providers.

Upgrades do not happen automatically and people who want to benefit need to place an order with their chosen fibre broadband provider.

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  1. ^ Coventry, (
  2. ^ Warwickshire County Council, (
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May: Broadband issue not ready for the ballot

May: Broadband Issue Not Ready For The BallotBuy Photo

David May(Photo: Coloradoan library)Buy Photo

This week the Fort Collins City Council will decide whether to refer a measure to the November ballot to establish a new publicly owned telecom utility to provide municipal broadband. But even after two years of work and study, there are still important questions that have not been answered. However, let’s first start with some things most people would agree on: Fast and affordable access to the internet is desirable; a connected community has an economic advantage over those with no or limited access to high-speed internet; and local government serves a useful purpose in our lives and ours is generally well-run, particularly the utilities. If it proceeds, the council would be asking permission to change the charter to expand and include telecom services and take on debt to build the related infrastructure, which is estimated to cost $130 million to $150 million.

Construction money would come from bonding, and the money to eventually run the utility would come from attracting and charging broadband customers. The city’s light and power department bonding capacity would be used up for five years. This utility would be a radical change. The city has vast experience running monopolies. However, a telecom utility would operate in a highly competitive space filled with capable commercial enterprises.

The assumptions the proposed telecom model1 are built upon continue to change. The current pricing assumption is $70 per month for 1 gig to residential addresses. The city is assuming it will be able to acquire 28 percent of available broadband customers. If the assumptions are right, by year 14 of the bonds, the city would be able to cash-flow the utility. If the assumptions are not achieved, all Fort Collins utility customers are liable for the debt. Something like $17 would be added to each utility customer’s monthly bill until the debt is retired.

That’s even if you don’t have broadband or are not a city broadband customer. According to a study of municipal broadband done by two Penn State professors, the chances of a municipality not being able to cash flow the utility are about 50-50. A few thoughts and questions for council members to consider before jumping off this cliff:

  • Are you really ready to make this decision? The basic assumptions keep changing, so you can’t confidently tell utility customers what the costs and risks will be.
  • What problem exists that requires changing the City Charter to add telecom services, and one in such a high-risk competitive space? This needs to be explained.
  • What’s the business case for doing this?

    Anecdotal evidence and statements have been offered about the importance of this to the economy and business, but where’s the data?

  • Proponents cite business competitiveness as a reason for this investment, yet the 1 gig service for business is priced at an uncompetitive $599.95 a month.
  • What needs and opportunities in light and power will go unaddressed because we are giving up all of our bonding capacity for this project?
  • The city has identified the risks of this model but has not adequately explained how it will mitigate them in a competitive environment where it has zero experience.

This is too important to rush.

The prudent thing would be to take more time.

David May is president and CEO of the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce.

Reach him at [email protected]

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  1. ^ the proposed telecom model (

Wondering when you’ll get broadband?

RBC | In response to a request from the Rio Blanco County Commissioners, county IT director Blake Mobley and Colorado Fiber Network Paul Recanzone, as well as representatives from local broadband Internet providers Cimarron and LAI, met with commissioners Si Woodruff and Jeff Rector Monday to discuss progress on the county’s fiber optic broadband project.
Mobley explained that RBC’s fiber network is now linked to two lines, one running from Denver to Rifle to Meeker, and one running from Meeker to Rifle to Craig and then to Denver.
Additionally, all of the tower paths to Rangely are “lit” and the county has recruited a local operator to conduct locates which are necessary for putting in “drops” to individual businesses and households from the main line.
Rural customers can take comfort in knowing all of the primary towers, except for Cathedral Peak, are lit. Colorado Fiber Community has ordered dishes for rural homes and businesses within the tower coverage which are expected to arrive this week. Secondary towers, which will provide coverage for rural customers off the main towers, are in process. That phase has begun and is expected to continue through October 2018.
Local customers in both towns who are still waiting to be connected can visit to access maps indicating the schedule for coverage. Out of 2,526 households in the county which could be connected (that number could increase slightly), 987 are ready to be hooked up and of those, 581 have had fiber broadband installed as of press time.
Both service providers said most delays in connections have revolved around customers who have contracts with other providers that have to play out and making in-home appointments for installation.
“Time is increased if there’s any problem with the install,” Recanzone said. “A 45 minute install can turn into a three hour install. They have a difficult task they’re doing, and I commend them for that. We’re working together to close this gap.”
The maps on the page indicate the general order of installations for both towns.
Mobley, Recanzone and local reps responded to concerns from connected citizens that when they run speed tests their test results (for 1G subscribers) aren’t at 1G.
“Interstates in Colorado are designed for 75 mph,” Mobley said.

That’s like broadband infrastructure.

How fast you’re “going” online at any given moment depends on the equipment you are using, the server you are accessing and how many people are in that same “lane.”
Factors like the age and hardware of devices used, or accessing wirelessly, make a huge difference in the “speed” of a connection.

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