Rural Broadband in Cheshire

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1 Matthew Hartley (Gawsworth Parish Council) September 2015 Keep up to date

2 Why do we have problems and what are other people doing to fix them?

3 What is the problem? Superfast broadband has rapidly become a basic requirement in many homes, supporting education, e-commuting, staying in touch with family, streaming television, gaming and much more! Many communities are only able to get broadband speeds up to 2 Mbps. The general causes of poor broadband speed are Aging and poor quality underground and over-pole cabling. Distance from telephone exchange where no fibre upgrade has been carried out. Distance from the Green Fibre Cabinet where fibre upgrade has been carried out. BT commercial fibre rollout and the Connecting Cheshire supported fibre rollout are mostly addressing the easier to reach communities many rural communities are left out. Superfast Broadband in many rural (and some not so rural) communities still remains a pipedream!

4 What has been happening to try and solve it? Connecting Cheshire has invested 28.5m with BT on the Fibre Broadband rollout (Phase 1) addressing superfast connectivity for up to 96% of Cheshire. Connecting Cheshire is investing an additional 6m, including 600k from the Rural Community Broadband Fund, with BT on the Superfast Extension Programme (Phase 2) addressing connectivity for up to 98% of Cheshire. Numerous enthusiastic community groups have investigated alternative solutions to bridge the divide with limited success.

5 What options have been investigated? Direct discussion with BT about community funded projects discussions generally unsuccessful or prohibitively expensive. Alternative superfast broadband providers such as Virgin Media or Giga-Clear. They consider that many of the rural locations are not commercially viable. They generally require significant public works such as digging roads and verges. Satellite and 4G internet services - more commonly available, however high monthly costs and relatively low data caps. Wireless superfast broadband services modern wireless technology allows superfast connectivity (in excess of 50 Mbps) in challenging areas, fast becoming a preferred option in rural areas. Community Wireless or Fibre projects while entirely possible, large scale volunteer-led ongoing support and maintenance would likely be impractical for such a relied on service.

6 What options have been investigated?

7 Who is interested in what's going on? Gawsworth North Rode Eaton Sutton Rainow Bosley Mottram Prestbury Siddington Haughton Marton Wildboarclough Lower Withington Wincle Connecting Cheshire! Audlem Norton in the Hales

8 What can we as local communities do to fix this ourselves?

9 Where do we go from here? My expectations are fairly low, personally I don t think that many of the hard to reach areas are going to be addressed by BT. The remaining option is to find an alternative solution ourselves. Other fibre providers not interested, too difficult or not commercially viable. Satellite and 4G costly and generally low data caps. Community fibre projects (e.g. B4RN) complex implementation, large amount of digging and on-going management is challenging. Community wireless projects possible but on-going management is challenging. Fixed Wireless Providers In my opinion the most practical way forward, low implementation costs, easy to build the wireless network as need arise, modern equipment provide high performance. Wireless success stories include Wild West Net (Devon), Boundless (Lancashire), AB Internet (Lincolnshire) After discussion with several local (and some not so local) wireless providers I arrived at Vispa!

10 Who are Vispa and why them? Vispa are an established internet service provider based in the North West for over 15 years. Vispa have a wealth of experience using modern wireless technology and delivering fixed wireless solutions. Vispa have successfully operated similar commercial wireless broadband solutions in the Warrington area for several hundreds of homes. All Vispa staff are based at offices in Cheshire and are highly experienced in dealing with every aspect of the services they provide. Vispa an established internet service provider that already have the systems to support their customers (e.g. online portal for usage, ordering, billing etc.) They are excited about the opportunity to expand their business while helping address the lack of super-fast broadband in our local area.

11 How does the technology Vispa use work? Vispa typically create a point-of-presence on a mast at a vantage point (e.g. Sutton Common) Point-to-point wireless technology is used to provide a high-speed internet connection between the point-of-presence and Vispa s main office in Wythenshawe. Point-to-multipoint wireless technology is used at the point-of-presence to distribute internet connections to consumers. Wireless client devices are used to connect homes to the point-of-presence. Line of sight to a transmitter is required but challenging areas can utilise small repeater stations.

12 What do they provide? Vispa provide the following standard offerings Home Light ( 19.95) Up to 10 Mbps download / 2 Mbps upload 100Gb peak usage Home Premium ( 29.95) Up to 60 Mbps download/ 2 Mbps upload 200Gb peak usage Small Business ( 39.95) Up to 60 Mbps download/ 60 Mbps upload 500Gb peak usage Installation costs are from depending on contract length. Packages all come with. Unlimited overnight usage Static IP address included Free VispaTalk VoIP Line Free AVG Internet Security 2013 UK customer support 12 or 18 Month Contract Free Standard Wireless Router Option for premium Vhub Router that has integrated VispaTalk functionality

13 How do we know it works? Vispa already successfully run fixed wireless broadband services for several hundred homes in the Warrington area. Vispa have carried out several sets of testing to determine the possible speed available. Successfully connected a wireless internet back-haul connection between their main office in Wythenshawe and Sutton Common at ~400 Mbps. Successfully connected a wireless client in Gawsworth to Sutton Common at ~140 Mbps Successfully gained a connection to the internet from Gawsworth via Sutton Common wireless back-haul at ~90Mbps.

14 What is needed to provide this service to our communities!? To deliver superfast wireless broadband services a central transmitter need to be constructed. A small mast needs to be built, suggested size would be 9 meters high. (See picture) Telegraph poles are typically between 8 and 10 meters high. Electricity pylons are typically between 30 and 50 meters high. Sutton Common BT tower is approximately 50 meters high. A piece of land in a suitable location needs to be found, approximate size 25 sq. meters (260 sq. ft.). A planning applications need to be developed and submitted (and passed). The mast and cabinets need to be constructed and electricity connection provided. Vispa need to install and configure their equipment on the mast.

15 The challenges ahead!? Would the communities support the proposed solution. Can we gain sufficient demand registrations to satisfy Vispa we re serious about wanting the solution. Applications for mast type structures tend to be unpopular with local residents, how do we allay concerns of local residents with an objection to a new mast. Where do we find a suitable location for the proposed mast.

16 The challenges ahead!? Sutton Common tower would be the perfect spot but it s owned by BT and prohibitively expensive to use. Can we get a planning application approved in the proposed location. Is there funding available from Leader or Connecting Cheshire to support this? Is there other support available for a project like this?

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