Author Topic: I'm slowly getting that feeling of being "shafted" again!  (Read 2518 times)

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Offline Weebleman

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I'm slowly getting that feeling of being "shafted" again!
« on: February 08, 2016, 09:56:00 AM »
Can someone explain to me the ongoing WiFi situation in North Swindon in terms that I can understand?

My current interpretation is this:

1: North Swindon Residents (NSR) are complaining about the lack of broadband speed and want fibre installed.

2: SBC tell them that it's not fibre they want but an already outdated wireless system that requires the erection of several masts.

3: SBC, while closing down and selling off God knows what, donate a considerable sum of money to UKB to install the required infrastructure.

4: NSRs, including their local Councillors and MP, reject the solution and call for a superior fibre solution.

5: Planning permission for a couple masts are rejected and considerable time/money is spent in considering the remainder.

6: Existing fibre broadband providers (Virgin/BT) are more than capable of installing the desired fibre infrastructure but resist the cost of implementing the network due to the subsidised competition brought about by SBC. So on the face of it NSRs have a choice of UKB or stone age copper.

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I'd begun to accept this fait accompli until I read this statement from UKB in the Adver on-line yesterday, in an article concerning their planning applications.

http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/14259426.Wireless_company_to_inform_residents_of_plans/

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THE company behind plans to rollout wireless broadband across parts of Swindon are writing to thousands of residents to inform them of the scheme.

In 2014, UKB Networks signed a deal with Swindon Borough Council to provide coverage to rural areas and the north of the town currently without the service.

However, there has been a strong backlash from many residents who want to see a fibre optic solution provided instead.

This view is supported by a number of local councillors and Swindon North MP Justin Tomlinson but the company says it wants to give people more information about what it will be providing.


The wireless network will see 19 masts located around the town which send a signal to receivers in boxes attached to properties.

Many against the scheme do not believe this will work effectively in urban areas as buildings will block the signal and therefore the £2 million in public money being spent on the scheme is a waste.

They also argue the download speeds provided by fibre will dwarf that of wireless.

UKB Networks disputes this and has said it will upgrade the area to fibre if there is sufficient demand. The letter aims to answer many of these questions.

Chief Marketing Officer Will Harnden said: “We are coming to the final stages of consultation, which will determine whether we can start to commence installing the wireless network required to bring superfast broadband to Swindon.

“To ensure that all residents are aware of what they will be able to purchase towards the end of this year, this informative letter provides details of the rollout.

“We are confident that the wireless broadband network will be a great success and well received by thousands of residents, just as it has done in other locations across Europe."

The applications to build five of the masts will go before the planning committee on Tuesday, with two of them being recommended for refusal.

There has been widespread opposition to the masts with many people saying they will be too obtrusive.

The company has said if they are refused they will work with planners to find a new location but campaigners want as many people as possible to attend the meeting to show opposition.


A statement for the ‘No to 4g’ group said: “Now, this reason actually can and does apply to all five sites – three of which are recommended for approval. If the planning committee refuses permission for two of the masts for this reason they, by all rights of logic, should be refusing it for all five.

“The more resident resistance we can show, the greater our chances of preventing UKB Networks from installing these 4G masts in entirely inappropriate locations within our community.”

The planning meeting will take place at 5.30pm on Tuesday at the Civic Offices.



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"UKB Networks disputes this and has said it will upgrade the area to fibre if there is sufficient demand. The letter aims to answer many of these questions."


 :WTF: "If there is sufficient demand?" Who's fooling whom?

Time for another FOI Terry to ask if SBC will be footing the bill for UKB's fibre installation while other (renowned and proven) companies are able to carry this out, probably more competively. Also whether or not we'll get our money back if UKB goes down the fibre route [no pun intended]. There's an almighty stench of fish in the air!

BTW, I have no vested interest in this. I'm sat at home quite happy with my Virgin 150M connection that hasn't faltered since the day it was installed.  :coolsmiley:

Hope OOT is picking this up in sunny Sidney  :smitten:



Offline Terry Reynolds

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Re: I'm slowly getting that feeling of being "shafted" again!
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2016, 03:52:30 PM »
the letter in the adver today says it all, it is from Des Morgan, but he didn't say, back in April last year, the council promised to have the entire system up and running by the 1st Jan 2016. and have now failed badly once again... just another failed objective from this lousy council..... :bottom:

Offline Outoftowner

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Re: I'm slowly getting that feeling of being "shafted" again!
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2016, 06:45:39 AM »
Hello from sunny Sydney. I can help out even from the colonies. I know a bloke who is very knowledgeable about WiFi wireless signals not penetrating houses or going through hills.
Some find him a Tricky person but he is revered by some.
What's it all about?

