by C.Paxton (First Draft, subject to possible amendment)
Those of us who have noted increased activity of BT Openreach vans and the laying of cables in the face of gales will be pleased to hear it confirmed that there’s good news about the deployment of Superfast Broadband in our Parish. Superfast Broadband is on its way, according to BT’s Paul Cretney:
“We are delivering two cabinets into the Crosby Ravensworth area, one near to the Village Hall in Cosby Ravensworth and a second at Maulds Meaburn. There has been some delay due to wayleave and also recovery from the floods demanded time from our resources but the cab in Maulds Meaburn Meaburn passed testing today so it will now be able to accept orders in two weeks from today.”
This means of delivery is called Fibre to the Cabinet (FTC).These cabinets will connect to the Internet via optical fibres and subscribers will be able to connect to the cabinets over their existing copper telephone wires or even via fibre from the cabinet to their home if they have the budget for that extra speed. This development is an experimental project in rural broadband Internet services delivery funded by Cumbria County Council with assistance from the European Union. Openreach won the contract through an open bidding process, it will provide the infrastructure used by the retail providers such as BT, SKY, Talk-Talk etc. to deliver Internet connectivity.
All residents are advised that both Satellite and wireless services that provide very fast internet connectivity are available already and these may present the best fast Internet solution for our more remote premises as there will likely be less speed benefit felt over the wires in Reagill Village and among the outlying properties within the Parish from these cabinets.
We don’t know yet how good their experience will be, it will vary according to their distance from the cabinets and their service won’t be as fast because the signals have so much further to travel. There may be a noticeable improvement or not, but for Superfast Speeds , i.e. 24 Mbps download and higher, you may want to seek service from Lonsdale Net or a Satellite Internet provider. Reagill has a working example of a Lonsdale Net system and the users say they’re very happy with it. If sufficient interest exists to run a fibre from one of these cabinets either to a relay mast or other hub in Reagill then that could be a possibility.
The experimental nature of the project
Openreach will be using proprietary technology to deliver the broadband service and collecting data to improve their understanding of the technology with a view to maintaining and enhancing the performance of the technology.
Strength of signal is lost gradually over distance, this phenomenon is called attenuation, so people in different locations will experience differences in speeds. The fastest speeds are expected to be enjoyed at premises within 300 meters of the cabinets, then there will be a gradual drop-off as distance over the wires takes its toll according to the laws of physics and the properties of copper wiring.
The speed uplift is expected to be significantly useful in Crosby Ravensworth and Maulds Meaburn, particularly at peak periods where the increased number of users online brings the speed down. In off-peak periods it may seem extremely fast.
The Internet, sometimes described as ‘the fourth utility’, is now essential for education, employment, entertainment, tourism, shopping, banking and Govt. communications. It’s importance is expected to grow as more of our people produce as well as consume services over the Internet. Already, most work conducted here, be it voluntary or paid, is facilitated by the Internet in some form. Satellite navigation makes home delivery and travel far easier. Health and Social Care is expected to rely upon Internet connection more and more. Cumbria Neighbourhood Watch members use the Internet to organise public response against criminal activity. Cumbria Community Messaging means that organised crime now has to reckon with an organised public response as well as remote camera technologies and connected alarm systems.
Why is the speed boost necessary in the village centres you may wonder? That’s where most of our public buildings are located, our school and 2 out of 3 village halls are near cabinets. At the moment Internet use within families is increasing as people simultaneously use the service over different devices, if you have 3 people using the service at once doing different things, one child watching videos, a second doing homework assignments and mum or dad’s shopping or working online for example, then you’ve got competition for the bandwidth within the home. Now consider that the same thing is happening throughout the area and you have competition for the bandwidth on the local exchanges too. Yes, it’s happening across the whole country, so the services slow down, this service competition is called ‘contention’, and contention results in poor quality user experience, frustration and opportunity cost.
Our MP for Penrith and the Border, Rory Stewart has been campaigning for improved communications technology since 2010 with his broadband conference at Rheged. It was our fervent hope that his vision of this now essential utility be made available to people in rural areas via central community hubs. His ‘Parish Pump’ analogy of service to communities enables rural communities such as ours to compete with urban populations at the cutting edge of service industry delivery.
More information will be forthcoming in due course and will be posted here and in The Link, also available from:
Broadband Champion Crosby Ravensworth Parish : Adam Clarke
Assistant Broadband Champion for Reagill : David Hayward
Remote Assistant to Crosby Ravensworth Parish Broadband Champion: Charles Paxton firstname.lastname@example.org
Parish Council Chair: Joan Raine