24th April 2022
1 The project is going ahead with a planned completion date of end November. There will be an update in May which we understand will give us an idea of what will be going on in the build phase.
2 All the vouchers issued between March 2021 and end of August 2021 have been cancelled.
3 New vouchers were issued by the Department for Culture Media and Sport on 4-4-22 with no explanation and reminder emails have arrived since for those who did not respond at once. They are not a scam. Please validate just one of the many you will have been sent. Don’t worry if you have validated more than one as only the first will count and any others will disappear.
4 If you have not received a new voucher email do not worry. Please let us know with the date of your initial voucher. More vouchers will be sent out probably in mid July and we will send out emails to warn people at that time.
5 If you are unsure as to whether you have a voucher try pledging on Openreach’s portal:
https://www.openreach.com/connectmycommunity which is still open for new applicants. If you have had a voucher it will tell you that your address has a voucher issued even if you had an early one which has ow been cancelled. If you successfully pledge then you will be sent an email asking you to validate your voucher in July.
6 We have established better communication with Openreach thanks to WSCC’s officer Greg Merrett. WSCC are firmly behind our Project.
8th April 2022
I am currently trying to find answers from Openreach (OR) as to what is going on in relation to the ‘voucher situation’. I have been trying to communicate all week with OR but have not had replies from my emails, other than to say that they are trying to resolve the situation. So if you are feeling frustrated, I can share your feelings.
I have nonetheless heard from Gregory Merrett, Project Manager, Gigabit Voucher Scheme, West Sussex County Council, who has assured me that the county council wants the scheme to go ahead. They are still committed to providing the funding, assuming that the majority of people apply for new vouchers when/if they are asked to. Also that OR are continuing to progress the elements required to complete the build.
People have joined the scheme at different times during the last year and therefore have different positions in relation to the vouchers. I have chosen to call you group 1, 2 and 3 to make things easier to understand:
Group 1: Those who pledged to join the project a year ago and whose vouchers have now run out.
Group 2: Those who have pledged to join the project and whose vouchers have not yet run out.
Group 3: Those who have pledged to join the project and have not yet received validation details.
I will now try and give advice to the 3 different groups!
For those who haven’t responded to emails from the DCMS, we suggest that you wait until we get clear answers as to the position of OR.
For those who have responded positively to one or more emails offering new vouchers, I am confident that things will be sorted out in the next few days.
For those who have validated their vouchers and have not received emails that they are about to expire, keep a look out for an email from email@example.com or from GBVSHelp@culture.gov.uk headed UK Gigabit Voucher Scheme – action required. I will send out further information, when I know exactly what the plan is for the future.
For those who have pledged to join the project and have not yet received validation details, I need first to give my attention to the immediate problems of whether the vouchers in Group 1 are running out. As soon as I have this sorted out, I will give my full attention to ensuring that you get your vouchers!
It is obvious that OR have been completely overwhelmed with projects generally during the last year and have been unable to give us accurate information. However Greg has proposed a weekly call between himself, OR and myself so that we can ensure progress is being made and that our project team is confident in the communications we are relaying back to the community.
With best wishes
On behalf of the Bolney Broadband Team
6th January 2022
The ‘planning and survey’ stage of the project started last November. This is very good news as the clock started then for the 12 months that Openreach are allowed in which to complete the entire installation.
Many people in Bolney were sent an email by Openreach early today which appeared to suggest that they should pledge their voucher. Openreach have now admitted this was a miscommunication. There is no need for any further action at this time for anyone who has validated their voucher. If you are not sure about this please look towards the bottom of this update for advice.
For anyone who would like to get the benefit of ultrafast broadband speeds it is still possible for residents whose addresses are on the project address list to get ultrafast broadband under this scheme. The steps required are:
1 Pledge your voucher by going to the Openreach portal:
and follow the instructions. It is beneficial to the project as a whole if you are able to pledge as a business, even a one man self-employed person, because the business voucher is worth £2000 more than a residential one.
2 look out for an email from:
3 and validate your voucher by responding to this email within 28 days.
4 Then look out for an email from
which confirms that your voucher has been issued and you are included in the project.
Please let the Project Team know that you have pledged on the Openreach portal by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org . Some people have had problems with receiving the email from notifications.service.gov.uk and we do not know why. We are hoping that our contact at Openreach will be able to tell us when the DCMS have sent out these emails so that we can prompt you to look for yours. Then if there are any problems they should get resolved more easily.
If you are unsure whether you have validated your voucher and are definitely in the project, the best thing to do is to try pledging on the Openreach portal as given above. If you have already got a voucher for your premises, you will be told that a voucher has been issued already. Only one voucher is allowed for each address.
