Progress Update May 2015

Sorry, we did an Openreach and misled you… this is not really an update on progress because there doesn’t appear to have been any! We have asked BT a number of times over the past 6 weeks for an update, as our cabinet was not enabled by the end of March 2015, as had been promised last September. Following responses saying the Hampshire Superfast Broadband Team had been contacted for information, the communications have stopped, and with only 22 commercial cabinets left to enable across the county, it’s unlikely to be because they’re too busy… unless they’re too busy deploying BDUK-funded cabinets of course.

We do have some rumours, but they are mostly contradictory, so you will for now need to guess which if any are accurate:

  1. Openreach’s contact form yielded a generic-style response on 2nd May, saying to check again at the end of January 2016, as “This is when we would estimate that you should be able to place your order, all being well”. When a similar request was made in March, the response was to check again from the end of April, though that didn’t add the comment about being able to place an order then. January 2016 would be some delay from the 6-month window previously given from September 2014 to March 2015.
  2. One fellow resident has very recently spotted engineers working on or surveying various local Openreach cabinets; a suggestion from one of these engineers was that our cabinet had been surveyed and requires a new ‘larger’ shell to be fitted – presumably to add enough room for the patching to the new fibre cabinet – although we think that seems unlikely. If anyone sees anyone working on PCP102 and can get a look inside at how much space there is, it would be useful to know.
  3. Our cabinet’s status on the Openreach site has changed back from “Coming Soon” to “Under Review”, which was its previous status, and almost implies they’re now re-reviewing whether they’ll provide us a service or not. However the other local cabinets, PCP92 in Marnell Park, PCP95 in Limes Park, and Sherfield-On-Loddon PCP15 at Taylor’s Farm have also similarly changed status, and its unlikely Openreach could abandon them all. There is some evidence that this is a step forward, and is due to Openreach conducting surveying work as part of the enablement process. Some other cabinets around the country have been reported as going straight from this state to live.
  4. It’s feasible that whilst Openreach are continuing to deploy FTTC under the BDUK programme, in part due to commercial and government commitments, they have paused their commercial rollout due to the introduction of G.Fast which is undergoing the first consumer trials this summer. G.Fast moves the hardware commonly found in an FTTC cabinet closer to homes, in smaller cabinets, at the top of telegraph poles, or inside street chambers, thus enabling speeds of up to 500Mbits, rather than up to 80Mbits with FTTC. With all of the above areas (PCP102, PCP92, PCP95 and the site at Taylor’s Farm being new-build, they should have good ducting and modern pavement chambers suitable for this technology, and it could be Openreach feel deploying FTTC commercially when they’re about to roll out this FTTC replacement technology would be a waste of resources.

One question now is whether Virgin Media can get there first; they’re going to be in the area bringing services to the extension of Marnell Park anyway, and appear to have confirmed in an email to at least one resident that they expect to cover Everest Park in their £3Bn network expansion. However how quickly this is done depends on demand, so we encourage everyone to register with Virgin Media’s Cable My Street service to put us at the head of the queue! If the 100+ people who’ve registered their interest in a superfast service all register with Virgin, we should be doing well.