Great Mollington Hyperfast

Broadband for the 21st Century

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Introduction

Great Mollington exchange was first converted to use “Superfast” broadband during 2015. This project managed by Connecting Cheshire (CC) on behalf of Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) is now into the third of four projected phases.

 

Our exchange has what is termed Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) for most lines within the parishes of Mollington, Lea-by-Backford, Backford (including Chorlton by Backford and Caughall) and the block of houses in Kinnington Way, Backford Gardens and Rosemere Drive which are actually in Great Sutton. The first two phases of the CC project involved installation of four cabinets sited nearby to the existing cabinets (Cabinet One at the junction of Station Road, Backford with the A41 Liverpool Road, Cabinet Two in Grove Road outside Grove Farm, Cabinet Three in Townfield Lane near to the junction with Well Lane and Cabinet Four outside Costco in Chester Gates Business Park.

 

Phase Three will involve the installation of an additional cabinet (Cabinet Five) outside Backford Belles on the A41 and will serve the Kinnington Way estate with better connections than currently available, as well as some additional improvements in Backford itself and for the industrial properties between Station Road and the Canal on the A41 and will also involve the upgrading of service to properties along the Parkgate Road between Overwood Avenue and Fiddlers Lane.

 

Current Status

In 2017 Virgin Media obtained permission to run their new fibre trunk through Lea, Mollington and Saughall to Blacon and then on to Wrexham to replace the existing trunk route through the middle of Chester (which was scheduled to be seriously impeded by the proposed Northgate development). However, Virgin have experienced serious financial issues with building their new Project Lightning network and work to connect the residents of Mollington and Saughall has now been deferred until at least 2020.

 

Openreach (BT’s network investment) has now announced that it intends to connect approximately 6 million properties to its new FTTP (Fibre to the Premise) network by 2025. This work is unlikely to be covered in the BDUK rollout projects before that date as most properties impacted by this are likely to be urban and suburban properties mainly in the larger conurbations. Additionally, Openreach are intending to switch all existing telephone circuits from the current analogue voice technology to use Voice Over IP (VOIP) which will rely on the FTTP/FTTC connections that have largely been installed over the country. This switchover is scheduled to occur by 2025.

 

You may have seen stories in the local news a couple of years ago about Virgin Media’s announcement that they were intending to connect the majority of properties within a 5-mile radius of Chester to their Ultrafast network. Although work did start at one point it now seems that their plans for our area are on hold due to concerns about its financial viability and will not resume until 2020 at the earliest.

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Broadband For The Rural North

B4RN started as a community project in Lancashire to bring fibre optic broadband to a rural area suffering from very slow broadband speeds and which was unlikely to be upgraded by Openreach. B4RN has now extended its coverage into parts of Cumbria and Yorkshire and there are also B4RN groups in Norfolk and Cheshire. Bringing B4RN to a new area relies on the support of local volunteers, investors and landowners.

 

The ducting that carries the fibre optic cables are laid underneath farmland wherever possible, having obtained the landowner’s permission, by the local volunteers which means the cost of installing the network is considerably lower than if a contractor such as Openreach were employed to do it. B4RN will provide specialist assistance with obstacles such as roads or railway lines. Please take a look at their website for more information, https://b4rn.org.uk

 

Raising Funds

We need to raise a proportion of the necessary funds to initiate the work within the community before B4RN will allow work to commence (see https://b4rn.org.uk/b4rn-community/investors/ for more information). This took a matter of a few weeks for Cheshire-B4RN to achieve following their public meeting in September 2017. The build of the network is estimated to be approximately £1,000 per property connected to the B4RN service. This will be funded primarily by enough individuals investing in B4RN, either by purchasing shares or lending money. The terms of each of these methods of financing are explained in some detail on the B4RN website and will have tax benefits attached.

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Taking the B4RN Service

A B4RN connection will give every property or business a broadband speed of 1000Mbps for both uploading and downloading regardless of the time of day and how many other users there are and no data limits. For domestic users it will cost £30 per month to take their service and there is no minimum contract period. There is a one-off connection charge of £150, this is waived if you invest £1500.  For the costs to non-residential users please visit the B4RN website. As B4RN is an internet only service there is no telephone line provided. You can continue paying line rental to your existing phone provider, however, many B4RN users chose to subscribe to a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) service instead as it can work out much cheaper. For example, Vonage (https://vonage.co.uk/ ) offers a basic phone package including unlimited calls to landlines for £9.25 per month. Please note, if you register with the project as not being interested, but then decide at a later date you wish to be connected, B4RN will charge you significantly more than the usual £150 fee.

 

The Next Steps

Once all the replies to this fact sheet have been collated the outcome will be communicated to you as soon as possible. If there is sufficient interest the next step will be to contact B4RN who will provide a suggested route and an outline cost. We are holding a public meeting on 29th August 2018 at Mollington, Backford & District Village Hall starting at 7:30pm.

 

Register Your Interest

You can complete this registration by filling out this form.

You can also ask any question of the team by completing this form.