Moy residents should read this before attending the Cadispa presentation meeting on 16th November (see also "Important Meeting for Moy Residents" below).
Dear Moy Residents,
One of the main concerns brought up by Moy residents in the recent CADISPA Study is the poor broadband. The slow broadband is having a negative impact on both local business and family life as broadband becomes an ever more important utility.
Currently BT Openreach, the main service provider has no plans to upgrade Moy as part of the Digital Scotland Programme during the first Phase. Although BT is a private company, there are no plans identified that would provide a better level of speed from the existing network thus improving service and has no current service level obligation to address this.
There has been discussion at UK level of introducing a Universal Service Obligation on Broadband which would require every premise to have access to a minimum of 10mbps. This is yet to be agreed and there are no timelines on this. Therefore whilst change in the future may happen it does leave the question as to how the service will be improved in near future, and whether we be proactive in driving change ourselves or simply wait for future developments in the network.
Strathdearn Community Developments have been exploring the various options.
Option 1 – a wireless solution:
Community Broadband Scotland (CBS) is one of the main facilitators for delivering broadband to low population density areas where cost is prohibitive for private investment. A wireless system costs around £1,000-1,500 per property (to set up according to Scotnet) and the cost of the broadband per month will depend on the amount of subscribers and data customers are using. A wireless system would cost around £61,250 (based on 49 properties each paying £1,250) and would deliver speeds of around 20mbps (in order to keep system affordable). Up 89% of this could be funded through CBS, but this will require a thorough feasibility study and is likely to take 1-2 years before build commence.
Whilst the wireless solution is a cheaper solution it does require direct line of sight for the signal to work properly so trees and stormy weather can affect it, and users would not have the choice of network provider, so would have to stick with the community broadband service provider. The community would own the system but would also be responsible for maintaining and upgrading, although this can be contracted out to service providers such as Scotnet. Please also note if a community chooses community scheme. Customers will remain able to have access to the existing ADSL broadband through Openreach, but currently speeds on this network are poor within the area.
Option 2 – BT Openreach:
Strathdearn Community Developments has also been in touch with BT Openreach directly. The Openreach proposal would be to install 3 new Fibre cabinets subject to survey and planning agreement, one at Dalmagarry (delivering to properties estimated speeds between 1.6-60.2mbps) and 2 cabinets in Moy (24.7 –80.0mbps and 27.8 –42.6mbps).
The Openreach gap funded option will cost around £100K to implement. Although each property can claim up to £350 Better broadband vouchers. If we get every property to register, we could claim up to £17K off the total. Realistically it is likely that the total cost will be around £85K (£15K of vouchers). Openreach will own the network fully, therefore being future proofed and will continue to repair and maintain thereafter as they do today. This will take up to 1 year to implement as this will also have to go through planning and design process. There is no obligation on anyone to take fibre when it is in the village, but we anticipate a significant majority would want to access the benefits available from this opportunity.
Strathdearn Community Developments’ Recommendation:
Having done quite a bit of research on this, we believe fibre is the way forward and believe that having an open wired network is a good thing for allowing residents both choice of over 100+ service providers and reliability. Locals will also not need to worry about their neighbours bill potentially increasing if ever they wish to cancel their broadband service.
Eventually I would like to see every property connected-up to fibre to premises and the Openreach solution will go a long way towards doing this. This solution proposed from Openreach, allows future growth in the community for new homes or even being able to work from home, which currently is near impossible. Additional benefits would include having access to automatic network developments which will see speeds of anywhere between 300 to 500mbps being available as standard as the technology progresses.
However, this is a significant investment and Moy residents should carefully consider whether this is something they wish to back or not?
Strathdearn Community Council has arranged a meeting on 16th November at 7pm in the Strathdearn Hall at which CADISPA will make a Presentation to the Moy community on the Moy Survey Report.
Immediately after the close of this meeting, Strathdearn Community Developments will hold a further meeting to consider the Broadband issues further; following which Moy residents will be asked to vote.
Firstly, on whether you wish to make Broadband a top priority; and if so:
Secondly, between Options 1 and 2 above.
Reasons for urgency:
planning does take time (BT option which is the quickest solution could take around a year before fully operational) and the Better Broadband Deal grant support finishes on 31st December 2017 and A9 dualling plans could also potentially jeopardise plans, particularly at Dalmagarry. However, most importantly, urgency is required because businesses and residents in the Moy area are really suffering, so a solution needs to be found as soon as possible.
On behalf of Strathdearn Community Developments