Letter to Sarah Newton MP regarding SFB for SCC – UPDATED 13.02.14

superfast-broadband-cornwall

ANOTHER REPLY FROM SARAH NEWTON MP – SHE IS MONITORING THIS FEED – 13.02.14

Below is a letter Roseland Online has sent to Sarah Newton MP. We’d be grateful of any constructive comments on this which Sarah might be able to use to help support her campaign for UK Government funding for Superfats Broadband for Cornwall. Please read and add your comments below.

Mark David Hatwood – Roseland Online Founder Editor

____________________________

Dear Sarah

I hope you’re well.

We have heard you’re championing the cause for funding for Superfast Broadband (SFB) for Cornwall (as part of BDUK) and wanted to give you some local Roseland facts to bolster your case.

As you may know, I (Mark Hatwood) Roseland Online’s editor (South Central Cornwall’s online community voice) and Martin Edwards have been the go-between for the Superfast Broadband Cornwall team BT and the residents of the Roseland for the rollout of SFB here.

With careful negotiation and working amicably and collaboratively together with the various parties, we’ve been able to get the allocated 80% coverage increased to a whopping 95%. The main exchanges of Portscatho, St Mawes and Veryan are already benefiting from this new service and today BT have advised us that the full 95% coverage plan is now fully costed and budgeted for delivery to other smaller Hamlets on the Roseland by the end of the 2nd Quarter this year.

For reasons of ‘cost and budgetary constraints’ this plan sadly does NOT include the last 5% of people and businesses on the Roseland and whilst we are delighted to have achieved the 95% our remit is to continue to negotiate a full 100% in the future.

Included within this 5% figure are many businesses (E.g.: Nare Hotel, Cornwall’s Cottages, Trethem Mill, Roundhouse Barns, Mein Karne, etc.) and prominent individuals who play and key and vital role in our fragile Roseland economy. As we write this email BT and the SFB team have confirmed that they have NO plans to allocate any form of SFB service to these businesses and individuals and as things stand at the moment they will be without any SFB connection in the future unless extra funding from the UK Government is made available to BT and the SFB team now!

We have heard that there has been a recent discussion about BDUK in the commons and we’re keen to make sure Cornwall (and especially the Roseland and South Central Cornwall) sees a large chunk of that funding allocated to them to enable these Roseland businesses to have access to SFB in the future.

To date, although Cornwall has enjoyed an early switch-on for many residents and businesses, this has all been done through EU and private (BT) funding, so in truth Cornwall has yet to take any money from the UK government coffers for this infrastructure.

Another £10-20m could see up to 98% here get switched on and we all know how important that is four the local economy, especially where many businesses are allowing their workforce to work from home these days. As an added benefit this would ensure business men and women (and therefore their families) could live here rather than London, bringing valuable resources into our schools, businesses and communities.

In short, on behalf of the residents we, would like to formally ask you to push extremely hard for this funding to become available. We will share this with residents here (who include a member of the House of Lords who may be able to add weight to your campaign) and ask them to post their thoughts on this on Roseland Online (for which I, Mark, am the editor) , so they can be used as further support for the campaign. We will let you know that link once it’s live so you can monitor the feedback.

We will as a courtesy also advise our local Councillor Julian German who has helped us in the past at a local level with Cornwall Council who regrettably, because of their own cuts, don’t have the necessary funds to support the funding required for this enhanced SFB service.

As we continue to work together on this we know that the ‘Rural Economy’ on the Roseland will be greatly benefited as more and more farms, businesses, business people and individuals have access to this new service. The original European funding allocated to achieve this aim is sadly now spent.

Thank you in advance for your continued support in this matter and in the mean time, we send my best regards,

Mark & Martin

Thank you for choosing Roseland Online

Mark

Mark David Hatwood FRSA
Founder Editor
mark@roselandonline.co.uk

Roseland Online is a not-for-profit community enterprise. All profits go back into the community

__________________SARAH NEWTON MP Replies 12.02.14_______________________

Dear Mark and Martin,

Thank you for your recent email.

I appreciate you taking the time to write to me to update me as to your efforts to secure superfast broadband for all properties on the Roseland.

I very much share your commitment to securing 100% coverage and am grateful to you for all your efforts. As you are aware Cornwall Development Company’s Superfast Cornwall programme was intended to connect 95% of Cornish households, like you I am pushing for the vital final 5%. I believe that this is achievable.

