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FAQs v5.0  15 Nov 2018
Has the contract been signed yet?

The contract with Openreach was signed in May 2018.

What is the contribution required for?

We are providing funds to BT/Openreach for "gap funding". That is the difference between the cost of providing FTTP and the amount BT is prepared to invest on its own account. Without this funding, nothing will happen.

What is FTTP?Optical fibre cable

Fibre To The Premises. The fibre will enter your property where it will be connected to a modem / router. This contrasts with FTTC (Fibre To The Cabinet) where the fibre connects to the nearest "green box" or cabinet in the street, and the connection is then via the existing copper telephone lines.

Why have we chosen to ask for FTTP?

We have already investigated the FTTC option which would not provide an adequate service to the whole village. Other options such as fixed wireless, 4G and satellite are all bandwidth (ie speed and data allowance) limited. FTTP is a future-proof technology allowing very high speed data.

How much is the contract worth?

The overall cost to the community is the difference between the total cost of the project and the amount BT consider is the amount they would invest on a commercial basis. This gap is about 100,000.

How many households are covered by this?

The area to be covered contains about 200 properties which will have the potential to connect to, and benefit from, the new fibre network.

Why are we having to pay for this, I thought the government was adopting a Universal Service Obligation (USO)?

There is no commitment in respect of our villages, nor what technology might be employed.  The government is conducting a consultation on the USO way forward (inputs closed on 9 Oct 2017). There will then be a period of decision making, enactment of law and contract tendering. So a timescale of 2 to 4 years seems likely.

Why are we not waiting for the CDS / Gigaclear system?

You may also have heard reports about the initiative “Connecting Devon and Somerset” (CDS), which is led by the County Councils of the two counties. In brief, this initiative has resulted in contracts being let to Gigaclear for the installation of a FTTP network in selected areas of the counties. There are a number of processes that Gigaclear go through prior to deciding whether to proceed with an installation in a particular area and these are yet to be done in the Lydfords.  The roll-out of a system locally has been further delayed and as at 15 November 2018, there is no schedule for our area.  See the CDS website for latest news.

Can we use the vouchers provided by CDS?

Unfortunately not. The vouchers were only applicable to properties with speeds less than 2Mb/s, and only for a limited set of suppliers using either 4G or fixed wireless technology.

Isn't there some government grant we can use?

There is a national voucher scheme being operated by BDUK on behalf of the Government, but this is primarily aimed at businesses who have to commit to buying the service up to a year in advance. If they fail to honour the commitment, the voucher is cancelled and the cost passed to our Lydford Broadband company. There is also some doubt about whether Somerset is eligible for this scheme.

How do we know the BT/Openreach price is reasonable?

We have looked at other groups around the country who have engaged in similar "gap funding" projects. They have typically spent between two and three times as much per property. Examples can be found at

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/community-led-broadband-schemes/case-studies#herefordshire-community-networks-case-study

Fell End FTTP, 1500/premises passed

Kelston FTTP 1200/premise

Is my property included in the plan for FTTP?

We have tried to cover all the properties in East and West Lydford, Lydford on Fosse and Foddington that are connected to Cabinet 1 on the Cary road. For a definitive answer, please contact us at our registered address below.

What benefits will this give me?

The service to be expected over FTTP is much more reliable, as it does not rely on the copper cables currently in use with their susceptibility to water damage, corrosion and crosstalk.

The FTTP solution is capable of delivering a 330Mbps service but what you actually get depends on what you buy from your service provider, with typical residential packages starting at around 40Mbps and going up to around 100Mbps. The fastest product that BT Retail offer now is 300Mbps though there are other service providers to choose from.

The upstream rate can be much faster, maybe as fast as downstream, so you will get a much better service when uploading documents eg to the "cloud".

Internet connection speeds are affecting house prices and saleability. Some sales have fallen through due to poor speed. Estimates suggest property values can be enhanced by as much as 3% . See this reference for details: http://www.rightmove.co.uk/renter-advice/renter-news/broadband-and-your-new-home/

Will BT/Openreach have to dig up my driveway?

Not normally. The fibre will be supported by the existing telegraph and/or power poles or through existing ducts. If you are more than 160m from the nearest pole, you may need to have a trench dug at your expense. Please contact us if this is the case.

Who am I donating this money to?

Contributions should be made to Lydford Broadband CIC either by cheque or by direct bank transfer to the account number on the loan agreement form. It is also possible to pay at a bank branch using a debit card and quoting our account details. If using direct bank transfer or debit card, please advise us of your name and address and amount, to the email address on our contact page or our postal address below.

What is a Community Interest Company?

Lydford Broadband Community Interest Company has been formed specifically for this project. It is a private company limited by guarantee on a non-profit basis and run by six directors. It is subject to statutory regulation which requires that its assets can only be used for the benefit of the community, in this case the Lydfords and Foddington for the provision of fibre broadband infrastructure.

Who are the directors?

Ray Eames, Ann Emsley, Bob Taylor, Sean Cox, Sue Jameson, Graham Kimbell.

What expenses or remuneration will be paid to the directors?

No remuneration will be paid and directors' expenses will be met by the individuals concerned.  The costs of administering the company may be charged to the company at the Board's discretion.

How will the money be used?

A contract with BT/Openreach has been signed to initiate the project.

Can I pay by cheque?

Yes, please make your cheque out to Lydford Broadband CIC, and post it to the registered address below with the "loan agreement" form. Whether you pay by cheque or online, your contribution will be kept confidential and the amount only visible to the directors.

Can I pay anonymously?

Yes, you can pay anonymously by using direct online banking, or at a local branch using a debit card and quoting our account details.

Can I contribute after FTTP has been installed?

No. The contract will have been completed and paid for. 

What happens if the contributions exceed the amount BT/Openreach require?

We do not anticipate making a surplus, but any surplus funds will remain as loans to the CIC and will be reimbursed to donors at the discretion of the directors and in accordance with financial regulations prevailing at the time, and subject to us knowing your name and address. If funds remain when the company is wound up, they will be donated to the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance Charity.

When is this going to go live?

BT/Openreach has given an estimated timescale of one year from contract signature. We are hopeful that the actual timescale will be significantly shorter.

Will I have a choice of ISP?

Yes, a number of major ISPs support FTTP services on BT's infrastructure.

How much will it then cost to set up?

The charge to connect your property to the nearest fibre will depend on your choice of ISP and will typically be in the range 0 (no charge) to 100. (Zen charge 55)

What other costs will I have to pay?

The monthly service charge from your ISP.

Will fibre cost more in terms of monthly payments?

Ongoing monthly charges depend on your chosen ISP and the service required - the package selected, length of contract, speed, inclusion of line rental, analog phone line or VOIP. You will not be restricted to BT but their offers can be found at

https://www.productsandservices.bt.com/broadband/deals

You can compare broadband prices at some comparison websites.

If the fibre is not available to everyone, am I likely to lose my existing broadband connection?

Everyone in the Lydfords and Foddington can currently use an ADSL service provided over the copper wire system, and this will still be present and available to use whether or not the fibre is installed. If your service is provided by other means (4G, wireless, satellite etc) the continued provision of such services is a decision for the relevant supplier, but unlikely to be affected by our project.

Does the FTTP service include a standard telephone line?

There are usually VoIP options for telephone over the fibre internet. You may wish to retain your analog phone line; many ISPs include line rental (worth around 18 a month) in their broadband packages.