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Community Fibre Partnerships - how do they work?

Mark8253

Casual Member
Our local BDUK authority (Cheshire) has admitted that it will run out of money this summer, so no new upgrades are planned after this date unless it can secure additional budget. I'm therefore exploring a community fibre partnership as an option to upgrade our sub 1 Mb/s broadband (extremely long lines), but I'm not clear exactly how it works in practice.

We are not a discrete village, more a collection of hamlets and individual farms/houses in open countryside, so it is not obvious where to draw the boundaries for our "community". If I follow our 5 km cable back to the cabinet, it passes about 24 premises that receive < 10 Mb/s. Adding in other legs and branches takes us to 62 premises and a total of 9.6 km, so on average less cabling per premises passed (I know that FTTP cabling doesn't go back to the cabinet, but I'm assuming the nearest fibre aggregation point is in the same general area).

It could be scoped for lowest total cost, or lowest cost per premises. Do BT advise the preferred option? Do other premises that already get decent speed from FTTC have access to "our" cable if it passes through their distribution pole on its way to us? What about residents who choose not to join the partnership? Can they get FTTP later anyway if it is available nearby, or are they excluded? If they are excluded, is this lifted if the house is sold, so the new owner gets unrestricted access to FTTP?

Given these relatively low number of potential subscribers and long lines (roughly 50:50 between overhead cabling and soft digging in grass verges) it may turn out to be uneconomic even with available grants. Local 3G/4G is reasonable, so the future USO probably won't help (and it might make people less inclined to support an expensive FTTP scheme).

I'd like to be able to answer these basic questions before canvassing the community about joining in, but it appears to be very difficult to find anything online to this level of detail. Has anybody got any relevant experience of similar situations, please?
 

Mark.J

Administrator
Staff member
ISPreview Team
Tricky as we don't know what Openreach's internal decision making process is like. You might be best to collect interest from as many premises as possible in the area, then present that to Openreach and see what they say is actually possible. I've seen them bring FTTP to very sparse communities before so it's possible.
 

sheephouse

Casual Member
A few points from my own experience.
My nearest cabinet is a mile away (I'm not connected to it as I have an EO line), but the nearest aggregation point is 11 miles away (or was at the time, and I'm not aware of any change).
I tried a CFP for the people on the edge of the local village that are on EO lines. Because the properties are dispersed around the village in small groups, they split the application into separate projects. The result was that there were only about 6 properties near mine that could be covered, so the cost per property was prohibitive.
 

Badem

Member
Which part of Cheshire are you in? have you checked B4RN as they are installing FTTP around the Capenhurst/Neston section and I believe they are expanding to cover the more rural areas of Cheshire?
 

Green Meanie

Casual Member
You can contact Openreach and put your questions to them, they will be able to tell you what you would need to do and advise you on any vouchers or grants you could be able to use to offset the costs.
 

Mark8253

Casual Member
Which part of Cheshire are you in? have you checked B4RN as they are installing FTTP around the Capenhurst/Neston section and I believe they are expanding to cover the more rural areas of Cheshire?
We’re down the bottom end - a bit far for B4RN at the moment unfortunately. There does seem to be some local interest in exploring a fibre partnership, so I’ll report back as and when we get the first outline quote.
 
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