Rosley Parish Cumbria


 

 

 

 

 

 

Better Broadband for Cumbria


March 2011

Better Broadband Meeting for Rosley and Westward

 

The Millennium Room was full last Thursday as people from Rosley and Westward gathered to listen to an interesting presentation about one means of getting better broadband to the community. 

Roy Knowles, of Caldbeck, started the proceedings with an explanation of what an improved broadband connection will mean for us all.  Roy reminded us that we are now educating our children for jobs which have probably not been invented yet.  We have to make sure that we have highspeed internet access which will allow them to remain in the county where they grew up whilst being able to connect to the rest of the world. Many of us have friends and family living abroad, or even just in another part of the country: it is increasingly common to 'Skype' when communicating with them.  A truly fast broadband connection would enable you to see and hear as though the person you were talking to was in the room.

If we think of electricity in the house, said Roy, none of us realised how many things it could and would be used for.  In the beginning electricity was a  way to light your house, then people thought about using it to clean the house and to clean our clothes.  Once electricity became widely available more and more appliances were invented which required electricity to work.  Today we cannot imagine a time when people thought of electricity as an optional utility which we could easily manage without.  The same is true of the internet.  As the ability to connect to the world has widened and speeded up, more and more applications are being developed.  We need highspeed connections in the same way as most people now think we need electricity: not only that but, he said, we need to make sure that  the means of access is fast enough to make sure that it will continue to be fast enough to let us do all the things we don't even know we will want to do because they have not been invented yet.

Craig Brass of NextGenUs explained how fibre optic cable is replacing copper wire as the way to connect our homes to the internet.  Many of us want to have a fast and reliable way to use the internet, whether it’s so we can view missed TV programmes on the i-player, or exchange photos and videos with family and friends. Businesses also need better access to remain competitive, whether they are farmers, Bed and Breakfast establishments or graphic designers choosing to live in a beautiful part of the country.  There was a lot of interest and plenty of questions for the speaker. 

Craig explained that his company is a Community Interest Company (CIC) which means that it undertakes to return 65% of the profits to communities who sign up to have NextGenUs install and run broadband provision for their community.  CICs are regulated and there are strict rules they have to follow. The regulator has to be happy that they are working in the community's interests and can act to ensure that they do.

Craig explained that they have done work in North Yorkshire, Hull and in Ashby de la Launde in Lincolnshire. Ashby is the first village in the country to be connected to the internet exclusively by fibre.  They now have the fastest broadband connections in the country. 

 Most of those at the meeting went away keen to see this type of connection available to them as soon as possible. 

If you missed the meeting and would like to be involved, or just to know more about the project then you can check the Rosley web site for all the latest news: http://www.rosley-cumbria.co.uk/better_broadband.htm , or email Marion Grave: marion.grave@virgin.net.

 

 


March 10th 2011

Better Broadband for Rosley and Westward

You are invited to an informative meeting in

Rosley Hall on Thursday 10th March at 7.30pm

This is an opportunity to learn more about the ‘next generation’ broadband being planned for Cumbria and how our parish may join, and benefit from this important project.

Everyone Welcome - please come along

If we want better broadband we must show that there is a demand for it in all rural areas and in our area in particular.


 

October 2010

        The Government has announced that there will be four pilot schemes around the country to investigate ways to ensure that rural areas have access to broadband whici is at least as good as that provided to people in urban areas. Rory Stewart, MP for Penrith and the Borders, lobbied very hard to have Cumbria included in this pilot and actually succeeded in persuading the minister responsible to provide finance for four rather than three pilot schemes.  Cumbria was the area which was added to the list.

         To further the desire for improved broadband access a website has been created called Broadband Cumbria.  This is an interactive website and anyone who has registered can put "posts" up. A post is a few words or a complete essay: in the case of this site all of the posts are expected to be about how the people of the County can take control and make plans for broadband provision in their area.

         Within the site there are a number of "microsites": these are designed for each parish or community and are a way of communities communicating with between themselves in their personal quests for broadband.  We have already created a basic microsite for Rosley and Westward.

