Broadband futures for Kingston St Mary
4 March 2017
Recently the government allocated a further £1bn to enable the next phase of delivering broadband to rural and remote communities. The published plan sees around £750m being allocated to BT to improve their existing service, and the other £250m going to other companies to deliver service where BT are currently not able, or where the investment plan with BT does not cover a specific geography.
But what does this mean for Kingston St Mary? Well, the supplier in our area who have been approved to augment or replace the BT service is a company called Gigaclear. They are a tech startup firm who intend to deliver a new 'fiber to the premise' service which will effectively replace BT Broadband. BT are very unlikely to invest farther in our area in the foreseeable future.
The Gigaclear planning phase is almost complete which should finalise the general plan and geographic areas where Gigaclear intend to deliver service. The plan is expected to be made pubic in April 2017. As of March 2017 their website states that our area is under review so I recommend that you register interest via their web site to increase our chances of getting their service earlier.
In order to deliver fiber to the premise, Gigaclear will have to dig up roads, and install new high capacity fiber using local contractors in each area. This is a lengthy process requiring approvals from various local government bodies and agencies, then the actual dig process will be lengthy and disruptive. All in all it's likely to be a few years before we see a Gigaclear service going live in our area, I've heard conservative estimates from the industry that we would likely see the service available in 2020. So in the medium term it's still viable to use a 4G service where BT is currently unable to deliver a service suitable to your needs.
In terms of costs, the Gigaclear service is currently quoted at £42 per month, with around £220 installation and activation fee. This has gone up since December so may not yet be the price we pay. This would deliver a service providing up to 50 Mbps upload and download. It's not clear whether this is a contended (shared) service where you share that 50Mbps with other households, or if it's all yours.
On the topic of CDS vouchers, there are rumours that the CDS scheme may open again in April to new applicants. CDS vouchers can be used for 4G service installations and they are likely to also be redeemable against the installation and activation fees for a Gigaclear service when this becomes available. Though it's not clear at this point whether CDS vouchers will expire before Gigaclear are ready to deliver service.
So in conclusion, if you want fast and reliable broadband and you can't wait another 3 years, I recommend signing up with Exmoor Tech at their website. With a CDS Voucher, a site survey at your home is free, and the installation covers almost all of the setup costs.
Poor broadband service: options in Kingston
Research has been undertaken by the Broadband team of the Community Plan Steering Group to compare the services provided, which will be shared with you at a meeting at the Village Hall on 19 January 2017, 20.00h. Read the info leaflet »
Please email the Broadband team at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions about these initiatives.
Vouchers for faster broadband - voucher scheme closed
Connecting Devon and Somerset has committed to bringing broadband to everyone within the programme area.
If you are not yet able to receive broadband speeds of over 2Mbps you may be able to get connected through the CDS voucher scheme. Unfortunately the scheme was terminated on 1 December 2016.