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Northern Fells Broadband - News

Connecting Cumbria Mungrisdale Workshop - October 2016

A Free Broadband Workshop was held on Monday 17th October 2016 in Mungrisdale Hall.

Following the workshop, Northern Fells Broadband Ggroup believe that a brief synopsis of the current opportunities in Mungrisdale and Castle Sowerby parishes will be helpful.

a) Fibre-optic Broadband.

Connecting Cumbria is currently surveying Mungrisdale, Mosedale, Hutton Roof and Berrier for provision of broadband. This would probably be either through local cabinets &/or fibre to the premise. The appraisal process involves evaluation of engineering options along with scheme costings. It will be several months before the outcomes are known and whether or not projects meet certain cost benefits. Only if these are positive will they be included in the rollout programme which is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2017.

Please register your interest by visiting the CC website at www.connectingcumbria.org.uk and leaving your particulars.

b) Wireless Broadband.

4G mobile telephony and broadband is now available in many parts of Mungrisdale and Castle Sowerby parishes from the recently constructed transmitters at Hutton Roof and Newlands. Although EE coverage is particularly good the masts are available to all service providers if they choose to offer wireless data transmission. There are a number of options: -

For anyone in the Mungrisdale Parish area wishing to have an independent no obligation EE 4G test to see if they can get a 4G internet service, then please call Steve Woolley on 017687 79678 to arrange a visit.

In conclusion we would like to thank Phil Ruston for facilitating such an informative session of useful advice and hints and tips. It was perhaps almost an overload of information but the full presentation can be found on the Connecting Cumbria website with all the services and contacts referred to shown there.

Meanwhile, rest assured that NFBG will be beavering away trying to ensure that all of northern fells gets access to broadband.

Newsletter July 2016

9th July Newsletter

EE 4G Service Available from the New Hutton Roof and Newlands Masts - June 2016

EE have enabled 4G service from two new masts located at Hutton Roof and Newlands. These masts are expected to provide a high level of coverage from Hesket Newmarket throughout the Mungrisdale valley.

To check to see if you are able to get coverage in the Mungrisdale area once the sites go fully live in late June, call Steve Woolley on 01768 779 678.

Connecting Cumbria Ireby Update - March 2016

Superfast fibre broadband has now been delivered to more areas of Cumbria, with the upgrade of a new cabinet in Low Ireby. Up to 126 premises should be able to access improved broadband speeds.

If you live in or around the area within the circles on the maps, check with http://www.connectingcumbria.org.uk/when-and-where to confirm you can get fibre broadband and contact an Internet Service Provider to find out what superfast offers and speeds are available and how to order.

For further information on Superfast Broadband in Cumbria please go to www.connectingcumbria.org.uk or email info@connectingcumbria.org.uk

Ireby Coverage

Low Ireby cabinet number 3 – serving properties in Ireby village.

A Brief Update on Activities of NFB during 2015 - March 2016

The first part of the year was taken up with discussions and working with Vodafone regarding a potential 3g mobile telephone service which would bring with it a limited broadband service. Three clusters in Mungrisdale parish were surveyed and host properties identified for installation of the transmitting equipment which would have provided some level of service to Mungrisdale between Beckside and Undercrag, Bowscale and Mosedale.

Unfortunately the service required a minimum 2mgbt connection for backhaul and this was used to put pressure on Connecting Cumbria (ie:- CCC) to confirm that the parish would benefit from the universal broadband service promised under Phase 1 of the rollout of superfast broadband to be completed by the end of 2015.

In the event, the commitment for this was withdrawn by CC on the basis that funding for a Phase 2 initiative, starting in 2016, would supercede it with potential faster speeds. This enabled more money to be spent in other parts of the county enabling greater numbers of properties to benefit under the first phase (coincidentally by then all of the county was designated as rural including urban areas in what had become a numbers game).

Consultation about Phase 2 was conducted by CC and the strongest representations made that the new resource be used to bring broadband to those areas not covered under the first phase. Whilst this was broadly accepted it also became clear that nearly 27,000 properties fell out-with Phase 1 but that the level of funding under Phase 2 would only provide a broadband service to around a quarter of these.

Another part of the consultation was to invite other providers (the Altnets) to “claim” where they could provide broadband service, be it by wireless or hard cabled but none of the Altnets claimed to cover Mungrisdale (or Castle Sowerby, although as a provider claimed they could service Sebergham they are now excluded from any future public funding).

Phase 2 coverage is presently at a design stage but it is very unlikely to include Mungrisdale under value for money criteria and as the parish is deemed to be in the last 5% of the county most difficult to get broadband to. (Consider 25% coverage of 27,000 with about 150 properties in the parish as part of the most difficult 5% of over 300,000 properties in the county). CC will announce their intentions about mid-year.

However, as part of the 5% most difficult areas, parishioners are eligible to apply for vouchers to subsidise the cost of having satellite broadband installed provided that they do not have broadband, or only a speed of less than 2mgbt. Assurances have been given that taking up a satellite service will not prejudice signing up to any alternative service if, and when, it becomes available, or require the grant to be repaid.

