First of all, we owe you an apology that you have not heard from the Dundry Broadband Group for a while. This does not mean that we have been idle or have abandoned our efforts. A lot of work has been going on behind the scenes in the past few weeks:
As outlined in my last post, we had decided that fibre was the option to go for and towards the end of January, we had some promising discussions with Truespeed Communications. They seemd to have a good plan but specifically asked us not to make it public yet. This is why we kept so quiet.
Unfortunately, it didn't work out. Week after week we were told that a decision was imminent to "switch Dundry from black to red" (i.e. to give us a definite installation timeline) until we eventually learned that it was not going to happen after all.
What a disappointment yet again!
Since we had no word from Gigaclear either, we started to concentrate our efforts on the next best solution: wireless. Several providers were approached, offers compared and discussed and it seems we now have a favoured recommendation:
Although they are located quite far from our area, they seem to be very commited and have several interesting points going for them:
- Most of their network makes use of leased fibre lines rather than shared bandwidth. This means they are totally independent from BT and can set their own technical parameters as required.
- Other providers would have an end point to their network somewhere in Bristol from where the data would have to be transmitted wirelessly up our hill. In contrast, Wight Wireless is able to make use of a fibre cable that is already present in Dundry, but not normally available to the public. This makes their solution more reliable and scaleable for the future.
- From the fibre end point in Dundry, data will be distributed wirelessly to individual homes. To achieve this, transmission equipment needs to be installed at elevated points. It makes sense to try and use our existing masts and Wight Wireless has already spoken to the owners to agree on shared use. Otherwise, a separate mast might be erected. There is also talk of possibly using the church tower.
- Earlier this week, the Dundry Broadband Group was shown a network model that has built in resilience, i.e. if one transmitter fails, others could take over until the failing one is repaired. It might also make sense to invite neighbouring parishes such as Barrow Gurney and Winford to take part so hard to reach parts of the parish may receive the service more easily.
- In addition to an Internet broadband contract, customers can have a phone line and their existing phone numbers can be ported. If a customer moves house, they can take the deal with them, even if they move away from Dundry altogether.
- Wight Wireless has spoken to Connecting Devon and Somerset and received assurance that our existing vouchers will be honoured beyond the deadline of 31st March to cover their installation.
- The voucher scheme may re-open in April, but even if you do not have a voucher, you can still take part in the network setup, in which case the installation will cost you £249.
Wight Wireless told us a lot about their equipment, network protocols and other technical details which perhaps do not need to be outlined here. It has become clear though that they aim for the best possible customer experience and know what they are doing from a technical pouint of view.
Once we have more detailed information, we will contact individual voucher holders with information on how to sign up. If you have not done so, please let firstname.lastname@example.org know that you would like to take part in this wireless project.
More details to follow soon...