Faster broadband final coverage map 2017
This map was added to the Connecting Devon and Somerset website on September 20th, 2013 (see http://www.connectingdevonandsomerset.co.uk/final-coverage-map/ ) and is CDS & BT's projection of who will get faster broadband by 2017, when all the public money invested in the project has been spent.
There are many warnings attached to the map, making the point that it will inevitably change between now and 2017, as BT's work progresses. The CDS website says the map will be updated every 6 months. Bearing that in mind, it is clear that the focus of where faster broadband will be provided over the next 3 to 4 years, will be on the more built up areas, rather than rural areas, despite the fact that the government funding of the project was designed to improve rural broadband, not urban broadband in built up areas.
You can download a pdf copy of this map by clicking the download arrow at the bottom of this page.
The map claims that white areas (in which Upottery parish sits) can get speeds >2Mbps to 24Mbps. With satellite broadband, airtime distributor (ISP) fees are high compared to FTTC broadband; there is no telephone service included and the decoder provides only one LAN computer port and no WiFi. Satellite broadband such as the Europasat/Tooway system (being piloted by CDS) are beset with other issues as well: Because the digital signals have to travel a long way via the satellite to you and then back again, the delay or latency between key strokes and the screen refreshing is large (up to 1,200mS compared to 45mS with ADSL), which can make interactive use (e.g. filling in HMRC tax forms or Defra Single Payment documents) very difficult. Signal contention on the satellite for the thousands of connections going through it can also drop the speed to 0.6Mbps (Europasat data). The 24Mbps download speed CDS quoted on the map is disingenuous because Europasat quote a maximum download speed of 20Mbps and only a limited number of users will get that. Those of us who choose to continue to use copper wire broadband from the exchange will see no improvement in speed and will continue to get speeds around 2Mbps. If those of us who currently get speeds less than 2Mbps do not upgrade to expensive satellite broadband, then we will continue to get speeds less than 2Mbps in 2017!
On December 9, 2013, a "Post Survey Deployment Map" was added to the CDS website showing implementation of FTTC broadband in some of the blue areas of the 2017 Final Coverage Map, up until "Spring 2014". This shows that some people in various (blue) areas of Devon and Somerset will be getting FTTC broadband by Spring 2014, but no provision of any FTTC services is shown for any of the "white" no-fibre areas of the 2017 map.
Whilst it is difficult to identify the precise areas covered by the Upottery and Churchstanton exchanges on the CDS pdf map, it now appears that people in Upottery parish will receive no improvement in broadband speeds over the copper wire connection from the exchange when all the public money invested in the project has been spent in 2017.
Ian Thomas (EDDC Councillor for Trinity, Uplyme) has mapped the above 2017 coverage map onto an Ordnance Survey map which confirms that the vast majority of Upottery parish will not get faster fibre optic broadband, but Churchinford, Hemyock and Dunkeswell (served by the Luppitt exchange) will: (The blue areas are where the CDS publicly funded programme will provide faster broadband and the red urban areas are where BT are commercially funding the provision of faster broadband without public money. The white areas will see no increase in broadband speeds.)
This map is not final, but is BT's current estimate of who will and who will not get faster broadband by 2017 and it will be updated every 6 months. So there is still time to get it changed!
The blue areas which will get faster broadband do not map directly onto the exchange areas shown on the CDS website. The reason for this is that it depends where BT choose to locate the cabinets that convert the fibre optic signals sent from the exchange to electric digital signals that are sent via copper wires (known as the local loop) to your property.
If you are close to where BT choose to put one of these FTTC (Fibre To The Cabinet) cabinets, you will probably be able to get faster broadband speeds.
But even if you are close to one of BT's existing green cabinets today, and BT choose not to upgrade it to a FTTC, fibre optic cabinet, you will not get faster broadband! Population density seems to be the overriding factor that BT & CDS's 2017 Final Coverage plans are based on.
Upottery parish including Upottery, Smeatharpe and Rawridge villages, have all been left out of CDS & BT's plans and will receive no faster broadband than is currently provided today. The larger Blackdown villages of Dunkeswell (served by the Luppitt exchange) and Churchinford (serverd by the Churchstanton exchange) will however, it seems, all get faster broadband by 2017. This focus on more densely populated areas can be seen across the whole of the Blackdowns AONB and the East Devon AONB south of Honiton. So much for CDS being a "rural" broadband programme!
An on-line petition has been set up to get FTTC broadband cabinets installed in ALL Devon & Somerset villages, not just the large villages and towns. Click this link Rural Broadband Petition to sign the petition and please encourage others to add their names as well.
Do you know where the telephone exchange that serves you is?
