Community Fibre Partnership Update
At present super fast broadband is not available to most residents of the parish. In February 2021 a group of Amport residents, supported by the Parish Council, encouraged parishioners to indicate if they would be interested in forming a Community Fibre Partnership (CFP). CFPs are the recognised route for communities to apply for Government grants via the Gigabit Voucher scheme in order to deliver Fibre to the Premises (FTTP, i.e. super fast broadband) – see https://www.openreach.com/fibre-broadband/community-fibre-partnerships. At the end of April 2021, we had more than 80 residents interested in joining the scheme and asked BT Openreach to provide an estimated cost.
We received an initial response back from Openreach at the end of May, but their proposal included discrepancies. The most significant was that they included a large number of properties that were nowhere near Amport, which appeared to be driving the overall cost of the proposal higher than it might otherwise be. We responded back in early June with a refined list, and hope to receive a revised proposal from them in early July.
The Government recently revised the criteria for the DCMS Gigabit Vouchers, and the good news is that because Amport is in an Ofcom Area 3 zone, residents remain eligible for £1500 per residence (or £3500 per business). However, the Hampshire County Council scheme which added a further £1500 has been suspended for the time being. Further Government announcements setting out the plan for “Project Gigabit” connections in various parts of the country including Hampshire are expected shortly, and it is hoped that they will further clarify the route ahead for communities including Amport (see: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-launches-new-5bn-project-gigabit; Hampshire falls under Phase 1b, Lot 27).
The Parish Council supports the efforts to achieve faster broadband and will continue to work on residents’ behalf with the team of volunteers who are leading this work.