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Dear East Chiltington Neighbours and Friends
We hope you are all well and coping with this new way of life. Thank goodness it is spring in East Chiltington, not winter in the inner city. However with suddenly very full households, and everyone working from home, the problems of slow and unstable internet have been amplified, at least in our house. I wish therefore I could write with positive news from our negotiations with Openreach but I am afraid it has been a long and not very satisfactory process. We uploaded the list of interested parties late last year and immediately received a quote for £350,000. This was to connect each and every property in the village and worked out as approximately £3500 per household. After various attempts to reduce the cost by refining parameters, removing properties which don’t exist/don’t qualify and the odd outlier on a different exchange altogether, we now have a final quote from Openreach.
The key facts from the quote are:
Core community* – 104 Premises
Initial Estimate – £343,254.00
Cost Per Premise – £3,300.52
The cost of £3,300.52 per household relies on every single property in the village taking up this offer, i.e. for every household which does not, their cost will need to be borne by those who do…
*please note that this list still includes empty/non existent properties, households who were not interested in getting fibre and households who would not qualify for the Gigabit Scheme despite our best efforts so the cost per household is already a little higher than Openreach state.We think this a disappointing outcome: £343,254 seems an exorbitant figure to ask a small, rural community to find for an essential service: even with the available grants this would mean almost every household still having to dig into their own pockets. There are ways costs could be reduced a little by self digging parts of the route, but this is complicated and would require technical surveys, negotiation with individual landowners, highways and the commissioning and overseeing and organising the work. Not a job for the faint hearted or the amateur. Perhaps once the current crisis is over internet provision will move up the agenda of central government. We can hope... In the meantime please do let us know what you think and do share any solutions you have come up with to improve things. We have taken an EE4G contract which has improved things a little bit (albeit from a very low base of 7 mbps download).
Stay safe and hope to see you before too long.
Charlie and Chris
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