Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
Based on a set of FAQs provided by Openreach dated November 2019.
See also FTTP Installation Q&A which covers the installation process.
Some of the questions apply to the organising committee, and some to the residents who will be signing up for the service.
Why do I need it and what will it do for me?
Q1 Why do I need faster Broadband?
More and more services require Wi-Fi/internet connection, Netflix, Sky Q, Ring doorbell, Xbox, Security cameras. This will only go in one direction.
There is published research independent of Openreach that shows faster broadband can increase your house price by up to 2%.
The second most asked question when viewing a house to buy or rent is what is the broadband speed.
So you may not require faster broadband but should you ever wish to sell or rent your house, faster broadband will make it much more attractive to potential buyers.
Q2 Elsewhere in the parish they already have Fibre. Why is FTTP different?
When telecom companies speak of Fibre they can mean either Fibre to the Premise (Full Fibre) or Fibre to the Cabinet. The majority of the country have Fibre to the Cabinet. Full Fibre or Fibre to the Premise is Fibre all the way into your home or business. It delivers faster speeds that can be guaranteed, no loss of speed at peak times and no loss of speeds due to distance from the cabinet or exchange.
Q3 What speed can I get from FTTP?
Our technology is capable of 1Gbps. At the moment most service providers are only offering service up to 330 Mbps. This is expected to change as demand increases.
Q4 Why do we need to do a Community Fibre Partnership?
……when the Government have promised a full-fibre rollout by 2025 (originally 2030)
The Government have announced this but have not specified either how it will be delivered or who will pay for it. A CFP will deliver in one year (from contract signature). At the moment the is a voucher scheme available that could fully fund our scheme.
Q7 Is there an alternative solution to taking FTTP?
Can I have a new cabinet nearer to me than take FTTP?
In theory yes, but in practice the cost of a new cabinet will be more expensive than FTTP and will be ineligible for Government vouchers.
Q8 How long does a typical Community Fibre Partnership take?
A Community Fibre Partnership can take up to 1 year to deliver once the contract is signed.
The time taken to get to contract is dependent on the complexity of the scheme, whether DCMS vouchers are used and the time it takes for the community lead to rally their community. The following is a guide:
- 2 weeks from the community lead entering the details on the portal to getting an estimate.
- Unknown time for community is discuss the estimate with the community and finalise the address list.
- 1 month from final address list from community to final offer being produced. NB this is our best time and if a survey is required (for Flats, Self Dig and other complex areas this is significantly longer)
- Unknown time for community to agree final offer, identify Legal Entity and collect voucher details.
- 2 -4 weeks for DCMS to verify and approve vouchers (note if residents do not respond to DCMS emails this can take longer)
- 2 days to produce contract assuming all details are correct
- Signature is electronic.
The process to contract signature can take in excess of 6 months.
Estimates and Final offers
Q10 My neighbour does not want anything to do with this, will he benefit from the scheme?
It depends on his location. If he shares the same Distribution Point (DP) then he will be included. However if the DP is not included then he will not benefit.
Vouchers and Payment
Q14 When do we have to pay and how much?
The Community has to raise (in round numbers) £45,000. This can be made up of DCMS vouchers and/or cash from fund-raising.
50% is payable when the contract is signed and the rest on completion.
Q16 Is it possible to check voucher eligibility now?
If, say, a person runs a business from home but the registered address is at their accountants – would this work?
All vouchers have to all be undertaken at the same time (Government rules). As long as the person can prove that the business is at home address then there is no issue.
Q20 Can we add any vouchers to the scheme once the contract is signed?
No vouchers cannot be added to the scheme, however, if someone moves house then it is possible to substitute a voucher.
Q21 If someone applies for a voucher as a business (SME)
will they be required to connect to an ISP via a business contract?
No. Small businesses can use residential ISP contracts.
Q22 How do the vouchers work?
There are 2 schemes that the Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) have made available.
The Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme and the more recent Rural Gigabit Voucher scheme
The scheme which is better for us is the Rural Gigabit Voucher Scheme.
Rural Gigabit requirements
- Addresses must be classified as rural by DEFRA (ours are classified as rural)
- Business can claim a voucher worth £3500 towards a scheme such as a CFP
- Residential customer can claim a voucher worth £1500
- Can be residential only
- Must be getting under 30 Mbps at the moment
- Must take a service of 30Mbps or more for 12 months
There is only one voucher per property
No-one in Compton will actually see a voucher.
The local committee collect everyone’s details and pass them to Openreach.
Openreach send the details to DCMS for validation.
We understand that DCMS will send an email to all claimants, so you need to be ready to reply to the email they will send you.
Q23 What is defined as a business for the voucher schemes?
A small or medium business must be turning over less than 50million Euros per annum. It can be a limited company, sole trader or charity.
It must operate from the premise in the scheme, however if a limited company can be registered elsewhere (for example an accountant’s address).
Q24 I work from home but my company operates from a business premise elsewhere
Can I claim a voucher?
No, as the business is operating elsewhere.
Q25 My wife does freelance transcription as a Medical Secretary.
