FAQ

We expect there willl be a lot of questions about the scheme. We've tried to answer as many as we can below but if you don't see an answer please Contact Us and we'll do our best to get an answer and update this site.

Q. What will the scheme provide?

A. The scheme will increase internet speeds to between 30MB - 80MB, with the minimum level for those at the edge of the village being about 20MB. This is compared to average speeds of about 1.5MB. The scheme will benefit all properties served from the upgraded cabinets. Coverage maps can be found here.

Q. What speed will I receive?

A. OpenReach have provided estimates of how typical speeds that might be available. The majority of premises should receive speeds of between 30 – 80MB depending on the distance from your house to the new cabinets. The closer you are, the higher the speed.

Q. Will I immediately get higher speeds once the scheme has been completed?

A. The scheme will pay for improving the infrastructure only. To take advantage of the higher speeds, you may need to update the services you purchase from your Internet Service provider (ISP) or migrate to a different provider. An example product that would be suitable would be BT Infinity.

Q. Why will some houses get slower speeds?

A. The speed you will get is proportional to the length of copper cable from your house to the new cabinets. This means that some properties are ~ 1.0km from the fibre cabinet which reduces the achievable speed. However, this is still a significant increase over the existing infrastructure (~0.5MB current vs. 15MB quoted by OpenReach).

It is important to note that the speeds achieved today are based on todays technology. OpenReach are working to roll out better technology for the “last mile” of cable which will increase speeds. However, these will only be effective if the fibre infrastructure is present to make the final mile of cable short enough.

Q. How much will the scheme cost?

A. The quote we have received from OpenReach is £85,000 for Pilley and £30,000 for Battramsley. If we achieve the funding target, there would be no additional contributions required for the infrastructure as OpenReach would assume ownership and all on-going maintenance etc.

Q. Do both schemes have to be fully funded to progress?

A. Due to the way the quotes and OpenReach contributions have been structured, the Pilley scheme can go ahead without Battramsley but Battramsley cannot go ahead without Pilley. This is because Battramsley is only about 50 houses and as such OpenReach do not contribute as much per house.

Q. Is this a one-time cost?

A. Yes - Once we pay for the upgraded infrastructure the cost of all on-going maintenance will be covered by OpenReach

Q. When will pledges be collected?

A. Money pledges will collected in the first week of September if the funding targets are met.

Q. What benefits could improved Broadband bring?

A. Broadband has become increasingly important for carrying out many day to day tasks such as online banking, paying bills etc. There are also a growing number of internet enabled devices in the home and households often have multiple simultaneous users. Beyond basic website use, example benefits include.

  • Usable speeds for households with multiple simultaneous users.
  • Protect house prices vs. non-connected areas
  • Access to multimedia content
  • BBC3 will be available online only from 2015
  • Netflix, NowTV and other streaming services will become useable
  • Use video calls to contact friends and family
  • High speed internet access increasingly viewed as essential
  • Potential for more home workers
  • Reduction in road traffic
  • Better for business
  • Increased self-employment around “online” businesses
  • Opportunities for home working
  • The proposed scheme uses existing ducting so there should be very limited disturbance
  • No extensive roadworks

Q. Will this increase my house value?

A. Broadband is increasingly becoming a key utility that house buyers check before purchasing. Faster broadband may not directly increase your house value but it will make it more saleable and protect your house value relative to other areas with high speed broadband. If we do not implement this scheme, houses that are not covered by the Hampshire County Council scheme would be at a disadvantage vs. other properties in the village and surrouunding area (Norelywood, Portmore etc.).

Q. How would this be funded?

A. The community would need to form a legal entity that community members would donate to in order to raise the required funding. This legal entity would own the contract with OpenReach and make the payments. The legal entity would be run by a board of members formed from the community.

If in the event the scheme was over funded, any excess funds would be refunded to individuals in proportion to the amount the scheme goal was exceeded. E.g. 5% over target, 5% of each pledge would be refunded.

