Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Confirmation from Call Flow

Roger and I have received a confirmation from Call Flow that the update from Superfast Berkshire was a good assessment of their plans and commitment to our upgrade.  They added the following details:
  1. Openreach finally concluded the ‘CuRe’ part of the project after 12+ months on 25/11/16 i.e. after escalating to Ofcom.  [It should be noted that Roger and I were completely surprised to hear about this after the fact.  We feel that had we known this was an issue we could have helped bring it to a conclusion sooner.  We are also interested in gaining an understanding from Openreach as to their side of the issue as there are usually two sides to every technology issue between vendors.]
  2. We duly submitted an order for the next stage of the process (sub loop unbundling – SLU) on 26/11/16.
  3. OR completed their survey and planning of the SLU part of the process on 6/12/16.  Call Flow accepted the SLU charges on the 7/12/16 i.e. so that we could then officially connect our ducting into BT’s joint box.
  4. Our cabinet base and ducting as above has been completed as you indicate i.e. within days of being given the formal go-ahead from BT. This is far quicker than would normally be achieved and is an indication of the focus we have on this job.
  5. We plan to install the cabinet on the newly installed base in early to mid-January. This should, in no way, hold up the installation of BT’s fibre (some nearly 3km required cabling required which will take some time before they get to our cabinet).
  6. No wayleaves are required as our installation is on highways land.
  7. We are waiting for SSE to confirm an installation date for power and will chase this again later this week.  While this will not hold up the BT fibre installation, it will be required to launch the service.
  8. We are currently anticipating the service to be live around mid-February provided both SSE and BT deliver on time.
The critical path does seem to be in the hands of Openreach given that they have nearly 3km of fibre to run to the new Call Flow cabinet.  Call Flow is confident that this cable could be run now, with the necessary conduits installed to connect the Openreach Cabinet with the Call Flow foundation, and the end point and coil of fibre for final connection left in the Openreach Cabinet until the Call Flow cabinet is installed in early January.

This seems reasonable to me and given this I have asked our contact at Openreach if the laying of our fibre can be escalated to ensure the end project date.  We have also suggested to Call Flow that they get an approval of this from their local Openreach project manager.

The bottom line of all this should be that we could get connected in February if all goes well. 

There are still a lot of things that may not go well but this is the best date that I have seen in terms of having a good plan to support it to a good conclusion.  Roger and I will continue to stay on top of it!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Finally Some (largely unqualified) Good News!

Colin Batchelor, Project Manager for Superfast Berkshire, has given us a very complete update in regards to the activities that will result in us getting high speed broadband.  Below is a summary of Colin's update.  We have also asked Call Flow for their validation of this status and their response will be posted once we have it.

Call Flow has been working on a number of alternatives to meet the challenges posed by the location of our village.  We are about as far away from the nearest telecoms cabinet as one can be and this does make for a challenge.  Call Flow has been able to get an agreement from BT Openreach to create a node on their network for Temple.  This means that we will be able to have a direct fibre connection into the network and is the best possible alternative for the village.  A wireless option had been considered, and while this would have been a vast improvement over the current state, it would not have been as robust and future proof as a fibre connection.

As I write this it appears that construction work has started on the FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) cabinet that Call Flow is having installed next to the telecoms cabinet that BT Openreach placed on Bradenham Lane.  This cabinet will be the destination for the new fibre run that BT Openreach will be installing.  The broadband signal from Call Flow's new cabinet will be joined with our phone lines in the new BT Openreach cabinet and we will have blazingly fast broadband speeds.

Roger Thurston is reaching out to his contact at Call Flow to confirm their commitment to dates but our understanding from Colin is that we could have service in February.  BT Openreach have committed to having the new network node online and fibre run by the end of January (ahead of when this would normally be done given that the requests were just made).  Way-leaves across private land are not needed as the fibre route will be on the side of highways and our understanding is that these permissions are at hand.  There is some provisioning work that Call Flow will need to do once things are connected but Colin has indicated that these items should not be time consuming.

So.  Pretty good news and not a lot of qualifications (assuming everyone does their bit as promised).

So how fast could our connections be?  Here is a chart from the BT website that shows what we can hope for (best case).  I estimate that the furthest property in the village from the cabinet is still less than a half kilometer away.  This means that the homes on either tip of the island could get 50mbps of download speed!  I think this is probably optimistic but as these homes are probably getting around 1.5mbps now it will be a dramatic improvement regardless!