Published 12th May 2022

THE PROGRAMME

In January 2022 the Overthorpe and Warkworth community, in partnership with Openreach, was successful in gaining the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) approval for the funding of the gigabit broadband ( fibre ) installation across our two parishes.

  • Overthorpe and Warkworth CIC (Community Interest Company) was set up to contract with Openreach for the delivery of the installation.
  • The directors of the Overthorpe and Warkworth CIC are: Liz Parnell, Hugh Dickerson and Richard Randall.
  • The incremental project cost of £152,000 for the upgrade above that of Openreach’s own investment is to be fully covered by the DCMS government funding. Openreach are responsible for claiming the voucher funds from the DCMS directly.

PROGRAMME TIMELINE

  • Starting with DCMS funds approval in January 2022, the programme duration is set at 12 months.
  • Survey (3 months) - Openreach check network capacity and survey the physical geography. Check access to all voucher registered properties.  (Openreach will determine if any traffic management or road closures are required).
  • Planning ( 3 months )-  Solution design  to give best speeds possible. Order exchange equipment and prepare contract scope for subcontractors.
  • Network build (3 months) - Above and below ground laying of fibre cable from villages back to the exchange.  Clear underground blockages and blow through the optic fibre cable.  The fibre network is ‘light’ tested from one end to another to check we will get the required speeds.
  • Commissioning (1 month)- All final tests and physical audits are completed to ensure   everything is compliant. Systems are updated and handover to the service providers (Virgin, Sky, etc. ) so they can also update their own systems.
  • Community acceptance (2 months) - Openreach give us the green light for us individually to order our own fibre service upgrades through our own broadband service provider. When the order is processed by your service provider they will request Openreach to connect your property to the fibre network.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: 

Can I upgrade to the fibre service through my current broadband provider? 

Openreach do not provide a retail fibre service to end consumers. Openreach provide the network infrastructure through which your chosen broadband service provider delivers their service. Regardless of the service provider we all share the same network.  

To upgrade to the fibre service you will need to order your own fibre service upgrade through your selected broadband service provider, e.g.  Virgin, Sky, BT, TalkTalk, etc. Your provider will request Openreach to carryout the connection and install the router, and test.  

Will I have to wait until my current broadband service contract expires before upgrading to a fibre service through my current broadband provider?

No - Broadband providers will welcome your enquiry to upgrade to fibre. This is a government backed scheme, all service providers are supportive and none should block your upgrade.

Typically the provider may take the opportunity to extend your service contract with them from the point of upgrade for further 12 months to get their return on the cost of the new fibre router they supply. 

Will I have to pay more for the new fibre service?

Typically No - The vast majority of providers are now offering the fibre service at comparable or lower prices than the legacy copper broadband service.  Again, so as not to undermine this government initiative.

If a provider is proposing a higher price for a comparable service then I would suggest looking to an alternative provider. 

How will the fibre be routed to my property and then  through my  house?

The fibre will follow the path of the existing copper telephone line from  the nearest duct to your  house, and then through the house using the same route as the telephone wire.  

For example, if your telephone line comes to your house overhead, then the fibre will follow the same overhead route.

The fibre will then route through your house to your broadband port (where your  existing router is located ) following the same path as the copper cable connection.

The location of the router inside the house will require an adjacent power supply for the router. 

What will happen to my existing telephone/broadband ‘copper’ connection?

The fibre connection will directly replace the copper landline you have today. The copper cable will become redundant. In some cases the copper cable will  be used to assist in pulling the fibre through your house.

Your existing home phone number will be assigned to the fibre connection. If you have an old landline handset phone and wish to retain this facility, they you will need to upgrade to a new digital handset model to connect through the fibre connection.

The old telephone PSTN copper network is already scheduled to be redundant by 2025, therefore we will be running ahead of the curve.

Do I have to upgrade to fibre  if I have a registered voucher scheme and have now changed my mind?

No. The upgrade is only initiated by you placing your order for the fibre upgrade through your service provider. It is your choice to upgrade. If you don’t order you do not get the upgrade.

If subsequently you wish to order a fibre connection installation beyond the project programme and outside of funding, then you may incur a connection cost levied by Openreach through your provider.

Do I have to upgrade if I did not validate my interest through the voucher scheme?

No.  You will not be visible to Openreach on the validated voucher list they hold, and not able to access the project funds.

If you subsequently wish to order a fibre connection through your broadband service provider then you may incur connection costs levied by Openreach through your provider.

I am new to the village and my property was not registered for a voucher? 

Unfortunately the validated voucher is tied to the property. If your property  is not on the voucher list then you will not be in scope of the project.  

Openreach are not funded by the DCMS to provide connections to properties where there is no voucher.

On moving to the new property you  wish to order a fibre connection through your broadband service provider then you may incur additional connection costs levied by Openreach through your provider.

There is a ‘spin-off’ benefit for new build properties  in that fibre will be locally accessible within the villages.

Published September 2020

Following the increase in traffic through Overthorpe in recent weeks (caused by the roadworks on A422/M40 Junction 11 roundabout), there have been a large number of posts on What’sApp with suggestions of how to mitigate the problems.

Usually, around this time of year, there would be a Parish Meeting – an opportunity for residents to put forward their concerns to Parish, District and County Councillors. Obviously, as a consequence of Covid19 restrictions, we cannot hold a meeting this year.

All of the issues raised via What’sApp have been raised at some time in the last 30 years – either through the Parish Council, or previously the Residents Association, so we thought it would be useful to review past proposals, ideas and action:

During late February / early March volunteers completed a two-week programme of traffic monitoring through the village as part of the Community Speed Watch project. Unfortunately, the weather did not help this time around but it now means the team have been actively speed checking traffic in Overthorpe for more than 12 weeks in total over 3 separate sessions since it started in early 2017. 

The Parish Council would like to thank all of the volunteers who have given up so much time to help with this invaluable work which has been much appreciated by many in the village.

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