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Binfield Heath UK Locals Raise £60k to Help BT Install FTTC Broadband

Monday, March 18th, 2013 (2:22 pm) - Score 1,193

Residents of the isolated Binfield Heath village in Oxfordshire (England) have clubbed together to raise £60,000 in order to help cover some of BT’s costs for rolling out superfast broadband (FTTC) technology in the area, which currently suffers from internet download speeds of just 1Mbps or less.

The civil parish is home to around 650 people (2001 Census) and they all receive a service via the local telephone exchange in Caversham, which was recently upgraded to support BT’s latest up to 80Mbps capable Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) technology. Unfortunately that same fibre service doesn’t reach the village.

According to The Telegraph, BT initially said that it could upgrade the village but that this would most likely cost upwards of £100,000 and required the locals to contribute around £30,000 towards the cost. Sadly this local contribution was later revised upwards to £60,000. Happily that hasn’t stopped the effort and amazingly the total amount pledged recently hit £59,575.

Keith Pruden, Binfield Heath Fast Broadband Project, said:

The Parish Council had already decided at their meeting on Monday 25th February to issue a letter to all residents of Binfield Heath inviting them to subscribe to the broadband upgrade project. The next stage, therefore, is to convert your promised pledge into a cheque, made payable to the Clerk of the Parish Council, and sent to the Clerk before the 16th March so that the target to enter into the contract with BT by 31st March can be met.

The danger remains that if cheques fail to match the pledged indication we will have a shortfall of funding. If this occurs we will make a final appeal to those who have failed to match their pledge so that the project can proceed.”

It’s understood that around 120 homes (roughly 60% of the local households) have agreed to make pledges of between £100 and £1,500 and any excess funds will be used by the Parish Council for other future village projects. If approved locals expect to receive speeds of between 15Mbps and 50Mbps or more from the new service, which is useful because a large proportion apparently work from home.

ISPreview.co.uk separately notes that Countryside Broadband, a small local fixed wireless broadband ISP, has also recently made a pledge to expand its network coverage into Binfield Heath (here). Sadly their website isn’t terribly informative about whether or not any progress was ever made.

Leave a Comment
31 Responses
  1. Avatar Chris Conder says:

    Gosh, that same amount of money would have built a true fibre solution for them. If they now want fibre they will all have to cough up the same again for FOD, and the folk outside the village still won’t have ‘superfast’. Its just another stop gap really. I wonder if they approached gigaclear for a quote? Or perhaps there is no dark fibre near them so they are truly tied to the monopoly of openreach? Considering a cabinet is only a few thousand pounds it does seem an excessive charge to this village. If BT already own the wayleaves, ducts and poles to supply the village with copper to the old cabinet it won’t cost much to pop some fibre to the new cabinet. I hope the parish council ask for a bill of works.

    1. Avatar FibreFred says:

      “Gosh, that same amount of money would have built a true fibre solution for them.”

      Are you sure? You can say that without surveying that area or knowing anything about it?

      Since when is a FTTC cabinet only a few thousand pounds?

  2. Avatar FTTX says:

    Looks fairly straightforward to me.
    It is Aerial fed, Poles look good and suited to multifibre Aerial Trunk.
    There are some poles co-hosting Power and copper, but DPs are present and correct.

    Should be FTTP.
    No cabinets needed whatsoever.

    For the fact that there is 60% signup of pre-pay customers should make this an ideal candidate for FTTP day 1.

    As for a FTTC cabinet being expensive.. Yes. That’s the point.
    Power Hungry, expensive, maintenance requiring nonsense.

    Next 🙂

    1. Avatar NGA for all says:

      I have been quoted £8k for a 92port VDSL Cab, – excludes power, plynth, and cabling, and linking to PCP. Community on its own buying 1 seem to be sourcing for £25k ish before installing it. BT NI subsidy was c£15k a cab/path – £16m subsidy resulted in 1100 cabs/path installed, although many in greater Belfast. BT’s match is a little elusive to track apart from mentions in the press releases.

