Background: The past year has brought some permanent changes to the way we live and work.  Most of us need a fast, reliable broadband connection. Amport currently relies on what BT Openreach calls “Fibre to the Cabinet” (FTTC). It is barely adequate for many and there is no current plan to improve it.

Opportunity: A mix of community, industry, and Government funding is known as a Community Fibre Partnership (CFP) could change this. Other communities like our neighbours in the Wallops and Abbotts Anne are already pursuing it. The goal is to bring fast, reliable broadband to our homes and businesses. It is called “Fibre to the Premises” (FTTP) or “full-fibre” and allows download speeds up to 1000Mbps.

Benefits: This level of service, roughly 30x faster than now, allows multiple concurrent online users in a house; and is much more reliable. Imagine downloading a 2-hour HD film in 3 seconds while others in your house are on a video call or gaming. Properties with full-fibre are also more valuable and more desirable.

Grants Available: Government funding is currently available through the Department of Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) to subsidise the cost of bringing fibre to rural homes; and at present Hampshire County Council is also giving a top-up grant to rural communities. However, these pots of money are not unlimited and if we do not act quickly, they may be gone. But if enough households apply the grants should cover the vast majority of the cost, and may cover it all.

Process and Target Dates for Amport:

  1. Register for a Community Fibre Partnership. – Already done.
  2. Gather the details of interested households. (No commitment at this stage). – End of April 2021.
  3. BT Openreach provides an estimated cost to deliver the improvements. – End of May 2021.
  4. Households then confirm their wish to participate in the CFP. – End of June 2021.
  5. Members of the CFP apply for their own “Gigabit Voucher” from DCMS (which according to other communities is a straightforward process) and sign a contract. – End of July 2021.
  6. Full fibre available at your home – July 2022. You can choose who to buy an ultrafast service from.

Action Requested: If you would like a full-fibre connection to your house, please provide the information below to rhtalbotrice@gmail.com so that your property can be included on the BT Openreach Community Portal register.

  1. The name and/or number of your house.
  2. The postcode.
  3. The landline telephone number.
  4. The email address to which you would like updates sent.

To reiterate, there is absolutely no commitment at this stage and there will not be until we have had a properly costed estimate from BT Openreach.  The more households that sign up now from across the parish, the more likely it is that the full cost will be covered by the available grants.  The Amport Parish Council is supportive of the CFP.  Let us make sure that Amport is not left behind.

With best wishes from the Amport CFP volunteers,

Robert Talbot Rice, Sally Baker, Tim Hartigan, Chris Harris

P.S.  If you believe in the value of this project and would be prepared to give up a little time to help spread the word, we would love to expand our team of CFP volunteers. For questions or to volunteer email Robert above. For further information see: www.openreach.com/fibre-broadband/community-fibre-partnerships