If you have any further queries or problems please contact the Broadband Project Team on email@example.com and we will do our best to help you. There are some FAQ’s following these updates.
ULTRAFAST broadband is coming to our village, but we need your help!
Our community needs you (and vice versa)!
Thanks to everyone who has pledged their government and WSCC grants for the Bolney Ultrafast broadband project. We have reached our key target for funding, but it’s not too late for more of you to join the Community Fibre Partnership for Bolney. We really want to get everyone on board so that Openreach can begin work.
273 properties have yet to sign up – don’t lose out, join your community today! This project is going to give FTTP to a large part of Bolney plus some adjoining areas.
You should have received a card from Openreach last week. A flyer from your Parish Council is also en route to you later this week. Please follow the details or email your phone number to firstname.lastname@example.org if you need help, advice, or want to find out more – we will call you back.
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers below are given in good faith and to the best of our understanding of the conditions at present.
1. Will I have to pay anything for the installation?
Answer: There will be no cost to you for all the installation work required to get your own gigabit ready fibre optic cable to your nearest distribution point. This will be covered by the Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) in the form of a voucher plus extra funding from West Sussex County Council.
In most cases the distribution point will be on a telephone pole but in some places it could be inside a sub-surface inspection chamber.
2. What am I committed to?
Answer: There is no commitment until your voucher has been validated with the DCMS. This is explained in Question 15.
Your commitment is to take a year’s contract for fibre broadband with a download speed that at least doubles your existing speed and is more than 30mbps. This happens once the fibre line has been connected to your premises, which could be up to one year after the installation contract has started, thus giving time for a previous contract to expire.
After the initial year you are free to take out whatever sort of contract you want.
3. How much will the new fibre contract cost me?
Answer: It is impossible to answer this at present because the contract will be taken out further on in the process once the fibre cable has been installed to your nearest telephone pole or distribution point.
What we do know is that prices are coming down because of competition in towns and cities.
The cost will depend on the download speed that you choose which must at least double your current speed and be a minimum of 30Mbps, although this could be up to 900Mbps depending on the supplier.
Most suppliers (e.g. BT) do not charge for connection from the distribution point to your premises but do make a small charge for the new router.
Please contact us at email@example.com for suggestions about how to find out the current prices in our area.
4. Why do I have slow broadband speeds?
Answer: Some of the common reasons are:
- You are not yet connected to full fibre broadband. Upgrading to a full fibre connection will give you the speed that you want up to 900Mbps. See also questions 6 and 20.
- There are problems with WiFi inside your property. This is often linked to brick walls blocking the WiFi signal. This project will not be able to help with that problem, but solutions are available.
- The copper wire is corroded at the junction box on the telegraph pole. Fibre does not corrode and upgrading to full fibre will remove this problem.
- Slower speeds at certain times of the day such as early evening are due to a copper line sharing the bandwidth with other users. Upgrading to your own full fibre line will solve this problem (see also questions 6 and 7).
5. I am happy with the broadband I have now. Why should I upgrade to full fibre?
Answer: Full fibre will upgrade your connection for the foreseeable future.
An internet connection from 10 years ago would not cope with the demand placed on it today – e.g. for streaming films, more realistic games that require larger data files, etc. In the coming years this increase in the size of data files will continue. You may not currently be using your broadband for these things but your neighbours may be, and this will be reducing your speed if you are all still using copper lines.
The subsidies currently available to rural communities are designed to ensure that rural areas keep up with urban areas as the latter move to FTTP.
It will not be long before surgeries and consultants frequently offer online video consultations. This will require faster upload as well as download speeds.
Many older people will be selling their properties to younger people in the future. Having access to ultrafast internet is definitely a big attraction and studies have shown that this increases the value of properties.
6. What is full fibre broadband, also called ultrafast broadband?
Answer: This is the most advanced broadband option available at present. A fibre-optic cable runs all the way from the local telephone exchange to the cabinet in your street and from there into your home = Fibre To The Premises, or FTTP. No copper wire is involved. This is also called gigabit ready.
With FTTP it is possible to get download speeds up to 1000Mbps but most suppliers only offer contracts up to 900Mbps.
7. Why is fibre better than copper?
A. Fibre optics uses pulses of light that travel about 10 times faster than electrons in a copper wire.
B. The fibre signal has a greater bandwidth which allows:
- several devices to use the same cable at the same time without reduced speed,
- streaming without any buffering,
- greater capacity for gamers,
- faster upload of large data files such as photos,
- no early evening reduction in speed due to others coming online. You do not share your fibre optic cable with anybody else until it reaches your router/hub.