She is not formally registered as a sole trader because she does not make much (less than the tax-free allowance).
Suggest that they request a voucher as a business and it is up to them to prove with DCMS. She will need to have invoices or something to prove she is working as a business
Q25a I am partly employed but also do some work as a self-employed person.
Can I claim a business voucher?
When DCMS validate the vouchers (before contract signature), they check your tax status (presumably with HMRC). Does HMRC have you down as self-employed?
Q26 I have a business at my address as does my wife
…and it is our home, can we claim 2 business vouchers and 1 residential voucher?
The scheme only allows one voucher per property.
Q28 How can we find out the running costs?
Is the phone line rental cost the same for FTTP as for voice/ADSL connection?
Openreach is not allowed to advise on ISP issues.
You can check which ISPs offer Full Fibre service by looking at https://www.openreach.com/fibre-broadband/fttp-providers You cannot check Ultrafast prices for your postcode if the Gigabit infrastructure is not in place yet. So, please use postcode MK182HY
We expect more providers to start offering FTTP over the coming months.
Q29 Do I have to use BT?
No, Openreach is an open-access network, you have a choice of Service providers.
Q30 How much more a month is a FTTP service?
Openreach answer: Openreach is not a Service Provider, please speak to a Service provider to confirm charges.
Contracts and Legal Entities
Q31 What is the best form of legal entity (LE) for a community?
Openreach can contract with various forms of non-profit entities – from unincorporated entity (which does not have to be registered at the Companies House) to various forms of limited companies (these require registration). For example, community interest companies (CIC) or company limited by guarantee (CLG). The choice depends on what suits the community best.
The following are some useful links:
Set up a Community Interest Company this is quite reader-friendly
Q32 How does the Community contract with Openreach?
The contract must be between a Legal Entity and Openreach rather than a group of individuals. The LE can be a business in the community, a CIC (Community Interest Company), parish council, it can be an individual. Please note that a sole trader will be contracted with as an individual.
Q33 Does the Community have an ongoing contract with Openreach?
No, the contract is to deliver the project; after this, the infrastructure becomes Business as usual and maintained the same as the rest of Openreach network. All faults are reported via your Service Provider, the same as you do now.
Q37 How long will it take to deliver?
Our contract states we will deliver within 12 months of a signed contract. Our average is 10 months.
Q38 Why does it take so long for you to deliver?
Once the contract is signed we need to undertake a detailed plan of your area and plan it into existing work. The work required is a major civil engineering project. We may need to arrange Traffic Management with the local authority to enable us to work in manholes in the road. We may also need to agree wayleaves. This does take time, hence our contracts do stay that the work can take 1 year.
Q39 What is a wayleave?
A right of way granted by a landowner, generally in exchange for payment and typically for purposes such as the erection of telegraph wires or laying of pipes.
“companies must have wayleaves for work they want to carry out on private land”
Q40 Do you need to dig up my road?
We will usually deliver the new fibre via existing poles and ducts; very occasionally we may need to install new duct and poles but we can usually deliver over the existing infrastructure.
Q41 Will the fibre cable come into the house underground or overhead?
It follows the current route.
Q42 Can you share the plan?
where the cabinet will be, kinds of wiring, ducting routes, etc?
Will it include open digging or underground electronic controlled “moles”?
It is not planned in such detail until after the contract is signed.
Q43 Would normal voice call come through the same fibre cable or a copper cable?
Customers can choose if they wish to have a Voice Over IP service or keep a copper line for their voice calls. Technically we do remove the existing copper line and replace it with a combined Copper/fibre line.
Q44 Fibre to the Premise will be included for those specified on the contract.
If someone wants a connection later – will it be a standard connection charge for them or incur some cost?
It depends on where they are and whether there is capacity. This is not known in advance of signing the contract.
Q45 What equipment will be provided at the end of the fibre cable?
– just the optical network terminal (ONT) box?
Just a box, a bit larger than your current Master Socket. There is a video:
Q46 Will I need a new router and if so when do I get it?
When you order service this will be sent to you from your Internet Service Provider.
Some ADSL routers also support FTTP. If you have one of those you may be able to configure it to work with FTTP. Check online forums.
Q47 Where the road/pavement/lawns/walls are dug up for the fibre cables
will Openreach make good the surfaces after the work?
Yes, the only exception is if a drive is a specialist surface such as Resin, when the individual customer will need to arrange and pay for the re-instatement
Q48 What will be the process of discussing the fibre route when there is a need
(previous route is unclear or sub-optimal or crosses someone’s private land, etc.)?
With the exception of the link to someone’s home, the route is as per existing and is known – it follows the current cables.
Q49 When will you need to enter my home?
Our project will deliver a full-fibre solution from the exchange to your property, however we do not enter your home when we are building the network.
The final connection into your property will be done when you place an order with your Service Provider.
Q50 Can you Fibre just to the road and then we dig up our own gardens (lead-ins)?
This is possible but makes the scheme very complex. All leads in will need to have been completed and inspected before the network can be set to go live. We do not recommend this approach.