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Better Rural Broadband in North East Somerset

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1 Better Rural Broadband in North East Somerset
A Briefing Guide for Broadband Champions Wansdyke Telecom CIC, The Rickyard, Newton St Loe, Bath BA2 9BT phone: web:

2 Broadband is about communities … not about exchanges and cabinets
Who are we? We are a Community Interest Company formed by local residents with extensive telecoms and internet experience both nationally and globally. We are also local community representatives – parish councillors, village association leaders and rural broadband evangelists -- living in North East Somerset’s rural parishes and wishing to ensure we do not continue to be left behind as next generation broadband reaches our cities and urban areas. Better than what? Better than that provided currently by incumbent suppliers Better than the basic 2Mbps download service that Connecting Devon & Somerset (CD&S) are promising by the end of 2016 Better than the ‘hope’ of 24Mbps superfast broadband from CD&S by 2020 Better than the asymmetric services now & tomorrow which restrict the use of next generation applications for homes and businesses Better than any Fibre to the Cabinet service envisaged by CD&S – where service from the cabinet to the premises is determined by distance, such that people more than 1 mile away from a cabinet will get no improvement in service Better personal service – from local people who know our locality. It’s about tomorrow’s network -- today Why are we doing this? Because we care about the communities in which we live and work. We are determined to improve the way in which we can use broadband to further the protection and development of our rural communities for ourselves, our children and our children’s children. not about exchanges and cabinets What are our goals? To ensure that, within a few years, individuals and businesses in our rural communities cannot detect any discernable differences between the broadband they receive and the broadband enjoyed by our urban and city neighbours. This means that the hyperfast broadband services (100 Mbps and above) now being introduced into Bristol and hopefully soon into Bath will reach us – in the same timeframe and to the same standard of coverage. A true Fibre to the Home/Premises service. It’s about true gigabit services to all homes and businesses Will this support local industry? A vibrant rural sector in North East Somerset needs to rely on more than agriculture. With Fibre to the Home/Premises there can be: An incentive to create local high technology and internet companies who benefit from working in clean rural locations Much more reliable homeworking for all, reducing commutes into Bristol, Bath and London The development of creative companies employing the brightest talent, including graduates from Bath & Bath Spa universities It’s about creating a vibrant local economy Will this be sustainable and green? We will dig fibre once and upgrade speeds when necessary by simply replacing the electronics. All fibre will be laid underground, leaving communities unblemished by poles and wires. No use of copper or ugly telecom masts: optical fibre is made from strands of glass, only slightly thicker than a human hair

3 We believe in strong, vibrant communities, and want to strengthen ours
Who are we, why are we needed, and why are we doing this? We are a dedicated group of local North East Somerset residents with many years experience and expertise in the global telecoms and internet markets. In 2013 we formed Wansdyke Telecom as a community interest company to deliver superior telecom services -- broadband, phone, TV and mobile -- to customers in our hard-to-reach rural communities to the south west of Bath. We have strong local backing from many parish councils and ward councillors. We have the backing of the Duchy of Cornwall, a highly significant landowner in the area, across whose property many of our major fibre links will be laid. We know what it means to live in this beautiful area of North East Somerset: we live here ourselves. We know that we are not rural kinfolk, destined to be in the broadband slow-lane, but need the same facilities as those living in super-connected cities. But what about Connecting Devon & Somerset? Aren’t they supposed to be bringing superfast broadband to our rural communities? Well, yes, but…. What they are actually hoping to achieve is speeds of ‘up to’ 24 Mbit/s based on existing copper cables to deliver to premises and just using fibre in their backbone to get from exchange to cabinet (FTTC). And they are hoping to offer this service to 91% of the households and businesses across all of Devon & Somerset by the end of But …. 91% of households in the whole of B&NES are in city, major town and urban areas, with only 9% in our rural communities (ONSS statistics). So they could achieve their goal without upgrading a single rural customer to 24 Mbit/s. For the rest of us, all they are promising is 2 Mbit/s. And their Final Coverage Plan (check their website) shows no great improvements even by end 2016. What we plan to deliver is a world-class, future-proof network capable of delivering gigabit (1,000 Mbps) symmetrical uncontended broadband with fibre to the home/premise (FTTH/P), at prices less expensive than any comparable services, even where such exist. Key to our success will also be the desires of people and businesses to take their services from a local community-owned supplier, where volunteers and local farmers have assisted in the build of the network, where local people provide the customer service, and where the community shares the profits. We believe in strong, vibrant communities, and want to strengthen ours Wansdyke Telecom CIC, The Rickyard, Newton St Loe, Bath BA2 9BT phone: web:

