At present super fast broadband is not available to most residents of the parish: only houses in Sarsons Close currently have that service available. 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, also known as Full Fibre) – 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 which added cost. We are still working with Openreach to refine this list, and hope to have their revised proposal next month. Because Amport is in an Ofcom Area 3 zone, residents will be eligible for a Government Gigabit Voucher worth £1500 per residence (or £3500 per business). Our aim is that this grant should completely cover the cost of installing full fibre to those residents who want it.

Our neighbouring parishes are working on similar schemes. The Wallops are a few months ahead of us, and Abbotts Ann also has a mature plan. We have recently been informed that Openreach now propose to include properties at the eastern end of Amport (and properties in Monxton) within the Abbotts Ann scheme, because they are connected to the Abbotts Ann exchange. This affects properties with postcodes ending in 8AE, 8AG, 8AQ which are east of Sarsons Lane. Residents in those properties should visit https://www.abbottsann.com/free-gigabit-enabled-fttp-broadband-upgrade before 20 October 2021 to be included, or contact Keith Saunders at broadband@abbottsann.com for further information.

So the Amport scheme will now focus on getting full fibre to a smaller geographical area: the remainder of Amport, and East Cholderton, both of which are connected to the Weyhill exchange. With surrounding villages now close to getting the service they really need, it’s even more important that these areas are not left behind.

The Parish Council supports the efforts to achieve faster broadband and is working with the team of volunteers who are leading this initiative.

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