I met with Nigel Ashcroft of Cornwall Development Company only last week, and raised with him my own concerns regarding the households and businesses that are concerned that may miss out on superfast broadband.  I did discuss a number of important businesses on the Roseland with him and was assured that Superfast Cornwall was aware of their economic importance, and would be making every effort to connect them.

I have also obtained assurances from Government that Cornwall will be able to bid into the Government’s additional £250,000 BDUK fund.  The transcript of this assurance, received in the House of Commons, can be found here:http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2014-01-30b.987.3&s=speaker%3A24948#g987.4

When speaking with the Cornwall Development Company I have made clear to them that I would be delighted to support any application to this fund and have encouraged them to let me know if any such application well in advance so that I can make effective representations. I have Ministers to provide the Cornwall Development Company with clarification as to how and when an application should be made.

I will continue to work closely with the Cornwall Development Company , and other partners, on this.

You may also be interested to learn of a new technology, developed at Goonhilly Satellite Station, that could provide superfast broadband to Cornish households not currently able to access fibre optic broadband.

Avanti Communications, who own and operate the satellite Hylas 1 from Goonhilly, have now teamed up with broadband providers Hybeam Ltd to provide a superfast broadband service delivered through satellite communications. More information this service can be found http://www.hybeam.co.uk/

I hope this is of interest.

Thank you once more for taking the time to write to me,  please don’t hesitate to let me know if I can be of any further assistance to you at the current time regarding this important issue.

Yours sincerely, 

Mrs Sarah Newton MP

__________________SARAH NEWTON MP Replies 13.02.14_______________________

Dear Mark,

Sarah has asked me to pass on her thanks for uploading her reply onto Roseland Online – she was really interested to read the comments. She will be responding further to those comments in due course and would be very grateful if you could consider uploading this further response so as to continue the dialogue.

With thanks again and kind regards,

Matt Browne

Matthew Browne,

Chief of Staff to Sarah Newton MP

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THESE REPLIES? Comments welcome below.

25 Comments on Letter to Sarah Newton MP regarding SFB for SCC – UPDATED 13.02.14

  1. I run Philleigh Way cookery school and wedding venue located in the centre of Philleigh village. It is a new business that has grown fast and we are currently recruiting new staff members to expand our team. We all know that a sound broadband connection is vital for any engaged modern business. I can hardly put into words how frustrating it is trying to simply conduct ordinary business such as sending an email with broadband speeds of 0-1.5 mb. There are times when it just doesn’t work at all and business literally grinds to a halt.

    I understood SFB was designed to assist the more isolated parts of the county. By simply connecting the larger towns and villages (a number of which already had reasonable connection speeds) SFB may be hitting it’s connection targets, but it’s actually failing to help the isolated areas who were the ones originally suffering from poorest connection speeds.

    Please do all you can to ensure SFB reaches the other 5%.

    Yours sincerely

    James Martin

  2. Dear Ms Newton

    Having sold my international businesses in 1989, I returned to Cornwall to study various environmental and ecological matters.

    Having operated international business throughout my career, it is obvious, due to its geographic location that Cornwall, and particularly The Roseland, needs superfast broadband for small, low impact businesses to compete and flourish.

    The correspondence created by Mark and Martin arrived at an opportune moment as I am in the process of setting up two international charities. To be frank, I have been concerned that the inadequate broadband will mean that we will have to operate these chases outside the Roseland where superior broadband connectivity is available.

    Communications in every way have always been a problem for Cornwall’s economy and the present publicity regarding our rail service definitely does not help.

    Having, in the past, suffered from inadequate road, rail and air routes it would be nice to think that, on the question of broadband communication we can make up for the previous disabilities and be ahead of the curve for once.

    I implore you to do whatever you can to ensure that all areas of The Roseland Peninsula are properly connected. In view of the recent weather problems you may well possibly find more sympathetic ears!

    Yours,
    David Halsey

  3. I live in the Roseland and have done so for nine years and work for a Global IT company. I am fully enabled to work efficiently from my home office with the single exception of the high speed broadband which isn’t available in our part of Ruan High Lanes. This means for important meetings I travel to our offices in London on average once per week as I can’t trust the connectivity which seems to have even worsened since the high speed broadband has been deployed. The added frustration is that even the rail line is slow speed and often on rail replacement buses so I am forced to drive. High speed broadband is essential for Cornwall to continue to retain the future networking generation based from home offices. It will also support a more sustainable economy.