4 Where are we and who do we seek to serve?
Over time we plan to provide fibre to the home/business service across our network to all households and in the whole of North East Somerset. The diagram of our ‘cloud’ above is illustrative: check the details for your parish and register your interest on

5 Why can we build a better, faster and cheaper network than BT/CD&S?
We have lower construction costs: According to industry sources, over 70% of BT Openreach’s costs in delivering network arise from the so-called “civils” – the costs of obtaining wayleaves, preparing and digging conduit by the side and across roads, negotiating with landowners and highways authorities, arranging with planning authorities for the siting of cabinets, purchasing power infrastructure from the electricity suppliers and project managing the whole build. By comparison, Wansdyke Telecom plans to have much lower “civils” costs, as we run fibre in conduits down the other side of the fence along hedgerows and boundaries, with landowners providing no-cost wayleaves and farmers mole-ploughing fibre conduit at nominal cost where possible. And the work of blowing fibre and connecting premises will be undertaken by community volunteers again at minimal costs. And we intend putting any necessary distribution boxes into village halls and just maybe community adopted old phone boxes, which have electrical power already. Others have proven this approach works: take a look at Broadband for the Rural North – -- in the Trough of Bowland, Lancashire. We have lower equipment costs: Even though BT and CD&S should legitimately be able to procure fibre and distribution box equipment at lower cost than us – through the benefit of bulk buying – the evidence provided by BitCommons shows that a BT cabinet purchased from the supplier for £5,000 turns into a capital cost of £30,00 after BT overheads are added. We don’t have overheads!. We are a community inspired company: We are not beholden to our shareholders to provide capital appreciation. Our shareholders – primarily local community individuals in the main – will attract fair long-term returns for their investment both via dividends (capped by legislation at 20%) and from Enterprise Investment Scheme tax relief. So there is a valuable investment proposition, but ultimately profits from the venture will be ploughed back into the community. We don’t intend to pay extraordinary salaries and benefits: We plan a flat fee structure of £10 per hour for volunteer labour – whether it be for people helping to dig or people acting as directors – and we encourage people to take payment in shares rather than cash. How does this compare with CD&S, B&NES and Somerset CEO remuneration, and that of the CEO of BT? Wansdyke Telecom CIC, The Rickyard, Newton St Loe, Bath BA2 9BT phone: web:

6 What is a Community Interest Company?
Community Interest Companies (CIC) are a type of limited company designed specifically for those wishing to operate for the benefit of the community rather than for the benefit of the owners of the company. In setting up a CIC, the Regulator has to approve the registration of the company as a CIC, and looks for a "community interest test" and "asset lock" to ensure that the CIC is established for community purposes and its assets and profits are dedicated to these purposes. CIC’s are being recognised more and more as an effective legal form for social enterprises. They are particularly attractive to those wishing to enjoy the benefits of limited company status and to make it clear that they want to be established for the benefit of the community rather than members.

