Broadband and Mobile Phones
Colwinston Fibre Optic Broadband - Updated 26th August 2021
We have 28 properties connected directly to the main fibre cable on the A48. All of the remainder on the 01656 exchange are connected by copper to the fibre cabinet by Seasons. The few on the Cowbridge exchange are only copper to the exchange. It appears if you are near to the cabinet you get up to 50mbs but as the copper cable gets longer the signal weakens. Also there are reports of lower performance at busy times. By 2025 the copper cables will be obsolete (most of us on the Cowbridge exchange have given up and are using 4G, VOIP and mobiles) and OR will expect everyone to use VOIP phones - see FAQ's. We do not currently know the timing of the cutoff or what will happen to houses not connected to fibre. They will have to be connected eventually, but who pays?
After prolonged discussions between OR and the Community Council over two years OR have now given us a proposal to take fibre cable to each house in Colwinston. The cost will be £170k and the UK Government will pay. But we have to justify the expense by enough properties being prepared to sign up for a full fibre connection for a minimum of one year. We need approximately 150, perhaps less if enough businesses sign up. A qualifying business must be registered at the claiming address. So working from home does not qualify as a business.
All internet providers supply a connection package with a wide range of performances. The cost varies with the performance required. As an example the EE website is very helpful, but I am sure the others would only be too pleased to help.
What we need initially are the email addresses of everyone who wishes to connect to FOB. One per house. Alun Austin has the village database of emails so would anyone who has not given their address to email@example.com please do so. We can then send you, via Alun, the details about the scheme and what is needed. Alun assures confidentiality.
The information needed to complete our application is here. We need a person from each property who wants to sign up to send the information to firstname.lastname@example.org
A list of properties is here. Please check to make sure you are included if you want full fibre.
• If OR have to dig up my garden/drive do they re-instate it. Yes it is part of the contract.
• Testing existing broadband speed - latest is that we don't need to fill it in. OR failed to tell me that!
• "Do you wish to apply for vouchers?" the answer is yes. This is how OR will be paid by the Government
• Telephone number - the number of the landline so that they can test the speed.
• Cost - We pay nothing for the fibre to the house. There will be virtual vouchers from the Government which you send on to OR but there is no money involved from us. There will be a cost from a provider but this is just the same as when you sign up now, often you can get connected for free.. Monthly costs vary with the speed you choose. See the EE website as a good example.
• Speed will be up to 1 gigabyte per sec, but may be limited by provider.
• The cables to the houses will be as now. Older properties overhead and the more recent underground.
• FTTP - fibre to the premises. Best performance, consistency and reliability
• FTTC - fibre to the cabinet and copper to the premises. Better than copper to the exchange. Performance is very dependent on the distance from the box.
• VOIP - voice over internet protocol. Will, to all intents and purposes, be the same as existing phones and you can use your existing BT type phones and probably number. It's just a small box connected into the router/modem.
• OR - Openreach
Please ask other questions and we will find the answers and put them here. Use the email@example.com email address please.
Mobile phones - the company who propose to provide the booster have applied for the tranmission licence for the roof of the school. Don't worry it is not a mast, just a pint sized bit of kit.
March 2021 - progress on broadband is still non existent. Alun Cairns is helping so maybe we can see some progress soon
20th Jan 2021
Broadband - 20 properties in the village have been chosen by BT to be connected directly to fibre and although we know who we don't have a clue as to why they were chosen. All attempts to find out have failed. At least that's some progress. A resident reports he has found out that the rest of the village will be connected soon. OR and BT say they know nothing of this. They say we will contineu the process of applying through the CCC to OR. We will continue to chase using Alun Cairns and Jane Hutt and will report back here when we have some information.
Mobile phones - the company planning to connect a central unit to the mobile systems of all providers has not been able to carry out their tests due to the virus restrictions. We are hoping we can make some progress as soon as the restrictions are eased.
OR have included parts of Llysworney, Llandow, Penllyne and Pentre Meyrick and we would have to pay for digging up the road!!!!!!!!!!! We have sought help.
The good news is that at Twmpath we have gone ahead with 4G and get between 25 and 70 mbs. With BT we had 3.
4G Broadband and Mobile Phones
Openreach are moving very slowly in considering our request to install fibre to each house in the village for properties on the 01656 exchange. Coronavirus and re-organisations at OR have not helped, neither have the changes in the grant system.
So we have been looking at an alternative using the 4G mobile phone system which would also include ensuring good reception for mobile phones in the village. A company called Astra Broadband of Abergavenny are helping us. They install the powered aerial on the outside of a property which provides over 30mbs broadband. The cost is £960 installed and approx £48 per month for unlimited broadband, all including VAT. Also included is ongoing technical support, See below and their website for more information.- www.astrabg.co.uk. There is a WG grant of £800 available which they handle.
We need to establish the level of interest in the village before a mobile provider will proceed.
Would someone from each property, including those on the 01446 exchange, please answer the following questions and send their replies to firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Would you consider wireless 4G High-Speed broadband within unlimited Data and no speeds restrictions as your permanent alternative to your existing copper connection?
4. The piece of equipment that connects you to the 4g internet is a small grey device about 6 inches in diameter and 5 inches deep which would be attached discreetly to your wall, would you be happy with this?
5. Can you currently get a mobile signal in your home?
6. Is the signal satisfactory?
7. Which network is it?
8. How many devices such as computers and tablets do you have which you want connected to the internet in your home?
9. Do you try to run a business from home?
10. How long do you have left on your current contract?
All personal information will only be used for the purpose of this survey and only a summary will be given to anyone outside of the CCC.
“Astra Broadband Group Ltd is a Welsh Company that for the last nearly three years has been delivering individual bespoke High-Speed Broadband solutions via the 4G mobile network to clients throughout Wales, nearly 400 in some of the most isolated areas imaginable
We have recently been delivering individual 4G solutions to residents adjacent to Colwinston and who are now enjoying Superfast speeds in excess of 30Mbs.
If any resident would wish to explore the possibility for an individual solution we would be delighted to speak with them”.
Update Early July 2020
We have been working with OR since last year on improving the broadband in the village, but due to a re-organisation at OR, and the lockdown, things have moved very slowly. They have now come back with a figure for installing fibre to each house in the village of £410,857.00!: Last year they indicated a likely cost of £40K. There are no other details at the moment.
We are trying to find out why it has gone up by a factor of 10 since the original estimate as the size of the village is still the same! It is possible they now plan to bury the cables and include all of the outliers which would explain the increase. We are investigating and will find out what, why and what can be done about it. Obviously £410k is a non starter.
We have spoken to Astra who have installed 4G in a number of locations in the Vale, including Pwll Y Wrach. They report a very good Broadband speed. Two other properties in the village on the Cowbridge exchange are awaiting news of a grant so that they can have the 4G kit installed. The current speed for some is as low as 2mbs and Astra tested 4G at 30+.
Astra are talking to two mobile phone providers on our behalf about installing a mast, or similar, in the village which would provide phone and 4G coverage. The providers say they are interested.
We will need to establish the level of interest in the village to give the providers some idea of what the level of business is in it for them.
We will keep you posted.
Astra Broadband website www.astrabg.co.uk