news from Alton BroadBand
2021 - ZEN AND THE ART OF FASTER BROADBAND
Out of the blue, Zen came to us offering an even faster broadband service - and for a few pennies less! Who were we to refuse such an offer?
2020 - WRONG TYPE OF LEAVES
Clients in Lemons Hill found their service was not as good as it had been - and it was discovered that trees on the Chedworth Place estate had grown to a height where they interfered with the line of sight from the church. Tendring Tree Surgeons were called in and, with permission from the landowner, the tops of the trees were sympathetically trimmed to allow normal service to resume.
2019 - HIGH SPEED TO THE CHURCH
The new Zen broadband service has been working well, so it was time to upgrade parts of the rest of the network to take advantage. A high-speed link has been installed between the property in Chedworth and the Church tower to provide access to Zen via this node. And a further two-way high speed connection between the Church and the Wheatsheaf allows better communications between our main source of broadband and the back-up service. When the new system proves reliable, we can begin to roll out newer aerials to other clients in the village to allow them to take advantage of the higher speeds available.
2018 - FIBRE-RICH DIET
With the BT fibre-to-the-premises trial ending, it was time to upgrade our service to the new standard. Various ISPs were evaluated and we decided to go with Zen Internet, who offer speeds of up to 300Mbps. A property in Chedworth Place has been chosen as the main source for the fibre, giving line-of-sight to most properties on the square. New aerials have been installed on the property and new AC aerials are being supplied to households - offering speeds of between 70-100 Mbps to each lucky homeowner!
2018 - TROUBLE IN THE CLOSE
Residents of The Close in Tattingstone are protesting vigorously after telegraph poles were erected at several locations without any consultation. BT Openreach installed the poles as part of the extension of their FTTP (Fibre To The Premises) trial in the village, but residents felt the new service should have been routed via existing underground conduit.
- BT TRIAL EXPANDS
BT have decided to expand their FTTP service to more parts of the village, including the White Horse area, which suffered from being too far away from the FTTC service to the Wheatsheaf cabinet. Why Tattingstone has been selected for such a scheme remains a mystery! Fortunately, we have only lost one customer due to the trial . . . we will see what happens when the trial ends, which is currently unknown.
- BT FTTP IS UP AND RUNNING
Many of our customers have opted for the new BT fibre service, but nearly all have decided to continue with AltonBB's wireless network as well, as BT cannot guarantee their trial service. However, the new fibre system works very well, with speeds of over 300Mbps recorded wired directly to the free ZTE Router supplied by BT. It also allows seemless streaming of HD quality TV services and some of our clients have opted to use the BT service in this way while retaining the ABB service for emails and normal computer-related Internet activity.
JUNE 2017 -
A NEWER HELPING OF FIBRE!
BT Openreach have selected Tattingstone for a trial of a new FTTP (Fibre To The Premises)system which allows properties more than 20 metres away from fibre modules to be connected directly by the new technology, offering a massive increase in possible speeds. The new trial will put Tattingstone in the top 1% of broadband customers in the country, with speeds of up to 100Mbps promised.
The trial is to last for six months, and a presentation is promised in the Village Hall where we be able to see the new technology in action.
2016 - A NEW HELPING OF FIBRE!
After several months of trouble-free broadband service, we have started the process of investigating even better internet speeds. With this in mind, we have ordered the transfer of a redundant line at our original Stutton Lane source to our new source at the Wheatsheaf pub, giving us two fibre feeds that should run at around 60Mbps each.
Currently, the equipment we use is not capable of transmitting at these hyper-fast speeds and new equipment is simply not reliable enough to risk. However, our second line will give us the chance to experiment with the new equipment without jeopardising the current service. Once these trials have been completed successfully, we can roll out an upgrade to those customers who would like to take advantage of it.
2016 - TELEPHONY BECOMES VIABLE
With the increase in speed and bandwidth provided by our new fibre connection, we can now offer a telephone service over our network, meaning the end of line rental charges for those who don't want it! We can offer a service, via Sipgate, which allows you to only pay for calls . . . contact us for more details.
2016 - A NEW BEGINNING, AND A FAREWELL
Our technical team from Clannet in Yorkshire came down early in March and successfully switched our broadband feed from the old ADSL in Stutton Lane to our new fibre connection at the Wheatsheaf. The change caused little disruption to our customers, who are now enjoying much higher speeds!
