Last episode from the broadband fibre network laying story that has gripped the nation (see earlier posts here and here if you missed them). I am pleased to say that it has a happy ending, and Wennington now has two more users connected by high speed link to it’s network. Shame about the 2Mps backhaul.
As I write, I understand that the Digital Britain Report has been completed and is awaiting publication on 15th June. I believe it has the 2Mbps USO clause in it, and also some support for Next Generation broadband access in rural areas. Whether this is new money or simply rebranded existing EU funding remains to be seen. Let’s hope this broadband fibre video story becomes a quaint historical note sooner rather than later.
This is episode two of the Lancashire based rural soap opera in which farmers dig for victory in the Battle of Digital Britain and Fibre To The Home. Yesterday’s post attracted a lot of attention which suggests there is a great deal of interest in this subject.
Note in this acronym infested industry I had never quite understood (I’m an innocent boy from small town Wales) what JFDI meant and obviously kept quiet about it to avoid embarrassment. Now I realise it stands for Just Farmers Digging for Internet Access! :-).
Looks like there might be a third episode coming along in this video manual on how to lay fibre. NTL et al take note!
It really does feel as if you are there when you watch this video. Good luck to all rural dwellers everywhere.
On the hills high above Wennington in Lancashire the local community is taking its internet destiny into its own hands and is laying broadband fibre.
The Wennington/Wray communities were no hopers when it came to the provision of ADSL so in 2005 they were awarded a £25k grant by the North West Development Agency to roll out a 2Mbps symmetrical mesh wifi network. The initial 12 users charged themselves £25 a month which provided a kitty for further expansion of the network to 22 endpoints.
They are now at the point where the remaining 30 homes/businesses are out of reach of wifi and the only way to get connected is by using fibre. The YouTube video, hot off the press this morning (thanks to Lindsey Annison for that), shows the first cable run being laid.
This is initially an experiment to get to understand the costs involved before deciding when to add more locations to the network.
The network is a huge boost to the quality of life in the community allowing workers to stay put instead of commuting as far afield as Manchester and Edinburgh.
It is clear from the numbers here where the issue surrounding Universal Service Obligations being discussed in the Digital Britain Report reside. That initial £25k served 12 users – just over £2k each – which realistically can never hold down a business case based on £25 a month. Being generous that probably would result in £1,500 Gross Margin pa which will never repay the initial investment.
There are problems for the community in increasing the size of their 2Mbps backhaul. A 100Mbps link to Lancaster would cost £76k to install with a £64k pa ongoing cost. This is almost an order of magnitude higher than the same connectivity in large metropolitan areas that would also have many more users at the end of the line.
It ain’t going to happen without Government assistance and I believe that it is key to the economy for UKplc to provide this. Now is the time to make it happen.