This page provides information on the current state of broadband services in Spaldwick. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Arriving in July 2014, most households in the village already subscribe to superfast broadband
Households in Spaldwick can now access high-speed fibre broadband, offering connection speeds of up to 80 Mbps (download) and up to 20 Mbps (upload). Nearly three-quarters of households in Spaldwick subscribe to fibre broadband, with Spaldwick having the highest penetration of fibre broadband of all areas in the Connecting Cambridgeshire programme.
If you have not yet made the transition, please visit our dedicated Questions and Answers page for answers to many of the questions you may have.
Compared with conventional broadband, fibre broadband delivers much higher speeds so that you can reliably access the full range of Internet services now on offer, including TV services such as BBC iPlayer, Sky Online and Netflix. Fibre broadband is perfect for households with multiple users and devices as it will not slow down in the same way. Given that pricing can be lower than conventional broadband services, there seems little point staying with super-slow conventional broadband.
What do villagers think of superfast broadband?
Since the arrival of superfast broadband in Spaldwick, we’ve received promising feedback on the impact it is having on villagers and on businesses within the village. You don’t need to take our word for how good superfast broadband is! Because of the sheer volume of feedback, we have created a dedicated page. Click on the following page to see feedback from villagers:
If you have had superfast broadband installed, please let us know what you think by emailing email@example.com.
Having problems with fibre broadband?
The majority of residents moving over to superfast broadband have been pleased with their enhanced speeds. However, some people have found that speeds have not been as good as expected, principally due to either:
- WiFi interference
WiFi interference issues can usually be addressed quickly
Over the last few years, the use of WiFi has become widespread and nearly every home in the village now uses WiFi. WiFi sends signals through the airwaves using frequencies that are shared by other WiFi users in the vicinity. Your speeds can be severely reduced if a neighbouring property is using the same frequency.
A number of villagers have suffered from erratic speeds due to WiFi set-up issues, which are generally very easy to fix.
To get the most from your superfast broadband connection you should optimise your WiFi network, and Mark Heath has produced the following guide to help you:
40% take-up of superfast broadband in the first month!
Spaldwick hit the headlines by achieving amazing take-up of superfast broadband. In August, the village was visited by Ed Vaizey – the Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy – and other VIPs. You can read about it by clicking on the following link:
The first installation took place at 10am on Tuesday 1st July 2014. After only two days, port 29 had been connected at the cabinet, meaning that fibre broadband penetration had reached about 12% of premises in 48 hours! Within only three weeks, at least one third of households in Spaldwick had subscribed to fibre broadband. By the end of July, take-up had reached 40% – about three times the national take-up of fibre broadband in just one month. Now, nearly three-quarters of households in the village subscribe to high-speed fibre broadband – with a penetration rate higher than all others areas in the Connecting Cambridgeshire programme.
How did we get here?
Spaldwick is a very small rural village, with about 250 households. In terms of population, we are in the ‘bottom 3%’ with 97% of the population of Cambridgeshire living in villages and towns that are larger than Spaldwick. Therefore, a proactive approach has always been required as we cannot assume that we will automatically see the roll-out of broadband services experienced in larger towns and cities. This has proved to be the case with conventional broadband services in 2004 and superfast fibre broadband more recently.
Conventional broadband services were first launched by BT in the UK in 2000, but BT restricted initial roll-out to urban areas. There was a glimmer of hope on the horizon when BT introduced a demand registration scheme, defining a target level for registrations for every exchange (after which the exchange would be enabled). Spaldwick resident Mark Heath worked with his counterparts in other villagers to gain the support of villagers in Spaldwick, Ellington, Easton and Alconbury. Following a successful campaign, we achieved the necessary registration total for the Woolley exchange, and broadband was introduced to the Woolley exchange on the 7th July 2004 – well ahead of the date that we would have got broadband if no action had been taken.
While conventional ADSL broadband (and its more recent ADSL2+ variant) served the village well in its early days, the introduction of superfast fibre broadband services by BT in urban areas opened up a chasm between large towns (and cities) and rural villages like Spaldwick in terms of broadband performance. BT has commercially invested £2.5 billion to roll-out superfast broadband services – but only to about 65% of UK premises by 2014. Being in the ‘bottom 3%’, prospects for superfast broadband looked grim.
Several superfast broadband options were evaluated for the village, with discussions held with potential suppliers and funding options identified, but none of these provided the long-term solution that villagers deserve.
In October 2010, the UK government announced a £530 million fund to incentivise the roll out of superfast broadband, managed by a team called Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK). Its target was that superfast broadband should be available to 90% of premises across the UK by the end of 2015. Various programmes were set up across the UK by local authorities, including Cambridgeshire County Council.
Mark Heath established very early contact with the Cambridgeshire County Council, although early discussions were frustrated by lack of information and personnel changes. However, the Connecting Cambridgeshire programme was set up in 2011 and communications dramatically improved, with a network of Broadband Champions set up across the county.
Cambridgeshire County Council announced plans for investment in superfast broadband across Cambridgeshire. It initially targeted superfast broadband to at least 90% of premises across Cambridgeshire by 2015. With only 90% of premises being targeted, the prospects for Spaldwick still looked poor and something quite miraculous would be required!
The breakthrough came with the launch of the Connecting Cambridgeshire demand registration campaign in 2012. Mark worked with other Broadband Champions to try to maximise registrations, as these were to be used to achieve the best deal possible with BT. As a result, not only did Spaldwick achieve one of the very highest registration totals in the whole county but Connecting Cambridgeshire achieved over 23,000 registrations – well ahead of most local authorities.
Helped by the clear demand shown by the county’s registration total, Connecting Cambridgeshire was able to secure an excellent commercial deal with BT, with the commitment to rolling out fibre broadband to 98% of premises in Cambridgeshire by the end of 2015. This was well in excess of the targets set by the vast majority of local authorities across the UK.
Spaldwick and Grafham were included in a list of towns and villages being considered for the very first phases of the roll-out project. A period of detailed survey work followed, taking into account practical implementation issues, including getting fibre across the A14.
Grafham was the very first to receive superfast broadband, late in 2013, and the Connecting Cambridgeshire team celebrated this success (below) at a special event in the village. Despite significant engineering challenges to bring fibre to Spaldwick, Spaldwick managed to be included at the end of the first phase of implementation, with fibre services going live in July 2014.
Despite our extremely limited early prospects, we did it! Please do take the opportunity to use fibre broadband as we are very fortunate.