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Community Fibre Partnerships - Openreach Update

Thursday 7th June, 2018

Community Fibre Partnerships - Openreach Update



June 2018



As we all enjoy longer, brighter warmer days we're pleased to bring you good news about more grants that are available to help communities fund fibre. We’re delighted to be an approved provider of full fibre through the Government's new Gigabit Voucher Scheme. The scheme provides vouchers of £3,000 to support getting new gigabit capable connections for businesses, including £500 for residents where there are qualifying businesses. There’s an article below that gives more information about this, plus a link to apply.


Communities can also apply for a grant of up to £30,000 if the superfast or ultrafast fibre solution we provide includes a local school or registered charity.

Matt Lloyd, Head of Community Fibre Partnerships, Openreach



Openreach community fibre programme brings £340m worth of benefits


A recent report says Openreach's Community Fibre Partnerships (CFP) programme will lead to substantial business, social and economic benefits.


The independent report, by Regeneris Consulting, estimates the scheme will generate around £340m in benefits over 15 years – that's an average of £800,000 per community.


The report finds the business impact alone will be £158m, with broadband helping to improve efficiency and raise productivity; open access to new markets; drive new business growth and innovation; and deliver flexible working benefits.


Fibre broadband also promises to increase the value of each house in a CFP by an average of £1,700. This will help create a total of about £100m in economic benefits for residents.

The report measured the impact of CFPs on 60,000 premises in just over 400 communities. Since it was compiled, well over 100 more communities have joined the scheme so these numbers are conservative.


Matt Lloyd, who heads up the programme for Openreach, says: “The tremendous power of fibre broadband is made very clear in this report. It’s heartening to see the many benefits that these partnerships are giving to communities in so many different ways.”


“Tens of thousands of people have already benefited from faster broadband as a result of community fibre partnerships, and we’re working with hundreds more to get them connected to superfast or ultrafast broadband.”


And Regeneris estimates social, educational and health benefits will total around £80m, as residents gain access to online tools for things such as e-health and learning.


Simon Hooton, Director at Regeneris Consulting, said: “Despite delivery challenges in more rural areas, high speed broadband is vital to the prospects of communities across the UK. This report shows the breadth and scale of benefits generated when you bring high speed connectivity into those communities for the first time.”

The evidence from the latest research, and from residents and businesses themselves, is that broadband opens up new opportunities which enhance people's lives and can have a positive impact on their health and the environment around them.


Openreach engineer



Get £3000 per premise, for ultrafast broadband


The Government's Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has launched a nationwide Gigabit Voucher Scheme whereby firms with 249 employees or less can claim £3,000 each to get a full fibre ultrafast connection.


The scheme provides vouchers to support the capital costs of getting new gigabit capable connections for businesses, or £500 to residents, to help with the costs of connecting to full fibre broadband.

You can combine vouchers toward the cost of a full fibre (i.e. an FTTP solution) delivered to communities with multiple businesses, or with a number of small businesses (and residences).


The vouchers can be put towards a full fibre Community Fibre Partnership solution with Openreach meaning firms will be able to order the highest speed connections from the broadest range of suppliers. Information on how to apply for ultrafast vouchers is via this link.


If you represent a business, or if you're a home owner with a business in your community, then you could be eligible.


Businesses based at Staffordshire's Brookside Business Park have boosted their broadband speeds with the latest Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) technology.


Roger Harris, owner of Brookside Business Park, said:


“Being a rurally based business park we have the opportunity to offer certain advantages to businesses. I have plenty of office space and lots of parking and reasonably easy accessibility. The one downside was that we didn't have very good broadband connectivity. Due to the Superfast Staffordshire partnership with Openreach we were able to get superfast broadband here reasonably quickly and it's made a fantastic difference to enable us to attract clients and to stabilise businesses that are already on the park.”


One of those businesses is Oyster Group Ltd, the digital marketing group, owned by Phil Osman.


He said: “We converted over to superfast broadband as a result of the broadband partnership at Brookside. We're now enjoying speeds of up to 80Mbps. The service has been so much more reliable and it's made a huge difference to our business.


“One of our problems was uploading files to a remote server. Now we can do in seconds what used to take us three hours using satellite broadband or 20 minutes on standard ADSL broadband.”



First community in Northern Ireland signs up for a co‑funded fibre scheme


Clintyclay Primary School and residents


Northern Ireland's first Community Fibre Partnership will provide ultrafast broadband access to a primary school and more than fifty homes and businesses on the edge of Clonmore Village in Dungannon.


Clintyclay Primary School and residents living nearby say they're currently living in a broadband black spot with download speeds averaging around 0.5Mbps. Their CFP will install FTTP technology and make ultrafast speeds of up to 330Mbps available from a number of broadband service providers. That's nearly ten times the UK national average speed. Businesses will potentially have access to speeds of 1,000Mbps.


Gordon Symington became the community lead when he contacted Openreach last July. He says: “My daughter was studying for her A Level in Computer Science and had to go to the local hotel to log on and do her homework. Our internet access at home couldn't cope with more than one person going online at a time.


“I contacted the Community Fibre Partnerships team and discovered that our community of 50 or so homes was eligible for a BT grant. We also received government funding and didn't need to look elsewhere for funds. I would recommend the scheme to other communities in the same position because it's provided us with the solution we were looking for. It's going to be a game changer.”


Fiona Hampsey is Principal of Clintyclay Primary School and hopes to have a new computer suite up and running for the new Autumn term. She says: “Right now, we can't even stream a video without buffering and the children soon lose interest with all the stops and starts.


“We're living in a digital world and our pupils haven't had the same access to digital learning opportunities as children living in urban areas. Faster broadband speeds will offer us so many opportunities and change the way we teach.”


“In addition to the computer suite, which is sitting ready to go, we have plans for e-twinning and building links with a school in Europe. Put simply: this Community Fibre Partnership will make a world of difference.”



Self-dig with Openreach to connect your community to ultrafast broadband