7 Why do we need hyperfast broadband, particularly in rural areas?
Probably the only consistent view in the IT world is to avoid making predictions. If one takes the current usage of superfast broadband, the likely major residential usage of hyperfast is probably in the field of media and television. People’s consumption of TV is rapidly moving from broadcast services, either terrestrial or satellite, to on-demand programming from the likes of BBC iPlayer. Latest statistics from Ofcom (July 2012) show that the average person watches somewhat in excess of 4 hours per day of TV, over 35% of UK households watch catch-up TV, and already 5% of homes have an internet enabled smart TV. This latter figure is expected to grow heavily in the next couple of years with the anticipated entry of Apple into the iTV market and the emergence of app stores for TV applications. But the field of predictions in Information Technology it’s worth looking to history. Try answering the following questions about who said what and when (answers on our website!) I think there is a world market for maybe 5 computers Computers in the future may weigh no more than one and a half tons There is no reason anyone in their right minds would want a computer in their home 640k is enough for anyone, and by the way, what is a network? Why on earth would anyone want 1.5mbps into their home? The best ‘killer app’ is a teenager in his bedroom Just think back to how you were using the internet ten or even five years ago: then try to imagine what you might be doing in five or ten years from now. Apart from entertainment, the expectation is that hyperfast broadband will have a transformative effect on delivery of medical services, on the scope and nature of education, and the delivery of central and local government services. What is important to recognise is that there is no single ‘killer app’ that is going to stimulate demand in households, but that it will be a variety of uses that appeal to different segments of the population. Many services particularly in the area of cloud storage and computing can only have a transformative effect when the network can support true hyperfast bi-directional service. There are three basic empirical laws to take into account: Moore’s law – accurate for nearly forty years now - is that computer power on a single chip doubles every 18 – 24 months Nielsen’s law – lesser known – states that connection speeds for home users doubles every 21 to 24 months Metcalf’s law – hyped by the likes of Google and Facebook and Twitter – says that the value of any network is proportional to the square of the number of members. So if you have a network of one telephone, it’s not of much value as you have no-one to call. But if you’re Facebook with now 1.06 billion members, you make your founders very rich indeed. Today’s national average broadband speed across the UK is 12 Mbps: by 2020 Nielsen’s law suggests it will be 100Mbps by 2019: unless of course you are in a rural area around Bath, connected by BT and Connecting Devon & Somerset – when you are promised to have 2Mbps…. Wansdyke Telecom CIC, The Rickyard, Newton St Loe, Bath BA2 9BT phone: web:

8 How are we structured, where will we raise money, and when will we deliver service?
Wansdyke Telecom CIC is the infrastructure company which builds, owns and maintains the network itself. A separate services company, provisionally called Wansdyke Ltd, is being formed to provide end to end services over the network to end users. Where will our money come from? We have raised the initial seed equity to roll-out our pilot network from community spirited local individuals, and there will be further opportunities to invest as we roll-out the network to parishes and villages. There are three key reasons for people to want to invest: First, a successful project will be fantastically good for us all as users of broadband – ourselves, our families, and our businesses. Second, it’s good for the community – for friends and neighbours, but also the effect that the best broadband in Britain will have on new investment and growth in the local economy. Third, we think it will represent a good financial investment. The combination of a solid business case, professional, experienced leadership and SEIS income and capital gains tax relief means that investors have the opportunity for better than average dividends once the network is profitable, aligned with substantial long-term dividends. What about central and local government investing in Wansdyke Telecom? Basically central and local government have taken the route of investing some £150 million in the BDUK (Broadband Delivery UK) and Connecting Devon & Somerset plans, and as such have been somewhat unenthusiastic in support of community led initiatives not requiring taxpayers’ funds. Despite a National Audit Report and the Parliamentary Accounts Committee describing the programme as a ‘train crash waiting to happen’, all current contracts have been given to a sole bidder, BT. There has been substantial lack of transparency and openness in releasing any substantive information of how this taxpayers’ money is being used. Additionally and importantly, CD&S have blocked any opportunity we have to seek funds under the government’s Rural Broadband Community Fund and other funds. We believe this to be undemocratic and anti-competitive. Our consistently argued view from the beginning is that vastly superior full FTTH open access networks can and have been built without public funding (as in Sweden), but that what is required is access to long-term low interest repayable loans. We continue to lobby for this approach, and for oversight of the local authority taxpayer funded schemes to ensure they do not overbuild their network on top of ours. When will we and CD&S deliver hyperfast and superfast broadband to our rural communities? CD&S have committed to delivering basic broadband to our rural communities by the end of they have not detailed any committed plans in our area to provide superfast broadband, but “hope’ to achieve that by the end of 2020. Wansdyke Telecom plans to start delivering hyperfast broadband by early 2014 and to have completed roll-out to all in the target area by end 2015.

