Hanley Castle Community Broadband Project (Mar 2019)

Here is an update for all those interested in the Hanley Castle community broadband project. This scheme covers Hanley Castle/GilbertsEnd, Brotheridge Green and north as far as the Rhydd. A few houses in Hanley Swan are included  but most will fall into a different scheme or possibly already have the decent broadband service that Hanley Castle so sorely needs.

Progress! We have finally got a quote from Openreach for the Hanley Castle Community Fibre Broadband; the total cost is some £212,000 for 160 properties. We plan to finance this primarily with the government’s gigabit vouchers, which provide £500 per household and £2500 per business or self-employed person working from home. Along with raising some money from other grants and by doing some of the digging work ourselves, we believe it is possible to fund this without needing to top up the funds from individual contributions, but this will require almost 100% uptake for the scheme to  work – in other words if we sign everybody up we should all get a 100mbps fibre to the premises link at no cost!

This is quite urgent as we now have less than a month to get sufficient commitments to the scheme for it to go ahead. Getting a decent broadband service will make a world of difference if you work at home or use Online streaming ( Netflix and the like). Whether you are an owner or a tenant, broadband is now essential.

We now need to get a firm commitment from everyone in order to receive the gigabit vouchers to pay for it all.

To get the gigabit voucher, you need to commit to taking a new 100mbps fibre broadband connection from the date of connection for a minimum of 1 year – costs range from about £30/month including phone line (this price may vary depending on your supplier and currently Virgin have an offer at the equivalent of £18.75/month including phone line). After the initial first year, you can downgrade your contract if you wish.

What do I have to do to qualify as a business or self-employed?  The definition of a business is quite generous: you can be a limited company or a sole trader (self-employed services or online sales for instance) and you would qualify if you can provide any of the following:

VAT registration

Charity registration

HMRC notification

Sole trader UTR number

Certification of incorporation (limited companies)

Business bank account statement issued within the last three months

Non-domestic rates reference

What happens if I don’t have a business, can I still register? YES you can still sign up, as each residence will receive a £500 voucher towards the gigabit voucher scheme.

What happens if I don’t sign up?  In order to make this financially viable we need as many premises as possible to qualify and sign up as businesses or self-employed. Those that don’t sign up will not receive the grant vouchers and we will therefore not pursue connecting them to the network. If you miss this opportunity, the cost of an individual connection may well be several thousand pounds – one reason we are keen to see this happen now!

Do I get the money from the voucher scheme? No, the vouchers will be used collectively to pay for the installation of the Hanley Castle fibre broadband service.

What will happen if we don’t get the required number of vouchers to pay for the installation? If we do not get enough vouchers to pay for the installation, the Hanley Castle broadband project will likely not progress.

What do I need to do? Contact sbeadon@gmail.com via email or call:

Sara 01684 593286

Bill 01684 311001

Kind regards

Sara Beadon