Click on Telephone exchange locations to find out.
An FTTC cabinet typical of those you will see in Taunton, Wellington and Honiton. When these cabinets are installed at the roadside or on grass verges, BT tend to stick on them a poster as seen in the picture proclaiming "Fibre Broadband is here". Will these boxes ever be seen in Upottery parish?
Amazingly, the 2017 Future Coverage Map shows that Princetown in the middle of Dartmoor will get FTTC faster broadband by 2017 while the villages of Upottery, Smeatharpe and Rawridge will not, even though the number of customers connected via the Princetown exchange is smaller than both the Upottery and Churchstanton exchanges (see below). Could it be that BT are counting all the prisoners in Dartmoor Prison as part of their cunning plan for who will and who will not get faster broadband? The two maps overlaid below are taken directly from the CDS website and clearly show the Princetown exchange to be in a blue area which will get FTTC broadband, whilst Upottery, Smeatharpe and Rawridge are in a white area which will not get FTTC broadband, despite the fact that the Princetown exchange is smaller that either of the Upottery, Churchstanton or Luppitt exchanges which serve the parish of Upottery. (See Basic Exchange Information below)
What are CDS trying to hide?..............
In an article in the Midweek Herald, October 16, a spokesman for Connecting Devon & Somerset has said, "To map the final coverage map onto an ordnance survey map and infer that an area will receive no improvement in broadband speed is misleading and inaccurate". If that is the case, why do CDS not show a more accurate map such that websites like this would not then have to do their job for them....What are CDS trying to hide? The maps above are as accurate as they can be, given the poor quality of the Final Coverage Map published by CDS on September 20, 2013. See Why can't we know what's planned?
Could this be the future for broadband in the Blackdown Hills if action is not taken?........
Map of broadband download speeds for the six months to 21/10/13, as mapped for our parish area on the website
Please measure your download speed using the speed checker on this website and enter your postcode and ISP details when asked so that www.upottery.com can build a complete picture of speeds across the Blackdown Hills and show them on this website.
Thank you - Editor.
Further reading and background information on rural fibre optic broadband:
A group set up in East Devon by EDDC Councillor, Ian Thomas to bring faster broadband to the villages of Axmouth, Combpyne, Rousden and Uplyme
A group set up in the South Hams area of Devon to bring faster broadband to the South Hams. This group is seeking funding to lay its own fibre optic cables through the governments Rural Community Broadband Fund.
The website of the governments Rural Community Broadband Fund. Applications for this fund closed in June 2013 (before CDS published the 2017 Final Coverage map). The website does suggest that future European funding may in future become available for locally driven fibre broadband schemes, but no specific details are currently available.
The Connecting Devon & Somerset website where the 2017 CDS Final Coverage map is published
BDUK website - the government department that is part funding the CDS programme along with Devon & Somerset County Councils
Computer Weekly article on which "rural" areas of the UK are getting funding for faster broadband (like CDS). BDUK money includes money from the EU as well as the UK. All BDUK projects went to open tender and all BDUK projects have gone to BT!
Article slaming BDUK for incompetance in how faster broadband contracts have been awarded
House of Commons Public Accounts Committee criticism of the way £250M of public money has been contracted out to BT in a monopoly of rural faster broadband.
B4RN or Broadband 4 the Rural North. A locally run project in North Lancashire to bring fibre optic broadband to homes, funded by the sale of shares.
A Youtube video of rural broadband case studies in Europe. The video is long (and will be difficult on slow broadband) but if you take the slider to 44 minutes and 10 seconds in, there is the Lancashire farmers wife who set up the B4RN project, talking on a video link about how local people have done what BT failed to do. A brilliant "down to earth" speaker who demonstrates what can be achieved when a community becomes engaged!
A BT article on the use of overhead broadband fibre cables hung on poles in Falmouth in 2012.
Lots of information about broadband - independant of BT
On line catalogue of a manufacturer (one of many) who make optical fibre cables specifically designed for overhead mounting, with span lengths of up to 500metres when carried on electricity pylons.
BBC article summarising schemes in rural broadband dead areas.
MPs decsribe rural broadband as a "rip-off"
Computer Weekly article on the 10% of the population (90% IN UPOTTERY) who will not get access to FTTC broadband
Computer Weekly article indicating that villages in "white" areas which could be in the "Final 10%" can suddenly be areas where BT provide FTTC broadband when they find the locals are doing their own thing to get fast broadband to residents
A paper on the US Federal Communications Commission website which compares satellite and fibre broadband technology and makes the point that "While recent advances have increased satellite capacity, the capacity available on an entire satellite is much smaller than that available on a single strand of fiber."