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Welcome to Yes2Fibre

Who are we and what are we doing? Campaigning for adequate broadband for business.

The YES2FIBRE campaign was established in 2013; successfully building a political support base as well as the support of numerous local companies which was been very encouraging. Our objective was to rally and co-ordinate companies into a coherent pressure group to bear down on BT and local authorities.

By the time of its close in August 2015 them campaign had been "instrumental in bringing CityFibre to Peterborough and a key motivator in helping to secure investment and enthusiasm for the Peterborough CORE project which has installed a state-of-the-art 90km pure fibre network across the city. It also helped secure network expansion into the underserved areas of Fengate, Lynchwood, Minerva, Cygnet Park and Orton Southgate" - Andy Starnes. CityFibre

If it is that important to your business, then you need to invest in something better. Fast, reliable broadband isn’t just a luxury for business; it’s a downright necessity these days!

YES2FIBRE, the campaign we launched some time ago, has given me the opportunity to discuss with many Peterborough businesses the issue of their broadband speed, provision and reliability.


It would be accurate to say that the vast majority remain hugely underwhelmed with their current situation and continued frustration at BT’s apparent unwillingness to provide a speed remotely close to the national average of 17Mbps. Most are lucky to see barely a quarter of that, which is compounded by vague hints from BT that fibre “is coming”! A year down the line there are still enormous gaps in their provision with no demonstrable improvement. We wait for BT in vain I fear!


Fundamentally, the issue with poor broadband at work isn’t for those whose internet use is limited to the occasional email or google search, but for those who are hugely reliant on broadband, need constant access to emails, interaction with business software which is increasingly becoming cloud based or those who work from home and require access to files in the office. For many there is huge benefit from VOIP telephony services, provided they can avoid the pain and suffering that such technologies are subject to over standard connections.


So it was with considerable relief and widespread excitement that we received the news of Peterborough Core from CityFibre in Nov 2013. This network would not just deliver an evolutionary improvement in speeds for business users, but in fact; a monumental jump.


We aren’t talking about the national average of 17Mmps, nor are we the best BT can deliver with their Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) of 80Mbps - but a massive 1000Mbps, for both up-speed and down-speed! 
For those of us working in the IT sector; wrestling on a daily basis with the effects of poor broadband, watching it strangle the life out of businesses efforts to spread their technological wings, this was a revelation ….. a perfect solution to our customers frequently voiced problems and frustrations. Surely with such an exciting revelation, we would be crushed in the stampede of businesses vying to get the service?


It would appear not.


So, where is the challenge? Why are the same business owners who so vociferously vocalised their complaints not queuing around the block for this amazing opportunity to transform their connectivity, whilst at the same time placating their frustrated employees? The answer is probably simple and the age old one ….. price!


In an environment where we have all been conditioned to pay no more than £30 a month for our broadband, the price of £250 per month for something better seems extraordinarily expensive. Indeed, for normal broadband; it would be extraordinarily expensive, but to coin a phrase- “there are cars and there are cars! This isn’t slightly better, or even much better; it is light years ahead of what we are used to both in terms of speed and reliability.


For most, internet connectivity has slowly and quietly become an absolutely crucial part of business infrastructure; anyone whose internet connection has gone down for more than 30 minutes will appreciate just how utterly disabling and disruptive it is to lose it. It may not happen often, but when is does the question often then becomes; “Is there nothing better Lindsey? We can’t allow this to happen again. We rely totally on our internet to send our quotes and tenders.”
My answer is usually; if it is that important to you, then you need to invest in something better. Fast, reliable broadband isn’t just a luxury for business; it’s a downright necessity these days!


Convinced yet? I suspect many won’t be.


After all, not everyone has such reliance on their broadband and therefore, will struggle to see the benefits for them; preferring to manage on what they have. It’s a perfectly reasonable stance and after all, we need to control our costs. Others however, do have that reliance, do see how their business can benefit from a vastly improved service, do visualise how they can also use this service to gain efficiencies and gain a competitive advantage and for those companies; it really isn’t a substantial cost at all and when cleverly and properly used the service charge can be impressively negated.

