This is a key question which we often get asked and there's no simple answer as each case will be different.
If you are already in an area where commercial plans to build new fibre based networks are confirmed then keep in touch with the provider via their website or customer services about deployment timescales and progress.
If you are in an area where plans are confirmed to be delivered through the Superfast Northamptonshire project then there is nothing you can do to help to bring these plans forward more quickly. The Superfast Northamptonshire team are already working with Gigaclear to deliver the fibre roll out as soon as possible. However, you can keep checking the coming soon section on the Roll Out Schedule for news on progress.
If you are in an area where no plans have yet been confirmed, then below are some options which you could consider.
Please refer to the Support page for information on the government’s UK Gigabit Voucher Scheme supporting connectivity in rural areas, and for information on the Universal Service Obligation if you only have access to broadband speeds of less than 10Mbps.
There are a number of factors which can affect the speed of your broadband connection. The distance your home is from the telephone exchange, internal wiring, the time of day you go online and the number of people in your home using the internet at the same time, can all play a part in slowing down your connection. The following tips could help bring your connection back up to speed - the last three tips (8-10) apply specifically if you receive your broadband through your telephone line rather than via cable.
Practical tips for improving your broadband speed
The availability of satellite services is pretty much universal. It has some limitations e.g. it can be affected by bad weather or thick tree cover for example and involves some latency but it can provide fairly immediate access to faster broadband services and many companies now advertise superfast speeds. There is a satellite demonstrator video available to view which shares the experience of a Northamptonshire farmer taking up a satellite service.
You can compare offers, service costs and availability online by using comparison sites such as Uswitch to find out if satellite suits your faster broadband needs, whether as an interim or longer term solution. Details of some satellite providers are also listed on the Telecoms Providers page. This does not represent an endorsement of any of the companies listed.
There may be some Planning restrictions on the erecting or siting of satellite dishes in Conservation Areas. If you live in a Conservation Area please contact your Local Planning Authority for advice.
If you suffer from broadband access line speeds of less that 10Mbps you may be eligible to benefit from the Universal Services Obligation (USO) which was launched in March 2020.
Wireless broadband technology is available in some parts of the county. Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) internet service providers use specific frequencies of the radio spectrum to transmit their signals through the air (radio waves) and in a similar way to how mobile phone networks operate, doing away with wires.
Where available, wireless broadband could offer an alternative solution to accessing faster broadband. Subject to contention ratios, price and performance can be preferential to satellite. Whilst an individual household can order a satellite service, it is likely that a FWA supplier would require several orders in a community to take a service into a new area. However, if its an area which the supplier already serves then this may not apply.
You can find out more about known wireless providers operating in the county on the Telecoms Providers page.
Mobile Broadband is a wireless data communication technology that utilises lower frequency radio spectrum (cell networks) and can thus deliver internet access to almost anywhere. The service is usually accessed through a mobile phone (smartphone), USB Modem / Dongle or computer data/adapter card.
Whilst sometimes variable in performance, mobile broadband is another option to consider if you require access to faster broadband services more quickly. Be sure to shop around for the best deals and to fully understand any data usage caps as there can be costly excessive charges if these are exceeded. Usage policies are becoming more flexible though. The average contract period can be at 18-24 months.
If you are in an area where plans to upgrade the broadband network have not yet been confirmed and you can demonstrate a high level of demand from your community for superfast or gigabit services, you could contact network providers directly or register an interest via their websites. Some examples of sites offered by telecoms providers to register demand are shown below but there may be others:
Openreach – Register your interest
Gigaclear – Register your interest
Virgin Media – Cable My Street
You could investigate with a number of providers whether they would be willing to connect the area commercially on the basis of strong local demand.
Alternatively the government’s demand led UK Gigabit Voucher Scheme may be able to provide the necessary support to secure a connection.
Details of some telecoms network providers active in the county are listed on the project website on the Telecoms Providers page. Other providers may also be able to offer a solution.
If you are in an area where no plans to upgrade the broadband network have yet been confirmed but there is a high level of local demand and collective motivation, you could take your own steps to secure a solution. You could raise private finance from individuals within the community, also known as crowd funding, and go out to the telecoms market to procure a solution directly. This means using locally-raised private funding to bridge the funding gap and make it commercially attractive for a provider to extend its network to serve the community. If premises are eligible, you could combine this approach with the government’s UK Gigabit Voucher Scheme (terms apply) to minimise the level of local funding required.
A telecoms provider may require evidence of funding availability before providing a solution quotation, whilst not obliging the community to accept a quote offered; this is because modelling and costing a solution has resource implications for the telecoms provider.
Openreach have launched a Community Fibre Partnership Scheme which is based on the principles of community self-funding. Gigaclear may also welcome residents/ villages contacting them about potential for rural community solutions.
Details of other telecoms network providers active in the county are listed on the project website on the Telecoms Providers page. Other providers in the wider UK telecoms market may also be available or interested in investing in Northamptonshire and helping to get your community connected.
CFP enables residents and businesses to come together to pay for a solution with Openreach. In eligible areas, this can be combined with the government’s UK Gigabit Voucher Scheme (terms apply). This is always an option, particularly where a solution for your community has not yet been confirmed. Many communities are now in plans secured through the Superfast Northamptonshire project. When considering whether CFP is the best route, it is worth checking availability on the Where and When Map to see whether superfast or gigabit broadband is planned in your area.
There are also other options which may be of interest, including opportunities with other providers – please see the 'Self Help' FAQ. You can also find out more on the Telecoms Providers page. You may want to compare options (if any) and costs.
Be sure to understand the technology being deployed, the broadband speeds this will make available, delivery timescales and . Some premises may benefit more than others. It is therefore important to check with the supplier what is means for your home/business i.e. what speeds will I get and when? This is information which should be available from the supplier. The North and West Northamptonshire Councils have no involvement in CFP agreements as they are private funding arrangements between residents and Openreach. It is a matter of local choice.
Raising money for CFP should not include public funding as this is subject to regulation.
If you have
decided to take action in your community for a demand led, self funding or DIY
approach, then please contact the Superfast Northamptonshire project team so your
experience could be shared to help others.