8. Why am I not yet connected to full fibre broadband?
Answer: Openreach chose the cheapest way to provide the maximum number of homes with an improved download speed across the country. Fibre cables have been installed alongside the copper wires between the local exchange and your nearest cabinet. This is Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC). When compared to sending the broadband signal down copper wire all the way from the exchange, FTTC offers faster speeds and is called superfast broadband. However, because copper wire is used from the cabinet to your premises, the further you are from the cabinet, the slower your speed.
Changing to FTTP from the old ADSL system of copper wires all the way from the exchange will give you superfast broadband. However, there are some properties in Bolney that do not even have access to FTTC, meaning that they have internet speeds that are little faster than the old dial-up connections.
9. Is there an alternative to FTTP?
Answer: The alternative to fibre optics is 5G WIFI to your mobile phone via new mobile phone masts. This is several years away for rural areas and we all know how difficult it is to get a mobile signal in some parts of Bolney. Fibre is replacing copper and copper has lasted 140 years. For those of you with poor mobile phone signals, the new ultrafast FTTP will enable you to make and receive mobile calls via WiFi, so that these calls are effectively free.
10. Why should I upgrade now?
A. Joining this community project means you will get the best connection available at present at no cost to yourself for the installation. A fibre connection to an individual home can cost many thousands of pounds.
B. You will be helping those further from the cabinet who have much worse download speeds; indeed, some homes have no connection at all at certain times.
C. If everybody stays on fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC), the evening slowdowns will get steadily worse. More people are now using video calls to keep in touch rather than just landline calls, online gaming is demanding greater bandwidth, data file sizes are steadily increasing and more television is being viewed through streaming and catch up services.
FTTP solves all these problems.
11. Will this change affect my telephone line?
Answer. Your telephone line should not be affected because the fibre is an additional line and the copper line is not being removed.
12. What happens next?
If you want to get ultrafast broadband, then please go to the Openreach portal to pledge your DCMS voucher:
It would help us if you could send your name, address and phone number to firstname.lastname@example.org, or to the Parish Clerk. We can answer any queries and put you on our address list to receive all future communications about the project.
13 Is anyone not eligible to join?
Answer: Yes, those whose existing download speed is greater than 100mbps.
14. Can my business join the project?
Yes, and your government voucher will be worth more to the overall scheme than those provided for domestic connections. If your business is registered at your home, you can register as the business, but only one grant per premises is available. However, small businesses should look on the government website for the criteria they need to meet.
15. What is the timeline?
- We have reached the base target to fund the project. However, Openreach insists that we have a buffer over and above this base target. To date, some two-thirds of the community have NOT signed up. We need a few more people to get us over the wire, and quickly!
So go to https//www.Openreach.com/connectmycommunity and join up!
- After pledging your voucher, the DCMS will send you an email with instructions on how to validate your voucher.
If this does not arrive within a few days, please let us know as we can query the DCMS through our Openreach contact. This is speedier and thus preferable to using Openreach or the DCMS customer service provision.
- Once everyone has validated their vouchers and we have met the buffer requirement, Openreach will move on to the design stage. At that point, Openreach must complete the work within a year.
16. Why have you not directed people to the government website for the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk)?
Answer: This website tells people to join a scheme set up by a supplier in the local area. If you enter a Bolney postcode it shows that Openreach is working in our area. However it does not provide any link that provides information about the Bolney project. We do not understand why this is.
The best solution is to go to https//www.Openreach.com/connectmycommunity where you can enter your pledge directly.
17. How can I find my current download speed?
Answer: Go into your online broadband account and find the link there to test your speed. Alternatively, google something like ‘check my broadband speed’ and you will get a list of several websites that will check your current speed after you have entered your postcode.
18. What about early evening reductions in speed?
Answer: This is because you are sharing the bandwidth of your copper line with other users. This will not happen with FTTP. See Q7.
20. What will a fibre contract cost?
Probably within the range of £25 to £50, depending on the supplier and the speed and length of contract you choose.
If this project is successful it will give you broadband with a download speed of your choice up to 900mbps. You will be able to choose your contract based on your household or business requirements and your budget, but in the first year you will be obliged to have at least double your current speed and a minimum of 30Mbps.
Unfortunately the Parish Council cannot guarantee that even if the project goes ahead there will not be some premises that will not be able to be connected due to conditions beyond our control.
If you have any other questions that we have not been able to cover here (it is indeed a highly complex issue), then please send them to the team at email@example.com or to the Bolney Parish Clerk via clerk@Bolney.com and we shall try to find an answer to them.
Bolney Parish Council,
Bolney Broadband Project Team