9 Why do we need Broadband Champions and what are we asking you to do?
We need you! This is a team effort. At the centre we need local knowledge and local feedback obtained at individual community level. At the same time we are reliant on you to for advocacy in getting our messages across at grass-roots level. You as Broadband Champions are the local link so missing in the incumbent telcos and other ISPs marketing. Publicity and political pressure There is a lot of misinformation in our rural areas as we hope we have demonstrated in this booklet. The goals and delivery of acceptable broadband in rural B&NES is not helped by continued misstatement of the facts – that ‘superfast broadband is coming’ – or that the planned CD&S implementation is a fibre service. It is important that the facts are known and understood and that you in your communities keep up the local publicity and political pressure. Keep up to date via our website, our social networks and by attending meetings Visit frequently, sign up to be on our distribution list, and come along to our bi-monthly meetings at the Rickyard in Newton St Loe, and just simply stop by at our open surgery sessions every Wednesday on a ‘drop-in’ basis anytime form 7.30 am to 7.30 pm. Are there practical steps you can take now? Assist us with local knowledge of land ownership through which we would like to lay network and introductions to farmers to help where possible with the practical aspects of digging and conduit laying Assist us with building up a detailed knowledge of local available and unavailable routes into your parishes and villages Make contact with residents, organisations and businesses in your locality. Let them know Wansdyke is coming! And that together we can reverse the digital divide. Offer us any personal help you can All of you have local contacts in your local communities and know individuals with skill sets that could assist our work. These include such skills as legal, accounting and networking advice as well as introductions to community minded high net worth individuals who might be interested in investing. Please share with us. Wansdyke Telecom CIC, The Rickyard, Newton St Loe, Bath BA2 9BT phone: web:

10 Glossary 3G Third Generation mobile systems – supports data at up to 24 Mbps but this is shared between multiple users. Still not widely available in rural areas. 4G Fourth Generation Mobile systems—intended to provide significantly faster data rates than 3G for both upload and download. Unlikely to be rolled-out in rural areas in the near future. Access network The “final mile” connections linking the backhaul network to the end user’s premises. ADSL and VDSL Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line—a broadband technology using the copper phone network. It provides higher download speed at the expense of upload speed, hence ‘asymmetric.’ Maximum speed of ADSL2+ is 24 Mbps Very High Bit Rate Digital Subscriber Line – a broadband technology using the copper phone network to link between FTTC cabinets and subscribers. Maximum speed of BT’s implementation is currently limited to 76 Mbps. Performance falls off rapidly with increasing distance from the cabinet (approx. 20 Mbps at 1 mile and 2 Mbps at 3 miles. Backhaul The part of the broadband network, which constitutes the intermediate link between the backbone, core network and the access network. Bandwidth The channel capacity (speed) of a data link (measured in bits per second) or the width of a band of frequencies (measured in Hz). BDUK Broadband Delivery UK—the unit within the Department for Culture, Media and Sport responsible for managing the Government’s funding programme. Bit The smallest unit of information on the internet—a bit can take one of two values. Communication speeds are measured in bits per second. CD&S – Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) is the name given to a partnership programme to improve broadband services in the areas covered by the following councils:  Devon County Council, Somerset County Council, Torbay Council, Plymouth Council, Bath & North East Somerset Council and North Somerset Council.  CDS is not a separate legal entity to these six partner councils, but is a means by which they cooperate to achieve the broadband aims, as set out in the Local Broadband Plan. Somerset County Council is the lead authority and it is SCC that enters into contracts on behalf of the partners. Cabinet A street cabinet has a connection to the exchange and individual connections to each of the premises it serves. In the telephone network it served primarily as an unpowered junction box with copper connections in both directions. With Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) its function is changed as the connection to the exchange is replaced by fibre and it houses active electronic equipment. BT’s FTTC implementation requires new mains-powered cabinets which are normally located close to existing cabinets. With Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) it again becomes passive and houses optical splices (in the case of a point-to-point network) or splitters (in the case of a point-to- multipoint network). Contention ratio Where traffic from many users travels over a single link, the contention ratio is the ratio of the potential maximum demand to the actual bandwidth: in simple terms, the number of users sharing a single link. The higher the contention ratio, the greater the number of users that may be trying to use the actual bandwidth at any one time and, therefore, the lower the effective bandwidth offered, especially at times of peak demand. Cable connection or Coaxial cable connection  A cable connection normally refers to an access link using coaxial cable. Coaxial cables use copper to carry electromagnetic waves, but they can carry higher frequencies than ordinary twisted pair copper cable—and so higher data rates—over longer distances. Copper connection A copper connection normally refers to an access link using legacy copper phone lines. These are twisted-together to reduce, but not eliminate, interference pick-up

