About The Project

The broadband universal service obligation (USO) is a central government policy commitment, which will give people in the UK the right to request a decent broadband connection. Under the USO, eligible homes and businesses will be able to request a connection, where the cost of building it is no more than £3,400.

Further information on the progress of this scheme can be found on the Ofcom website here.

Unfortunately, no.  The Wiltshire Online project is focused on bringing fibre broadband to areas of the county that weren’t considered commercially viable.  The technology we deploy as part of the contract is Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) or Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) and there’s no mechanism in place that would allow us to invest in alternative technologies.

If your premises is in our planned rollout, there’s no cost to you to get the fibre infrastructure in place.  If your premises is outside of the planned rollout, it’s not possible for you to pay Wiltshire Council an extra sum to have it added in as this would contravene the rules of the contract.

Not all premises are connected to the local telephone exchange via a green street cabinet.  Some are connected directly to the telephone exchange and these are known as Exchange Only (EO) lines. 

Wiltshire Online will include the upgrading of some EO lines as part of the rollout of superfast fibre broadband across Wiltshire.  For EO lines, to install the new fibre in the quickest and most cost-effective way we may need to completely re-arrange the existing copper network to make it possible to install two new structures: a Primary Connection Point (PCP) and a fibre-enabled cabinet (DSLAM).  For some smaller communities, we will install an All in One (AIO) cabinet that acts as both the PCP and DSLAM.  The EO lines will then be connected to the exchange via the new street cabinets to improve broadband speeds.

When we upgrade any community to fibre we are not always able to provide 100% coverage to all premises, this is because we must work with Openreach’s existing network which does not sit neatly within village or even postcode boundaries. 

As our villages and towns have grown over the years, the telecoms infrastructure has been added to meet the needs of the community.  As a result, the existing infrastructure in any one village, or indeed any one street, may not serve every premises.  It’s entirely possible for a small village to be served by two or three different infrastructures and not all premises within the same postcode area may be able to order an improved service at the same time as it may be that not all the infrastructure has been or will be upgraded.

Lobbying will not have any impact on the outcome of our planned rollout.

The aim of the project is to achieve the best possible long-term broadband coverage for Wiltshire within the budget available.  To achieve this the rollout design is based on a combination of several factors such as existing infrastructure, speeds already received, number of homes and premises in the area and distances of homes and businesses away from the infrastructure.   Other rollout designs were considered such as prioritising specific communities or the most rural areas but the rollout then becomes less efficient and costlier and ultimately reduces the number of premises we can provide a service to.

The rollout plans are based on upgrading the existing infrastructure, the copper telephone lines that provide the telephone service and ADSL broadband service following a spine and spur pattern.  Openreach infrastructure across Wiltshire is divided into exchange areas.   This existing infrastructure doesn’t fit neatly into village boundaries and your village may be served by different infrastructure than that of the neighbouring villages, hence they may have a different outcome because they’re on a different spine or spur to yours. 

The modelling of the rollout does not prioritise one village’s needs over another.  The rollout is modelled on best value for money principles and the brief given to BT by Wiltshire Council was to cover as many premises as possible within the available funding.   BT use the Chief Engineer’s Model (CEM) which takes as its starting point the Intervention Area postcodes (those postcodes in which we can invest public money) and seeks to maximise physical coverage for the available funding.  The CEM has been validated by BDUK (Central Government’s Building Digital UK programme) to ensure it’s modelled to effectively maximise coverage which it does by going to the lowest cost locations and then sequentially moving through the next best value structure and it repeats this process until the funding package is exhausted.

With regards Gigaclear, their build model is different to Openreach as they install all new infrastructure as part of their build plans.   However, the model is still based on providing 'best value for money' to ensure that as many premises are upgraded within the available funding.

The quickest and easiest way of finding out if you’re included in our rollout plans is to register your details here and we’ll be in touch.

The Wiltshire Online project must comply with EU State Aid law to ensure that public money is invested appropriately.   As a first step to ensure compliance, Wiltshire Online conducted an Open Market Review in June 2016  with the communications’ industry to establish the current broadband infrastructure already in place in Wiltshire and where there were plans for investment in such infrastructure in the coming three years.  The areas that were not going to be targeted commercially formed what’s known as our ‘Intervention Area’ and it’s where, as per EU State Aid law, we can invest public money in. The Intervention Area and the postcodes that make up the area are set for the duration of our current contracts with both Openreach and Gigaclear. 