 

The YES2FIBRE campaign was established to get something better for Peterborough business from BT, and in that respect we have failed! We found BT to be immovable, unresponsive and frankly infuriating to deal with.


What Peterborough Core has presented to us however is far in excess of our desires and expectations and far from being a “pie in the sky” proposal; the network is being placed in the ground at this very moment. It should also be noted however, the network will go only where demand is demonstrated.


For some areas of Peterborough such as Lynch Wood and Orton Southgate this is has not yet been demonstrated and there is a real and present risk that we shall be stuck with the immovable and unresponsive BT as other commercial areas of Peterborough who did seize the opportunity take the advantage.


I implore you- don’t be left behind again!

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74% of broadband customers never get the speeds they were sold

In the latest poll by Which? nine in 10 people told us they considered speed an important factor when choosing a provider, it was found that 74% of households (equivalent to 15.4 million homes) with fixed broadband connections who were paying for packages with advertised speeds they never got. Average speeds fared even worse. We found just 17% of homes received an average speed that matched the advertised level and even fewer, 15%, managed this during the peak evening period.

These are extremely poor figures which are not acceptable and for business users are almost impossible to work with as some of you already know. So what can you actually do if your broadband provider has fed you with these false promises of superfast broadband? Well the broadband industry’s watchdog has released new rules to create an equal playing field between broadband providers and user.

A service level agreement must now be included in the contract with your provider. Now it’s easier to know if you are receiving the correct speeds that your broadband provider had promised when the business first agreed the terms of the contract. It will also outline information about support and resolution of problems, including fault repair and installation times. They have also issued additional guidance on how providers should apply these rules to protect consumers and small businesses from unexpected price rises. It states that if a provider changes its monthly subscription price the customer has to be notified within a month of the increase and the customer can then exit the contract without penalty.

Under Ofcom’s new policies ISPs will have to offer clear and accurate information when advertising their product and they also have to make it easier for you to switch to a different provider. Contract terms will have to be clearly written, with no hidden charges or so called lock-ins which prevent you from leaving. Ofcom have also released a statement in which “companies must offer users easy to follow steps when it comes to making formal complaints, with clear options that will allow subscribers walk away if the ISP has failed to deal with prevalent issues.”

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Our work here is finished. All that remains is to say; go get some gigabit!

Back in 2013, Neil Darwin gave me the platform at Opportunity Peterborough to address 200 people with a wavering but passionate voice; Fengate, Cygnet Park, Woodston and Orton Southgate suffered from attrocious broadband provision and had no prospect of anything better than the BT offering … which putting it politely wasn’t much and was woefully inadequate.

We sought to bring pressure to bear on BT to improve their offering, but being monolithic and unresponsive; it just wasn’t happening. It was by happy co-incidence that in the wings stood CityFibre, who in partnership with the city council, were preparing to make Peterborough a gigabit city.

During the later implementation stage we had the pleasure of working with their team through the past 18 months to raise awareness of gigabit broadband and its benefits. From a city in the digital backwater to one of the best provisioned in the UK; gigabit broadband has the potential to make Peterborough the go-to city for businesses in our region.

It has been in equal measure, fun, frustrating and occasionally terrifying. I have met people who are genuinely passionate about their product and our city and it has even changed my views in a positive way on the value of local politics …. I didn’t see that coming!

I would like to offer special thanks to Neil Darwin, Opportunity Peterborough, Andy Starnes of CityFibre and Gavin Elsey for their exceptional support of the campaign.

All that remains is to say; go get some gigabit!

Reliable and fast broadband is no longer a luxury; it’s a downright necessity and if this campaign has taught me anything; it’s that waiting around for BT to respond to your needs is a folly.

 

Lindsey Hall

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Orton Southgate says YES to fibre


 

 

The Peterborough CORE is being extended to reach Orton Southgate as local businesses unite to demonstrate the demand for ultra-fast internet connectivity.