Offline Weebleman

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Re: I'm slowly getting that feeling of being "shafted" again!
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2016, 09:40:45 AM »
So it looks like BT are putting their toe in the water, and if demand is great enough they'll complete the job to the whole area.
Forgive me if I have a false recollection, but I believe we were told by SBC some time ago that contracts had been signed and it was too late to change things. If that is truly the case I again ask, how much taxpayers' money has been paid to UKB up front, and what's going to happen to it if they (UKB) get shown the door?

http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/14272593.Hopes_grow_for_BT_fibre_broadband_in_North_Swindon/

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HOPES are growing in North Swindon that BT could be about to bring fibre broadband to the area after years of campaigning.

It is thought due to a miscalculation of the number of houses in the area, many people have been left without a superfast provider.

While the company has not confirmed it, one local resident has spoken with BT engineers who say they have started a trial in the area.


North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson is also confident after having productive meetings with senior employees at BT Openreach.

In recent years, there has been a growing campaign for fibre provision, which would offer much faster download speeds, with little success.

But resident Damon Bower said on Tuesday he saw a number of senior engineers in the region.

In a Facebook post, he said: “This morning I met some very good people from a small company called BT Openreach.

“As of next week they are installing into Mayfly Road, Boatman Close, and Minnow Close Fibre to the house.

“This is a trial for uptake and as long as uptake is good it will then rapidly roll out to the rest of Oakhurst, Redhouse and Haydon End they will also mop up the areas left in Taw Hill.”


Mr Tomlinson said at a recent meeting he was given an indication BT will look at the area, in part because of the campaigning from residents.

He said: “I had an extremely productive conversation with the head of BT Openreach.

“This is as a result of my repeated meeting and huge upsurge in residents signing up on their website. They have agreed to re-examine the Northern Sector to see if it makes commercial sense to move forward.”

The development follows the decision earlier this week to reject planning permission for five masts needed to progress the council-backed wireless broadband scheme in North Swindon.

UKB Networks want to put up the masts but many residents in the area, including Mr Tomlinson, have said they do not want the service, which is being supported with £2 million of public money.

“The planning meeting sent a crystal clear message to UKB that their outdated technology is simply not wanted and would not attract the needed customers,” he said.


Despite the setback, UKB has said it will be pushing forward to the other households in Swindon which currently lack superfast broadband and where there has been more support for the scheme.

Will Harnden, the chief marketing officer, said: “We are pleased that the rest of the borough is more receptive to superfast broadband and we are really encouraged by the numerous messages of support we have had over the past few days. We intend to push ahead as quickly as possible to bring superfast broadband to the 13,000 homes in the scheme outside North Swindon.

“We remain committed to finding a mutually acceptable solution to providing superfast broadband in North Swindon and will be having further engagements with the ward councillors and residents in the coming days and weeks to find an amicable solution to this issue.”



Offline Spunkymonkey

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Re: I'm slowly getting that feeling of being "shafted" again!
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2016, 12:39:11 PM »
So it looks like BT are putting their toe in the water, and if demand is great enough they'll complete the job to the whole area.
Forgive me if I have a false recollection, but I believe we were told by SBC some time ago that contracts had been signed and it was too late to change things. If that is truly the case I again ask, how much taxpayers' money has been paid to UKB up front, and what's going to happen to it if they (UKB) get shown the door?

I can only assume that the main reason why BT and Virgin weren't interested before is the unfair advantage given to UKB. Otherwise, why wouldn't a fibre supplier want to tap in to a huge estate in a reasonably affluent area with a high demand for fibre.

Presumably, UKB's business model is based on being gifted a monopoly position. Can UKB compete with a superior product from a better known supplier.

Is this a case of SBC taking a public sector approach to a private sector service, ie, the more profitable urban service subsidising the rural service? This approach might work where services (good or bad) are paid for entirely by the taxpayer and forced upon the public, but in this case the residents don't have to sign up. Residents in the urban area will choose the best or most competitive price, which won't allow a subsidy to be built in.

For me, this was always a flaw with the Digital City model. As it was, DC failed to get the infrastructure in, but even if they did why would anyone choose DC over Virgin, BT etc, unless the service was better or significantly cheaper?

Offline the gorgon

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Re: I'm slowly getting that feeling of being "shafted" again!
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2016, 10:50:40 AM »
I think I'd be right in saying one of the problems was that SBC chose (in their infinite wisdom) to bundle the money to improve the rural broadband together with the urban money and put out one tender for it*.  If BT or Virgin had been able to bid for the urban alone I'm sure they would have done so, and I wouldn't be surprised if one of the mobile phone operators would have put in a bid to improve 4G coverage in places like Chiseldon.   The tender as done would be too much of a curate's egg for the big boys so they'd leave well alone.

* Now why they would have done that is anyone's guess, but I wouldn't be surprised if they were talked into doing it by an organisation that might stand to benefit.