Amport Village

Amport Full Fibre Update – December 2022

In February 2021 a group of Amport residents initiated the process to apply for a Fibre Community Partnership (FCP) to bring Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) to give Amport homes and businesses modern internet speeds. Under this scheme, the Government provided a voucher worth £1500 per home or £3500 per business to offset the cost of installation.

We leafleted properties and had initial indications of interest from about 80 houses in Amport and East Cholderton. In May 2021 Openreach gave us an initial rough estimate of £223,000 for 180 premises (i.e. £1,238 per property, if all signed up). However, many of the premises included in that estimate were in Penton and Fyfield, and we asked Openreach to refine the proposal to focus on Amport and East Cholderton.

In October 2021 we advised Amport residents whose houses are on the Abbotts Ann exchange (i.e. those which are to the East of Sarson Lane) to enrol on the Abbotts Ann scheme, which most of them did. That scheme, which was several months ahead of the Amport one, is still proceeding.

In January 2022, Hampshire was among those areas included in the Government’s latest Project Gigabit Procurement Process, which is an alternative to the Government subsidy of Openreach schemes. This procurement process was expected to last about 8-9 weeks, i.e. to conclude around March 2022. The Gigabit Voucher scheme was suspended for those areas covered by the procurement process, including Hampshire (Phase 1b, Lot 27).

However, that process has taken much longer than expected. The tender was issued in August 2022 (not April) and the responses are expected by Christmas 2022 with decisions by April 2023. It is possible that there will not be a successful bidder, in which case Hampshire may be grouped up with a neighbouring county to offer sufficient mass and value to new bidders.

So the current situation in Amport is that residents of Sarsons Close already have FTTP, and those connected to the Abbotts Ann exchange who are enrolled in that scheme will have the ability to access the high-speed service in the next few months. The remaining residents of Amport and East Cholderton will have to wait until the Gigabit procurement process offers us an option.

The Parish Council has engaged with Test Valley, Hampshire County Council, and our MP, to ensure that our concerns with the failure to conclude the Gigabit Procurement Process are understood.

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