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The FiSH Project
Superfast Broadband for Helmdon
 
Superfast Broadband Update - 20 September 2013

The FiSH Project

BT has confirmed that Helmdon is in Phase 2 of Northamptonshire County Council's (NCC's) rollout plans and that superfast broadband will be available in Helmdon from summer/autumn 2014 at the very latest.

Helmdon has been chosen for Phase 2 partly due to the successful demand stimulation survey work carried out by the Helmdon Parish Plan Group in February 2013, which put Helmdon in 4th position in the county with the top two being significantly larger settlements (Brixworth and Wollaston). So thanks to everyone that took part in the survey!

The NCC/BT solution is based on Fibre To The Cabinet (FTTC), which makes it robust and future-proofed. FTTC offers superfast speeds of up to 80Mbs. When FTTC is made available, Helmdon residents and businesses will also have the option to take Fibre on Demand which will offer speeds of up to 300Mbs (an additional cost may be charged by the service provider to connect a premises with fibre).

So roll on summer 2014 when we can go surfing at lightening speed!

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The Fast Internet Service for Helmdon (FiSH) project was born when the need for faster broadband was identified in the 2011 Helmdon Parish Plan. Younger people said faster broadband would be better for gaming and watching videos online and more than 60 businesses operating from the village (including people that work regularly from home) also identified the limited broadband speed as an issue. Overall 120 respondents said they wanted faster broadband.

Since 2011 a small team has been investigating the technical and commercial feasibility of several possible solutions. All of the solutions have potential, none of them are perfect. At the moment it looks like our best bet is to work with Northamptonshire County Council's Superfast Northamptonshire project and convince a supplier to provide fibre broadband to Helmdon as soon as possible. The Superfast Northamptonshire target is that 90% of premises will have access to superfast broadband by the end of 2015, but the louder we shout the more chance we have of getting it quicker. That's why we would like all residents to fill in the broadband survey.

Below are some Frequently Asked Question... if your question is not answered e-mail fish@helmdon.com and we'll answer it directly.

How Fast Is Superfast?
Broadband speed is measured in megabits per second (Mbps) or "Meg". At the moment the highest speed available in Helmdon is around 2 Meg but some properties get much, much less than that. The official definition of "Superfast" is speed in excess of 24 Meg... 12 times more than the fastest speed available today! New technologies are being introduced all the time... by the time Helmdon gets superfast broadband the speed is likely to be 40+ Meg.

What Will It Cost?
It depends on who you buy it from, but the cost of superfast broadband is not significantly greater than for slow broadband. Slow broadband is around £15 - £20 per month but the current prices for superfast broadband in areas where it is already available is around £18 - £25 per month.

Why Can't I Have It Now?
To get superfast broadband the telephone exchange (in Sulgrave) and the telephone cabinet in Helmdon (by the War Memorial) would need to be upgraded. Superfast broadband is delivered through fibre optic cables and these would need to be dug in to the ground between Sulgrave and Helmdon. BT is rolling out superfast broadband across the whole of the UK, but they can only go so fast.

Why Do I Need Superfast?
The way we use the Internet has changed over the last few years... we're using it much more for watching videos, live TV, online gaming and much more. All these things are a bit of a struggle with ordinary broadband ("buffering... buffering"!) and virtually impossible at speeds of less than 1 Mbps. Superfast broadband opens up a whole new world of possibilities in the way that we consume and share data. For businesses having access to reliable, fast broadband is a must. Whether it be a business that needs to send and receive large e-mail attachments, or people working from home and needing to connect to their company's network, the faster the better as far as broadband service is concerned.

Do We Really Have To Wait?
The FiSH project team has assessed a number of options, and will continue to keep an open mind.

Where Can I Go If I Want More Information?
There are a wealth of resources online. A good one is Think Broadband, which has a comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions section and also a tool for testing how fast your current service is.

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