Cornwall Community Fibre

For six years since my last post on the state of my parents Superfast Cornwall Internet connection, we have been enduring roughly ~1Mb/s of upload, delivered via a mile of thin copper from a cabinet equipped with Fibre (FTTC).

I've been monitoring this via https://speed.prazefarm.co.uk/, but in the last couple of months, the upload channel has sunk to 0.75Mb/s. A lowpoint.

poor upload speeds on FTTC

Now when I Apple Facetime my parents not only am I unable to clearly see them, but now audio drops out.

Annoyingly they see and hear me clearly since their download is still above 10Mb/s, but I cannot. I have been very frustrated by this situation.

Cornwall Development Company

I wrote to my conservative MP Scott Mann in January 2018 commenting on the lack of any progress regarding cheaper overhead FTTH/FTTP installs and he referred me to Julian Cowans of the Cornwall Development Company.

When the Internet started dropping four months ago, I enquired again about FTTH options.

Fibre on Demand is a FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) service available to premises connected to a fibre cabinet. It is usually expensive to install and requires a 3 year top end contract, but the details will be dependent on the ISP.

Not many ISPs offer FoD there is an FAQ which lists the ISPs we think offer it.

You could try and get a quote from them .... and perhaps investigate using a GBVS voucher to cover the costs. These Gov funded vouchers have just been upgraded to up to £3500 per business in rural areas. There is some info about the GBVS scheme at https://www.superfastcornwall.org/getting-connected/alternative-solutions/

GBVS could also pay towards a Community Fibre Partnership solution directly from Openreach. This could be a better way forward because there are 2 registered addresses at your location (Praze Farm and Barn Conversion).

I asked my ISP Andrews and Arnold to please chase this up, and they say the product is too expensive and complex for them to handle.

It would appear I need to do this myself, so I registered and filled in all the details upon the Openreach Community Leads Portal.

After waiting a month, a quote came through for about 13kGBP. My heart sank, this is an amount I can't afford.

In the email where the quote was attached, was a glimmer of hope:

There may be opportunities to further reduce the cost via self-dig however this will need to be discussed with the Customer Account Manager. See the bottom of the letter for contact details. If self-dig is an option, we will need maps and details of the land owners.

Not all projects are eligible for self-dig as it depends on many factors such as land type and area.

Of course I enquired about that option since our neighbour actually has a digger and routinely helps us out at https://www.prazefarm.co.uk/

Another option to reduce the 13kGBP fibre install cost so I could Facetime my parents were Rural Gigabit Connectivity Vouchers, aka GBVS. Allegedly there was a new Rural Gigabit Connectivity scheme to help here.

I was confused by the suppliers, the status of the EU funding, the stipulation that a SME and the seventeen step process.

WRT supplier options given by putting the post code PL30 4HZ into https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/for-residents/suppliers/, I came into contact with Rob Taylor of https://www.amvia.co.uk/ who kindly explained he could help guide me through the aforementioned bureaucracy, but the work would eventually be done by BT Openreach.

At this point, I thought I should just try avoid the middle man (Rob, I'm sorry) and focus on getting a quote with BT Openreach.

BT Openreach quote

After waiting 3 months for a self-dig quote, Matt Holmes replied saying:

We had been looking into self dig options for you but I'm afraid it doesn't look like there are any opportunity's. I have therefore requested a final offer for you.

Two weeks later the final quote came in for the same amount 12556GBP. Very disheartening.

However with new vouchers it could be as low as 4600GBP:

1 of the address is business and the other residential this means DCMS will give you £5000.00 Superfast Cornwall £3400.00 total £8400.00 leaving a balance of £4600.00

Current status

I am still mulling whether it is worth spending 4600GBP for a fibre install. Annoyingly once paying for this, I will undoubtedly need to pay rent on it too.

Other options

FTTH on the other side of a Cornish valley
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