    2. Avatar NGA for all says:

      I am led to believe the £60k includes a 1km roadside dig for duct, which at £30 a metre would help to reconcile back to Iwade and Islip numbers and the bottom estimates available, just need to understand the BT contribution on a per premise basis. Unlike the county contracts these numbers are begining to standardise.

  3. Avatar NGA for all says:

    This is the Whitehall rural ransom subsidy hike, not the Parish Council, Iwade or neighbouring Islip cost of < £15k price. Unless there is no duct all the way to already upgraded exchange then I would demand itemisation and comparison with these Parish Councils. Unless this includes 1500/2000 metres of freshly dug in duct then it looks the special price for Whitehall.

  4. Avatar FibreFred says:

    So if you are all saying they could get Fttp for 60k why didn’t they go out and get that instead ?

  5. Avatar FTTX says:

    Personally I’m saying that BT could deliver FTTP to 120 Homes quite comfortably, VERY comfortably if they had up front contributions of 60k and 60% day 1 signup.

    The reason they wont get FTTP…..
    You tell me 😉

    1. Avatar FibreFred says:

      No I’m saying not BT someone like gigaclear

    2. Avatar Fastman says:

      the 120 relates to the contributors of the funding
      the actual premises covered in much higher
      once the Cabs are enabled all premises covered (whether contributed or not) will get access to the Service)
      so more premises that you thought and some with extended distance from the cabs

    3. Avatar New_Londoner says:

      According to the parish website, there are approx 320 properties in the village. Difficult to envisage FTTP for all those premises at less than £200 each, whereas they’ll each at least have the option to upgrade if any decide FTTC does not meet their needs in the future.

    4. Avatar FibreFred says:

      £200 for FTTP, more people with dodgy calculators by the looks of it.

  6. Avatar G1h says:

    I’ve seen the following figures on the web:
    A standard FTTC cabinet around £30K….
    BUT for cabinets located at the extremes of the exchange area (as this seems to be) the cost is much higher. Once you include all the general aggro encountered en-route plus the killers of blocked/full ducts, other utilities in the way, wayleaves built over etc etc then the price does approach £100K.

    1. Avatar NGA for all says:

      G1h – can give the location and itemise the £100k somewhere on the web? Openreach on BBC R4 on DEC 13th said all rural Cabs typically cost £100k each and layer 2 switching costs ‘millions’ at each exchange, so I am interested in your breakdown. I think this is price in the last 5% but not to get to 95%. I am struggling to reconcile the quotes I have with your views and indeed this interview which sounds misleading on all counts – Layer 2 switching is cheap, and typically handover over points may be in only 1 in 5 ot 6 exchanges. Happy to be wrong but need to prove it.

    2. Avatar NGA for all says:

      Thinkbroadband identify 2 cabs, £30k each. We still need itemisation to reconcile to ISLIP and Iwade both under £15k. I would like to see your itemisation.

    3. Avatar New_Londoner says:

      Do either the Iwade or Islip costs cover the whole project, or are both simply the contribution from the respective communities?

    4. Avatar NGA for all says:

      @new_Londoner IWADE was simple extension of 1 cab to existing build (Openreach invoice available off parish website), no evidence that BT made a direct contribution, but did look like adding the components and a wee margin – local decision making I am asserting but cannot prove. ISLIP looked very similar but a longer run from the exchange.
      These £30k quotes were first publicly used in Cumbria, Rory Stewart MP refenced 3 in his evidence to House of Lords, but these came with BT Group, involvment and the expectation of state aid and the need for match.

  7. Avatar Fastman says:

    NGA for all — this cab you were quoted for how you going to connect it and to what – – Curious about this – Community on its own buying 1 – i hope they have checked that they can connect it to something or an operator – islip and Iwade have not purchased theirs and do not owne theirs – they have held bridge the gap for the infrastructure costs only –

    1. Avatar NGA for all says:

      So what did BT contribute? a £150 a premise? where do we locate the gap? Why would they contribute more than their commercial rollout, which from the Q2 statements are 18 months ahead and comfortably under the £2.5bn. The composition of that number into capitalised labour, depreciation, kit etc will be good to analyse when it appears.