Not necessarily, whilst the funding has been significant, we unfortunately can’t get to everyone with a fibre service.

Our contracted suppliers (BT and Gigaclear) were awarded the contract to bring a superfast fibre service to as many premises as possible within the budget available.   At the start of the process all the postcodes and infrastructure that serve them in our Intervention Area were modelled on engineering criteria such as location of existing infrastructure, current speeds, distance and number of premises served and then the suppliers modelled the new infrastructure to achieve getting the maximum number of premises on to the extended infrastructure network i.e.  the most value for money rollout.   Other rollout designs were considered such as prioritising specific communities or the most rural areas but the rollout then becomes less efficient and costlier and ultimately reduces the number of homes we can provide a service to.

In summary, no one person decided which individual premises were to benefit.  The Intervention Area is set as per State Aid law and the rollout modelled by the suppliers on technical grounds only to cover as many premises as possible.

Your premises may not be in the Intervention Area for one of two reasons.  Either because your postcode was claimed by a commercial provider and therefore we’re unable to lawfully invest in your area or your premises did not exist at the time we defined the Intervention Area (e.g.  your premises is a new build).

The Intervention Area and the premises that make up the area are set for the duration of the contracts and can’t be changed.

Currently Wiltshire Council’s obligation is to deliver the Phase 1, Phase 2 and Phase 3 contracts within budget and timescales.  Phase 1 is complete; Phase 2 is build complete and Phase 3 by end of 2021.

Universal Service Obligation (USO)

The broadband universal service obligation (USO) is a central government policy commitment, which will give people in the UK the right to request a decent broadband connection. Under the USO, eligible homes and businesses will be able to request a connection, where the cost of building it is no more than £3,400.

Further information will be made available by central Government as they progress with the legislation, however the latest guidance from the national telecoms regulator Ofcom, is that they will finally consult on an agreed funding approach, after which the Universal Service Obligation (USO) will be delivered by ISPs BT and KCOM, once it is introduced in late March 2020.

Further information and the latest updates on the progression of this scheme, can be found on the Ofcom website here. 

As part of the Open Market Review, all Wiltshire Council postcodes that existed at the time of the Open Market Review (see ‘What’s the Intervention Area?’ FAQ for an explanation) were considered regardless of where the exchange is located.

Our contracted suppliers (BT and Gigaclear) were awarded the contract to bring a superfast fibre service to as many premises as possible within the budget available.   At the start of the process all the postcodes and infrastructure that serve them in our Intervention Area were modelled on engineering criteria such as location of existing infrastructure, current speeds, distance and number of premises served and then the suppliers modelled the new infrastructure to achieve getting the maximum number of premises on to the extended infrastructure network i.e.  the best value for money rollout.   Other rollout designs were considered such as prioritising specific communities or the most rural areas but the rollout then becomes less efficient and costlier and ultimately reduces the number of homes we can provide a service to.

 In summary, the Intervention Area is set as per EU State Aid law and the rollout modelled by the suppliers on technical grounds only to cover as many premises as possible.

It’s not possible with a programme of this size and complexity to plan every area at the same time, so some areas will inevitably be enabled before others.  There’s also significant challenges with rolling out fibre across a rural county such as badly blocked ducts, existing cabinets that need to be replaced and identification of a suitable power supply.   In some cases, we must apply for road closures to allow engineers to work safely on the network which requires a statutory three-month notice period.   Many of these issues are not encountered until we start on-the-ground-activities in a community area and therefore a 'Go Live' date may be subject to change.

We’ve considered many factors, including geography, planning requirements and the location of the existing telecoms infrastructure.  These factors will dictate the order of the roll out and this approach will ensure the best value for money.   This means that we cannot deviate from how the planned network will be rolled out across the area, as doing so would result in a time-consuming and costly project and would ultimately reduce the number of premises we can deliver fibre broadband to.

