Wessex Internet

We have enough business vouchers and Wessex Internet are taking orders for domestic customers. They are aiming to install fibre to the premises (FTTP) by the summer. Here is your chance to have a decent broadband speed at a reasonable cost.

From Mar 2019 Pen Paper:

Following the update in the December Pen Paper enough small businesses have registered for Department of Digital Culture Media & Sport (DCMS) vouchers to enable the scheme to proceed. This is really good news and meant that Wessex Internet who will be building the infrastructure, held a well attended meeting at the Village Hall on the 5 Feb to introduce themselves, explain where they are up to and say what happens next.

They are beginning to approach landowners along the preferred routes for the cabling, to seek the necessary permissions to access the land to play and bury the cable. All being well, they plan to start physically laying the infrastructure in April and for hopefully we could have a full fibre to premises service as soon as this summer! This will put us in the top 5% of communities in the Country (including urban areas) having real superfast broadband with up to a gigabit capable service, not bad for a sleepy hamlet! But first things first…

There is still time to apply for a voucher if you are a small business (as described in December this can be very small, someone letting out a property, an author, handyperson or gardener for example). This will attract £2500 to the scheme and help underpin it at no cost to you and you will receive a fibre to premises connection to the infrastructure. 

If you are not a business but want to be part of the scheme, the DCMS offer a number of vouchers to homes in the community where the scheme is based. The residential voucher is worth £500 and covers the cost of linking an individual house to the infrastructure. It is based on an average cost of connecting a house taking into account economies of scale by doing this when the infrastructure is installed. In practice some properties would cost a bit less and some would cost more if not covered by a voucher, depending on distance from the main cable and other variables. You will be expected to pay the VAT element of the voucher at £100. If you want to connect at a later date you will have to pay whatever the whole cost to your individual property is. In many cases this could be more than £500 since the men and machines would have to return.

You will also need to switch your broadband service to Wessex Internet and they have a range of packages on offer at different prices. Even if you have applied as business you can choose a residential package unless you are big enough to benefit from a business package. There is the option of switching phone calls to the internet too to save on the BT line cost.

For further information look at the Wessex Internet website at:  www.wessexinternet.com/community-schemes/penselwood where you can register your interest.

Also feel free to ask any questions to one of your dogged fast broadband hunters: Geoff Parcell 841216, Jane Ashman 841481 and Tony Harrison 840697. 

Dec 2018 Pen Paper:

For longer than I wish to think, we, that is to say, Jane Ashman, Geoff Parcell and Tony Harrison, have been endeavouring to get super-fast broadband into the village. The last plan, you may remember, was to make use of public funds (Gainshare) from Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) to fund Openreach to deploy fibre connections into the village using a Community Fibre Partnership project. This came to a shuddering stop when we were told that a mystery company had informed CDS it had a twinkling in its eye that one day it might begin planning to bring super-fast broadband to Pen.  Public funds cannot be spent when private enterprise says it is going to invest.

The three of us are nothing if not tenacious, not to be confused with stupid, and we have been seeking other ideas. We think we have got one, thanks to the Department Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.  In March 2018, it announced a Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (GV) to help expand the availability of gigabit connectivity to small business (SME). The value of the fund is £67m and a third of this is already allocated. If we move fast, we can get some of this funding to roll-out our own Gigabit Broadband in Pen Selwood – that is fibre optic cable able to run at gigabit speeds for the whole village. Our target is at least 26 SMEs to apply and receive a GV. If we can get these we will build out the network across the village with minimal or no cost to us.

If you are running a business from home you can apply to get a voucher worth up to £3,000 to upgrade your broadband to a fast and reliable connection over gigabit capable infrastructure. For our purposes, the enterprise does not need to be a registered company. You can be a sole trader such as a gardener, author, builder, tree surgeon, handyman, artist, landlord, market trader, window cleaner, domestic cleaner, farmer and so on. If Jane, Geoff or Tony have not yet spoken to you and you think you fit this description call one of us now, so we can help you apply for a voucher - Geoff 841216, Jane 841481 or Tony 840697.

Our current focus is on ‘businesses’ because the vouchers they claim will fund the building of the network. Once the core network is funded other homes can sign up for a £500 voucher to pay for most of the cost of linking to the fibre. This will give you fibre to the house providing a 100Mb/sec service. We’ll be in touch soon.

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