Click on the questions below to reveal the answers:
You may be one of the lucky ones in the parish and you may be happy with the performance of your broadband connection.
But many people in the parish have non-existent, slow or variable connections which seriously affect their ability to use the internet.
The reason is that many of us are too far from our BT telephone exchange in Earby and typically broadband performance degrades the further
that you are from the exchange because of the long length of copper (or sometimes aluminium) wires that were originally installed just for
ordinary telephone calls. Also we are not covered by Cable TV networks like Virgin Media, that provide high speed broadband to many urban areas.
To make things worse, there is also very poor coverage of the parish by high speed mobile phone systems (3G).
Yes, but unfortunately only in some areas where demand is highest. We don't feature on their plans just yet and are unlikely to for the foreseeable future. The sad and rusting BT green 'cabinet' that graces the A59 junction in West Marton is the key to our problems. Each of our properties is linked by a metal cable to this cabinet and then back to Earby. If BT were to put fibre from the telephone exchange in Earby to this cabinet then our villages would both have far better broadband performance*
* Unfortunately we are now beginning to revise our assessment
that putting fibre to this cabinet (FTTC) would be the best thing
for us anyway. We think that it still would be for much of West
Marton, but not for East Marton or many other outlying properties.
As Infinity is rolled out in other areas of the country it seems
that people are finding that "too far from the Exchange" is being
replaced by "too far from the cabinet" as the long copper cables are
not up to the job of supporting a stable high performance BT
A picture is worth a thousand words when it comes to the quality of the BT/OpenReach network. Below is a photo of a copper cable joint in a field alongside the A59 between East and West Marton. The cover of the joint is off revealing a tangled mess open to the elements. There are cattle in the field, so the wires could easily be munched at by a cow...
Earby exchange is now scheduled to be upgraded to ADSL2+ in August 2012. This should improve the broadband performance for many people who are only a few kilometres for the exchange. However on our estimate of the cable route (it is not a straight line) West Marton is around 5km and East Marton around 7km, and Greenbank is nearly 8km from the Earby Exchange. ADSL2+ theoretically extends the capability of basic ADSL by doubling the number of downstream bits. The data rates can be as high as 24 Mbit/s downstream and 1 Mbit/s upstream but just like the previous standards it will degrade from its peak bitrate after a certain distance so the performance you might get depends on the distance you are from the exchange. See the graph below. Even after the upgrade individual lines (to different properties) may not support ADSL2+. If you are a long way from your exchange, or if it is a low quality line with many joints then there may be too much noise on your phone line to enable ADSL2+.
It is likely that at some stage our local telephone exchange in Earby will be upgraded for BT infinity. The date for this has not yet been announced. Here is the latest list of north west exchanges to be upgraded in 2012.
However where exchanges have already been upgraded there are still unhappy
customers who cannot get access to the service. Just because the exchange is
upgraded it doesn't necessarily mean that BT will upgrade every 'green cabinet'
(like ours in West Marton). There are a variety of reasons for this which are
The previous government made a commitment to a 2Mb/s broadband access speed for everyone by 2012.The coalition government revised this target to be by 2015 and added an aim to have “the best superfast broadband network in Europe” by 2015. Since many parts of Europe have seen substantial rollouts of fibre to the home/business, this is a very big goal! However this doesn’t mean that the government is going to roll out a fibre network to all of us, nor is it placing a legal obligation on BT or Virgin Media to do so. The big telecoms companies are likely to provide this service anyway for the two thirds of the country that will give them a good commercial return. That leaves what is now described as “the final third” which are the areas left behind by commercial superfast broadband deployment plans. The government has allocated some funding for this final third, for rural broadband. Information about the funding available is difficult to follow as many reports seem to be spending the same £530m fund several times over. Latest reports allocate North Yorkshire: £17.8m. However it is down to “the big society” to access this funding and to make projects happen working with the smaller rural broadband service provider companies.
So basically, as individual communities, we have to decide what we want and we have to make it happen ourselves! No-one else is going to come along and force it on us. If we want it, we have to get together and fight for our share of the rural broadband funding. We also have to put together a business case which works for funding and for a rural broadband services provider.
Better broadband provides faster and more reliable access to the internet. It enables several different users within the same household or business to access a
range of applications at the same time. Web pages and applications are getting larger and more sophisticated and the services available are becoming more complex
and require higher performance connections to work. As a rural area we have access to few ‘real’ services (and no post office now) so it is even more important that
we should have access to the internet. From basic tasks such as buying stamps online, arranging parcel collections, getting shopping delivered, dealing with civic
duties such as taxing the car, keeping in touch with family & friends, getting access to information and education, through to entertainment such as using the BBC
iPlayer and downloading videos. High speed broadband also enables healthcare delivery by videoconferencing with healthcare professionals and such systems are already
being trialled in North Yorkshire. Better broadband will certainly help our local businesses too & may encourage more to move into the area providing more local
employment and encouraging younger people to stay in the area. We need to act now to put a service into place that will serve our needs into the future, as it won’t
happen overnight. Without action to improve our broadband, many of us won’t be able to access the services we need, want or are expected to use in the future.
