Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Most of us have a broadband or internet service delivered via copper wire phone lines, which link to a fibre cabinet in either Bentley or near the Anchor Pub - this is "DSL" broadband. For many of us this is slow and unreliable.
The Government Community Fibre Partnership (CFP) scheme offers us the opportunity to fund the extension of the fibre optic link directly into each house to support "gigabit broadband", with significant improvements in broadband speed and reliability.
If a sufficient proportion of us commit to using the new service, the cost of installing the new infrastructure will be covered by Government CFP vouchers, £1,500 for each house and £3,500 for each small business (including the self-employed, sole traders and anyone operating a business from their home).
We will have to commit to one of a range of full fibre broadband providers (which includes BT, Sky, TalkTalk, and others), including upgrade options from users' existing DSL providers. Costs in most cases will only be marginally more than people are paying for their landline and broadband.
Those who do not want the new service can retain their existing broadband but there is no guarantee they will be able to upgrade to the full fibre network later.
Geography and the existing BT network means Upper Froyle will be a separate campaign which we hope will follow a successful deployment in Lower Froyle, and assuming there is sufficient interest.
What is "Full Fibre", Fibre To The Premises (FTTP)?
Broadband in the village is mostly delivered using a Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) service over the existing copper telephone wires to your house. Speeds on DSL broadband are dependent on distance from the cabinet and the demand from other users. Reliability is dependent on the often very old copper wire and connections. Note that some existing services are marketed as "fibre broadband", but they are only fibre for part of the route, still using your possibly 50 year old copper phone line for the last part to your property.
FTTP "Full Fibre" broadband delivers gigabit-capable fibre all the way into your home and business, with faster speeds that can be guaranteed, no slowdown at peak times or due to weather or interference, and the same speed no matter how far away you are from the cabinet.
What speed can I get from FTTP?
OpenReach fibre is capable of delivering at least "gigabit" speeds, so 1 Gbps or 1,000 Mbps. You will then need to sign up with a service provider, such as BT, Sky or TalkTalk, who currently offer a range of services from 50-1,000 Mbps. In comparison, most of us currently receive less than 30Mbps over our existing copper cables.
How does reliability compare?
Service reliability and stability are increased with more durable connections, and protection from external factors which can cause interference or failure on standard (and ageing) copper wires and connections.
What voucher do I need?
The Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport operate the Community Fibre Partnership (CFP) programme, which supports communities to install full fibre infrastructure via a system of vouchers, funded by the Government.
The vouchers are "virtual". They can only be used as part of a collective initiative such as this.
Each premises can only register once for a residential or a business voucher. Residential vouchers are worth £1,500, and Business vouchers are worth £3,000 towards the cost of installing fibre.
You can sign up if you are renting your house, as long as you commit to a new full fibre broadband service (see below). The existing copper connection remains for future occupants. Your landlord will most likely be supportive as full fibre makes the property more attractive.
We will submit an email address for each potential user which DCMS uses to communicate with you, and you will then need to log on to the Community Fibre Partnership website to commit your voucher to the Lower Froyle scheme.
To register for the Government voucher, first you need to fill in our sign up form.
I run a business, how does it work?
To qualify, a small or medium sized business must be turning over less than £25 million per annum. You can be a limited company, sole trader, self-employed, or charity. If it is on your tax return, it's ok!
Or, if you can prove you are a business in other ways, you can also request a business voucher. If proof is required by DCMS, the following is accepted: VAT registration; Charity Registration: HMRC notification; sole trader UTR number; certification of incorporation (limited companies); business bank account statement issued within the last three months; non-domestic rates reference. Other documentation, such as business-related utility bills, may be acceptable in certain circumstances if combined with other documentation.
The business must operate from the premises, however a limited company can be registered elsewhere. If multiple businesses operate from the same premises, only one voucher can be claimed.
As a business, you can still sign up for a residential broadband service, a business service is not required.
I work from home, can I claim a business voucher?
No, this does not count for a business voucher, as the business is operating elsewhere.
What am I commiting to and what does it cost?
You can choose from a number of broadband providers including (but not limited to) BT, Sky and TalkTalk, including upgrade options from your existing broadband provider. OpenReach publishes a list of participating fibre providers that includes all the major broadband providers - here.
Users have to sign up to a full fibre service for a year to qualify for the Government voucher. The new service must:
- deliver a minimum of 30 Mbps to your premises; and
- deliver at least a doubling of your existing speed, or 100 Mbps, whichever is lower.
