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Wandsworth First in London to Get 50% of Social Housing on FTTH

Friday, October 26th, 2018 (8:21 am) - Score 1,494
community fibre engineer installation

The UK Government’s Minister for Digital, Margot James MP, has praised ISP Community Fibre for having successfully made their 1000Mbps capable Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) broadband network available to 50% of social housing in the London borough of Wandsworth (the first of the city’s boroughs to do so).

At the start of this year Community Fibre confirmed that they had already completed deployment to 10,000 council homes in the borough (here), which still left another 25,000 to go before completion (35,000 total). Sadly today’s update doesn’t include an updated figure but we assume they’ve made some progress since January 2018.

The provider’s work around London, which tends to focus its energy on doing deals with local authorities in urban areas to serve large social housing estates, is being supported by an investment pot of £40 million (example). This money has primarily come from Railpen and Amber Infrastructure (Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund).

We should point out that CF’s deployment is done at no cost to either the council or the resident (except for the service rental of course).

Margot James, Minister for Digital, said:

“We recently announced our ambition for a nationwide full fibre broadband network as part of our plans to build a Britain that’s fit for the future. Partnerships, like the one between Wandsworth Council and Community Fibre, will be instrumental in delivering this, and we want to see more boroughs working with network operators to make sure residents get the connectivity they need for the future, as soon as possible.”

Jeremy Chelot, CEO of Community Fibre, added:

“The residents of Wandsworth are now some of the best connected people in the country, with access to the fastest speeds in the UK. We believe in providing better internet for everyone, and this milestone is a significant first step in our commitment to eliminating the growing issue of digital poverty – where a large proportion of UK consumers have access to some of the slowest broadband speeds in Europe.”

We would like to thank the Government for the work it has been doing to encourage full-fibre roll out. We’d also like to extend our gratitude to Wandsworth Council for being game-changers in their collaborative approach to working with network providers like us, which is instrumental in helping to accelerate London toward the future.”

Having been raised in social housing myself, I have seen first-hand the impact the internet can have in improving lives and opportunities. Our vision for the future is one of a 100% full-fibre Britain, and we are doing everything we can to make that a reality.”

Community Fibre currently expects to have extended their Gigabit capable FTTH/P broadband network to around 50,000+ homes in London by the end of 2018 and in total they’re already contracted to build 180,000 premises. Over the medium-term the operator is also targeting a total coverage of 500,000 premises by 2022 and on top of that they’ve hinted at an aspiration to reach 1 million by around 2025 (here).

At present the fastest package available to residents is a symmetrical 1Gbps connection but in the future they plan to offer a 10Gbps service.

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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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19 Responses
  1. Avatar Meadmodj

    True FTTH with £20/month for 40 Mbps symmetrical in urban MDC with faster options for the few. Whatever they are doing it appears good. Other providers please take note.

  2. Avatar Name

    Stop paying bills, get evicted, get social flat or house with cheap symmetric FTTH.

    • Avatar brian

      Wouldn’t having to pay for the “cheap symmetric FTTH” still mean “paying bills”?

    • Avatar Name

      @brian: It means get access to FTTH and pay less for everything.

    • Avatar Spurple

      I’m sure you’d have a hard time getting a broadband contract if you had poor credit, which is what happens if you stop paying bills.

      What you meant to say perhaps was : lose your job or otherwise suffer a significant cut to your income, wait undlessly, eventually get allocated a council abode…

    • Avatar brian

      “@brian: It means get access to FTTH and pay less for everything.”

      Really, so now everyone in the country that has FTTH pays less for everything.

      It is clear once again your thought process is flawed, perhaps a week without Daily Mail will help your flawed logic and opinions.

  3. Avatar A_Builder

    The more FTTP that there is the easier it is to build it out from the backbone.

    If the hook is to get to high density locations where there is a single freeholder who can also do the wayleaves then the whole thing makes obvious sense.

    The interesting bit will be to see what extra coverage bolt ons can be achieved in neighbouring business areas.

    Bear in mind that a lot of these tower blocks suffered from poor DSL speeds as the cable runs were long and old. So 80/20 was never really going to happen and forget Gfast as it would never get from the basement to the top floor.

    So on the very positive side these are some less homes that need to be fibred up in the future. It all adds up.

