Colton Superfast Broadband Why it's important and how we can get it......Mike Postle (

Some useful links

Both the workshops at Greenodd and Finsthwaite earlier this month were well attended and dealt with some of the issues which were relevant to each community. Phil, in his usual engaging way, took us through a lot of useful information concerning the increasing importance of using superfast broadband to access a wide range of services, to create jobs and make real savings. His presentation can be found on the Connecting Cumbria web site or by clicking this link - digital inclusion. It’s well worth looking at.
There are three really useful pages of links to other sites which list sites for Speed testing, On line training & Education, Help & advice sources, Health & Support Solutions, Media and Communications. There’s also a useful check list for choosing and ISP and how to save money doing it. They can be accessed from the presentation or by clicking the links below:
We’ll try to organise another event when a few more of us have been connected to superfast broadband.   

Did you miss it?

Nearly 40 people were treated last night to a really informative Digital Workshop at Finsthwaite Village Hall. Run by Connecting Cumbria’s Phil Ruston, who delivered it in his usual engaging style, everyone came away knowing a lot more about what’s happening and how they can make maximum use of the opportunities presented by the broadband upgrades which are well underway in our area.
If you missed it, then there’s a second opportunity to meet Phil, ask questions and hear what he’s got to say – at Greenodd Village Hall tonight starting 7 p.m.. It’s a good use of a Friday evening!!

Digital Presentations & Workshops

Just organised: a couple of digital events for the area to be run by Connecting Cumbria’s Phil Ruston. Topics to be covered will include what’s happening in the area, how the internet is and will change the way we do things and the benefits to business and to the home of a fast broadband connection.
Now I know that not all of us will have the benefit of such a connection but I think it will be still worthwhile to come along: a lot of the info will be of potential use to us anyway and we’ll get the opportunity of chatting face to face with a member of the Connecting Cumbria team.
The events are: Thursday 8th September 2016 – 7 pm Finsthwaite Village Hall and Friday 9th September 2016 – Greenodd Village Hall. Let your neighbours know!
Hope to see you at one of other of these events.

Ofcom wants to know!

“Ofcom wants rural people (sic) to tell it about the broadband challenges they face” -  according to the Rural Services Network ( Volunteers are being sought to join Ofcom’s expanded research panel so that they can get a better understanding of the challenges we face.
Interested? then sign up on Ofcom’s partner web site If you are accepted on the scheme, you will get a ‘white box’ which reports the performance – or lack of it – of your broadband connection. The whitebox will not interfere with your connection as it only runs tests when the connection is not in use, and it does not monitor what you use the connection for. I’ve had one for some time now and the graphs it produces make interesting and sometimes depressing reading but they do alert me for example to when the line is going down.
On a different tack, I’ve got an exploratory meeting next week with Openreach together with the person responsible for their community broadband scheme. I hope to pick up some more information about where we are with phase 2 connections and how we might fill in the SFBB gaps that are left. Watch this space! 

Oxen Park - some more news

Bit of good news here is that I’ve just been informed that Oxen Park has come out in the first tranche of phase 2 modelling. So it looks as if it will get its own cabinet. Where this will be and on what timescales I’m not sure but I would guess that the cabinet will be placed somewhere near the Manor – in which case all of you roughly within half a mile will get SFBB and many more will get better than what you have now. (Not too difficult I hear you say!).

Bouth Connected!

Those of you who have waited for the cabinet on the way out of Bouth towards the Causeway to be connected up, need wait no longer. You are now officially connected and will be able to order fibre broadband. Looking at the map, my guess is that most of you will be able to get better than 24Mb/s ie superfast broadband (SFBB) and certainly all in the village will be able to get a lot faster connection than currently.
Remember though that you need to contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and ask SFBB – it will not come to you automatically. Remember also that your ISP may not have been notified yet (it can take a couple of weeks or so) and it’s just possible that your ISP will not offer the facility – in which case you will need to migrate to another ISP if you want it. Experience in the County is that SFBB usually runs out about the same price or even cheaper than the old ADSL connection – as always it’s worth shopping around. (Meanwhile I’ll sulk in the slow lane!!)

Finsthwaite Strikes it Lucky!

The more observant of you who live or have passed through Finsthwaite will have noticed what look like small cabinets appearing in the landscape. I’ve had it confirmed that these structures are part of BT/Connecting Cumbria’s plans for bringing SFBB to Finsthwaite. Apparently, the cheapest way of doing this is to connect up using fibre to the premises (FTTP) – so that’s what you’ll get as part of phase 1. I’ll leave it there being green with envy at the blistering speeds you’ll get!! 

Just Published: Guide to getting basic broadband

The scheme, which fulfils the Government’s commitment to giving every premise access to a 2Mb/s download speed, is now up and running. Details are on the Connecting Cumbria web site

The scheme gives financial support of no more than £400, via a voucher system, towards the cost of satellite equipment and installation in the first year.  

Details of the scheme are given in the link on the Connecting Cumbria page together with application forms.


Satellite does have some significant disadvantages so my feeling is that it is worth waiting a few weeks to find out whether of not you will be connected to the fibre network under phase 2.

A short term fix if you are desperate

It was announced last week that up to 300,000 homes that struggle to access speeds of more than 2 Mb/s will be eligible for government funding for the installation of satellite broadband services. The contribution, which is likely to reduce the cost of installation by around £350, is part of the phase 1 universal service commitment.


However before getting too excited, it’s as well to remember that a typical consumer will spend between £250 and £600 on satellite hardware; then there’s the £100+ installation cost and the monthly rental. Current monthly data usage of a typical fixed line broadband customer is reckoned to be 58 GB. If you want a satellite package that can deliver 50 GB per month, you’ll be paying about £60 per month.


Then of course there are performance issues. These include the time it takes the signal to travel via the satellite from your home to the base station (latency), insufficient capacity – especially at peak times and even rain affecting the signal. Also if you are not given a UK IP address, you’ll have to employ some clever dodges to use UK focussed internet such as the iPlayer.


If you’re not yet connected to SFBB, it’s worth pushing to be included in phase 2 or, failing that, to look at community land based solutions.    

….even closer.

In our parish, Greenodd exchange has two active cabinets serving 450 properties – and a further 1 scheduled under phase 1 serving another 50 properties. The corresponding figures for the Newby Bridge exchange are 6 active cabinets (650 properties).


Also serving our parish: Satterthwaite exchange – 1 cabinet scheduled (60 properties); Lowick Bridge 2 cabinets scheduled (100 properties).


Finally, I have a meeting with BT and Connecting Cumbria middle of January to discuss & make progress on filling in the gaps – especially Oxen Park area. Will post the result.