      Costing for cab, was benchmarking for innards of cab, clearly you add plynth, power and SLU components. The layer 2 switches also look cheap, cannot find Openreach millions per exchange as stated on Dec 13th/16th.

  8. Avatar FTTX says:

    @ FibreFred –
    You can deploy passive pretty cost effectively nowadays. Especially if you have an infrastructure route.

    The awkward bit is getting to the area with fibre.
    You have to do that anyway for FTTC, so why waste time?

    If we take out the costs of the Duct/pole rental, I am pretty sure I can get close to your £200.

    (and save 320 x £500+ for FoD)

    1. Avatar FibreFred says:

      So why hasn’t someone else (not BT) done it then?

  9. Avatar FTTX says:

    ‘So why hasn’t someone else (not BT) done it then?’

    * In the UK, BT’s poles/ducts PIA makes it near impossible for anyone else.

    The big question is ‘why has BT not done it’?
    – I think we all know why and it is OK.. they are a business.
    – BUT, if everyone’s money is funding it then everyone should be free to comment.

    On a positive note
    – Saw a UK FTTP Speedtest today. 940Mb UL / 940Mb DL
    So, some are doing it.

    1. Avatar FibreFred says:

      Gigaclear don’t use BT ducts/poles, neither do Virgin

      I dunno, £200 sounds pretty cheap to get fibre to someone’s property

    2. Avatar keith says:

      “Gigaclear don’t use BT ducts/poles, neither do Virgin”

      Complete cow poop spewed from you again. Just for starters this product from Virgin uses BT ducts, poles and exchanges…

      Amazing you continually question people on comments when its clear you have no clue at all when it comes to any statements you make.

    3. Avatar Gadget says:

      I suggest we differentiate between a product delivered over a network the CP owns and runs and a product (like the one you have referenced) which is delivered using someone else’s product and network but sold under their own banner

    4. Avatar FibreFred says:

      Just ignore him Gadget

  10. Avatar FTTX says:

    The cost of fibre cable is low, much lower than copper.
    Very few people will look at Copper now for new builds.

    How you deploy the fibre is going to be the driver into how expensive it is. Possibly BT are not using the simplest & most cost effective methods. Very high end, yes. Very engineer heavy.

    VM is all duct & they have already done the FTTC thing.

    Gigaclear will be way up on £200 I am sure, but they are delivering an U/G Point-2-Point network with Gb day 1. With No infrastructure to overlay.

    1. Avatar FibreFred says:

      With FOD it makes more sense to bring fibre to each pole on that street once the first customer signs up, but whether they’ll do that and how you work out how that is paid for I don’t know.

      You can’t sting the first customer for it all but then you might not get other sign ups for 5-10yrs if they already have FTTC

  11. Avatar RD says:

    More morons funding a rollout which should be Bt’s job or someone else who can.what message does it send when fjitsu have pulled out of contact tender and BT are telling people to stump up thier own money for cabinets?

    What not just say no? No to BT and thier demands and if the area wont get superfast then simply hand the contract to fjitsu? Instead BT are playing roughball with the whole UK and are milking it dry.

    £60,000 when BT rake in millions per quarter.How is that fair?

  12. Avatar Bob says:

    £60,000 sounds very excessive to serve 650 homes from what appear to be one cabinet. I would have thought it would be pretty much commercially viable particularly as there appears to be a high demand. I would have thought at most you would be looking at £10K

    1. Avatar Gadget says:

      Actually the TBB site (http://www.thinkbroadband.com/news/5755-another-oxfordshire-villages-gives-up-waiting-for-county-council.html#news_comments) thread identifies them as secondary cabinets (aka Pillars) so then we’d be talking about a 4 cab job (2 upgrades from pillars to cabs and 2 new FTTC cabs).

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