Home
 » ISP News » 

UPDATE Uncertainty Looms Over FTTH Aylesbury Vale Broadband Rollout

Saturday, November 11th, 2017 (12:01 am) - Score 1,611
aylesbury vale broadband ftth rollout bucks

The Aylesbury Vale Broadband project, which is deploying a “full fibre” (FTTH/P) broadband network to a number of rural Buckinghamshire (England, UK) villages, is currently said to be “considering expressions of interest” from potential buyers and this week also saw the operator’s MD depart.

At present AVB’s rollout is being supported by around £700,000 in the form of a publicly funded commercial loan from the Aylesbury Vale District Council (95% shareholder), which has so far enabled the 300Mbps capable network to reach roughly 2,000 premises with their Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP/H) technology.

Sadly the AVB website hasn’t posted any updates on its deployment progress since January 2017, when the operator said that “over the next nine months AVB [will] spread its wings and we’ve rapidly grown – we’re now live (or about to be live) in six villages with another four villages slated for the first quarter of 2017. We have deployed approximately 100 KM’s of ducting across public and private land.”

So far the network appears to have reached Hoggeston, Granborough, North Marston and Swanbourne. Meanwhile a post made in March 2017 on their Facebook Page stated that AVB had “started the work extending our ultrafast fibre broadband network to Soulbury and Stewkley in rural Buckinghamshire (on the way to Drayton Parslow).”

Since then silence has been the order of the day, although there was a brief spat with rival operator Gigaclear (here) and some criticism of AVB’s financial situation from one of the local Liberal Democrat Councillors, Llew Monger (here). In May 2017 the Oving Parish Council also expressed their disappointment with AVB’s progress (here), although such delays are not uncommon with complex FTTP deployments.

Back in September we queried the project’s progress with AVB’s former Managing Director, Andrew Mills, who informed ISPreview.co.uk that they were continuing with their “rapid growth” and had decided to focus on tackling a “huge backlog of people waiting to be connected.” Andrew added that AVB regularly received expressions of interest from people wanting to replicate their efforts, as well as those seeking to invest or acquire them.

More recently a number of community forums for the Aylesbury Vale area have started to post complaints (examples here and here), which is notable because AVB’s network is still very small. Some examples from this month can be found below (names removed as those are personal details, but you can track on the FB pages).

AVB Complainant 1:

“Can someone from avb please let all of us customers know what is happening … there is no support for all the people on the service. Mine is currently working since we had help from an outside source but if it goes wrong again we have no contact at all. I know of several people in North Marston who cannot work from home due to the broadband dropping out.”

AVB Complainant 2:

“AVB totally useless took our deposits a year ago on the promise they would supply us by March. Nothing we are with Rapid rural now . I have asked out of principal for my deposit back from AVB and they have not replied.”

AVB Complainant 3:

“We paid our deposit in good faith, but it doesn’t seem like they are going to supply it and my requests for a refund have been ignored.”

AVB Complainant 4:

“Terrible experience, always chasing, left mess everywhere in my house big holes in wall, bad attitude when asking for advice and now no support even when there was support you couldn’t get hold of anyone. Wish I never instructed them”

Despite this it’s important to note that many others are continuing to receive a good connection and have nothing but praise for AVB, although it’s clear that there may be some on-going capacity or “technical” issues in certain areas and doubts are starting to accumulate about the project’s future.

More recently an article appeared in the Bucks Herald (only available in print), which confirmed that Andrew Mills had left AVB and included a useful statement from the local authority.

Cllr Janet Blake, Cabinet Member for Business Transformation, said:

“AVDC is currently exploring expressions of interest in Aylesbury Vale Broadband and, for that reason, is unable to discuss any sensitive matters relating to the company. In the meantime, we continue to prioritise our customers and are currently working to resolve a temporary technical issue which is affecting some subscribers.

We apologise to those customers for any inconvenience but, apart from that, it’s business as usual. AVDC is proud to have been instrumental in bringing ultra-fast fibre broadband to a number of villages in the Vale and is now considering the best option for continuing that good work.”

A quick check of AVB’s company records (here) shows that Andrew resigned from his position on 8th November. We understand that Andrew has spent a huge amount of time working on AVB and is now enjoying his first holiday in two years. The remaining Directors of AVB are Janet Blake, Teresa Lane, Tracey Aldworth and Simon Eggleton (all work in the local government / council).

As ever the lack of information from AVDC concerning AVB’s future plans / status merely serves to create a fertile breeding ground for speculation, although aside from the technical issues the local authority remains adamant that AVB is not in danger. We’ve been told that a press release may soon be published to help clarify the situation.

Finally, we understand from one of those involved that an important announcement could be made within the next couple of weeks or more (possible sale?). We’ll keep our eyes peeled.

UPDATE 13th Nov – 7:11am

We understand that AVB started work to correct the current network issues on Friday and this has been on-going over the weekend. We should also point out that Andrew Mills remains a shareholder in AVB and, despite no longer being the company’s Managing Director, has been assisting with the fix work.

Delicious
Add to Diigo
Mark Jackson

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he is also the founder of ISPreview since 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.

Leave a Comment
20 Responses
  1. Tim

    Lets hope they don’t go tit’s up like the Selling village fibre network!

