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County Broadband Reveal FTTP Prices for £46m East Anglia Rollout

Thursday, February 14th, 2019 (8:21 am) - Score 1,714
countybroadband uk

Rural focused UK ISP County Broadband, which last year secured £46m from Aviva Investors to help it deploy a new 1Gbps capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband network to 30,000 premises across the East of England, has recently updated a new website and prices for the full fibre service.

Until now the provider has tended to focus on deploying “superfastFixed Wireless Access (FWA) networks to cover 3,000 premises across digitally isolated villages in Essex, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire (England). By comparison the move to build “full fibre” infrastructure, which has already been piloted via 50 homes in the village of Broughton (here), represents a significant change.

At present the ISP is still in the process of identifying the first communities for their roll-out and they expect to double their workforce “over the next few months” (they’re also in the process of finding local contractors for the civil engineering side), although we think their deployment is likely to begin in parts of Essex.

Lloyd Felton, CEO of County Broadband, said:

“Since securing the investment, we have been identifying target areas. Many premises might have access to broadband, but the ultrafast speeds that we will all soon need are only available to around 6% of the UK. Household usage and data consumption is already predicted to increase 10-fold every six years and only ultrafast solutions will match this requirement.

Our goal is to provide a world-class, future proof infrastructure which will deliver ultrafast broadband speeds of 1,000Mbps now and even faster speeds in future as well as providing additional services such as telephony, home security and access to the vital services that the local authorities and health services plan for online access in the coming years.

Aviva Investors’ recognise the vital need for future proof fibre infrastructure and their funding supports our strategy to service more than 30,000 homes and businesses in the region.”

Nevertheless we do not yet know what time-scale they will be following or when we can expect the first deployments to begin. The good news is that they have recently established a dedicated website for their FTTP project – County Broadband Fibre – and this gives us some idea of what consumers can expect.

The details are still a little thin but prices start at £39.99 inc. VAT per month for an unlimited symmetrical 30Mbps package on a 24 month contract term and rise to £74.99 for the top 1000Mbps (Gigabit) tier. By the sounds of it anybody wanting a phone service will need to adopt a VoIP solution from £6 per month and the ISP are selling related adapters (ATA) at £49 a pop (confusingly another page says these are supplied “free“).

However we did spot a couple of potential issues in their Service Terms. Firstly, the terms note that “on expiry of the Minimum Service Period, unless terminated on or before the date of such expiry, the Services shall automatically renew for further 12 month terms until terminated pursuant to this Agreement.Ofcom banned Automatically Renewable Contracts (ARCs) in 2011 (here).

The “unlimited” usage allowance is also called into question, which is odd for a FTTP service: “In order to manage our network for the benefit of all of our customers we may take measures to restrict your use of the network if the amount of data downloaded by you in any calendar month exceeds the average amount of data downloaded by other customers on the same or similar package in the ninety-eight percentile measured by amount of data downloaded. In any event we will not take any such action if the amount is less than 600GB of data.”

On the other hand there is a positive note for home movers. Unlike some ISPs CBB says that “anyone who takes up the service with us now, if you move home before the end of the contract we will NOT charge you a cancellation fee.” This is a good move given the lack of network coverage.

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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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