About The Project

The broadband universal service obligation (USO) is a central government policy commitment, which will give people in the UK the right to request a decent broadband connection. Under the USO, eligible homes and businesses will be able to request a connection, where the cost of building it is no more than £3,400.

Further information on the progress of this scheme can be found on the Ofcom website here.

Unfortunately, no.  The Wiltshire Online project is focused on bringing fibre broadband to areas of the county that weren’t considered commercially viable.  The technology we deploy as part of the contract is Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) or Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) and there’s no mechanism in place that would allow us to invest in alternative technologies.

If your premises is in our planned rollout, there’s no cost to you to get the fibre infrastructure in place.  If your premises is outside of the planned rollout, it’s not possible for you to pay Wiltshire Council an extra sum to have it added in as this would contravene the rules of the contract.

Not all premises are connected to the local telephone exchange via a green street cabinet.  Some are connected directly to the telephone exchange and these are known as Exchange Only (EO) lines. 

Wiltshire Online will include the upgrading of some EO lines as part of the rollout of superfast fibre broadband across Wiltshire.  For EO lines, to install the new fibre in the quickest and most cost-effective way we may need to completely re-arrange the existing copper network to make it possible to install two new structures: a Primary Connection Point (PCP) and a fibre-enabled cabinet (DSLAM).  For some smaller communities, we will install an All in One (AIO) cabinet that acts as both the PCP and DSLAM.  The EO lines will then be connected to the exchange via the new street cabinets to improve broadband speeds.

When we upgrade any community to fibre we are not always able to provide 100% coverage to all premises, this is because we must work with Openreach’s existing network which does not sit neatly within village or even postcode boundaries. 

As our villages and towns have grown over the years, the telecoms infrastructure has been added to meet the needs of the community.  As a result, the existing infrastructure in any one village, or indeed any one street, may not serve every premises.  It’s entirely possible for a small village to be served by two or three different infrastructures and not all premises within the same postcode area may be able to order an improved service at the same time as it may be that not all the infrastructure has been or will be upgraded.

Lobbying will not have any impact on the outcome of our planned rollout.

The aim of the project is to achieve the best possible long-term broadband coverage for Wiltshire within the budget available.  To achieve this the rollout design is based on a combination of several factors such as existing infrastructure, speeds already received, number of homes and premises in the area and distances of homes and businesses away from the infrastructure.   Other rollout designs were considered such as prioritising specific communities or the most rural areas but the rollout then becomes less efficient and costlier and ultimately reduces the number of premises we can provide a service to.

The rollout plans are based on upgrading the existing infrastructure, the copper telephone lines that provide the telephone service and ADSL broadband service following a spine and spur pattern.  Openreach infrastructure across Wiltshire is divided into exchange areas.   This existing infrastructure doesn’t fit neatly into village boundaries and your village may be served by different infrastructure than that of the neighbouring villages, hence they may have a different outcome because they’re on a different spine or spur to yours. 

The modelling of the rollout does not prioritise one village’s needs over another.  The rollout is modelled on best value for money principles and the brief given to BT by Wiltshire Council was to cover as many premises as possible within the available funding.   BT use the Chief Engineer’s Model (CEM) which takes as its starting point the Intervention Area postcodes (those postcodes in which we can invest public money) and seeks to maximise physical coverage for the available funding.  The CEM has been validated by BDUK (Central Government’s Building Digital UK programme) to ensure it’s modelled to effectively maximise coverage which it does by going to the lowest cost locations and then sequentially moving through the next best value structure and it repeats this process until the funding package is exhausted.

With regards Gigaclear, their build model is different to Openreach as they install all new infrastructure as part of their build plans.   However, the model is still based on providing 'best value for money' to ensure that as many premises are upgraded within the available funding.

The quickest and easiest way of finding out if you’re included in our rollout plans is to register your details here and we’ll be in touch.