  2. Steve Jones

    I’m puzzled where Fairford Leys comes into it (complainant 2). It’s not rural. It’s a modern high-density housing estate on the western outskirts of Aylesbury (although it’s officially, and perhaps artfully called a village). It’s got both VM and BT FTTC (commercial) and the role of a local authority supported outfit like AVB would be odd, even if it might not strictly count as state support as it’s a “commercial loan”.

    • No that one is my mistake, pasted wrong one when it should of been a reply to another gripe.

    • Steve Jones

      Having trawled through some posts there appears to be a claim by some that VM provides the backhaul for AVB (I don’t know if that’s verified) and that the bad experiences on the VM network in Fairford Leys might be related to poor performance on the AVB network.

      I any event, the whole AVB saga looks a bit murky, but then it always did look rather odd.

    • I believe that VMB do provide backhaul for some of AVB’s network (not sure if that’s true for every area), which some people point towards as being part of the problem (limited capacity?). However I avoided being specific about that in the article because it’s not something that I’ve been able to get any official clarification on.

    • Carl T

      The performance of the broadband network in that area is irrelevant to the performance of the backhaul AVB are using. It’s like comparing FTTC with a leased line, they go to different places via different fibres.

    • Carl T

      I don’t know what these guys are paying for but they’ve a VLAN on a 10GE port to a router at VM’s Northampton site.

  3. brian

    Wow, yet another Mom and Pop operation that looked at OR and thought that it can’t be that hard ends up on their behind.

    Wonder how many more need to go pop before people start to realise network provision is actually quite hard.

    • Tim

      Not sure anyone say’s it’s ever going to be easy. Thing is sometimes when BT refuse to deliver there is little choice.

    • New_Londoner

      @Tim
      In this case I’m pretty sure that the council diverted money from the planned BDUK deployment into its own operation (the council owns95% of the company).

      There seems to be scope for a lot of conflicts of interest, with councillors acting as directors, for example I believe that the Councillor quoted above also sits on the AVB board. Also IIRC correspondence posted on here previously appeared to show the company suggesting it collide with Gigaclear about coverage, which would breach the Competition Act.

      This all shows why councils shouldn’t try to operate in the private sector, and why care needs to be taken to avoid apparent conflicts of interest.

    • Tim

      In which case let’s hope that those involved from the Council are removed from the Council and do not benefit financially when Aylesbury Vale Broadband go into administration.

      I hope that a successful FTTH company will take on the network, continue roll out and fix what is wrong after hopefully a not to long winded administration process…

    • New_Londoner

      @Tim
      I’m not aware that the directors from the council have benefited financially from Aylesbury Vale Broadband, and very much doubt that they’ll do so if it does go into administration either. However the company has received loans from the council which may now be at risk, which of course would be to the detriment of all council tax payers in the district.

  4. Fastman

    Not sure anyone say’s it’s ever going to be easy. Thing is sometimes when BT refuse to deliver there is little choice. — don’t this was ever in scope and was never in the intervention area for BDUk — think build was funded by section 106 funding — will leave others to coooment on the but cost of doing FTTC in north martston would have been small and well within the BDUUK value for money criteria but it was never in scope as far as I understand

    • Carl T

      Hopefully it’ll be picked up as a going concern and these guys can continue to skip FTTC, both variants, and stay straight at the endgame.

  5. Taxpayer

    Sounds like land-owners who gave access to AVB to run fibre across their land free-of-charge, on the basis it was a Community Interest Company may have second thoughts if it’s sold to a commercial venture… It’ll be interesting to find out eventually how much taxpayer money has been wasted on this vanity project.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

IMPORTANT: Javascript must be enabled to post (most browsers do this automatically). On mobile devices you may need to load the page in 'Desktop' mode to comment.


Comments RSS Feed

* Your comment might NOT appear immediately (the site cache re-syncs periodically) *
* Comments that break our rules, spam, troll or post via fake IP/proxy servers may be blocked *
Promotion
Cheapest Superfast ISPs
  • Hyperoptic £16.00 (*22.00)
    Up to 30Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Vodafone £20.00 (*25.00)
    Up to 38Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Plusnet £22.99 (*33.98)
    Up to 38Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Origin Broadband £23.61 (*31.58)
    Up to 38Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • First Utility £24.99 (*31.99)
    Up to 38Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
Prices inc. Line Rental | View All
Poll
*Javascript must be ON to vote*
The Top 20 Category Tags
  1. BT (2012)
  2. Broadband Delivery UK (1361)
  3. FTTP (1346)
  4. FTTC (1291)
  5. Openreach (1020)
  6. Politics (1009)
  7. Business (914)
  8. Statistics (808)
  9. Fibre Optic (776)
  10. Mobile Broadband (733)
  11. Wireless Internet (678)
  12. Ofcom Regulation (673)
  13. 4G (617)
  14. Virgin Media (612)
  15. FTTH (573)
  16. Sky Broadband (474)
  17. TalkTalk (451)
  18. EE (396)
  19. Security (323)
  20. 3G (288)
New Forum Topics
Helpful ISP Guides and Tips
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
Promotion

Copyright © 1999 to Present - ISPreview.co.uk - All Rights Reserved - Terms  ,  Privacy and Cookie Policy  ,  Links  ,  Website Rules