Q. How will I know if I can benefit from the scheme?

A. The scheme will benefit all properties served from the upgraded cabinets. Coverage maps can be found here.

Q. Will people who have not contributed to the scheme get any benefit?

A. In the event that the scheme goes ahead, all members of the community served by the upgraded infrastructure will be able to use it if they purchase an appropriate product from their ISP. This is independent as to whether they contribute towards the funding of the scheme.

Q. When would work start on the scheme?

A. OpenReach estimates that they could start work approximately 12 months after receiving a committed order and 50% of the agreed quote.

Q. Who will own and maintain the new infrastructure?

A. At the end of the project, the ownership and on-going maintenance of the infrastructure put in place by the scheme will be owned and maintained by OpenReach. This means that it would automatically get the benefit of any new technology without new infrastructure investment.

Q. Why such a short time frame?

A. Hampshire County Council have a contract with BT to upgrade the Pilley Hill cabinet only by mid-2018. This contract will be signed in September 2015. Once this contract is signed, BT will not accept any community funded schemes for Pilly until this work is complete.

Q. What is the position of the Parish Council with regard to the Pilley community broadband scheme?

A. The Parish Council would be supportive of any activity to improve the broadband facilities within the Parish as stated in their Parish plan. Unfortunately, due to the rules on State aid, the Parish Council is unable to contribute Parish funds towards the scheme. Council members are free to contribute personal funds/time should they see fit. Some Parish Councillors are directly involved in the scheme, although not in an official Parish Council capacity.

Q. What are the alternatives for fast internet access?

A. There are two main options for increased internet speeds.

  • Satellite – Typical speeds up to 25MB and it is likely you will be able to receive this However, there are some technical limitations and for “unlimited usage” internet access, prices typically start at approximately £50/month compared to approximately £25/month for a product like BT Infinity. There is also typically an equipment cost of ~£250 to start.
  • Mobile (4G) – Coverage in Pilley is patchy and you may not be able to get coverage. It is not clear what overall capacity 4G has in our area if a large number of users started using it.
Overall, the total cost of ownership over two years for satellite would typically be more expensive than contributing to the community scheme and paying an increased subscription to your ISP.

Q. What about the Hampshire County Council broadband program?

A. Hampshire County Council (HCC) have plans to deploy super-fast broadband (24MB+) to 95% of the Hampshire population by mid-2018. This would be at zero cost to us as a community. However, there are a number of issues:

  • It will only benefit dwellings between Plley Hill and Pilley Bailey. There are no plans for future improvements
  • The scheme may not complete on time and could slip into 2019 or beyond.
In summary, waiting for HCC is a zero cost option, but it does not cover the whole community or give a guaranteed time-frame. A community scheme puts our destiny directly in our own hands.

Q. I have heard that Hampshire County Council was to receive a grant to improve broadband speeds. Can we get access to some if this funding?

A. Unfortunately, the answer is no - we would get no funding from HCC towards a community scheme as part of their Broadband scheme. The HCC view is that you are either in their broadband program or you are not. If we were to do something as a community, we would not be included in the HCC scheme from the point at which we signed the contract with OpenReach.

Q. Won’t it be cheaper if we wait for the HCC scheme to complete and fill in the gaps?

A. It is unlikely this would be cheaper and would likely to be more expensive per house. This is because of two main reasons:

  1. The scheme cost is only the gap between the total cost and a commercially viable level identified by OpenReach. The more properties that benefit from the scheme, the more OpenReach has to contribute per property. A smaller scheme would have less properties in it and therefore OpenReach would have to pay less towards the total costs
  2. Price inflation over time. The current scheme is based in part on 2014 pricing. Any future scheme would be on 2018 pricing

Q. Where can I get more information?

A. You can Contact Us for more details on the scheme as shown on the contact page. As more questions and information are received, this website will be updated.