    • Avatar Rahul

      Yes, that’s exactly the problem with tower blocks suffering poor DSL. I mentioned this before couple of months ago. This is why FTTP is essential to sort out this problem. Especially as there’s also noise margin issues that can also come on top of the speed issues. Low noise margin= risk of connection drop-outs causing the speed to once again re-sync to a lower speed.

      80/20 is absolutely not going to happen with FTTC on a high rise building 20+ floor for example (unless cabinet is installed in basement of the building). In the first few floors it may be possible, but then again it would really depend on the distance of the cabinet to the building.

      BT Openreach completely disregard this problem and don’t take any re-considerations of this distance issue. For example my building hasn’t got FTTC yet. BT OR plan to install a new cabinet in Hanbury Street which they have yet to do so (was meant to happen by today’s date) according to roadworks. They’ll probably delay it once again. It is 0.4 miles from my tower block+additional meters travelling. That means even if I get FTTC eventually after 10 years of waiting I know I’ll be very lucky to even get 30Mbps. But as we can clearly see BT OR have little respect for their customers. Even after waiting for a decade they still decide to install a cabinet that is not close enough to the tower block to give decent speeds.

      As many have said before it will only be a matter of time when Altnet providers provide their FTTP services once wayleave issues get sorted. And BT Openreach will go bust if they don’t get their act together!

  4. Avatar Mike

    So they put FTTH in a place where people can’t afford it and if they can it’s because taxpayers are paying for it…great.

    • Avatar Name

      Spurle and brian are happy.

    • Avatar Rahul

      Do you think these prices aren’t affordable? Of-course they are!

      BASIC
      £20/month
      DOWNLOAD SPEED
      40 Mbps
      UPLOAD SPEED
      40 Mbps
      Average speed: 40 Mbps download and upload

      ULTRAFAST
      £35/month
      DOWNLOAD SPEED
      200 Mbps
      UPLOAD SPEED
      200 Mbps
      Average speed: 200 Mbps download and upload

      GIGAFAST
      £50/month
      DOWNLOAD SPEED
      1,000 Mbps
      UPLOAD SPEED
      1,000 Mbps
      Average speed: 920 Mbps download and upload

      For £20 you’re getting 40 Mbps and £35 for 200 Mbps which is a package you wouldn’t even get via BT Openreach FTTC network. Even BT OR FTTP is too expensive and won’t give you these speeds for these prices. Until last year I was paying £33.89 to Sky for up to 17 Mbps. 200 Mbps would be a dream for me. Even 40 Mbps will make me very happy.

      I don’t doubt the affordability. My annoyance is indeed the fact that they put FTTH in Council Flats while there are people who own private leaseholder/freeholder properties like myself, spent hundreds of thousands of pounds and even over a million still don’t even have FTTC yet! That is injustice. Like for example CityScape Kensington in E1 costs a million pounds but has no plans for FTTC. Management team does not want to make wayleave agreement for FTTP.

      While many residential buildings in Southwark area have both FTTP from Community Fibre and Hyperoptic in the same properties! This is what irritates me the most. There are huge disproportionate differences between areas with Fibre and without. People who live in rural areas think urban areas have greater advantages. But as we can see just in London many boroughs in Exchange Only Lines like myself don’t even have FTTC last 10 years, never mind having FTTP. We are ignored more than many people in rural areas. At least B4RN project e.g can take their own initiative to lay their own fibre cables. But in urban areas we will be arrested if we try to dig the street ducts ourselves without permission from authorities.

    • Avatar CarlT

      I need more palms to facepalm into.

    • Avatar brian

      “So they put FTTH in a place where people can’t afford it and if they can it’s because taxpayers are paying for it…great.”

      What makes you think the people can’t afford it or that they like the rest of us are not tax payers?

      “Spurle and brian are happy.”

      Im very happy to see more FTTH available to people, why wouldn’t i be?

    • Avatar CarlT

      If I recall correctly, Rahul, you live where you live because it’s convenient for work. You have made that decision with all its positives and negatives.

      If people are okay with paying ridiculous prices for housing that’s their call. Doesn’t entitle them to anything other than an enormous mortgage though. Where people have equity there’s nothing stopping them using that to purchase a new build outside of London that will, 55%+ chance, have FTTP.