  4. The national ‘ infrastructure ‘ provided by the Post Office – the same price promise wherever in these islands you lived – has, quite rightly, now been privatized and left to live or die in the open market.

    However, there is no lesser need for that modern infrastructure to reach every corner of the country and one argue that the need is even greater given the nature of modern economic existence. There is no argument that allows those of at the remoter fringes to be left with an inferior infrastructure to others who happen to be closer to a telephone exchange. That would mean having a different class of citizenship. It is thus one of the few items that genuinely argues for society as a whole to fund the necessary upgrade to ALL remote areas – especially the Roseland!

  5. In reply to Sarah’s letter.

    I looked at her suggested solution with hybeam for those without SFB – Even looking at the most expensive tariff of £54 per month this gives you 20GB of data. Even ignoring the latency problems (response times) with satellite which make it less than desirable for some applications. This is no where near enough data for any serious company. Most households couldn’t manage with 20GB per month yet alone any company involved in digital data. If you assume that it downloads 1MB a second ( It should do a bit more than that if it supplies 15Mb/s) that works out at about 5.5 hrs to last the whole month !!!! Admittedly there is unlimited data between 1am and 8am but I can’t see many companies using that other than for backups. I personally couldn’t manage with 20GB so much work is online with online Webinars and training videos, quickly eating into this limited allowance. We need to get a full fibre roll out. I would be interested to know how this unlucky 5% is calculated as it seems from what I’ve heard that it is far greater than 5%.

  6. Dear Ms Newton,

    I am a feature film translator working from Carvinack, near Lanhoose on the Roseland. As mentioned above by Richard Beaman, this location is not enabled for SFB. My constant need to reference very large cinematic files while working is seriously hampered by the very slow speeds we can reach here. This frequently means that I have no other choice than to work late at night or in the very early hours in order to complete commissions and meet my clients’ deadlines.

    I do hope that the businesses and individuals who have decided to support this area by establishing themselves here can rely on your help in stressing the need for more advanced technology than what we are currently obliged to work with.

    Sincerely
    Kim Aamot

  7. I am the managing director of for Chenoweth’s Business Park ltd we have been told on several occasions from different people that super fast broadband will not come to our premises in the near future by different providers .Our clients are all high tech companies who employ approximately 300 staff from the units ,our tenants are telling me that if I cant supply cloud based broadband they will have to leave our premises and move to where there is SFB,I we have worked extremely hard over many years to build a future for larger companies to enjoy working in our lovely Roseland Peninsula only to find that we are let down by costs and isolation.
    we are trying to get our voice heard to get someone to tell us exactly what the position is for us but no one will commit themselves to giving us the answerer. So Sarah the situation is if you want prosperity and growth in Cornwall and the Roseland you will need to beat your drum hard at Westminster to get heard or companies like us will be stifled by lack of support .

    regards
    Brian George Chenoweth

  8. Dear Sarah

    Cornwalls Cottages Ltd market one of the largest portfolios of holiday cottages in Cornwall with almost 100 properties on the Roseland Peninsula. The business is entirely online and we operate from 2 locations on the Roseland at Polhendra near Lanhay and also Carvinack near Lanhoose. Neither location at the moment has been enabled for Superfast Broadband. The Lanhay sub exchange also serves a number of businesses at the Lanhay workshops, all of which would benefit from SFB. We also operate from a location in the middle of Truro and even that location is not yet enabled for SFB which staggers belief.

    We market a range of holiday cottages and homes that accommodate thousands of visitors to the area over the year, who inject hundreds of thousands of pounds into the local economy. It is critically important that we are able to operate with superfast speeds, (both download and upload) to ensure this business continues to operate successfully. Most importantly, the visitors themselves now expect the fastest broadband speeds and whilst a number of properties are now enabled, there are still many that are located in smaller hamlets and rural locations that would massively benefit from SFB.

    I urge you to to push for further funding and put as much pressure on BT and Open Reach to ensure that this essential infrastructure reaches as many of the properties on the Roseland as is possible.

