Super Fast Broadband Comes to Brockham in September

Brockham resident Bob Bartlett attended the Surrey County Council and BT Superfast Broadband presentation at Denbies last week.

Bob's account of the day is as follows:-

There are two distinct parts to SFBB introduction into the village - the fitting of fibre optic cables from the exchange (Betchworth is being upgraded) to the green boxes and from there copper wire to the home or business. It is possible if you wish to pay to have the fibre optic cable laid to your house or business - that might prove expensive.

It was a bit muddled as to speed of the megabytes per second you will achieve. There are variables such as how far you are from the green box i.e. how long your particular copper cable is and the general local usage i.e. peak and down times. The maximum is 80mbps which could drop to 20 or even 15 mbps as a worse case (this is the contractual minimum). It may become a selling point for your house - we live next to the BT green box!

The project led by SCC and BT is the most ambitious in probably the world with a 99.7% target to give everyone access. Most councils in the UK settle around 90% but SCC will examine every case (they reckon on about 1200) where the "traditional" methods do not work and look to the provision of wireless, satellites or any other solution. They are committed to getting everyone access to broadband. Broadband should be perceived as a utility and as important as the other services.

Already much of the county is covered by previous commercial initiatives but areas such as Brockham and other villages will now be dealt with as "intervention areas". This is being planned now and some of the Brockham RH3 area will have access by September 2013 others by the end of 2014. I have a list of RH3 post codes but some are missing such as parts of Wheelers Lane. You can email me if you wish me to check your post code.

BT will provide the cabling to your home and that comes as a part of the project funded by BT/SCC and central government. It is then up to the business or householder to decide if they want access and if they do, to take out a contract with an internet service provider (ISP) which may or may not be BT. Until companies are in a position to  offer a SFBB contract pricing will not be known.

The aim is to get a minimum of 20% take up and if this happens BT will start to pay back SCC some of their investment. There is therefore a commercial and local authority imperative to concentrate on demand stimulation. This however should not just be seen as commercial advantages. Individuals will increasingly need access to broadband for business, personal administration, schooling/training, and entertainment such the watching of TV, iplayer or downloading films.

There is a website with further information http://www.superfast-openreach.co.uk/ 

So what do we need to do locally? More information will follow but there is a need to ensure people are digitally competent and able to feel confident in accessing the Internet. 

It is therefore recommended that the parish council and the village club to consider:

1.      Appoint a SFBB "Champion" for the parish to maintain liaison with the SCC team

2.      Work possibly with the village club to provide daytime access to computers and tutors to enhance individual capabilities. (There is public access at Strood Green Stores but this may not be suitable for training.) It may be possible to establish some form of "training centre" in Kenward Court at Strood Green.

3.      It may be possible for businesses or the local authority where they have many computer literate staff to contribute as volunteers to training non-users. It may also be possible to obtain computer equipment.

4.      To obtain funding to meet the costs of this initiative. Some funds may possibly be obtained from SCC or http://www.go-on.co.uk/ or from local charities or initiatives. (Poland/Bonfire)

5.      Such an initiative would enhance the use of the village club during the day thereby meeting one of their aims and helping the older and less advantaged members of the community to overcome their fear of the technology.

6.      A further possibility is developing a "buddy" system where user volunteers and non-users are paired and work in homes to increase confidence.

7.      It may also be possible that through the Youth Council the young can become tutors to the not so young.

If you have any queries get back to me; I will try and answer the question or send it on the team at County Hall.

Bob can be emailed at 938@938.me.uk