Latest News From Stratford Council Rural Broadband Project

Bringing faster broadband to our rural areas

Project Update September 2015

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221 cabinets live to date

Over 42,000 properties able to connect to the fibre network

Topics in this edition:

Latest map available on our website

So, what happens when your cabinet has been upgraded?

Which? advice to save money on your broadband deal

Solution in sight for premises achieving less than 2Mbps

URGENT Business Broadband Connection Vouchers – about to end?

Copy for your own website or newsletter

Rural crime update

Questions and Answers


Latest map available on our website

Our latest map is now available on our website. This has been changed to reflect areas that have now gone live with superfast broadband, and, as we get towards the end of Contract 1, the pink areas (work in progress) are rapidly changing to green:


Some areas are still marked as purple. This is because they are included in Contract 1, but are more difficult to reach and may require different technologies than the standard Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) that has been employed thus far.  As soon as we have more information about what is happening in the purple areas, we will let people know. However in some cases it may be that we do not know until after the service has gone live which properties will actually benefit. The best thing is to register your details with us so that we can match you to physical infrastructure and then once your area has gone live we can email you directly. To register go to:


So, what happens when your cabinet has been upgraded?

That is entirely up to you. We are installing a wholesale network, which means that once your cabinet has gone live any Internet Service Provider (ISP) can offer you high speed broadband (subject to availability) and there are a wide range of packages available. Do check though that you are able to actually achieve the speeds that are advertised as the geographic issues mentioned on our website will apply in all cases.


To check which cabinet you are connected to and what speeds you might achieve visit . For the best results you will need to be able to enter a BT landline number for your property. If you do not have this then you can use your address, but it may be less accurate. Do not use the postcode checker as that covers too wide an area to be of any use. It should be noted that you are not restricted to buying a service from BT and that you can go to any Internet Service Provider (ISP). For impartial advice about ISPs visit:


There are also a number of comparison websites, although you should bear in mind that these take a commission for all packages ordered through their site and therefore may not list every available ISP. It is best to try a few comparison sites before buying as they may offer different deals. Some of the more popular comparison sites include:


It should be noted that there are a number of issues that can impact on the speeds that you can achieve. The key factor is the distance from the cabinet. The final part of the delivery uses the existing copper cabling, and broadband speeds degrade quickly over copper. Therefore, the closer to the cabinet you are the faster speeds you will achieve.


We have some useful self-help guides on our website:


In some areas people have been advised that there is an issue with the condition of the existing copper telephone lines. As most of these were installed many years ago and were not intended for data transmission this is hardly surprising. If this applies to you then the matter should be taken up with your telecoms provider.


Sometimes people will find that when the new fibre cabinet is installed their existing copper broadband connection may deteriorate, even though they haven’t done anything. When the new fibre cabinet is installed, the fibre spine brings superfast broadband to that cabinet. However, the copper lines connected to the existing cabinet are still used for the “last mile” between the old cabinet and the premise. Unfortunately, copper connections are very susceptible to electromagnetic interference, this is known as crosstalk. This particularly occurs when copper lines are in close proximity to each other, for instance in the multicore cables connecting a group of premises to the original copper cabinet.


When a cabinet is upgraded to fibre, the change in modulation introduced by the new technology may create more crosstalk and this can occasionally result in a slow-down in copper broadband connections. BT are trialling solutions to this problem for lines connected to the new technology, and this solution may also improve existing connections. We hope to see this implemented in our area in the future. If you are interested in the technical side of this, you may be interested in this article:


Which? advice to save money on your broadband deal

The consumer organisation, Which?, campaigns on a wide range of topics – including broadband. They have published a great guide on how to get a better deal, from your existing provider. The article includes links to impartial analysis of various broadband deals – and gives a script to use when talking to your existing provider. Check it out:


Solution in sight for premises achieving less than 2Mbps

There has been much speculation in the press recently about how BT will fulfill the Universal Service Obligation of a minumum of 2Mbps to all premises. It is not even clear from the various articles whether they are referring to the final 2% or the final 5%, and we are still awaiting details, but it looks likely that vouchers will be provided to offer satellite connections to eligible premises. The vouchers are likely to cover installation costs, but not the ongoing monthly charges.


There are issues with satellite, not least latency (the delay between executing a command on the computer and the signal reaching its destination) which makes it less suitable for gaming and other highly responsive activities. The charges are also less competitive than for fibre broadband. However, for those languishing  on connections which, in some cases, we know to be less than .01Mb, this may be a welcome stop-gap solution.


As soon as we have more details we will let you know through the usual channels.


Business Broadband Connection Vouchers – about to end?

If you are a business or fully constituted 3rd sector organisation and have not yet applied for the £3,000 voucher to upgrade your existing broadband service to superfast speeds, then do not delay any longer! We understand that the scheme has been very successful – so much so that the money may be about to run out. To find out more about the scheme go to:


Copy for your own website or newsletter

We regularly produce updates of around 350 words that can be used on your own website or in newsletters. There are a selection of articles available for download and you can select the most appropriate depending on where your particular area is in the rollout pipeline. Copy can be found at:


Rural crime update

Warwickshire County Council’s Rural Watch Project gives information and advice about crime in the rural areas. The team are currently organising community events in a number of villages to do free property marking. Details of the events will appear on the project website 

Questions and Answers

These are some of the Q&As raised at our local briefing events. Our newly revamped website will have an updated set of Q&As. More details in the September newsletter


Why isn’t broadband delivery a requirement for developers?

This is down to the National Planning Policy Framework, which does not require broadband infrastructure on new developments. We are working with our Local Planning Authorities to put a requirement into the Local Plans and Local Infrastructure Plans. We are also briefing local MPs on the need for action to prevent the creation of a new digital divide – whereby existing properties will be connected through this project but new properties will not.


For anyone thinking of buying a new house the advice is to not just assume that broadband is available but if this is important to you to check before buying.


Do you have timescales for when C2 Part 1 areas will be upgraded? 

Not yet.  We hope to publish details of the first Phases of Contract 2, Part 1 later this year.


What technologies will be used in C2 Part 1? 

The contract has deliberately been written to be technology agnostic. This is because the pace of change is accelerating and we want to be able to take advantage of new advances as they become available. The most appropriate available technology will be chosen for each location.


Why can’t you provide interim solutions for those who will have to wait a long time for their area to be upgraded? 

BDUK has given an undertaking that all premises will be able to access broadband of at least 2Mbps from 2016. It is likely that this will take the form of a voucher for a satellite connection. Details are still being agreed between BT and BDUK and we are awaiting more information on this scheme.


Can we tap into a private line? 

No. A private line is just that. Businesses can purchased a high-speed leased line. They will pay several thousand pounds for installation and a high usage charge. These lines run on a different network and are therefore not available for use by communities or individuals.


Does BT look at the existing infrastructure that is being used, or may have been used in the past, by private suppliers? 

BT will only use their own infrastructure, or that which is installed to their specification by developers. It’s a bit like highways who will only adopt roads that have been newly constructed to a set specification.


Is the modelling for the CSW Broadband Project and the commercial rollout available publically? 

No. The modelling will include information that is owned by BT and is commercially sensitive so that whilst the rollout areas are visible the underlying data is not.


More frequently asked broadband questions can be found on our website at:


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Categories: Broadband