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Parish Communication Issues

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30th September



On 31st July the BT Openreach Cabinet 1 on The Green went live covering the main areas of the Sarratt Village.

I am delighted after a 2 year campaign that we are now achieving 50mb downloads and 8mb upload from PlusNet and BT Retail for properties on The Green  and even in Sarratt Bottom the service has gone from 0.5Mb to 16Mb!

Distance from a Superfast Broadband enabled Cabinet is critical as the speed on copper lines then deteriorates very rapidly after about a kilometre. Also if the copper lines are old or pass through multiple connections it adversely affects the speed.

From the many emails I have received I need to explain that you do need to sign up on a new contract to receive the fast service  - about £5 extra per month. You do not automatically receive the speed improvement.

To see what level of service is available on your line you must check which Cabinet you are connected to.  This can be done via the BT Wholesale website – BT Broadband availability checker    

Put in your telephone number on which you require or already have broadband  (WITHOUT ANY SPACES) and it will inform you of  -

  1. The Exchange you are connected to

  2. Cabinet that serves your line -  Cabinet 1 is on The Green - Cabinet 2 is alongside the Two Brewers in Chipperfield.  Both are Fibre enable for Superfast Broadband from the Kings Langley Exchange

You will then see a list of “Featured Products” and which are available now and any future projections.

Those on Cabinet 1 will see a full list of products now available.


Particularly important for those connected to Cabinet 2 to search on the Availability Checker


I requested many months ago that the lines from Cabinet 2 to the outer reaches of the Parish be upgraded even if the properties served are at a considerable distance from the Cabinet – any speed increase would be gratefully received.

Put in your phone number and review the “Featured Products” list

If you see FTTC  - Fibre To The Cabinet  - it means your line can receive Superfast Broadband  but with speed dependant upon distance  -
There are two FTTC Ranges A and B giving 4 and 3Mb respectively
This upgrading process is ongoing and has been completed for some but not all connections to Cabinet 2
This is the BT Wholesale status on Cabinet 2 in Commonwood of my number -


Mobile coverage of our Parish is patchy to say the least.

National roaming – swapping between competitive networks - to improve rural service and is threatened by the Government if the mobile companies do not co-operate or expand coverage BUT that could be years away as could the funding of the “hundreds of new masts” which is also promised in rural areas.

HOWEVER once you achieve a Broadband speed of more than one megabyte you can utilise the Broadband to receive your mobile signals.

We use the Vodafone Sure Signal system (£100 plus vat) and we get 5 bar reception within 6 metres of the unit and 2 bars at the other end of the house. Before we couldn't use a mobile at all in the house!
It works through your broadband internet, it can create a 3G signal even in areas with NO reception.  To use Sure Signal, you'll need a 3G-capable phone that's on Vodafone network.
Link for more details -
Saved us walking up the road waving the mobile phone!
David Butler

31st July 2014
The power is on and BT Wholesale have now updated their Broadband availability listing and Superfast Broadband order taking can now commence for lines connected to Cabinet 1 on The Green - see attachment.


On the top of this document I have added the Wholesale web address so you can check the cabinet you are connected to. The speed you will achieve is dependent upon how far you are from the cabinet.


BT Retail have confirmed that they are now taking orders for their "Infinity" product -


Private customers - 0800 800 150

Business customers - a direct number 01793 591768


Plus Net are shortly to confirm order taking but now any broadband retailer, Sky, Talk Talk etc can offer this service if they choose to do so and consider there is enough business to make it profitable so by all means give your current supplier a call.


Over to you  - over and out!

15th July 2014
Broadband - Bureaucratic Common Sense
You may have seen the notice on The Green informing that there needs to be a public consultation required to connect 10 metres of cable to our new Broadband Junction Box on The Green after which The Planning Inspectorate will then decide if it can go ahead!

Having now contacted the Freedom Group and the Inspectorate, common sense has prevailed and, with an agreement already in place with our supportive Parish Council, UK Power Networks have withdrawn the application needing no further permissions.

So now just get on with it! (NB: Cable work started on 21st July)

David Butler

1st June 2014

Broadband Update


The Openreach engineers have confirmed that they have now completed all the test programmes on the fibre connections to our new cabinet.


I understand they will digging up the road in the next few weeks to add power after which BT Wholesale will offer the service to the retailers.


So far I have had a very positive response from Plus Net and BT Retail maybe others will join the feeding frenzy when it goes live.


I will let you have the contact details for the signed up retailers when they are authorised to take orders.


Nearly there.

David Butler

14th May
The new Superfast Broadband cabinet has been installed on The Green.
Next step  - power.   Then the final connections within the new cabinet plus a link to the existing one then a full test programme in the next few months. I will keep you informed of progress and the date of final completion.

I am currently working on ensuring at least one of the Broadband retailers  e.g. BT Retail, Talktalk, Sky etc will offer to market and support the service to the village.  
Getting closer
David Butler

1st April (No, it's not an April Fool's joke!)

Superfast Broadband Fibre has arrived in Sarratt!

You will probably have noticed the Openreach vehicles on The Green alongside the existing green cabinet. They are currently completing the fibre connection which now runs all the way back to the exchange.

