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Call Flow On-Target to Complete Pilot Broadband Network in Hampshire

Monday, February 15th, 2016 (8:08 am) - Score 670
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Call Flow Solutions looks set to complete the expanded roll-out of their Government supported “superfast” (30Mbps+) hybrid fibre optic and wireless broadband network in rural Hampshire (England) by March 2016 as planned, with Monkwood, Beauworth, Privett and Preshaw nearly all about to go live.

The project, which was one of several Broadband Delivery UK pilots, is supported by £1,258,560 of state aid and aims to benefit around 1,610+ premises in the rural communities of Bramdean, Brockwood, Ropley, West Tisted, Gundleton, Bighton, Monkwood, Beauworth, Privett and Preshaw. Some communities, such as Privett, were part of an expansion that was announced last year.

Overall approximately 11.5% of the premises are being covered by a Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) network, while 27.5% will benefit from Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) and 61% from a Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) based Sub-Loop Unbundled solution. Around 300 of the above premises were previously stuck on the dreaded Exchange Only Lines (EOL).

Andy Conibere, Call Flow’s Managing Director, said (here):

Over the last year we have designed and implemented a bespoke internet network that is now delivering superfast broadband to the areas of Bramdean, Ropley, Gundleton and Bighton. Being able to bring superfast broadband to the residents in rural villages with the lowest broadband speeds is something we have been doing for over five years.”

Further details on the deployment can be found in this BDUK Feasibility update from December 2015, although the Government has already deemed Call Flow’s project and related pilots to have been largely successful (here).

The focus will now start turning towards the question of how much support such networks are likely to receive for a future expansion into more areas, which could in part depend upon the Government’s forthcoming EU state aid agreement (here) and possibly also the scope of their proposed Broadband Investment Fund (here).

Not to mention that local authorities, many of which tend to be quite risk averse and thus prefer BT-based projects for their financial security, may also have some influence. However there are some areas where even BT can struggle to reach, particularly when faced with limited state aid support and a restrictive time-scale (e.g. Devon and Somerset).

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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7 Responses
  1. Avatar Patrick Cosgrove

    That’s an average unit cost if £782 per premises – pretty good.

  2. Avatar fastman

    £782 per premises – pretty good ?. for no choice of provider and no choice ever !!!!! will be interesting to see what the long term view of this is as its ASL product

    • Avatar Patrick Cosgrove

      Why no choice? That’s they had before as BT wouldn’t touch the area. I’d have jumped at it if I lived there. I wish it was where I live because BT won’t touch here either (probably a blessing in the long term).

    • Avatar New_Londoner

      @Patrick
      When you say BT won’t touch your area, do you mean that BDUK funds won’t cover deployment to you on a value for money basis? At both 90% and 95% coverage of the county? Of course you still might benefit from gainshare if take up is high. If not, I presume you’ve chosen to live in a pretty rural location, may have to consider making a financial contribution yourself if fast broadband is important to you.

      And to preempt any comments from others saying he’s already paid through taxes but hasn’t benefitted, why should he pay twice, I live in an urban area so haven’t benefitted from BDUK either – just like around 70% of the population covered by commercial deployments. In my view it is good to see value for money limits in the BDUK contracts, something the public sector should adopt more widely.

    • Avatar Patrick Cosgrove

      Dear New Londoner, yes, I do mean that. It’s a community of about 100 houses three miles up an easy river valley from the nearest green cabinet. I’m in Shropshire where there’s still about £11m Phase 3 money unspent, plus £2.3m clawback. I’m hoping that those funds, plus the ERDF money reported in the article next to this will prove sufficient to do the job. Certainly, I’d make a financial contribution, although I’m not sure that all my neighbours would/could. Many would.

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