Superfast speeds for New Forest homes after broadband boost
Hundreds of homes in the New Forest will gain access to superfast broadband speeds thanks to plans by Hampshire County Council and its partners, to upgrade four broadband cabinets, which have now been approved.
The plans, to benefit more than 400 properties, have been approved by stakeholders including Natural England, New Forest National Park Authority, Verderers of the New Forest, Forestry Commission and New Forest District Council.
Those in line to enjoy broadband speeds of at least 24 megabits per second (Mbps) include, approximately:
- 200 properties in East Boldre near Hatchet Pond
- 90 properties in Burley
- 90 properties in South Gorley near Fordingbridge
- 60 properties in Brockenhurst
A 56-day statutory notice period for public comments will run until 31 March before any work can take place.
As you may have seen, the focus of the New Forest District Council stand at the New Forest Show was ‘Helping Local Business Grow’. One of a number of attractions and exhibits was a large map of the New Forest showing planned and installed broadband improvements up to and including 2018.
Better Broadband is clearly an important element to doing better business in the district. Not just for web developers and people wishing to access Skype etc. (although this is of course important) but also from the increasing number of people that wish to remove the daily commute and work from or at home.
Recognising and understanding this we asked visitors to the NFDC marquee to place a dot on the map to show whether their perceived broadband was good (green), adequate (amber) or poor (red). The dots placed show that there’s still work to be done before many people feel they have the broadband speeds and quality of service they require.
Of the dots placed on the map, just over half (53%) stated that their perceived broadband speed was poor with a further 25% rating is as adequate. Whist it is acknowledged that this map may be a little self selecting in terms of those who are motivated to contribute towards it, it does all the same highlight the areas where pockets of poor broadband exist.
During the Show members of the Broadband Development Group (including Hyde Community Projects) spoke to a number of local residents and businesses. One of the issues raised was also the poor mobile phone coverage in the New Forest, particular 3 and 4G for use of data. For those who see this as a potential solution to fixed line broadband, this also raises issues.
The Hyde Community Projects Team were there to launch the first version of the Brand New Forest Community Broadband Toolkit; a self help and simple guide aimed at any community wishing to following the footsteps of Hyde and Ellingham Parishes to create their own broadband solution. This guide is very much a first version and will evolve in the weeks and months ahead, not least of all as the Hyde project itself develops. If you’re interested in considering this route you can download a copy of the guide for free via the link below. Further updates as the Toolkit develops will be posted here on the news section of the Brand New Forest website.
Download the Brand New Forest Community Broadband Toolkit
Our thanks to Hyde Community Projects for their contribution towards both the Broadband Toolkit and the New Forest Show exhibit.
Hyde Community Projects reach major milestone
We have some fantastic news to report regarding broadband in the New Forest. Hyde Community Projects (HCP) who have been working towards their own privately funded solution have now received sufficient pledges to allow them to place their order with BT OpenReach.
Brand New Forest Community Broadband Toolkit
Over recent months, Hyde Community Projects (covering the parishes of Hyde and Ellingham, Hardbridge & Ibsley) have been working to overcome the issue of poor broadband speeds and coverage in their community.
They have identified themselves as being in the ‘Final 5%’ or in other words, not scheduled for improvements either through market forces or government funded uplift before 2019.
As such, they have launched a community funded scheme to provide improved broadband to 475 premises making this the largest project of its type in the UK.
After many months of hard work and pledge collecting amongst local businesses and residents, they are approaching their required target, a target which would allow them to place their order and begin the work to improve local online access.
This work is seen to an exemplar of what can be achieved in the local community with hard work and a will to improve the existing infrastructure. At the same time it is recognised that there are other communities in the New Forest who are and will be without superfast broadband come the end of 2018 when the current government contracts ends. It is therefore recognised that as well as the Hyde Community Project initiative, others could follow a similar model.
In line with this, the Brand New Forest Community Broadband Development Group are working with other local organisations to produce a Community Broadband Toolkit. This will not be a technical manual but will instead be a simple step by step guide for creating and delivering a crowd funded solution.
This work is ongoing but will be launched on the New Forest District Council stand at this year’s New Forest Show in late July. The toolkit will be widely available including on the Brand New Forest website and will seek to ensure that those communities wishing to improve their broadband provision are equipped with the information to do so.
For further information on the Hyde project see www.hydecommunityprojects.org.uk
For further information on the production of the Toolkit please contact Matt Callaghan, Business Development Officer at New Forest District Council on 023 8028 5371 or email email@example.com
The parishes of Hyde and Ellingham, Harbridge & Ibsley are currently busy undertaking a project to self-fund an upgrade to their broadband service that will improve speeds for up to 475 homes.
The parishes are classed as ‘hard to reach’ and as such local volunteers have been working with Openreach to deliver a solution which the market would not otherwise cater for. Every home in the proposed area will see an improved service under this plan but around 80% of premises will receive 24Mb the threshold at which a premises is deemed to be ‘superfast’.
The cost of the project will be met entirely by local residents and therefore the more people who join in and contribute the better and less expensive it will become for all.
This is of course no small undertaking and has only been made possible by the very hard work and dedication of the project team.
This project will help to shape the New Forest Community Broadband Toolkit; a guide to help other parishes should they wish to undertake a similar scheme. This will follow in the spring.
For further details of this project and to register your interest visit http://www.hydecommunityprojects.org.uk/#!the-broadband-project-/d8xoz
Businesses in the New Forest who are working to complete claims to the Broadband Connection Voucher Scheme are encouraged to submit their applications promptly to ensure that they don’t miss out on up to £3000 worth of funding to improve their broadband provision. The grant is allocated on the first come, first served basis and demand has been very strong.
Further details including checks for eligibility can be found at www.connectionvouchers.co.uk/
Since the previous update (March 10) work has continued to progress on the GIS mapping exercise which we promised to undertake at the Minstead event in January.
The initial maps look like they’re going to give us an accurate picture of the exact broadband speeds which can be achieved here in the New Forest. This information will be vitally important as we look to assist those in areas who are not currently marked to have any funded or market provision in the foreseeable future.
Also further to the Minstead event, we’ve had a strong interest in our Broadband signup form. A strong mailing list is a key component of the idea that by working together we’re stronger. We’re aware of numerous community broadband groups, many of whom have made tremendous progress. Far from overriding this, we want to pool this knowledge and expertise so that we can ensure we’re able to move this campaign forward in the most effective manner.
Find out more on the Brand New Forest Broadband campaign here.
Following the January Broadband meeting in Minstead, the Broadband Development Group have been working towards one of the key agreed outputs of this meeting.
Those who attended will recall that in order for us to understand how we can assist those communities in the greatest need of improved broadband, we first need to understand where the greatest problem areas are. This has been tackled on two separate fronts. Firstly we have been asking members of the local community (resident or business) to upload their details to the form on the Brand New Forest website. This includes a lat/long reference so we can pinpoint exactly where they are.
The second element will use this data (and more besides) to produce a GIS map showing the reach of individual cabinets whether connected, waiting to be so or not in any current plans at this stage. We have so far mapped two individual cabinets and the broadband development group are looking at this data but all being well, we will be able to roll this work out to the whole of the New Forest and for the first time produce a detailed map of what still needs to be done.
The more information we have, the better so we still need people to complete their details wherever possible. Don’t worry if you don’t know your lat/long details, there’s a link from the form of the BNF website. Details of presentations from our meeting in Minstead along with the registration form can be found by clicking here