Concerns about our poor broadband service now account for the majority of queries I receive as Ward Member, similar in scale only to those relating to planning!
Misinformation persists, leaving many confused…
Unfortunately, there is an enormous amount of misrepresentation of performance by Central Government, Connecting Devon and Somerset and BT.
“CDS is well set to achieve the Government’s target to provide an average of 90% of homes and businesses across Devon and Somerset with access to superfast broadband by the end of 2016.”
Is simply ‘impossible’....
still as fundamentally misunderstood, and misrepresented as it was back in 2012...
The widely bandied target and claimed progress toward 95% delivery of fibre optic broadband and ‘Superfast Broadband’ is practically impossible with the ‘Fibre to the Cabinet – FTTC’ infrastructure deployed by our effective monopoly supplier BT.
What does FTTC mean?
This means that the connection between the telephone exchange and ‘little green cabinets’ near to our properties is optical fibre, but the connection from the cabinet to the property itself is the ‘ageing’ copper at best.
Why does it say I am ‘Live’ when I cannot get Superfast Broadband?
The map here is from the Connecting Devon and Somerset Website. The key is;
Blue – Under evaluation
Orange – Coming soon
Green – Live! and
Black – Covered by BT
So this means that the areas in Green and Black all have Superfast Broadband already and that in Orange will so soon – so what is all the fuss, we will all be fine….
Speeds over optical fibre are maintained, but over the section between the cabinet and your premises speeds decrease rapidly, with a practical impossibility of Superfast Broadband to more remote premises. All over approx. 1.5Klm cable run from the Cabinet will not get Superfast Broadband (at 24Mb+)
That’s only a few outlying farms, so does it matter?
The figure is rather larger - Taking the performance figures to date from CDS, this accounts for a full 15% of premises counted toward the claimed premises ‘passed’ (all in Green and Black areas, soon to have Orange and some of Blue added) yet unable to receive superfast speeds.
Overall, I believe that nearer 25% will not be capable of getting Superfast Broadband when Phase 1 is successfully completed, suggesting a ‘realistic’ performance should therefore be a maximum of 75% - NOT 90%. Less densely populated rural areas, like Uplyme and the rest of Trinity, fair particularly badly.
This assessment is further supported by another map, again from the same Connecting Devon and Somerset website.
This map covers the same area as that on the previous page. Areas highlighted in Red illustrate postcodes currently with a maximum broadband speed, for more than 10% of properties in the postcode of LESS THAN 2MB.
A simple visual inspection will make it apparent that bizarrely, there are properties in a large area, most obviously to the west of Rousdon, which are considered successfully ‘passed’ in the government figures and hence part of the 90% Phase One agreement, yet which receive a download speed less than 10% of Superfast levels envisaged by customers based on the barrage of bold TV adverts claims by broadband suppliers…
But Government has promised a ‘Universal Service Obligation’ to all by 2020 hasn’t it?
Central Government has repeatedly stated its commitment to deliver a ‘universal’ broadband commitment to all. In November 2015 David Cameron promised us the legal right to a minimum 10Mb download service, no matter where we live…
But not everyone wants to be connected to Broadband do they?
The Daily Telegraph recently reported that “High speed internet will NOT be automatically delivered to countryside homes, after ministers claimed some people living in rural areas do not ‘want to be connected’”. This comment has triggered a national campaign which I actively support, as do several hundred local authorities.
What is happening in East Devon?
East Devon District Council recognised some time ago, that the BDUK/CDS/BT programme was failing to deliver the expected and necessary benefits to East Devon residents and businesses. In the latter part of 2015, we took the unusual step of making a direct application for funding to Broadband Delivery UK. This application featured the poor broadband delivery in Trinity Ward as a case study.
This bid was refused, but stimulated further work and opportunity, both within our area and wider East Devon. We have engaged directly and with CDS with potential suppliers, including BT and others. This is receiving increasing valued support from our MP Neil Parish.
Should I spend my Vouchers on a Satellite system?
CDS is offering a voucher subsidy for installation in Red areas above. In theory options include Satellite or Fixed Wireless systems. In practice we have approached both, with no interest in fixed wireless in our area.
Unfortunately, we have historic experience of satellite which suggested an expensive, slow and inadequate system such that all Trinity Ward trailists swiftly dropped the system.
I am optimistic of being able to update the position soon and suggest that all areas eligible for the voucher consider NOT spending vouchers at this time, as I hope we will soon be able to offer details of a much superior, equally eligible alternative.
Full details on all stories and the latest news on my website www.trinitymatters.co.uk
Cllr Ian Thomas – Trinity Ward, East Devon District Council
Inform - Consult – Participate
Mobile: 07884 494474
Facebook : www.facebook.com/CouncillorIanThomas
Twitter : @CllrIanThomas
Peter Monday, 13 June 2016 08:42 Comment Link
Where did you find the 'Areas highlighted in Red ' page?
Not convinced about the 75/25 figure, not across the whole CDS area, but maybe as you look at smaller areas. Clearly without doing 100% some have to be missed.