We Plan To:
Establish a Community Benefit Society that will offer a world-class broadband service to a number of the rural villages and communities around our village.
Below we describe some of the components of this proposal.
Existing "Superfast" broadband only delivers an "up to" speed. It cannot guarantee that its currently intended 24Mbps speed, will be received by those able to take advantage of it. That's because with Superfast Fibre the final few hundred meters (in some cases kilometres) to the property still runs over the old twisted pair copper sometimes aluminium) telephone cable - the further you are from your fibre-enabled cabinet, the slower your connection will run. The limited bandwidth at the cabinet is also shared with other users connected to the same cabinet, causing further slowdowns during 'broadband rushhour' (typically 4pm to 10pm) Many are paying for a level of service they do not receive.
The Proposed Future-Proof Technology
The "Upgradeable" broadband service we plan to offer can only be achieved by connecting each home and business directly to fibre optic cable. This will offer a 1 Gigabit (1,000 Megabits) per second download and upload speed, delivered by the latest fibre optic technology direct to your home or business premises completely by-pass all existing telephone cabling.
The Community Benefit Approach
Our's is a Community developed DIY scheme. It will be delivered by a Community Benefit Society currently being established. All profits must then be used to benefit the communities that the society serves, rather than the investors. This will be a wider area, perhaps much wider, than East Ruston alone. Projects such as funding improvements to village halls or subsidising community bus services are likely to be the beneficiaries. The CBS will also be subject to an "asset lock" on all the resources of the organisation so, even if it should fail, none of its assets can be sold off for personal profit but only go to other organisations with similar objectives. This will be done as we need full community support in the form of investors, local volunteers and supportive landowners.
Volunteers will undertake most of the work, keeping labour costs low. Local contractors would be used for work that cannot be undertaken by volunteers, such as road crossings and other works on the highway.
We will also be massively reliant on the generosity and help of landowners and farmers. There is only one way we can build an affordable network, connecting even the most rural properties, and that is with their local knowledge, assistance and free wayleave permissions. It is only because of the guarantee of a Community Benefit structure that there are no circumstances in which individuals can profit their generosity and that is why we can hope for their support.
We also need to raise the investment to cover the work and materials required from within our community.
The Proposed Means Of Financing
Many types of community broadband scheme raise finance through issuing community shares (Find out more about Community Shares on the FAQ Page) which have the benefit of significant tax relief e.g. Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS). This share issue is done through a Community Benefit Society model, where ultimate profits of the initiative are ploughed back into the community.
We are researching the business and financing options available to us and also the possibility of appropriate grant aid regimes to assist in acquiring training, equipment and machinery.
For more information on community shares, and tax incentives for investments please go to FAQ pages.
Let us know if you are interested in the project by completing the form on the Register an Interest page.