You may have a speed of 0.5 to 2Mb/s now and think it is ok for your needs. But do you remember when you had a dial-up connection and thought that was ok for your needs? The applications available in the next few years will soon make your 2Mb/s connection feel like dial-up. Web applications will soon assume that most users are accessing the internet at the far greater speeds that are available in big cities. You wouldn’t be happy if the electricity delivered to rural properties was 12V rather than 240V. We need to have the same standard as the rest of the country for broadband too!
Superfast broadband is generally now accepted to be a broadband speed of greater than 24 Mb/s. You may also come across the phrase “next-generation access” (NGA)
which describes upgrading the existing telecommunication local network by replacing some or all of the copper cable with optical fibre as fibre can transmit data very
fast over longer distances than copper cable. Basically the closer you are to the first section of the network that is fibre optic cable, the better your broadband is
likely to be.
Because of the commercial reality of delivering a service to everyone whether they live in major cities or up hills and down dales, it has now been accepted that a mix of technologies, copper and fibre optic cable, wireless and satellite will be needed to deliver superfast broadband throughout the UK. The Independent Networks Co-operative Association (INCA) lists the different technologies in order of their desirability from fibre being the best to satellite as the final resort:
• Fibre to the premises
• Cable networks (Cable TV as exists in many major cities)
• Fibre to the cabinet (such as BT Infinity)
• Long range wireless
• ADSL and related technologies (copper cable)
The order is not based on what gives the highest broadband speeds alone, but also on the flexibility and ease of upgrade in the future because our expectations of what we can use the internet for are not going to stand still.
When planners look at putting in new roads they don’t just look at solving the current need, they look into the future and assess how much the traffic
will increase because the new road is available. It should be the same for broadband. We need to consider how our use of the internet might grow when it is a
pleasant, fast experience and assess what quality of performance will be needed then. But it is much more important that we do that in a rural situation
because this is probably a one-off opportunity for us. In the more highly populated areas that are served by the market leaders, broadband systems will be
upgraded as technology develops. But again we will be lowest priority for upgrades. That means we need to get the best solution we can now so it is
future-proof. It might be our only chance.
As far as the infrastructure is concerned basically we need to create a different way of linking our properties into the nearest fibre optic cable.
In theory it works like this: Each of our properties would be linked together either by wireless technology or by fibre optic cable to a village 'hub'
which would contain equipment to route all our internet traffic and send it on its way. From the village hub we would connect into a fibre optic trunk
route. At the other end of this fibre optic trunk route we need to connect into the internet; this will be handled by an Internet Service Provider (ISP).
We also need to find a way of funding this project. We are a small community with many scattered outlying properties. We don't have many businesses in the parish and we have no public building in the parish. These factors make it more challenging to present a good business case for supplying us with high performance broadband.
It is too early, as yet, to be able to say how much it will cost. The cost of the project will depend a lot on how many subscribers are likely to sign up to it, so we need to know how much interest there is first. The final cost to each subscriber will also depend on the type of system we are able to put in and the service provider that provides or runs it. There are now many similar projects around the country and there have been many different ways of doing things. All this will be open for community discussion when we know whether there is sufficient interest in the concept.
We have prices for the wireless broadband system which is currently under discussion. Home packages start from £12.99 for 5Mb/s. See: www.ilovebroadband.co.uk/home/packages Other options are available for up to 50Mb/s download and 20Mb/s upload.
Your landline phone bill (from BT or another provider using the BT wired connection) may have several elements. There is the ‘Line rental’, the ‘Call charges’
and if you have an internet service then there will be ‘Internet service’ charges. There are many different ways these charges may be ‘bundled’.
The proposal for the Martons Both superfast broadband will not be using any local BT infrastructure or direct BT services. If we are able to provide a new superfast broadband service then one charge could replace all the elements of your landline bill and it would be possible to stop your telephone landline contract completely if you chose to do so. That is because if you have a superfast broadband connection then you can use the internet to make and receive telephone calls using a technology called VoIP. You may well have heard of Skype which is a popular brand of VoIP service. If you use the internet to make a call to another user who is also using the internet for their phone calls, wherever they are in the world, then these calls are usually free. Video calls also become a possibility. Calls can also be made to normal telephones and mobiles cheaply. There are various ways in which you can set all this up and we will provide a lot more information on this later, before any sign-up stage. You can keep your landline if you choose to, or you could overlap keeping your old landline service until you are comfortable with the new technology.
Of course many people already use mobile phones for making and receiving phone calls whilst they are at home as well as out and about.