 A new cabinet is awaiting delivery and its siting needs to be agreed as, unlike the existing cabinet which needs no power source, the new one will have to have a power supply which is currently being investigated.

The final connections within the new cabinet plus a link to the existing one and then a full test programme can take up to three months. I will keep you informed of progress and the date of final completion.
The next stage is to ensure at least one of the Broadband retailers  e.g. BT Retail, Talktalk, Sky etc are willing to offer to market and support the service to the village.  This should not be a major problem as from the results of my Questionnaire 79 people said they would be willing to sign up for the super fast service.  A substantial revenue opportunity.

We're getting there.


David Butler

February 23rd
The Connected Counties programme, which is delivering fibre broadband upgrades to communities across Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire, is underway with seven phases from now until the end of March 2016.
Phase 1 work has started with engineering surveys to identify places for the new fibre cabinets. Subject to these survey results, engineering upgrade work will follow and a new fibre cabinet will be installed near to the existing green cabinet.
Fibre upgrades can be dependent on many factors, such as permission to place the cabinet and condition of existing infrastructure, which can cause unexpected delays or even result in a cabinet upgrade not being possible at all.
Once an upgrade has been completed and is ready to accept orders via service providers, an announcement will be made on our website and on twitter (@ConnectCounties).
The following dates are therefore predictions, rather than a guarantee of service becoming available.
service expected March - September 2014
The following cabinets in Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire have been surveyed and upgrade work is now taking place. Service in these areas is expected to be available to order from providers between March and September, subject to successful completion of all the necessary works. Availability of fibre broadband is best tracked through service providers directly, the Openreach exchange status map or via the ADSL checker link below.
Kings Langley Cabinet 1 (The Green, Sarratt)

February 2014
BT have now formally applied for Planning Permission to site a new fibre connected cabinet on The Green to facilitate super fast broadband.
Statement by The Connected Counties broadband programme :-
Cabinet 1 on the Kings Langley exchange is being upgraded to fibre with work beginning in October with BT surveying the area.  Subject to the results of this survey an upgrade will then follow providing fibre to your Green cabinet, which in most cases (subject to distance from the cabinet) enables people to order speeds of at least 24 Mbps. All being well the new service should be available to order from service providers in spring 2015. Following the survey in October more detailed timings will be available on our website .
The Connected Counties broadband programme, being run jointly by Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire County Councils through a contract with BT currently aims to extend the fibre broadband coverage in both counties to 90%. However due to limited funding it can’t reach everyone in need of an upgrade, and the programme rollout plans have been prioritised on a value for money basis.
For the remaining 10%, of which some postcodes in Sarratt Parish fall into, we have already been promised further funding from central government enabling us to extend our coverage plans further to 95% of the County. We are currently awaiting more details from the government on this funding before we can find out which areas will benefit.
We expect to know more later in February, so keep an eye on our website for more details in the future.

HCC Connected Counties Broadband programme 13th September 2013
Please find the latest information regarding the HCC Connected Counties Broadband programme and in the Latest News section below I have added a map showing that in the early review most of our area will have work on Broadband coverage undertaken in 2014 subject to more detailed analysis.
BT Openreach are currently analysing and assessing data from our Questionnaire which will be submitted to HCC to further reinforce our case for the earliest inclusion.
More news and information as it comes to hand.
David Butler


Dear Broadband stakeholder,

Early indications of which communities in Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire will have access to fibre broadband have been announced.

Connected Counties - the county councils' partnership programme with BT - will be supplying fibre broadband to parts of the two counties commercial suppliers were not planning to serve. The programme has now published its first maps giving an early view of which areas may benefit.

The colour-coded maps - available on the website - show the areas planned to be reached as part of the programme as well as existing commercial suppliers' plans.

The £18.06m Connected Counties project aims to provide fibre-optic broadband to over 90 per cent of homes and businesses in Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire; a figure which exceeds government targets. It also plans to ensure everyone in the two counties has access to a minimum of 2Mbps (megabits per second) by the end of March 2016. BT are currently carrying out detailed site surveys and planning activity and the outcome of this will determine what gets delivered, to who and when. More information about the precise rollout of the programme will be available once surveys are completed. 

Look out for the Connected Counties newsletter which will be published later this month on our website.

Best regards,

The Connected Counties Team
Latest news: 13.09.2013
We are pleased to share with you the latest coverage maps for the rollout of fibre broadband through the Connected Counties programme. These new maps reflect recent remodelling work by BT and shows our best estimate of where we plan to rollout fibre broadband, alongside services which are already commercially available. These plans are, however, subject to the completion of detailed ground assessments which will survey local conditions and will be carried out in phases throughout the programme.

What the maps show 

The maps show a preliminary estimate of the likely broadband coverage resulting from the Connected Counties programme's investment. The maps are indicative and should not be relied on or otherwise treated as a guarantee of current or future provision.