         There are already a number of "groups" which have been created within the site.  A group is, as the name says, a group of likeminded people who want to discuss or pursue similar objectives.  There is one about the Eden Declaration which is the mandate for which people who join the site are working towards. Anyone can join any or all of the groups.

 To go to Broadband Cumbria and register your interest   
To go to the Westward and Rosley microsite, once you have registered
For more information about  navigating your way around the Broadband site

        


           Below is a copy of the report given to Westward Parish Council by Clive Marshall and Fraser Shaw, a member of the Council, both of whom attended a meeting on 5th November 2010 in which the project was explained. 

Rural broadband – Next Generation Access

1.         Introduction

Members will be aware of the campaign by Rory Stewart MP to bring better broadband to every community in the constituency.  Community representatives at the parish level will have a vital role to play and an inaugural meeting, organised by Mr Stewart, was held at Great Asby on Saturday, 6 November.

Fraser Shaw and Clive Marshall attended, Fraser as representative of the Council and Clive as an interested individual, on the mailing list because he had responded to Mr Stewart’s earlier request for information regarding present broadband speeds.  (For comparison with the possible future speeds discussed at the meeting, the present speeds are about 0.5 Mb/s in Curthwaite via the Dalston exchange, about half of that in some areas of the parish served by the Wigton exchange and a few properties cannot connect to any broadband service.)

 

2.         The 6 November meeting

            Before attending the meeting, we had understood that the Government’s target was for as many people as possible to have a broadband speed of at least 2 Mb/s by 2015.

            However, in his introductory remarks, Mr Stewart confirmed that the target for this area is now much more ambitious.  Cumbria has been selected as one of four pilot areas for developing ‘Next Generation Access’ broadband (NGA) in rural areas, with a target speed of the order of 50 Mb/s to as many properties as possible.

Improved broadband is essential for the economy of rural areas but, because of the low population density, such areas have not been attractive to the commercial providers of high speed services.  Underlining the importance of fast, reliable broadband, Mr Stewart explained that his constituency is reported to have the highest percentage of self-employed people in the country, and 20% of residents work from home.

            Under the pilot scheme for Cumbria, government grants up to a total of £10 m are available, but the initiative which will trigger the necessary technical investigations in a particular area must come from the local community.

            Other speakers outlined the alternative ways in which NGA can be provided.  Fibre optic cables to individual properties would be technically the best method but generally would be much too expensive (some £40 billion nationally).  However, most of the cost of this method is incurred in installing the underground ducts to carry the fibre optic cables.  The cost of installing additional cable(s) in an existing duct is minimal and the cost of providing a new duct can be greatly reduced if a community can undertake the necessary excavation, arrange wayleaves etc.  If a fibre optic cable can be brought to a central node to serve a community, there are various ways of connecting that node to individual properties including cable or wireless links. 

            Two representatives of ‘Broadband Delivery UK’ (BDUK), a group set up in Whitehall to promote broadband developments, explained their role, working with communities over the next two years to develop this pilot area as an inspiration to the rest of the country.  Further information should be available shortly but the general message from the meeting was that progress will depend on communities demonstrating a demand for NGA and a willingness to participate in the process.

 

3.         E-mail from Rory Stewart 9 November 2010

            Following drafting of the above, an e-mail from Rory Stewart advises us that they are setting up a basic web-site which will provide a forum for communication with, and between, parishes and groups of parishes.  Further information may be available by the date of the Parish Council meeting.

 

4.         Suggested action       

4.1       We suggest that, in the interests of all users of broadband, these developments should be widely publicised throughout the parish and, ideally, be discussed at a public meeting with a view to setting up an implementation group of perhaps 4 or 5 people representing different types of user and, if possible, different areas of the parish.

4.2       To assess the demand in the parish, we recommend a survey of residents, perhaps combined with invitations to the suggested public meeting. 

4.3       We suggest that liaison arrangements be set up with adjacent parishes, to ensure pooling of knowledge regarding existing infrastructure and maximum mutual benefit from potential developments.

If these suggestions are acceptable to the Council, we recommend that the timing of a public meeting should have regard to the availability of further information via the proposed web-site.

Fraser Shaw

Clive Marshall

10 November 2010