September 24th Deadline for Full-Fibre vouchers in Bottisham and Lode

UPDATE: 8 September 2021

Please read our Open Letter for an update on this project.

What is the purpose of this project?

Cambridge Fibre will be installing an entirely new broadband network in a number of towns and villages around Cambridge to provide much faster and far more reliable internet connections for residents and businesses.

Subject there being sufficient interest from the residents, we would like to include Bottisham and Lode in this network.

Because we will not be using any of the old copper cables, or the old BT cabinets, internet speeds will be universally predictable and reliable. Our fastest speeds will be available to everyone that orders a service, regardless of how far they are from our cabinet.

What is Full-Fibre Broadband, and why is it important?

The “Superfast Fibre” broadband service currently in use actually depends on old copper telephone lines to deliver the service into businesses and homes. The “Fibre” goes no further than the BT cabinet in the street. This service is also known as a “Part-Fibre” service.

It is the copper component of the existing service that is responsible for the inconsistent speeds and unreliable service that many experience. As long as copper is being used to deliver broadband, “Superfast Fibre” will suffer from low and unpredictable speeds, and general unreliability.

A Full-Fibre service eliminates copper entirely.

As can be seen above, Full-Fibre Broadband takes the fibre-optic cable all the way into the business or home. The benefits of this are:

  • Full-Fibre is proven to be up to five times more reliable than Superfast (Source – Ofcom).
  • The speed of the Full-Fibre circuit is guaranteed. No more misleading “up-to …” speed claims.
  • Incredible speeds. Gigabit (1000Mbps) broadband is available to everyone that takes a Full-Fibre service. Even after allowing for overheads, we are delivering 935Mbps of real usable internet bandwidth.
  • Future-proofed. The fibre that we install today is cable of handling 10 Gigabits or even 100 Gigabits in the future. Over the coming years we will be offering these increased speeds which will require nothing more than a modem upgrade.

How is this project funded, and how do homes and businesses access this service?

We have registered a specific project for Bottisham and Lode with The Department of Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) to access government funds provided through the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme. Under this scheme, any resident or business that receives a voucher will have the entire cost of the installation paid for by their voucher.

Cambridge Fibre will request this voucher on your behalf, after you have ordered a service from us. If for any reason the voucher is not granted, the order can be cancelled without any penalty.

Why is the deadline for securing a local voucher scheme 24th September 2021?

As of 24th September 2021, no further Gigabit Voucher Scheme projects will be approved in Cambridgeshire. This is being done in order for Cambridgeshire County Council to begin a tendering process for the whole of Cambridgeshire.

Historically these tenders tend to have be won by BT Openreach. They then use this money to pay for upgrade their existing network, usually over a period of several years.

The tendering process itself is quite arduous and time consuming. Consequently this will delay the roll-out of Full-Fibre in the short term.

We do not believe that this process is the best approach. Instead we believe that a community-focused and time-limited voucher scheme is the best approach.

Our primary objective now is to get as many vouchers as possible into as many hands as possible before the deadline.

Aside from a free installation, are there any further benefits to these vouchers?

Yes. If one home or business in a street uses a voucher to order a service, there is an indirect benefit to their neighbours. This is because those voucher-funded orders are paying to bring multiple fibres to that street that will available to those neighbouring properties in the future.

In other words, long after the voucher scheme is gone, residents and businesses on those streets which received funding continue to benefit from that subsidised fibre. Those premises that missed out on a voucher will be offered a service at a very affordable price due to the presence of that fibre.

The converse is also true. For streets that missed out on voucher funding, the cost of installing fibre later will be higher.

Does availability of Full-Fibre affect house values?

Yes, it does. Online auctioneers like RightMove and Zoopla now detail broadband speeds and types with their property listings. A number of studies have been carried out in the UK recently, and poor broadband performance is known to reduce house values by between 20% and 25%:

This is Money – The REAL cost of bad broadband

Savills – Does high speed broadband drive house prices?

I run a business from home. Should I request a residential voucher or a business voucher?

You should request a business voucher. Businesses attract more funding than home broadband. We rely on these businesses vouchers to cross-subsidise the residential installations.

How soon will the build start, and when will I be connected?

We will be building this network over the coming 12 months. You can choose your own installation date in consultation with our planners. Even if you are still in-contract with your existing provider, the time to order is now. When ordering simply ask for an activation date that coincides with the end of your existing contract.

The first homes will be connected in about 6 months’ time. The roll-out program will then progress throughout 2022. The Gigabit Voucher Scheme requires us to connect all customers within one year of the voucher being issued, which means that all customers must be connected by September 2022.

The Voucher Scheme that serves Bottisham and Lode will be closed for new voucher applications in a matter of days. Act now to secure your free installation.

Will this mean there will be a lot of noise and disruption during construction?

No, we have a very environmentally friendly approach to building our network, which will keep disruption to a minimum. We only dig-up pavements when we have no other alternative.

By using existing underground ducts and telegraph poles we have an extremely low environmental impact both in terms of carbon footprint, and in terms of disruption in the neighbourhoods where we are working.

The optical technologies we use to deliver our service use a small fraction of the energy used by the old copper equipment we are replacing.

How do I order and what is the process like?

If you either run a business from home, or operate from a commercial premises, please click on the Business Broadband link below. Otherwise click on the Residential Broadband link.

You can then choose between a range of different speeds, and choose whether you would like a 12 month or 24 month contract.

Two very important points to note are:

  1. We are offering very large discounts in year 1 for customers taking a 24 month contract.
  2. Those on 24 month contracts have complete freedom to change their chosen package in year 2.

Our ordering system will not take any payment or financial details from you now.

Once your order is on the system, we will request a Gigabit Voucher on your behalf, please note that the DCMS system is still a manual process. You will then receive an email asking you to confirm your order, and your acceptance of the rules of the scheme.

If for any reason you don’t qualify for a voucher, the order can be cancelled without penalty or you can decide that you still like the service and pay for the installation fee (£125 for a two year contract or £225 for a one year contract)

Order Residential Broadband
Order Business Broadband