There are a number of things to be aware of when interpreting the maps:
◾It is not necessarily the case that all premises within an upgraded area will receive an increased speed - different premises within that area may be served by different infrastructure
◾Although an area may be served by upgraded infrastructure, the distance to this infrastructure from any particular premises in that area may mean that speeds for those premises are below 'superfast' levels of 24Mbps (download).
◾The modelling which informed the maps is based on a number of assumptions which may change following a detailed, on the ground assessment of local conditions. Throughout the phased rollout programme, Openreach engineers will be deployed to undertake local surveys. This may result in changes to the programme rollout plan dependent on the findings.
- See more at:
Note from David Butler - I have cut out our area in the map below plus the applicable colour explanations :-
 Fibre broadband  is already being made available to some through existing infrastructure. The Connected Counties programme will be extending the fibre coverage in this area with work beginning in the  phase marked on the map, but cannot guarantee superfast for all premises

 The Connected Counties programme will be providing fibre  broadband  coverage to some of this area with work beginning in the phase marked on the map, but cannot guarantee superfast for all premises. We will aim to provide all areas with access to at least 2Mbps broadband by April 2016.

Phases of the roll out

 2014  work will start in 2014
 2015   work will start in 2015

What's next

As our programme continues and we learn more from the results of ground surveys in each phase we will update this map.  Also later this year we aim to provide a postcode checker so you can find out the latest for your specific location, once phased survey work has been undertaken.


Questionnaire Summary - Results and Actions  - 10th September 2013

Please note a link to a PDF file of the Questionnaire Responses is at the foot of this page.

The survey was completed by 93 parishioners, only 8 were more than 1500 metres from the cabinet on The Green.


I have sent the results to the officials at County Hall responsible for rural broadband coverage and allocation of funds and received the following response -


"Many thanks - some interesting input from the community here…thank you for all your hard work. As promised we will be in a position to tell you more re BT intervention plans at the end of this week.  We will be in touch to see where you and the community might want to take it once you have that information available."


I will of course communicate this to you when it is to hand.


I have also sent the information to New Cable Developments at Virgin Media after having spoken to them about the 79 potential customers waiting to pay for a fast service!


David Gauke MP has also supported my request to the Vodafone CEO to be considered as one of their trial villages for new mobile phone technology.


Again I will circulate responses as I have them.


Meeting held in the Sarratt Village Hall - 18th July 2013

Both the BT representatives and those from the County Council were impressed that over 120 people came to the meeting last night despite it being a very warm sunny evening.

Please find below a summary of the proceedings and the actions planned as a result.

1)            It is clear that during the £2.5 billion infrastructure investment programme that the Sarratt area did not meet the commercial criteria required to be part of this program which is now fully committed and will be complete by the spring of 2014. This program is set to bring fibre-based superfast broadband to two-thirds of the UK by end of Spring 2014 and 90% of the UK should meet the 2Mb minimum by 2015.  Sarratt is part of the 10% residue!


2)            The Government has recently allocated a further £500million to extend coverage to a further 5% and this has been awarded to County Councils for local allocation. £18million has been allocated to Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire combined.  However, Stuart Campbell, Assistant Director Performance and Procurement: Hertfordshire County Council, made it clear that their assessment of need in a community will still require to meet commercially criteria.

Given the widespread nature of our community and the lack of areas of dense population, we have to be realistic in that we are unlikely to be included in any of the early tranches with implementation perhaps later in the program but not before 2016 if funding is still available.
That said, it will not stop us inputting the most positive information into their allocation process.

3)            Villages in similar positions to our own are increasingly looking to community funding for superfast broadband upgrades.  The current estimate for upgrading the Cabinet on The Green is £50,000 but this can certainly be reduced and we are negotiating for a much lower price before considering this option.


4)           Although it was confirmed that there is fibre in Sarratt village e.g. at the school, these lines are not linked to the Kings Langley exchange and therefore are of no use for our purpose.


5)            Distance from the exchange or the cabinet whether using fibre or copper is still a key factor on speed obtained.


6)            Anthony Soothill raised a very relevant issue concerning the current voice service capacity problem that exists in the village. This is different level of issue from the provision of broadband as BT have a Universal Service Obligation to provide voice services.  Therefore if there is a capacity issue they must address it.  And that means that if they have to pull cables (which is the most expensive part of the fibre business case), they may as well pull a fibre at the same time they do the copper for voice.



1)      Produce a questionnaire to collect telephone numbers, addresses, current broadband speed achieved and your willingness to be added to a list of potential customers for a superfast broadband service. It will also ask whether you would be willing to participate in a community funded project if you would be a superfast beneficiary.


2)  Send this list to be checked by Openreach as to which of the telephone lines would benefit from an upgrade of the Cabinet.


3)      Feed this valuable information into the County Council assessment exercise as to the number of potential customers and the additional revenue stream that could be generated from an upgrade of the service.


4)      Continue to negotiate for the lowest price possible for a community funded upgrade.


5)      Speak to all the communities who have been through the funded cabinet option, for an understanding of their experience and for shared learning. 

6)      Check whether the voice capacity in the Parish is of sufficient capacity or reaching full utilisation.  Feed into the equation the local development framework and the potential of additional houses to be built in the Parish in the future.
David Butler -
David Butler,
11 Sep 2013, 03:48