      Yours, a guy who left Twickenham and now owns a 4 bed detached and is paying hundreds a month less for the mortgage than the rent on a 2 bed flat – while taking exactly zero pay cut.

      It’s a pretty bitter, twisted and mean-spirited thing complaining about what other people are getting, and pretty elitist complaining about what people who, either through being born at the right time or getting a handout from their parents, are or are not ‘entitled’ to in terms of broadband provision.

      I’d be quite happy if my city received just 1/5th the investment in transport infrastructure that London does but sadly that’s not happening. And before the inevitable stuff about how London pays for everything that grossly distorted by a combination of government policy and where companies base themselves legally – I produce a billable rate of $2,400 a day for my employer, it all goes through London’s figures even though I’m nearly 200 miles away.

      Just be happy for those who are getting this. If those spending or, maybe more accurately, borrowing a million get poor broadband services I’ve zero sympathy, if you make the decision to live and work somewhere ‘cool’ at the expense of poor broadband you’ll forgive my having little sympathy when, pretty much any time stories like this are posted on ISPR, you pop up saying ‘What about me? Waaah!’.

      Entitlement isn’t a becoming trait whether a social renter, lease holder or free holder.

    • Avatar Rahul

      @CarlT: Yes, I find many positives living centrally because I don’t have to travel over an hour to get to my working place. I think this is an important factor. Life wouldn’t be expensive in Central London if it had not had its value.

      Plus we’ve bought our properties over a decade ago when house prices and mortgages were lower at that time and this mortgage rate from RBS is still continuing at the same level from back then. We are on the verge of repaying back while also getting rental income from our other flats so as a whole we are better off economically than living in zone 5/6.

      Now I am talking about property value. It does not matter if some of us were fortunate enough to buy our properties cheaper back then as back then none of us had Fibre anyway so we had nothing to complain about.
      What I am talking about is the present market value of a property in Central London which is now higher. A person buying a property for half a million or a million pounds deserves getting these facilities as they’ve worked hard for it and have contributed economically unlike the benefit claimants who abuse the system and don’t search for work. There’s nothing ‘elitist’ about that.

      I do not think it is fair for some benefit claimants living in social council flats in places like Wandsworth getting facilities such as Fibre before the rest of the hard working people in our society. Yes, I am happy for them but at the same time I am not happy that they are getting it before us while contributing the least in our society. There is a slight injustice about this & that is what I am protesting against and there is nothing arrogant about that.

    • Avatar CarlT

      ‘A person buying a property for half a million or a million pounds deserves getting these facilities as they’ve worked hard for it and have contributed economically unlike the benefit claimants who abuse the system and don’t search for work. There’s nothing ‘elitist’ about that.’

      Of course there’s nothing elitist about implying that people in social housing are benefit claimants abusing the system and not searching for work. Nothing at all.

      The remainder of the post is laughable. I wish you well, congratulate you on your good fortune and hope you enjoy your taxpayer subsidised unearned wealth.

    • Avatar brian

      The only flaw with your argument Rahul is there will always be someone who has worked harder, earned more and spent more on a property than you (unless you are the richest person in the country) ergo using your logic you are not deserving of anything because others have worked harder and are richer than you. See that is the problem with class and entitlement, there may be someone you think you can look down on and criticise but there will always be someone who thinks they are a further rung up the ladder and can look down and criticise you.

  5. Avatar A_Builder

    TBH I really don’t get most of the comments made above.

    There are four thing to consider

    1) ZERO Local thirty cash is spent doing this. The only contribution from the LA is facilitation across its estate.
    2)Fibre improves the book value of the flats/houses as they have better services and so the LA asset balance sheet improves (there is good evidence that a fibre connection improves property values by around 3%)
    3) CF’s fibre prices are pretty cheap on the lower tiers
    4) The rentability of the flats/houses is improved (not that there is any shortage of takers) by the provision of fibre

    I simply don’t see a downside to this. This is an example of the market working for the benefit of the community and the corporate side.

    BTW I am a Wandsworth rate payer so have taken an interest in this for a long time.

  6. Avatar Rob

    It is because the article mentions social housing which has nothing to do with the rollout except for the councils help in access etc. There is no service provider who will operate without a profit or break-even. Companies like CF, Hyperoptic etc will target tower-blocks and new builds because they are easier to install.

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