The Wiltshire Online project must comply with EU State Aid law to ensure that public money is invested appropriately.   As a first step to ensure compliance, Wiltshire Online conducted an Open Market Review in June 2016  with the communications’ industry to establish the current broadband infrastructure already in place in Wiltshire and where there were plans for investment in such infrastructure in the coming three years.  The areas that were not going to be targeted commercially formed what’s known as our ‘Intervention Area’ and it’s where, as per EU State Aid law, we can invest public money in. The Intervention Area and the postcodes that make up the area are set for the duration of our current contracts with both Openreach and Gigaclear. 

Not necessarily, whilst the funding has been significant, we unfortunately can’t get to everyone with a fibre service.

Our contracted suppliers (BT and Gigaclear) were awarded the contract to bring a superfast fibre service to as many premises as possible within the budget available.   At the start of the process all the postcodes and infrastructure that serve them in our Intervention Area were modelled on engineering criteria such as location of existing infrastructure, current speeds, distance and number of premises served and then the suppliers modelled the new infrastructure to achieve getting the maximum number of premises on to the extended infrastructure network i.e.  the most value for money rollout.   Other rollout designs were considered such as prioritising specific communities or the most rural areas but the rollout then becomes less efficient and costlier and ultimately reduces the number of homes we can provide a service to.

In summary, no one person decided which individual premises were to benefit.  The Intervention Area is set as per State Aid law and the rollout modelled by the suppliers on technical grounds only to cover as many premises as possible.

Your premises may not be in the Intervention Area for one of two reasons.  Either because your postcode was claimed by a commercial provider and therefore we’re unable to lawfully invest in your area or your premises did not exist at the time we defined the Intervention Area (e.g.  your premises is a new build).

The Intervention Area and the premises that make up the area are set for the duration of the contracts and can’t be changed.

Currently Wiltshire Council’s obligation is to deliver the Phase 1, Phase 2 and Phase 3 contracts within budget and timescales.  Phase 1 is complete; Phase 2 is build complete and Phase 3 by end of 2021.

Universal Service Obligation (USO)

The broadband universal service obligation (USO) is a central government policy commitment, which will give people in the UK the right to request a decent broadband connection. Under the USO, eligible homes and businesses will be able to request a connection, where the cost of building it is no more than £3,400.

Further information will be made available by central Government as they progress with the legislation, however the latest guidance from the national telecoms regulator Ofcom, is that they will finally consult on an agreed funding approach, after which the Universal Service Obligation (USO) will be delivered by ISPs BT and KCOM, once it is introduced in late March 2020.

Further information and the latest updates on the progression of this scheme, can be found on the Ofcom website here. 

As part of the Open Market Review, all Wiltshire Council postcodes that existed at the time of the Open Market Review (see ‘What’s the Intervention Area?’ FAQ for an explanation) were considered regardless of where the exchange is located.

Our contracted suppliers (BT and Gigaclear) were awarded the contract to bring a superfast fibre service to as many premises as possible within the budget available.   At the start of the process all the postcodes and infrastructure that serve them in our Intervention Area were modelled on engineering criteria such as location of existing infrastructure, current speeds, distance and number of premises served and then the suppliers modelled the new infrastructure to achieve getting the maximum number of premises on to the extended infrastructure network i.e.  the best value for money rollout.   Other rollout designs were considered such as prioritising specific communities or the most rural areas but the rollout then becomes less efficient and costlier and ultimately reduces the number of homes we can provide a service to.

 In summary, the Intervention Area is set as per EU State Aid law and the rollout modelled by the suppliers on technical grounds only to cover as many premises as possible.

It’s not possible with a programme of this size and complexity to plan every area at the same time, so some areas will inevitably be enabled before others.  There’s also significant challenges with rolling out fibre across a rural county such as badly blocked ducts, existing cabinets that need to be replaced and identification of a suitable power supply.   In some cases, we must apply for road closures to allow engineers to work safely on the network which requires a statutory three-month notice period.   Many of these issues are not encountered until we start on-the-ground-activities in a community area and therefore a 'Go Live' date may be subject to change.

We’ve considered many factors, including geography, planning requirements and the location of the existing telecoms infrastructure.  These factors will dictate the order of the roll out and this approach will ensure the best value for money.   This means that we cannot deviate from how the planned network will be rolled out across the area, as doing so would result in a time-consuming and costly project and would ultimately reduce the number of premises we can deliver fibre broadband to.