In parallel with the above two transmitters are under construction which should benefit areas of the parish. One is at Newlands near Hesket Newmarket and the other at Hutton Roof. These have been funded through the Mobile Infrastructure Programme (MIP) and are the only two happening in Cumbria from fourteen which were planned. (It is sad to note that of £150m committed nationally to the programme to build 600 masts only 16 will happen at a cost of £10m resulting in an underspend of about £140m.

EE, recently acquired by BT, have promised to install their equipment on both northern fells masts which will provide wireless broadband of the type, speed and quality of the trial carried out about three years ago based on Threlkeld telephone exchange and which has benefited some properties at the southern end of the parish. With anticipated completion of the masts by the end of March there might well be announcements soon about the levels of service, and packages of deals, to be offered by EE.

Unfortunately, Arquiva who managed the MIP programme so poorly, have been fairly uncommunicative particularly regarding the coverage of the new masts although we know that extensive trials were carried out before the work was commissioned. Indeed it seems likely that the only consultation with the community was by LDNPA with regard to the planning applications and therefore the areas of coverage are purely speculative at this time.

EE have proven to very committed to northern fells in as much as they have been trialing another means of transmitting wireless broadband, from property to property, at Sebergham and over fifteen months on are still trying to get it working properly.

In conclusion, NFBG can chalk up some successes in that the four parishes to the north of northern fells area have wireless coverage via EE with transmitters on Caldbeck and Sandale masts and as well many parishioners there now also have an option of fibre based broadband installed by BT as part of their Phase 1 contract with CC. The two masts at Hutton Roof and Newlands are the best bet for much of Mungrisdale , or in the short term taking advantage of the satellite voucher scheme details about which can be found on the CC website.

Mungrisdale is on the cusp of some broadband becoming available but a far cry from the ambitious proposals put forward five years ago for an northern fells network but not favoured by RCBF (Rural Community Broadband Fund managed by DEFRA) because it was based on wireless technology and subsequently kicked into the long grass by CCC. Both now acknowledge that this is the principle type of technology which can provide affordable coverage in remote rural parishes like this one.

BOB CLARK - Mungrisdale Parish Broadband Champion and Deputy Chairman NFBG.

CCC Connecting Cumbria P2 NFBG Response - 2 January 2015

The full response can be downloaded below; however, our conclusion is that: -

We believe that a compelling case is made above as to how the Phase 2 funding should be used.

NFBG has worked tirelessly for many years on behalf of its’ constituents to bring broadband, superfast where possible, to the seven parishes represented with success where the infrastructure and network permitted. Help is now needed to complete the coverage utilising Phase 2 funding.

Meanwhile NFBG will continue to actively engage with Connecting Cumbria and other partners and providers to find ways to achieve this.

Download the CCC Connecting Cumbria P2 NFBG Response (Large 6.9 Mbyte File)

Rural Economies - 29 December 2014

Rural economies set to overtake urban in the near future, which is a great reason why we need improved broadband services in rural areas such as the Northern Fells. Check out the attached articles for more information.

BBC Article Link.

The Guardian Article Link.

Broadband Data Usage Calculator

When signing up for a new broadband package, it is vitally important that you calculate your data usage bearing in mind that you may well be entering into broadband contract for 12 to 24 months.

The Bentley Walker site provides independent assistance in this area.

EE also have their own Data Calculator.

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EE Launches 4G Broadband for the Northern Fells - November 2013

This month we welcomed the official launch of EE’s 4G rural broadband network which will stretch across the northern fells from Threlkeld to Wigton. Users in the Threlkeld trial received average speeds of 24Mbs and the subsequent rollout across the region is a significant milestone in our aim to achieve a full superfast broadband service for the community.

EE is currently testing the network and it goes live on 6th December, at which point residents and businesses will be able to sign up to a 4G wireless broadband data plan which offers a promotional offer of 20GB for £25 per month (£30.00 from February 2014). Additional data bundles will be available at 2GB for £7.50, 4GB for £10.00 and 10GB for £15.00.

Please note that this is a domestic service and businesses should talk directly with EE to discuss their requirements. The EE plan comes with the Huawei B593 router priced at £69.99; this Wi-Fi router includes high gain internal antennas and does not need to be installed by an engineer. You will receive the router by post and it is a simple 'plug and play' device.

EE is suggesting that users should receive speeds of 8-12Mbs on average but it is possible that you could access greater speeds, given the experience of current users in the Threlkeld area. The plan is based on a 24 month contract and will be available to purchase in EE stores in Kendal, Carlisle and Workington and online at https://explore.ee.co.uk/4g-cumbria

At present this service is forecast to reach up to 85% of the northern fells and the service will be dependent upon your geographical position in relation to the masts. You can check your area on the maps at the bottom of the page at https://explore.ee.co.uk/4g-cumbria

In the meantime we continue to talk to CCC regarding our bid for RDPE funding and to fight to gain full coverage of the northern fells with superfast broadband.

If you know of anyone who hasn’t registered with us please share this information with them, and encourage them to complete the registration form on our website.

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