Is your broadband so slow it is quicker to use carrier pigeon for those important messages? Do you get fed up of that little circle going round and round when trying to stream that programme you missed? Are ‘snail’s pace’ broadband speeds holding back your business? Well maybe there is hope for an improvement with the government’s commitment to rollout Superfast broadband across all the country by 2017 (Ofcom defines this as speeds greater than 24Mbps).

Check out this video for reasons why you should go for superfast broadband:

£10m to fund alternate technology remote rural broadband

farmer and dog with rural broadbandA £10m government fund, that will open on the 17th March 2014 aims to help bring faster broadband to Britain’s most isolated rural areas. The money will fund alternative technology providers who come up with innovative ideas to take superfast broadband to the most remote communities. Potential technologies that could be piloted under the new fund for remote areas include:

  • Using 4G mobile signal to deliver ‘fixed wireless’ superfast broadband’.
  • Using fibre direct to premises.
  • Taking fibre from broadband cabinets to a distribution point further down the network, increasing speeds by reducing the reliance on copper.
  • Satellite technology.

Proposals will be assessed on the basis of criteria such as the quality and prospect of solutions being able to scale up and connect the final 5% most difficult to reach communities. More details here. [28/1/14].

Slides from Tove Valley Broadband evening

Abthorpe Broadband Association Limited (ABA)  a not-for-profit limited by guarantee         company, has been delivering broadband to the communities of Abthorpe and Slapton for the last ten years. Because there was no immediate plans to provide fast broadband into their area, they decided to make that step up and provide it themselves. So Tove Valley Broadband opened for business on 31st May and supplies WiFi broadband to the villages of Abthorpe, Slapton, Wappenham, Lois Weedon and Weston. As of Friday 4th October, they have 190 people signed up and 165 properties installed.

They recently held an information evening for other villages in the county who might be interested in setting up a group to obtain superfast broadband and the slides from the evening can be downloaded here along with the associated notes here.

BT selected as preferred supplier

Telecommunications firm BT has been chosen by Northamptonshire County Council as the preferred supplier to deliver superfast broadband infrastructure across the county. The county council plans to work with BT and local stakeholders to secure further gap funding in support of its ultimate ambition to achieve full Next Generation Access coverage by the end of 2017 which can support even higher access line speeds of 30Mbps and above. 

The Council still wants your signature on their E-Petition. Add your support for the rollout of broadband in your area by adding your name and postcode to the petition. This will help the Council to demonstrate demand to potential investors.

SO WHAT IS SUPERFAST BROADBAND? ofcom superfast broadband

£363 million to ‘take broadband to all’ in England and Scotland

By 2015 the government’s aim is to have super fast broadband, with minimum speeds of 24Mbps, available to over 90% of the country and the remaining 10% (the hard to reach ‘white’ areas) to have a standard 2Mbps as the minimum level of service.  But in many rural communities it is not always economically viable for telecom providers to install the required technology (i.e. they won’t make sufficient money for the input required). Therefore to encourage and stimulate commercial investment in rolling out high speed broadband in rural communities, the government is investing £530m into the UK’s broadband network.  Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) has been set up to allocate £363m of the money to local authorities to help in the rollout of superfast broadband to their more remote areas.

To receive funding, local authorities had to produce a Local Broadband Plan to show how they intend to rollout superfast broadband across their county. Northamptonshire County Council was one of the first to produce their plan and have been allocated £4,080,000 by BDUK, with the Council earmarking the same amount. Find out more on the NCC Superfastnorthamptonshire site.

Rural Community Broadband Fund

Not all rural communities in the 10% hard to reach areas want to wait till 2017, so £20m has been allocated to a Rural Community Broadband fund (RCBF), to help engage those proactive communities that want to increase their broadband connection. The RCBF is delivered as part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) and is jointly funded by Defra and BDUK.  It provides grants to communities to establish superfast broadband in the 10% hard to reach areas. In Northants, this area is identified in NCC’s Local Broadband Plan. Two Expressions of Interest (EoI) for the fund have been held in 2012 and the successful communities in Northants who have applied to either round are shown below.

Northants communities RCBF bids – Latest status

  •  Tove Valley  DEFRA confirmed Tove Valley was the first bid in England to submit a full application (July 2012), which is a fantastic achievement. They are waiting to hear a final decision in November/ December. For more information on the Tove Valley bid please click here.
  • Warmington and Lutton –  Expect to hear a final decision in November/ December. Check their websites out: Warmington, Lutton.
  • Rockingham Exchange upgrade – Full application submitted September 2012. Expect to hear a final decision in November/ December.
  • Welford/ South Kilworth – Survey carried out by local residents formed the basis of the bid. Full application submitted December 2012.
  • Charlton; Kings Sutton and NewbottleForecast full application date March 2013.
  • Cottesbrooke Project to provide a solution for Cottesbrooke estates. Solution will be community led and provide superfast broadband for a small number of properties. Forecast full application date June 2013.

Useful Links

For further information on Superfast broadband the following links may be of interest to you:

Rural Community Broadband Fund (RCBF)

Superfast Northamptonshire Newsletter 7 – added January 2013

Superfast Northamptonshire Newsletter 6 – added October 2012.

Superfastnorthamptonshire – includes Andre’s Blog

BT postcode checker – find out the current status of the exchanges near you and whether they are being upgraded as part of BT’s national programme.

Britain’s Superfast broadband future sets out the government’s aims and strategy for the rapid rollout of Superfast broadband across the country.

National ACRE – Policy Position Paper

Broadband Delivery UK – a unit within the Dept. of Culture, Media and Sport

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