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West Chiltington - High Speed Broadband

Page Updated 08.02.2013

After two years or more, the level of interest in a High Speed Broadband solution in West Chiltington, Thakeham, Nutbourne and all of the area of our exchange has stubbornly failed to reach an economically justifiable level, remaining at around 5%. It is, therefore, with regret that I have decided to cease my efforts locally. My thanks to those who have helped, in particular Chris Heap and Kevin Passey. I still remain on the County Programme Board, where we are wrestling with an apparently 'messed up' government plan which is at odds with the rules in the EU governing the use of state aid. If, as expected, nearly all the 830 million of your and my taxpayers' money goes to the incumbent provider, BT, for a non-future proof product (Infinity) there are expected to be several EU legal actions brought against Jeremy Hunt and his department for breach of EU regulations. At present the promised 'Best Broadband in Europe' is forecast to come in at number 17. A few of you may even be moved to ask a few questions.


You may wish to follow the sad story of another 'campaign' which may well have fallen foul to BT's predatory practices, with no apparent interest from HMG. Their website is Ewhurst and Surrey Hills Broadband and is regularly updated. News of this is GRADUALLY seeping into the national media although the BBC and major nationals seem surprisingly reluctant to cover it. Return of the 'D' notice?


AS THE COUNTRY GRINDS SLOWLY TOWARDS THE 21ST CENTURY IT IS BECOMING INCREASINGLY COMMON FOR HOUSE BUYERS TO LOOK AT BROADBAND SPEEDS WHEN CONSIDERING LOCATION. I RECKON WE COULD LOOK AT 2020 BEFORE WE SEE ANY IMPROVEMENT IF OUR PLIGHT IS LEFT TO BT. MEANWHILE PROPERTY PRICES WILL BE HELD BACK IN THE PARISH, LOCAL ENTERPRISE WILL SUFFER AND WE ALL WILL BE UNABLE TO UTILISE THE INCREASING NUMBER OF FACILITIES FASTER BROADBAND OFFERS.

This just in from the Halifax:

"A strong broadband connection is an increasingly important factor when choosing where to live. We are living in the digital age and as such more people are choosing to work from home, but as well as this it's a part of our everyday lives with web browsing and streaming television commonplace. As a result we find people are increasingly prepared to pay a premium for homes with a good broadband signal, and this is likely to remain a factor when choosing where to live." Martin Ellis, economist at Halifax. The premium can be as high as 10%.

OfCom published an interesting paper on the benefits of faster broadband for the elderly and disabled. Of particular interest are the developments in on-line health care, including monitoring and diagnosis, and the steady development of the Television set as an internet gateway, removing some of the 'black art' some older people associate with computers. The paper can be seen here.

It should be noticed that all of these benefits DO require a better broadband delivery.


Where we are

Your broadband is delivered to you by your ISP on a contract, the common one of which is 'Up to 8mb", which means that is the maximum speed they will allow you to receive. It now seems as if the 'standard' contract is becoming 'up to 20mb' In fact, as you all know, you get a lot less than this, but are possibly still paying for 8mb - or even 20mb. Current speeds range from nil (= the old 'dial-up') at the top of the parish (off Harbolets) to around 2 and a bit mb in the village, sometimes a bit more.

We live in a village where I sense it is considered 'non-u' to make a fuss. In general it is better to mutter and moan about something rather than do something about it. To a large extent that is why things are as they are. Why we have a bit of a mobile-phone 'black hole' and why we have such poor broadband.

The history of broadband in the village goes back to 2002 when we had none, and there was no sign on the horizon. Fortunately, Robin Bliss - who began this website - ran a campaign to acquire a list of those who would take the service if it were available, and I think we achieved the 'minimum number' of customers for BT (I cannot recall the figure), but it arrived in 2003. Without Robin's efforts we might still, like some villages in the UK, be without.

I have decided that spring-cleaning is needed here, so I have tidied up this page and put together some other pages which you will find here. I have started with the assumption that some of you will not know much about the technology, and those that are 'up-to-speed' (excuse the pun) can jump to later pages.

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