March also marked the end of Elizabeth and Lewis Johnston's involvement in Alton BroadBand. One of the five original investors in Chedworth Place, our service would not have got off the ground without their help and support . . . but they have now moved to Norfolk and we wish them all the best.
2016 - FIBRE CONNECTION ON ITS WAY!
The new equipment we have ordered to allow us to use the new fibre broadband service is now undergoing soak-testing prior to installation, hopefully, next month.
2015 - ARRIVAL OF FIBRE HAS LITTLE EFFECT
The arrival of high-speed fibre broadband in the village has not hit us hard we have only lost six clients to the new service and, because several of them were heavy users, everyone should benefit from this change.
2015 - WHEATSHEAF FIBRE SHOWS GREAT PROMISE
Our new fibre connection at the Wheatsheaf shows great promise, providing 74Mbps download and 18Mbps upload, massively faster than the 10/1Mbps we get on each of our copper broadband services at our source. More details on how we will hook into this service will follow.
2015 - FIBRE NOW AVAILABLE IN TATTINGSTONE
It is now possible for villagers to order fibre broadband after some errors on the BT website prevented them from doing so.
2015 - BT FINALLY INSTALL FIBRE TO THE VILLAGE
Fibre broadband finally arrives in Tattingstone as Suffolk Better BroadBand, financed by the Government via Suffolk County Council, sees their roll-out of fibre to rural areas grow as the commissioning of the installation by BT is completed.
2015 - SYSTEM UPGRADE
Clannet visit to install new equipment at both the Church and our broadband source which should enhance the reliability of the service following issues with the battery backup circuits which affected our broadband supply in June.
2015 - A NEW GOLDEN AGE!
A momentous month as we reach 50 clients in the village for the first time since Alton BroadBand became available . . . many thanks to all our loyal customers!
2015 - OUR FIFTH RELAY GOES LIVE
Our fifth relay, providing a service to Samford Court, came into use. It adds to the areas of the village covered by our other relays at the White Horse, The Close, Tattingstone Place and the Wheatsheaf.
problems experienced by PlusNet, who supply two of our three broadband feeds,
have been causing some issues with certain secure connections, such as internet
banking and VPN. We will switch these to our BT broadband line should the problems
MARCH 2015 - GEOFF COMES TO THE RESCUE!
Our transmitting aerial at our broadband source managed to work itself loose, leaving us with a minimal service. Thanks to prompt efforts from local tradesman Geoff at Alton Property Services, who braved the winds and gathering gloom to re-secure the errant device, our service was soon restored to normal.
2015 - MORE BT PROBLEMS
Our BT broadband service was switched out after suffering high CRC errors for a number of days which impacted on the performance of the three-way connection we use. It did not affect our service, as the two PlusNet worked normally throughout. After the issue had been fixed, the BT line was switched back into use.
scheduled power cut in the area did not affect our service, which continued
on battery back-up at the church while the power was out.
2015 - OUR FOURTH RELAY IS ADDED TO THE SYSTEM
In preparation for the arrival of fibre, as well as offering our service to more customers, our fourth relay was installed at the Wheatsheaf pub on the A137. This service will allow people living on The Heath to connect as well as offering a potential gateway into fibre when it finally arrives in the village.
2014 - MAJOR ERRORS ON THE LINES
All three of our lines suffered major errors, meaning that web browsing was almost impossible, while emails continued to get through. However, all three lines came back to normal performance, suggesting a problem at the exchange was the cause.
2014 - A THIRD LINE JOINS OUR SERVICE
Our third line, using PlusNet as our provider has been installed, tested and connected to the service which means our clients should see higher speeds as well as a more robust service.
2014 - BT MOVE QUICKLY
BT suffered major problems which affected broadband supply in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex. Thankfully, it was resolved within a few hours.
2014 - FAULTY KIT CAUSES BRIEF INTERRUPTION
A faulty piece of kit at our broadband source, which could have made our backup system malfunction, has had to be replaced, meaning there was a brief interruption to our service.
2013 - WE CELEBRATE OUR SECOND BIRTHDAY
Alton BroadBand celebrated its Second Birthday this month - and a year of almost trouble-free service (touch wood!). Our second line set-up has proved its worth, as one of our services suffered a failure on two occasions but the system was robust enough that customers didn't even notice.
We now plan to advertise in the local newsletter to encourage more villagers to take up our unrivalled broadband service.
