Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Church could be key to faster broadband

At the Parish Council meeting on Monday 5th March, a presentation was given by Tristram Charnley of Voneus.  The meeting was attended by about 13 local residents as well as all the Parish Councillors. 

A Voneus receiver attached to
an existing tv aerial
The wireless broadband system supplied by Voneus is a 'line of sight' or 'near line of sight' system and their proposal is to put a small aerial on the top of the church tower to be linked to the fibre supply that already goes to The Steadings business park and provides plenty of bandwidth.

Each customer would also have a similar small aerial to receive the signal. The aerial is a grey circular box, no more than about 20cm (8 inches) in diameter, which can be mounted on a wall or on an existing tv aerial.

A Voneus receiving aerial
mounted on a wall near a
conventional satellite dish.
Typically, the system would provide between 30 and 50 Mbps for download and between 5 and 10 Mbps for upload.  The cost of the basic system, offering 20GB of data per month would be about £19.99 a month.  A system offering unlimited data would cost £34.99 a month.  Customers could use existing phones connected to this system and dispense with their BT landlines.

There is an installation charge but, for most potential customers in Maisemore, this would be covered by a government funded voucher scheme.  All that is needed to claim the voucher is a screenshot of a speed test of the existing installation showing that it is slower than the government's base level.

If the Parochial Church Council are happy to approve this, superfast broadband could be available in Maisemore in a couple of months.  There would be a benefit to the church, as the PCC would be paid a small amount each month for every customer served by the system.

The Church of England recently reached an agreement with the government on the principle of using churches to provide this sort of service, so there is every reason to hope that the PCC can agree this and be the catalyst for a better broadband service in the village.

Progress will also depend on Voneus receiving enough expressions of interest in the system.  This can be done through their website - www.voneus.com.

Voneus are within the government and County Council Fastershire scheme and are partners with Gigaclear.  Gigaclear will be installing a fibre system to the village at some time later this year, but their timescales have been put back due to the collapse of the construction company Carillion.  When this fibre link becomes available, it will be possible to migrate the service to that without any penalty on the Voneus contract.  The cost for the Gigaclear service will be higher as it provides an ultra-fast broadband service direct to premises, subject to a connection charge.


David Jones said...

Two grouped sets of questions please:

1. "The wireless broadband system supplied by Voneus is a 'line of sight' or 'near line of sight' system" - how far off would "near line of sight" be, would it affect speed, and would trees affect the signal? - there are potentially a lot of trees blocking the route.

2. "... a screenshot of a speed test of the existing installation showing that it is slower than the government's base level" how does one determine that? All I can find is the statement at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/broadband-delivery-uk which reads: "The Government’s Broadband Connection Voucher Scheme ran from December 2013 until October 2015. Over 50,000 vouchers for superfast broadband connections were issued to SMEs during the scheme, with 37,000 vouchers issued since April 2015 across 50 UK cities."

I have found https://basicbroadbandchecker.culture.gov.uk/index.php which states "A subsidised broadband installation is now available if you cannot access an affordable broadband service with a speed of at least 2 Mb per second." though there's no application method there. However most people in Maisemore should be able to get at least that - I get 5Mbps and people at the Maisemore end of Old Road get 3Mbps. So no subsidy for most?

David Jones said...

I'm currently on a 12 month contact running to the end of May - the projected price is near £30 after that. So £35 isn't that much more now we know that includes telephone. Is the telephone service VOIP? What are the charges - if any?

tristramc said...

VoIP services cost £8 - £11pm. In addition to unlimited UK landline calls the £11 one adds 5 free international zones. You can move your existing BT number to this service.

Speed tests above 2Mbps but below 5Mbps may qualify for a voucher. We will handle this for you. Testing at peak times is recommended.

We will do a full survey of the village to identify and solve LoS issues.

Tristram, Voneus