    Yours sincerely

    Richard Beaman
    Cornwalls Cottages Ltd

  9. Hello Mrs. Newton.

    I now have SFB, although unfortunately too late for I have just retired. Having suffered very slow download speeds for years while running my home consultancy, I can really appreciate just how important a fast & reliable Broadband service is to all my neighbours in the Roseland who run businesses.

    This is not only an essential service for those individuals, but is also of benefit Nationally, in that an isolated area having almost no employment other than farming, fishing and (seasonal) tourism, can now begin to support a wide range of internet-based SME businesses and thereby contribute to the National GDP instead of being a net drain on the economy.

    HOWEVER, there are still SFB black-spots and I know of several businesses missing out on what OUGHT to be a service as ubiquitous as fresh water from the mains.

    Please add your support to provision of 100% SFB in the Roseland!

  10. I rely on cloud based software for my business and sometimes the internet is so slow I have to wait for it to show the words that I have typed! Also large files sent to me by email will not always download. Please may we keep up with other business users.

  11. I am very glad to be on Superfast Broadband at Parton Vrane for my company Classic Sailing. However some of the local companies I work with, like Chloe Thomas in Philleigh would benefit my business if they had superfast broadband.
    In addition extra coverage throughout the area would give my company better options to expand into larger premises in the future.
    Superfast Broadband throughout the Roseland at 100% would give all business in the area a btter chance to help make the Roseland a thriving area to live.
    I fully support the initiative to bring 100% Superfast Broadband to the Roseland.
    Adam Purser
    Director
    Classic Sailing

  12. Dear Sarah,
    Treworga now has fourteen school age children within the families who live there. Policy dictates that the internet is often part of homework but with line speeds of 1.5 to 3.5 MBS, this can be a frustrating time for children and parents.
    Bizarrely, the telephone line connecting Treworga to the Very an exchange, passes through the super fast cabinet at Ruan High Lanes.
    Please can you help with this
    Regards
    David Hargreaves

  13. I run 2 businesses from Philleigh (we have appalling speeds as explained by Bill above). Both are in the online marketing arena – so I’m online all day, every day looking after our clients marketing requirements, including many online video calls with clients and colleagues globally. The internet speeds here are so slow and at times nearly non-existent which means I have to rely on expensive mobile phone connections to fulfil commitments.

    In 2014 I’d like to start building a Cornish team, but until we have superfast it’s out of the question.

    I know there are many businesses on the Roseland and surrounding areas in a similar predicament. Anything that can be done to improve the situation will have a positive knockon effect for the whole community.

    Chloe Thomas

  14. I work in the Film Industry where increasingly, with modern fast communication everywhere else, we are expected to be able to download very large video files during post production.
    After I have completed a shoot in London or Europe I often have to keep in constant contact with my producers & film editors to comment & advise on the film structure before submitting to our clients.
    In Philleigh we have download speeds of far less than 1 megabyte, creating a possible bad file content for large HD video files. This can become very frustrating as inaccuracies often happen.
    Ironically a Fibre Optic cable runs through the village of Philleigh, installed approximately 5+ years ago, but no-one seems prepared to tap into it – yet ??
    Philleigh Parish has many other residents, businesses & holiday rentals that would greatly appreciate an improvement to the area.

  15. I’m a software developer who program robots for Engineered Arts in Penryn. Fast, reliable internet is essential when I work from home.

    We’re still waiting for fibre connection here in Treworga.

  16. 8 February 2014

    My medico-legal practice relies on cloud based software including microsoft office and there are times when you wait a palpable no of seconds for the last keystroke to appear on the monitor and that makes it impossible to be efficient. It also means solicitors and Trusts who transmit medical records by email cannot always do so because of the sheer volume which the internet currently cannot handle reliably . I also do a great deal of research on the internet which is so slow at the moment.

    Keith Hughes

  17. Fast broadband is now an essential not a luxury for even a small company working with digital data. My partner lives in the Roseland (Trethem) but its impossible for me to stay there for any period of time due to the poor broadband performance necessary for my work. We were very excited to hear that SFB was coming to the Roseland only to find that we are in the 5% that won’t get it. I write software for medical imaging and also Sailwave – Scoring Software for Sailing which is used Internationally for clubs and world class regattas. Supporting these without a good broadband is not viable. As our reliance on digital systems becomes more and more critical – support of these systems requires personnel to be contactable reliably – If I am going on holiday I have to make sure that I have access to the internet. If Trethem Mill one of the best camp sites in Cornwall can’t provide a satisfactory internet access people will start to look elsewhere and this is going to become more and more critical as we move to the future. If this is what visitors see as the performance of broadband in Cornwall they are unlikely to want to return or develop any business here.