11 Dark fibre Unlit fibre with no active equipment connected. Dark fibre may be leased from the owner to be lit by the lessee. Duct Underground pipe or conduit used to house (fibre, copper or coax) cables of a broadband network. DSL Digital Subscriber Line—a family of technologies that provide broadband connectivity by transmitting digital data over the wires of a local telephone network, utilising high frequencies that are not used by a voice telephone call. See also ADSL, VDSL. DSLAM Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexer—an electronic device, typically located in the exchange or cabinet, that connects multiple customer digital subscriber lines (DSL) to a high-speed digital communications channel. Exchange In this report ‘exchange’ normally refers to a telephone exchange now used as a node of the broadband network in which key pieces of active infrastructure are installed and exchange of data traffic takes place. This should be distinguished from what is usually meant by an ‘internet exchange,’ which instead refers to a node at a higher level of the architecture at which communications providers exchange traffic between their networks. FTTC Fibre to the Cabinet, sometimes known as Fibre To The Copper. The fibre is terminated in a street cabinet some distance away from the customer premises, with the final connection being copper (in fibre to the cabinet networks) or coaxial cable (in the cable network). FTTP/FTTH Fibre to the Premises (homes and businesses), which reaches the end user premises with fibre. Full unbundling Physical unbundling grants access to the end-consumer access line and allows the competitor’s own transmission systems to directly transmit over it. Gbps or Gigabit 1 billion bits per second, a unit of throughput or bandwidth. ISP Internet Service Provider. Killer app An application with very high uptake (such as Facebook) to which a connection to the internet can be put which requires a certain level of broadband capacity to function, and which puts the case for wider or universal access to enhanced capacity broadband beyond all question. Latency The round-trip time between two nodes, measured as the time for a ‘ping’ to be answered. Lit fibre Fibre connected to active equipment that shines an optical signal down the fibre to communicate data. Local loop Another name for the copper pair between the exchange and the premises. Mbps or Megabits 1 million bits per second, a unit of throughput or bandwidth, commonly referred to as ‘speed’. Ofcom The Office for Communications—the UK’s regulatory authority for, inter alia, telecommunications. Unbundling The regulatory process of requiring an incumbent operator to allow other providers to provide services using its infrastructure (see open access). VDSL Very-high-bit-rate Digital Subscriber Line (see ADSL). Wayleave The right to make and use a connection running over the property of another. Wansdyke Telecom CIC, The Rickyard, Newton St Loe, Bath BA2 9BT phone: web:

12 W h a t M i g h t t h e f u t u r e h o l d ?
With current Connecting Devon & Somerset plans Speed: 2Mbps for all by end 2016 Maybe 24Mbps by 2020 Major gap between our rural communities and our cities Reliability and performance: limited by all the historical copper in the incumbent’s network Service: provided to BT’s national standards largely by overseas call centres Upgradability: no logically defined plan to grow to Fibre to the Home Localism: No local input into decision making and roll-out. No local community benefit. Profits go to predominantly institutional investors Culture & ethos: A continuing culture of over promising and under delivering Result:  With Wansdyke Telecom plans Speed: Gigabit access (>100 Mbps) starting 2014 and throughout our rural communities by 2016 No ‘digital divide’ in performance Reliability and performance: ‘clear as a pin’ performance on end to end fibre to the home and premises for everyone Service: provided locally to our local community standards by local people who know our neighbourhoods Upgradability: unlimited. FTTH for all: upgradable to multi-gigabit Localism: Decision making done locally for the benefit of the community, with CIC ensuring profits after dividends flow back into our communities Culture & ethos: Local people in charge and encouraging local innovation and local returns Result:  Wansdyke Telecom CIC, The Rickyard, Newton St Loe, Bath BA2 9BT phone: or web: Founder directors: David Bland (Newton St Loe), Matt McCabe (Englishcombe), Evan Wienburg (Compton Dando) and Simon Whittle (Stanton Drew) The information and opinions set out in this document are provided by the directors on a best-efforts basis. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure their accuracy and completeness, no reliance may be placed for any purpose on the information contained herein. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of the information or opinions contained in this document and liability is excluded.

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