2012 - SILVER STANDARD AS OUR 25th CLIENT JOINS UP!
Our 25th paying customer joined up this month - making a total of 30 clients on our system. This customer is also the fifth to benefit from the relay placed on Tattingstone Place, making it the busiest of the three relays placed around the village to enable our service to reach houses not in direct line of sight to St Mary's Church tower.
2012 - BT UPGRADE BRINGS SPEED IMPROVEMENT
With BT completing the upgrade of our Stutton exchange to ADSL2+, we now have a system that can peak at 25Mbytes - with an average speed of 15Mb to all of our customers.
31 - OUR THIRD RELAY IS INSTALLED
Alton BroadBand's third relay in the village has now been installed at Tattingstone Place. This latest relay will allow villagers living in Tattingstone Park to sign up for our service.
This relay now joins our other Points Of Presence in the village so that anyone living in line-of-sight of St Mary's Church, The White Horse, The Close and now Tattingstone Place can benefit from our fast broadband service . . . and more people are signing up every week.
27 - NEW BACKUP LINE INSTALLED
Our second telephone line has now been installed and we will be ordering a secondary broadband service for this line very shortly. This will mean that, if a problem with our ISP or telephone line crops up, we will have a backup solution already in place to ensure that our clients will not notice any detrimental effect on the service we currently provide.
12 - NEWS ON OUR BACKUP LINE
Following our earlier severe problems with a slow connection, which took 10 days to solve, we now have a date from BT for the installation of a second telephone line - this will be available on Friday July 27. Once BT confirm the telephone number, we will be able to order another broadband service from a different supplier . . . meaning that we will have a backup solution which will ensure our clients will not notice any effect if one of our services goes down.
We are also planning to install a further, 3G-based mobile backup system, which will be able to cope with breaks in service like that suffered on June 12 - see below.
6 - PROBLEM FINALLY SOLVED!
BT and PlusNet finally find the problem with our connection . . . it appears to be an equipment failure at a BT broadband hub. After BT engineer Lloyd pinpointed the issue, he stood by while the work was carried out to restore our service to the level which we have become accustomed to after all these months.
The lesson learned from this problem is that we cannot rely on just one ISP . . . so we will be taking steps to ensure that there needs to be a major breakdown before our service is affected in the same way in the future.
JUNE 27 - JULY
5 - MAJOR SPEED LOSS ON OUR SERVICE
A major reduction in speed was suffered by our service on June 27, when it fell from up to 7Mbps to 0.4Mbps. We carried out comprehensive checks of our equipment, including restarting and then replacing the router at our broadband source . . . all to no avail. Only after carrying out these checks did we notify our ISP, PlusNet, of the problem.
Unfortunately, it took PlusNet several days, and duplicated BT engineer visits, before they finally agreed that the problem did not lie with us, but with the service supplied via BT. On the third BT engineer request, instructions were placed to find where the problem lay and this finally got us back up and running - see above.
12, 2012 - MAJOR BROADBAND OUTAGE
BT's broadband service from its Holbrook exchange suffered a complete failure at midday, with the result that almost everyone served by the exchange lost their connection - including ourselves. Fortunately, the failure was spotted within minutes and BT worked flat out to solve the problem, finally getting the service back up and running to most customers just after 9pm.
5 - OUR FIRST CUSTOMER!
We finally get our first customers up and running - Peter and Denise Morcom were told by their telephone provider that they could not have broadband - so we have stepped in to give them a service running at 6.7Mbps . . . fast enough to watch BBC HD programmes on iPlayer without interruption or pauses.
We will be installing our service in four other homes in the coming days as part of a 'pilot scheme' to see how the system copes and whether the broadband speed enjoyed by all our clients drops at all. Once the results have been determined we will decided whether our service needs enhancement before offering it out to other villagers.
5 - THE PROBLEM WITH EARWIGS
Our first major problem was discovered - earwigs had invaded one of the pieces of equipment on the church tower and caused a short circuit. It took two days to discover exactly what had gone wrong with the equipment, but then a speedy solution was constructed and installed back on the church tower. But this led to us deciding to postpone the roll out to paying customers to ensure that our system was more robust and able to offer the service villagers would expect.
23 - CONNECTED!
