Ultrafast broadband in Netherfield / Dallington / Brightling / Ashburnham / Penhurst / Ninfield
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do I need ultrafast (full fibre) broadband?
Full fibre broadband offers a more reliable broadband than older connections as well as faster upload and download speeds.
This can allow multiple individuals in a household to access the internet for different purposes without the frustration of buffering, slow loading of online content and dropped connections.
Faster internet can have far reaching consequences and open up better entertainment, work and communication opportunities. Online call platforms can offer cheaper contact with family and friends than traditional communication methods and help to tackle feelings of isolation and loneliness, an increasing problem, especially for those living alone or in more rural areas.
What is the voucher scheme?
The government is offering a £1500 voucher to every home (and £3500 to every business) to help them upgrade to full-fibre broadband. On its own, this voucher is of no practical use to you, because it doesn’t begin to pay for the cost (hundreds of thousands of £).
Therefore we are asking you to pool your voucher to the scheme. If enough people across the villages of Netherfield, Ninfield, Brightling, Ashburnham, Penhurst, Catsfield, Dallington and Mountfield do this, then we will all benefit from the upgrade.
What’s the catch? What am I committing to?
Your main commitment is that once the new network is in place, then within 2 months from that date, you should sign up to a new service having at least twice your current speed (minimum 30 Mbps). (NB Openreach have assured us that you will not be held to this commitment if your circumstances change, for example moving house).
The cost might be a bit more than you are paying now, but it may well be the same or less, as this is a very competitive market – see next question for details.
I’ve pledged my voucher and I’ve had an acknowledgement email. Do I need to reply to that email?
No. The leaflet that went out implies that you do need to reply to this email, but you don’t (unfortunately Openreach changed the procedure and we didn’t find out until after the leaflets had been printed).
Later, when the scheme reaches its target, your voucher will be emailed to you and at that point you will need to respond, by filling in and returning your voucher.
How much will the Full Fibre Upgrade cost me?
The installation of the Fibre Optic cables should not cost you anything as, in the case of the Netherfield / Dallington / Brightling scheme, this will be paid for by the DCMS Gigabit Voucher. However, you may have to pay an ongoing cost for the faster service – although increased competition appears to imply that you may end up paying less.
Prices for Fibre Broadband change regularly. Here is a small sample taken on 25 February 2022:
|Pro Ultrafast 500
|£32.00 no setup cost
|Unlimited Future Fibre 150
|£32.00 no setup cost
|Full fibre 100
|£34.99 no setup cost
|Full fibre 500
|£44.99 no setup cost
|Full fibre 900
|£54.99 no setup cost
The above are typically for 18 or 24 month contracts. To include phone line, typically add £5.00 per month.
Note that prices and download speeds can change daily as this is a highly competitive market. The services listed above may not necessarily be available; the point of the table is simply to give a general idea of the likely prices.
Do I have to order my broadband from BT, or can I choose which provider I use?
No, you are not tied to BT when you pledge your voucher. Openreach will build an open network, meaning that you can order from a selection of service providers. It is this competition which keeps the prices down.
Can I still keep my telephone number?
Yes. You can definitely keep your existing telephone number. Depending on your service provider, you may be able to choose to take your phone service over the new fibre connection – this will probably save you money – while keeping your existing phone number. Or you can keep your phone on its existing line, in which case your number will obviously not change either. So either way you get to keep your phone number.
I’m happy with my internet connection, why should I pledge my voucher?
According to Ofcom’s 2018 Home Broadband Report, users getting slow broadband speeds risk becoming second-class citizens.
Faster broadband speeds will not only mean multiple people can stream films, play games and access social media uninterrupted now.
Ultrafast FTTP broadband will also make properties more attractive for house swaps, and renters, and makes it easier to work from home..
Having ultrafast broadband throughout our villages will also make the area more attractive for businesses, which could bring new jobs to the area.
Ultrafast FTTP broadband could increase your house price, or decrease it if you don’t have it. Many of those looking to move regard the availability of high-speed broadband to be as important as the availability of good schools and transport links.
When I go to the pledge site, it wants me to contribute to the “Netherfield Ultrafast Community project” (or the “Manchester Road” project). But I live elsewhere – what’s going on?
This is what simply Openreach call the two telephone exchanges that the project covers. The Netherfield project actually covers 463 properties in Brightling, Netherfield and parts of Dallington around Woods Corner (all on the Brightling telephone exchange). The Manchester Road project covers 392 properties in Ashburnham, Penhurst and much of Ninfield, which are all on the Manchester Road telephone exchange.
The project is being driven by Ashburnham and Penhurst Parish Council, with support from Brightling Parish Council. Why are these parish councils straying outside their area to bring ultrafast broadband to other villages?
Please see the previous answer: the two telephone exchanges each cover several villages. By targeting the entirety of the two telephone exchanges, the project achieves “economies of scale”, making it more likely to be successful.
