Sunday, July 20, 2014

Alternatives to Fibre

The below narrative was prepared by a resident of Temple Mill Island and is presented here with only minor modifications as it was already a very thorough job of identifying alternatives:

Mobile Broadband

In the same way as you can use Data on your Mobile Phone, providers can also supply a dedicated device in the home to give Wifi to other PCs, iPads etc. The device is similar in size to a mobile phone without a screen or keypad and creates a home Hotspot, like in cafes and airports.

3G phone signal is only a little better (2 to 4Mpbs) than the Standard Broadband we have here so must be discounted as not worth the extra expense.

4G phone signal becomes more widely available and the first company and still the biggest company providing it is EE [Orange and T-Mobile].   It is at least six times as fast as 3G and our Standard Broadband.

The portable Wifi Device costs up to £60 depending on the tariff chosen and is free with a 25GB monthly plan costing £30 per month. Different Plans are available including Pay As You Go.

A further advantage of the Device is that it is truly portable. You can take it on holiday with you in the UK to be able to continue using your iPad etc.

EE say 4G is available on The Island to quite a good strength but better outdoors than inside the home. Positioning the Device near a window may be all that is needed.

We need someone in Temple interested in the scheme to buy it on a buy-or-return trial and report back to us.

and click on 4GEE+ Monthly Plan.

A more powerful static 4G Wifi box can be fitted inside the home wired to the mains and would cost about £150 installed.  It has an outside aerial similar to a car aerial. One aerial could service several homes and on the Island our TV Engineer would fit them (subject to Island approval) for about £150 inclusive. This latter system comes under the title of LTE and is marketed by EE as 4GEE Home. The only difference from the portable device is much improved signal strength but no portability.

A good option, currently probably the best option.  [Editorial comment:  Mobile networks can be quite variable in terms of the speed delivered as there is only so much bandwidth available between the user and antennas.   I suspect that even if coverage in Temple is good that we could see pretty wide speed variability.   More a concern if a lot of people start using the service so still a great option (if it works here) for the short term.


Recommended by the Islands TV Engineer, Broadband is received by a Satellite Dish but that cannot be a communal dish like the Sky Dishes the Island has at present. The dishes would have to be fitted to each property as they point to a different satellite from Sky. Unlikely to be acceptable on the Island for aesthetic reasons but an option outside the Island.

The Temple Mill Island TV Engineer uses tooway and a 25GB Plan is £40 per month. Installation costs £275 for the equipment which can instead be rented at £5 per month. £100 installation and £50 Set-Up fee. Reduction of £25 when two or more properties are set up at the same time and a £25 referral commission on introductions which we could roll out two properties at a time!   Download speeds in the range of 20Mpbs are advertized.

A working option off the Island, but probably unacceptable on the Island because of the satellite dishes.

Village Networks

Available at Bisham, one of many in the Buckinghamshire and Berkshire countryside.
It is a repeater mast rather than a satellite dish reception and again each property would have to have a Receiver on the outside wall. A much smaller square unit about like a cereal packet. But still aesthetically poor. There have been poor reviews of reception and after sales.

£222 Set-Up and £30 give unlimited capacity but speed probably of only about 6MBPS.

Not a great option

White Space UHF Bandspace

When Freeview TV went Digital, considerable UHF Analogue TV frequency bands were released and offered to highest bidder ISP providers. None as yet taken as far I can ascertain.

Working rather like 4G Mobile Broadband but from a conventional aerial like a TV aerial.

Not currently an option.


If you need faster speed now, then look into the EE 4G Home Wifi deal. If it proves inadequate, EE will refund and cancel within 14 days.

Editorial Comment from the Blogger

If you are a heavy user of the Internet as I am (or if you would be if it were faster!) the EE option is somewhat expensive.   I am a bit of an exception in terms of usage as I work from home in the technology space and my wife and I also watch a lot of downloaded TV shows and movies.  We use well over 50gb of bandwidth a month.   On EE a 50gb plan would be 50 quid per month compared to 39 for BT Infinity (Fibre) but for an unlimited plan.   Note that 39 pounds also includes the line rental charge.  If you discount that the charge the Broadband cost alone is 23 pounds per month with unlimited usage (half the cost of 50gb on EE).

My bottom line is that I agree with the author of the above that EE, if it works in Temple, is a great short term option though it is more expensive than a ground based solution which I think that we still need and should still push to get for the community. 

Further research by the author of the above study has made it clear that the EE signal is not strong enough on the Island to allow it to be an alternative.   Further experimentation would be needed to prove this but the EE signal might only be useable at the very end of Temple that is closest to the antenna which is believed to be at the Bisham Roundabout.

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