Our first connection is made - Heather and Wieland of Chedworth Place become the first household connected - and are overwhelmed by our 6.7Mbps connection, which allows BBC HD programmes to be viewed full-screen on their equipment without a glitch. Next were Elaine and Lloyd, with the remaining three investors due to be connected in the coming days. Once the connection has proved robust and reliable, we will plan the roll-out of the service to other villagers, so please check our Join Us page to register your interest.
Work is completed at our source and on the church tower so that people will now be able to connect wirelessly to our 6.7Mbps service. Enormous thanks are due to Nick Hall of Clannet and Paul Moore, our electrician, for all the work they have done, together with Dean Welbourn on the IT preparation plus the Friends of St Mary's and Bob and Priscilla Amos for their generosity in allowing us to use their premises.
11 - WORK BEGINS!
Our electrician, Paul Moore, has laid the groundwork for our new broadband service today, installing the necessary equipment and electrical connections at our broadband source, plus he has done all the preparatory work at St Mary's Church, ready for the day when our service can begin.
It looks increasingly likely that we will see the service up and running in August, which means that we should be able to offer high speed broadband to Tattingstone villagers late in September or early October, once the system has bedded down and proved to be reliable.
An upgrade to our broadband service indicates that the speed we are likely to achieve now exceeds 8Mbytes . . . a massive improvement over the 0.1Mbytes currently suffered by most of our investors. And with BT currently being fined for every month they do not enable ADSL2 at rural exchanges, it will not be that long before 16Mbytes broadband becomes available through our service!
4, 2011 - Broadband Independence Day!
The Faculty has been granted and we have also enabled the business service on our broadband connection, so it's all systems go!
We now need to arrange a convenient time for our installers to put our aerials on St Mary's Church tower and the other essential equipment at the source of our broadband. Once this is done, receivers can be installed in our properties and we will be able to see exactly what is possible with the new service - we might even be able to listen to the radio on BBC iPlayer at long last!!!
Once the trial period is over and everything is working smoothly, we will then be able to offer the service to other members of our small community . . . and can say goodbye to the frustratingly slow service we have all suffered from BT!
The deadline has passed, apparently without any objections being received, so we now await the granting of the Faculty from the Diocese which will allow us to install our equipment on St Mary's Church tower. We hope this will arrive in time for us to arrange installation for early July . . . the wait is almost over!
The countdown begins . . . the notice about the work we need to carry out on the church tower has now been posted - if there are no objections before the 3rd June deadline then we will be given permission to install our equipment. So the end of the long wait is in sight . . . we will soon be able to provide a decent broadband service to Tattingstone at last!
The Diocese's legal costs have now been met, so we await the publication of the 28-day notice of a Faculty being granted to allow the works to proceed . . . once this has been completed we should be able to go ahead with our plans.
The Diocesan Advisory Committee visited St. Mary's Church in Tattingstone to discuss our proposals and see the equipment and where it needs to be fitted. They were happy with our plans and passed on a recommendation to approve them.
We got a mention on BBC Look East - Lloyd Butler was quoted as calling the BT service "appalling"! This prompted a flurry of emails between BT staff, politicians and residents working to enhance broadband provision in Suffolk - the message appears to be "we're working on it, but don't hold your breath"!
This week has seen our installation expert, Nick Hall, visit us from Yorkshire to inspect the locations we will be using and liaise with our installers on what work needs to be done.
We visited St Mary's Church tower to inspect the location for our aerials and the requirements for electrical installations, which will be carried out by local expert Paul Moore of Moore Electrical. We have also checked out our broadband source in Stutton as well as the private homes of the five investors who will be the first to test the new service.
We understand that St Mary's Parochial Church Council has approved our application and this now moves forward to the diocese for their approval. Once this happens, Nick Hall will be on his way back here to help us set up the system and see what it can do!
It's all starting to come together - our company Alton BroadBand receives approval from Companies House and our new broadband connection in Stutton shows great promise - the line speed is over 7200 kbps, which indicates that a 7Mbps internet service will be possible . . . far better than the 0.1Mbps service suffered by some residents of Chedworth Place!
Residents of five households in Chedworth Place decide that they must do something to get a decent broadband service to the village - they decide to set up a company which will oversee and own the infrastructure which needs to be put in place to make the service work. They will invest sufficient funds to enable the service to run without further support for a year, but hope that once the service is up and running, further clients will pay a monthly subscription to keep the service running beyond this time. Things move quickly - our telephone line is installed on the 23rd.