A meeting between representatives of Spectrum Internet and residents in two areas of Penallt, The Birches and Tregagle, took place on Wednesday May 15th in Pelham Hall. The Spectrum team was led by Managing Director Giles Phelps and also included Claire Brown, Morgan Farr and Hayley Francis. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss potential solutions to the problems described in the May update report. It was separated into two sub-meetings and reports on each from Tim McCord and Adam Burtt-Jones are given below:
Limited communication and the passage of some time past the original deadline of 31/3 meant the residents were keen to know what progress had been made. Giles Phelps stated that the Tregagle area presented a number of logistical problems due to low number, spread and siting of the properties. 2 propositions were presented (see Spectrum's feasibility document for full documentation)
1) The original wireless solution through 2/3 relay points (POPs) - being bounced between the houses. However every onward transmission between houses effectively halves the broadband speed so some house speeds would be reduced significantly below the 8Mbps promised for some.
2) The second proposition using the same masts proposed a cable solution from the masts through to individual houses. These cables effectively need to be buried. The costs of this was prohibitive to Spectrum but they would be willing to do this if residents were prepared to fund/do the digging of the trenches required to get the cables to houses.
Given the original optimism last year the 2 proposed solutions were neither ideal nor easy to implement.
Actions agreed prior to the next meeting
1) Spectrum to do a feasibility study and confirm individual house internet speeds from option 1 - wireless solution.
2) Spectrum to expand the cable proposal to show the extent of cabling required in Tregagle by individual households
3) Spectrum to investigate the opportunity to apply for £45k grant from the county council.
The next meeting in mid June will determine which solution if any is appropriate for Tregagle
Tim McCord agreed to act as the "community champion" for the Tregagle residents' group.
Claire Brown of Spectrum re-capped why properties on the Birches were unable to benefit from the faster broadband solution delivered to the microwave receiver located on Lone Lane and a feasibility report was presented by Spectrum. This highlighted how the 6 properties interested in a faster broadband solution at the top of the Birches (above an imaginary line drawn between The Birches and Hillside Farm) could have a 20-30Mbps Synchronous (i.e. Upload and Download at the same speed) solution delivered individually via microwave to their properties as they have a line of site to the transmitter on the opposite hill (Upper Beaulieu Farm).
The solution for the 11 properties below this line potentially interested in higher speed broadband would be delivered via a dedicated fibre solution either trench dug or hung from BT poles. Toby Finnie and Adam Burtt-Jones (effectively the group "community champions") are due to establish which of the properties on the Birches are still interested in a faster broadband solution and are due to scope where a trench may be dug by local individuals on private land to provide the service, which may also include the properties above The Birches, dependent upon length of cables, cost and accessibility.
Spectrum Internet have proposed a further meeting in mid June where costs will be presented to install the scheme outlined above, the proposed costs may need to be funded by the WAG £1000 grant, available per households where speed delivered to the household is below 2Mbps.