Faster Broadband for Trinity available now….
Many Trinity residents, particularly around Axmouth, Dowlands, western Rousdon, Charton, Combpyne, St Marys, Yawl and Raymonds Hill, have recognised that the initial phase of Superfast Broadband by BT and Connecting Devon and Somerset, despite all the ‘vapour’ and glossy TV adverts, has simply left them increasingly disadvantaged by little or no broadband service.
Rousdon resident, Rod Boyce and I, have been banging our heads against successive brick walls, from Minster to BT since 2011. We have experienced more misrepresentation than Brexit, yet continue to battle to bring a better broadband service to Rousdon and the rest of Trinity – no more delays, diversions or empty promises!
Finally, breakthroughs are coming thick and fast…
At least part of Trinity has been included in one of the six packages of the Connecting Devon and Somerset Phase 2 broadband funding. This means that an Invitation to Tender has been distributed to potential suppliers of superfast (30Mb plus) broadband to the area not covered by the BT commercial deployment. By implication, this inclusion is confirmation that much of our area is not scheduled to have Superfast Broadband delivered under the original Phase 1, currently being completed by BT.
Phase 2 may deliver an excellent service in the future. However, years have passed since we first started our work and It is likely to be more than a year before any installations are active ‘on the ground’ here.
But what can we do now?….
Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) has established a Broadband Voucher Scheme, designed to provide short term help to those with the worst broadband service. The scheme offers a subsidy of up to £500, in the form of a voucher code, to fund the installation of a new broadband connection. Every supported connection must guarantee a minimum of 10Mb download speeds.
Applications are open until 20th November 2016, allowing time for suppliers to complete installations within the financial year of the scheme.
Check eligibility and apply online.
Homeowners, businesses and groups of home owners will need to certify that they live or work inside the Connecting Devon and Somerset programme area and that they are unable to receive download speeds greater than 2Mbps. To see full details, check if you are eligible, and get your voucher, apply here: http://www.connectingdevonandsomerset.co.uk/broadband-voucher-scheme-enquiry-form/
This offer was initially of little value to us as few possible suppliers were interested in business here. Those that were typically offered a ‘satellite’ system, which our experience suggested likely to ‘disappoint’. We have however made contact with a supplier who can deliver faster broadband to many eligible Trinity residents.
Exmoor-Tech (www.exmoor-tech.co.uk/internet) is an experienced installer which uses alternative internet connection choices to deliver faster bandwidth and greater reliability. The first live installations are now successfully active west of Rousdon, using ‘fixed’ broadband based on the same ‘4G’ you may be familiar with on your Mobile Phone. (Other options are available a free survey will suggest the best possible option for each individual property). 4G has a big advantage as the installation of your new broadband service may be ‘live’ typically within just two to three weeks. Even if you do not qualify for the voucher, the installation may still prove attractive to some by paying installation costs themselves.
Each installation will use one of the existing mobile data networks, a small specialised antenna mounted on your property to gain the best possible reception, antenna cabling and mounting brackets. A WiFi Router houses your SIM card (same as your mobile phone) and includes three network sockets.
How much will it cost?...
Exmoor-Tech will offer a ‘one-off’ installation package to each property, eligible under the CDS Voucher scheme, at a typical cost of £20-£30 (incl VAT) saving you £500 through your voucher. A free survey is available to check if a 4G system will work at your property, or suggest other possible options.
Mobile networks offer different tariffs, for example EE (best represented in Trinity with 5 masts, other potential suppliers are poorly represented with the most advanced technologies and speeds.) from £18/month for ‘light’ users needing 5Gb of data, to £34 for 50GB or £68 for 100GB of data per month for heavier users. Ofcom reported in Aug 2015 that the average UK household used 58Gb each month. Business tariffs are available for users with even greater data needs. Contracts are monthly or annually. By offering a good quality broadband service quickly, some may find this ideal until the successful supplier(s) under Connecting Devon and Somerset’s Phase 2 project have delivered a better solution here.
The key point to stress is that this is intended to offer an interim solution. Acceptance of this voucher does NOT exclude you from benefiting from a better future scheme, within Phase 2 of the main Connecting Devon and Somerset Programme, once the tender responses are evaluated.
Please Note: Whilst I believe some may find this 4G based Broadband option useful, I have no financial interest in Exmoor Tech, EE or other potential supplier, or responsibility for any arrangement residents or businesses may decide to enter into.
Any questions, please drop a note. Will respond where I can and publish on www.trinitymatters.co.uk
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
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