Correspondence with Fastershire

30 March 2015
To: Fastershire

I am wondering if you yet know what are likely to be your plans for EO lines in Blockley – a considerable number of lines in the historic core of the village are connected directly to the exchange. I am not asking you to give me dates; I realise this it is probably too early to do so, but I am hoping that by now you have some idea of whether or not you are planning to enable EO lines for fibre as part of the rollout. The predicted cost of FTTP is not likely to be an option for me.

yours sincerely

Adrian Beney

31 March 2015
From: Fastershire
Dear Adrian,

Thanks for getting in touch. Our plans in the Blockley area are expected to start in April, and work is due to complete at the end of this year.

From early planning (which is subject to change) it is suggested that any work to upgrade EO lines from your exchange may use FTTP technology. However, though the cost for you to procure this privately may be high, should you be in a position whereby the project provides an FTTP connection, you would be paying only the connection charge for the final run of cable.

This clearly is dependent upon local circumstances but would not equal the cost of ordering an entire fibre run. You would pay the connection charge to an ISP providing FTTP packages, but once connected I understand you’d be able to order any of the fibre packages offered by that ISP, not just the top level option.

However, I obviously cannot confirm at this stage whether you will be connected with FTTP.Sadly, in the case of EO lines it is also not possible to confirm in advance whether or not a specific EO line will be upgraded.

Essentially, then, I can suggest that EO lines would seem to be included according to our early plans and that any lines we upgrade on the Blockley exchange are expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Sorry that I couldn’t provide you with any firmer detail!Regards,Ben

4th June 2015
To: Fastershire

You very helpfully updated me back in March on the likely planning process for lines in Blockley which are connected directly to the Exchange.I see from the Fastershire website that planning is complete in Blockley now, and I wonder whether you have any update on the likely strategy for Exchange Only lines close the Exchange in the centre of the village.with many thanks

Adrian Beney

10 June 2015
From: FastershireDear Adrian,

The first engineering work is taking place now across Area 9, which includes Blockley.

I’m afraid that as mentioned in my previous email it’s not possible to identify in advance specific EO lines that are part of the rollout.

However, once the exchange is live I can submit your address to Openreach for them to check if your area is included, and it may also be possible to suggest the technology solution at that time as well.Area 9 is expected to complete by the end of the year, and so I would not expect Blockley exchange to be live before September. Hopefully at that point I’ll be able to update you with more detail.

Many thanks,Ben

10 June 2015
To: Fastershire

Thanks for the reply.I do understand that it is not yet known what is happening to specific EO lines, but presumably some assessment has been made as to what the strategy might be with EO lines in general for this particular exchange.Or is that not how it works? If not, could you point me to some resource to let me know how a decision is taken in respect of EO lines please?

Please don’t think I am being difficult about this; what I am trying to understand is the broad planning and engineering nature of an FTTP solution, and at what point decisions regarding that solution get made as part of the wider fibre rollout.

I am asking this because I can imagine, this being an articulate and engaged community, that if a significant number of people on EO lines close to the exchange are unlikely to have an FTTP or FTTC solution available to them, then they might want to propose some joint solution to Fastershire / Openreach. It would be a pity if such a thing proved to be technically feasible but too late in the planning. Hence wanting to understand where we are as fully as possible now, rather than later.

For example, if FTTP wiring in the village proves too complex from a planning / conservation perspective then I understand a solution would be to reroute the EO lines via a new cabinet away from the exchange since the VDSL DSLAMs can not be installed in an exchange. I can imagine that the cost of so doing might even be something that some of those in affected premises might be willing to contribute towards. Not least because, in my case, FTTC would reduce my monthly broadband costs by around £80 a month.

And do bear in mind that most of us have no phone mobile signal, let alone 3G or 4G so a cellular solution is not at present an alternative.

with many thanks

Adrian Beney

19 June 2015
From: Fastershire

Hi Adrian,

The programme as a whole has a target number of what is known as Total Homes Passed, or THP. Because of the nature of the rollout the plan itself needs to be adaptable in order to reach the target THP. So sometimes a piece of work may need to change in order to seize an opportunity to bring more THP into the total or because of conditions on the ground that make some part of the deployment no longer viable, meaning that THP must be found elsewhere.

Because of this, and especially in the case of EO lines, it’s not possible to provide guarantees until a significant amount of work has been carried out. With EO lines we don’t give upfront confirmations because the network rearrangement, whereby individual lines are gathered together into an upgraded cabinet or assigned to an FTTP node, is subject to this sort of on the ground adaptation as progress is made right up until deployment is all but finished.

So decisions are made throughout the rollout on a case by case basis, and especially in the case of EO and FTTP.

Sadly the way in which our programme is funded and run means that local assistance or private investment is not usually possible for us to make use of.

State-aid funded programmes are restricted to the contract they operate under, and in any case local opportunities are broadly studied during the planning stages of each area.It isn’t possible, for instance, for us to make use of potential local financial support in order to bring fibre to a cabinet or community during our existing rollouts.

However, in the future there may be scope for exploring these options, though this is unlikely to become possible within the next 12 months as our new round of investment in Gloucestershire has recently been awarded.

Work in your area is due to complete at the end of the year. Should your community find it has not benefited from the rollout, other solutions may be possible to explore once this contractual end date has been reached.