  18. As a prominent accommodation provider we spend a lot of time and money to entice visitors from both this country and overseas, to come and stay on the Roseland Peninsula. We are a multi award-winning touring Park and regularly compete at a local, regional and national level with many prestigious awards to our name. It is essential to this success that we are able to offer a first class service at all times and also to maintain a competitive edge. The Park has 84 pitches with a very high occupancy rate, of which most people use the internet for either business or personal use. We were one of the first Parks in the County to introduce WiFi coverage and the increase in uptake over the years has far exceeded our expectations. Despite investing a great deal of money in our current system to provide complete coverage to the whole Park it is now on the verge of reaching meltdown due to the extremely poor broadband connection we currently have. We predict that the demand for WiFi will only increase further with the rise in popularity of mobile devices. Superfast broadband connection would enable us to meet this demand and maintain our high level of customer satisfaction, as well as the obvious benefits to the running of the business itself.

    Ian Akeoryd
    Trethem Mill Touring Park

  19. Sarah,

    Not only do we urge you to push for further funding to complete the deployment of Superfast Broadband on The Roseland, but we also encourage you to apply all possible pressure on BT plc to increase the pace at which it is testing and deploying alternative technology solutions to help the remaining 5% get connected to Superfast Broadband. Technologies like Fibre on Demand are being tested in small pockets of Cornwall – but the pace of the pilots is too slow. We urge you to write to BT plc’s CEO and ask him to personally ensure that BT plc picks up the pace.

    Our business – and more importantly our guests – expects and needs broadband speeds substantially in excess of the 1/2 MBPS that our current broadband line delivers if we are to survive in the fiercely competitive hospitality industry.

    Barbara & Mark Sadler
    Roundhouse Barn Holidays

  20. Superfast broadband is essential to the Roseland economy. We need the best possible infrastructure to support small buisinesses and small scale tourism in particular. This is important to the majority of people who live here, whatever field they work in. Landsacpe protection is a case in point. The questionnaires sent out as part of the development of the Roseland Neighbourhood Plan illustrate that nearly everyone puts our landscape as a key priority. People don’t want the kind of development which threatens the landscape. To promote a viable alternative we need to do everything possible to help small businesses and individuals working from home to thrive. Superfast braodband is vital for our economy and our community.
    We have a strong sense of community identity, which means it’s especially important that no-one gets left out. Everyone should have the benefit of superfast broadband. 100% coverage is the only way to achieve this.

  21. We run a three bedroom Bed and Breakfast just outside Tregony. Despite paying for a Business line our Broadband is unbelievably slow. Apart from the time it takes for us to do anything online most of our customers bring their own laptops and iPads and ask what is wrong with our connection. It comes and goes at the best of times and is just incredibly slow. It took me three attempts to open this article!

    My daughter who is doing an intensive online physiology course finds it impossible to use so cannot stay when she has work to do. Any attempt to buy tickets for a popular concert is out of the question.

    All very frustrating.

  22. I fully support this initiative by Mark and Martin whose innovative relationship with SFB for Cornwall has been so successful for many. Cornwall’s businesses must remain competitive; reliable, fast access to the internet is a necessity in the modern world.

    At a time when the tourism industry particularly is being dealt a blow by the weather and the temporary closure of the railway at Dawlish for repairs, everyone should agree that investment in fast broadband is crucial to sustain Cornwall in the future. A relatively modest investment could have far-reaching consequences for an improvement in the economic well-being of the county.

  23. Down at Ardevora, in Philleigh parish, there are a number of self-employed people and a letting business, who would benefit greatly from high-speed bradband – and at the moment, I think we are due to be outside its reach.

    I myself am a full-time writer working from home and use the internet extensively for research.

    yours, Philip Marsden FRSL

  24. Can’t wait to get super fast broadband! My small business typesets the St Mawes Sailing Club Yearbook and it will be a huge help when I can shift large files to the printer. It will transform my life!

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