I heard that East Sussex County Council will be adding funds to our projects. Is that true?
Yes, for every voucher pledged, East Sussex County Council will add £1000 top-up. This gives us a much better chance of reaching the pledge target. The £1000 top-ups are only available for a limited time hence it is in our interests to be an ‘early mover’ with our projects.
Do we know exactly what each project will cost?
Yes, we do.
We have written fixed price offers from Openreach that were made after they had made detailed surveys. The offers are as follows:-
Openreach FCP project number 59602 Cost £721,164 Serving 463 homes across Brightling and parts of Dallington, Netherfield and Woods Corner
Openreach FCP project number 57216 Cost £475,282 Serving 392 homes across Penhurst, Ashburnham and parts of Ninfield
Why is the Pledge Target higher than the actual cost to build?
The pledge target has a 30% buffer added to cater for any last minute drop- outs (people not upgrading to a high speed service). Openreach have added this to protect themselves and it is upon this basis that they are not asking for individual contracts with every premise. It is also worth noting that acute levels of dropouts / and hence underfunding has never happened anywhere in the country with this type of scheme.
Once we reach the pledge target, how long will it be before the infrastructure is built?
The expectation is that it will take 12 months. It could take slightly longer if the current labour market shortages continue.
I’ve already pledged my voucher, what’s next?
When enough pledges come in Openreach they will send you a Gigabit email, which needs to be read and replied to and then there is no more to do. Once all the emails have been verified by DCMS and Openreach the project move in the ‘Delivery’ stage, ie, it starts.
How can I further help to reach the pledge target?
Encourage neighbours, friends and family in the area to check if their address is eligible for this scheme and to pledge their vouchers.
Will there be any other alternative schemes coming along?
It is unlikely that there will be another useful for us in the short to middle term.
Could 5G (mobile technology) be used instead to provide faster broadband?
The latest mobile internet technology, 5G (fifth generation), is still an emerging technology. Although 5G promises much faster speeds over mobile phones and other mobile devices, there is no guarantee that the signal will maintain its strength through walls and floors of homes and business premises. With our current 4G networks, you will often notice a downgrade to 3G (or even 2G) in transmission blackspots, of which there are many in our area. Relying on 5G alone may limit the number of people in your household or business that can use the internet at the same time. Ultrafast full-fibre will provide much better quality and a more reliable service.
Is Openreach the same company as BT?
No. Openreach is the company that builds the physical infrastructure to get us all connected i.e. poles, cables, underground tunnels, green cabinets etc. BT is one of many companies that can sell you an internet service, but only once the infrastructure has been built.
This is somewhat analogous to the way our electricity is supplied. In case of electricity supply, UK Power Networks (UKPN) own and maintain the overhead cables, transformers, poles etc whereas your preferred supplier such as EDF, Scottish Power, Shell Energy etc then supply electricity to you via UKPN’s network.
What does the term “Fibre” mean?
This refers to the technology being used to facilitate high speed data transfer to your home that then makes your internet run very fast. The word ‘fibre’ is an abbreviation for the word Fibre Optic Cable. A fibre optic cable can carry more data faster than the old fashioned copper cables that you typically see hung between telegraph poles. The new fibre cables will largely follow the same routing as the old copper cables and run right up to your property.
What do the terms FTTC and FTTP mean?
When communication providers speak of fibre, they mean either Fibre to The Premises (FTTP) or Fibre to The Cabinet (FTTC). FTTC is delivered via those green cabinets that you see along our roads and most of us today have FTTC. So, you do have fibre, but only between the exchange and the green cabinets. From the cabinets to your property (either along the telegraph poles or under the ground in conduits) your connection is over copper wires. FTTP does not come via the green cabinets – it is a new connection. FTTP delivers gigabit capable fibre all the way into your home or business. It delivers faster speeds that can be guaranteed, no loss of speed at peak times and no loss of speeds due to distance. This short video from Openreach helps to explain the differences :
Our FCP projects will result in the build of FTTP (ultrafast fibre) for everybody.
Will Openreach need to enter my home or business premises?
The project will deliver FTTP from the exchange to your property. Openreach do not enter your home when they are building the network. Your ISP will do the final connection into your property when you place an order with them. The ISP will need to enter your property to connect your hub/router to the new FTTP service. If you require the FTTP connection to your home to be located anywhere different from where the current telephone cable enters, then you need to make this known to both Openreach and your ISP when the new service is being connected.
Will my private road, driveway or garden need to be dug up for me to get an ultrafast fibre connection?
Wherever possible the service will be delivered via existing telegraph poles and underground conduits.
In rare cases where this is not possible, driveways, gardens or private roads will never be dug up without the prior permission of their owners.
I have a question that is not listed here
Please email HighWealdsuperfastbroadband@gmail.com and we will get back to you as soon as possible.