CityFibre told firms in Orton Southgate that it would bring the new pure fibre network to them if there was enough demand. As a result, over 100 Orton Southgate businesses registered their interest in gigabit speed internet connectivity as part of the ‘Gig Up Orton Southgate’ campaign.

The campaign also received strong backing from the Yes2Fibre campaign, led by Lindsey Hall, managing director of EasyLifeIT, based in Orton Southgate.

Lindsey said: "I'm delighted that Orton Southgate businesses will now get the opportunity to access the digital connectivity they need. It really is unbelievable how poor our current broadband is in this day and age. Fast reliable broadband isn't just a luxury, it's a necessity. This demonstrates the power of local businesses to effect change in their areas. I'm counting the days until they can connect me!"

Lindsey launched the Yes2Fibre campaign 18 months ago in a bid to influence policy and become a voice for Peterborough businesses suffering from poor broadband in the commercial districts.

Like other business parks outside the city centre, Orton Southgate was not on the original Peterborough CORE network route, but has joined Fengate, Lynch Wood and Cygnet Park in demonstrating high levels of demand required to extend the network to reach them. Detailed planning has commenced and work is likely to begin in the spring.

Andy Starnes, city development manager at CityFibre, said: "This news is incredibly significant for Peterborough, and will have an important impact on the city’s growth agenda. Orton Southgate is one of the Peterborough’s largest commercial areas and now local businesses will have next-generation digital infrastructure to support their growth and development, keeping them a step ahead of the competition.”

“I’d like to thank everyone who registered as part of the campaign for making it happen. Now it’s time for Orton Southgate businesses to get connected and experience the benefits of what they have achieved.”

To find out more and register your business, visit www.peterboroughcore.com. Follow us on Twitter @PboroCORE

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Fibre makes you go .... but not if you are a Peterborough business it seems

For the modern business good broadband is essential. EasylifeIT™ has moved into Orton Southgate in September 2013; one of the largest commercial estates in Peterborough. Although we were prepared for lower broadband speeds; the lack of plans by BT Openreach to provision fibre in the area are shocking. This situation also exists in areas of Fengate, Westwood and Hampton commercial areas.
 
We find it incomprehensible as to why BT Openreach is appearing to neglect what the politicians tell us is the life blood of the British economy; small businesses. It is often the case that at home you can download and stream movies and browse the internet of speeds of up to 100mbs, while offices struggle to share connections of 2-4mbs with sometimes up to 50 staff. We have the additional frustration of seeing adjoining residential areas thumbing their noses at us with connections speeds we can only dream of.
 
This glaring omission in BT’s rollout plans for fibre into commercial areas of Peterborough can only be guessed at, but given the frequency of its occurrence it must surely be strategic. BT Openreach is supposedly divorced from BT Business and should operate with even handedness to all providers and yet appear to be overly influenced by BT’s commercial decisions and plans. Competition with Virgin Media and rollout of TV services seem to dictate their priorities while the wealth and job creators watch with envy as the domestic market seem to get all the good stuff. If one was feeling uncharitable we might even venture to suggest that BT may be protecting premium lease line and Ethernet circuits costing businesses thousands every year.
 
This situation is not acceptable and should not be borne.
 
Having spoken to customers in both Orton Southgate and Fengate we think it is about time we did something about it, so EasylifeIT™ launched a campaign with the support of local businesses, politicians and press to bring pressure to bear on BT to provision fibre for local businesses in these critical areas. Successful precedents in other areas of the country have involved the simultaneous completion of online requests and involvement of the local MPs, so we are working on both these at this time and will update you as we have more information, but this is a numbers game and the more support we can garner; the more successful we are likely to be.

Since this time we have had the broadband tornado known as ‘City Fibre’ rip through the city with its gigabit speeds, and some supporters of the Yes2Fibre campaign have forgone waiting for BT to fulfil its promises and signed up to receive the service.
The campaign continues, for more information, please visit –
http://www.easylifeit.com/yes2fibre/

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