We can help you determine the broadband speed you would need!
You must sign up to a full fibre service within 12 months of voucher issue, and no later than two months from the completion date of network installation. Otherwise, the voucher becomes invalid and OpenReach may claim the value back from the community.
How much does FTTP cost?
It may be no more expensive than your current broadband service! Here are typical current offers from the major broadband providers:
|Provider||Download Speed (Mbps)||Upload Speed (Mbps)||Monthly Price|
|Sky (includes phone)||150||25||£35.00|
|Sky (includes phone)||500||60||£45.00|
How does the fibre cable come into the house - underground or overhead?
It follows the current route of the telephone connection. As the new fibre follows existing poles and ducts, only very occasionally is there a need to dig. There may be a need to install a new distribution hub for the village, in which case this might need a new duct link.
What equipment will be installed on the end of the fibre cable?
An Optical Network Terminal (ONT), a bit larger than a standard BT socket, will be installed. It looks like this:
Will I need a new wifi router?
When you order your full fibre service, your broadband provider may be able to use the existing router, or may provide you with a new one.
Will someone need to enter my home?
OpenReach does not enter your home when they are building the network. They will when the final connection into your property is completed when you place an order with your broadband provider.
Will phone calls come through the same fibre cable or the existing copper cable?
Customers can choose to have a phone via their broadband, known as Voice over IP, or keep a copper line for their phone calls. If they keep the traditional phone line, depending on the provider this may be included or may be charged separately.
The Government and OpenReach have announced that all existing landline systems (PSTN) will be switched off by December 2025, in 4 years time. All non-mobile telephony will move to digital "IP" connections, which will require a local source of power - irrespective of whether it arrives by copper or fibre.
- All telecare/personal alarms and home security systems will have to move to IP by the end of 2025, whether we get full fibre in Lower Froyle or not.
- For power cuts, a small battery-based UPS, unterruptible power supply, is recommended - like the one we have in the Village Hall to keep the heating connection live.
- For poor mobile signal, the recommendation is to use "wifi calling" which most mobile operators offer.
Why should I get full fibre broadband?
There's many good reasons to upgrade, these include:
- to support a rapidly increasing number of devices in the home (smart TVs, mobile phones, etc)
- without ultrafast broadband, households can miss out on bandwidth intensive services such as streamed TV and video services offering the best picture and sound quality. Ultra HD programmes from the BBC will only be available via iPlayer online and will not be available via Freeview through a conventional TV aerial.
- provides substantially improved performance for delay-sensitive services, such as online gaming and voice and video telephony services (e.g. Zoom and Skype)
- with much bigger upload speeds, online backup and file sharing is much quicker
- better enables working from home
- is more reliable than standard DSL broadband, has fewer faults due to the use of fibre optic cables all the way to households and businesses
- full fibre could increase your house price, or, decrease it if you don't have it. Many people looking to move now regard the availability of high speed broadband to be as important as the availability of good schools and transport links.
- it's affordable and cheaper than you may think! You may even save money by moving to ultrafast FTTP broadband.
Can I join afterwards?
Possibly! That depends on whether the OpenReach deployment covers your house and if there is capacity. The longer answer is that multiple properties share common Distribution Points (DPs), this could be a pole or box near your house. When the new fibre network is installed, it can reach all properties that share the same distribution points as the addresses that originally signed up. This may, or may not, include your house. The way to guarantee availability of full fibre to your property is to join this community scheme.
What if I don't want to join the scheme?
No one has to join nor move to a full fibre service, they can remain with their original copper-wire based DSL service. If they happen to share a Distribution Point that is part of the fibre network, then their property will likely be able to be connected at a later stage. However, if their distribution point is not included then they probably will not be able to join later.
Why should we do this when the Government has promised a full fibre rollout by 2025?
The Government announced this but have not specified how it will be delivered or who will pay for it. Lower Froyle is not on any plan at the moment, so we are unlikely to get anything soon. The current Government voucher scheme is the best way to bring full fibre to Froyle.
What's the timetable and the process for this?
What about Upper Froyle? You've forgotten us!
BT/OpenReach network upgrades have to be done in relation to how their network is arranged - the Upper Froyle telephone cabling is entirely separate from Lower Froyle, so it is not possible to include Upper Froyle in this network build.
If Upper Froyle residents would like to start a full fibre campaign (and they're welcome to use this website too!) please contact email@example.com who would be happy to provide tips and advice for community champions in Upper Froyle.
I have more questions, can you help?
Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Great, how do I sign up?