25 April 2019
Grants, LorRaWAN, Potential Expansion, FTTH Amsterdam, Welsh Minister Lee Waters
Newsletter 24th March 2019
We are pleased to say that we have now received almost all the grants that were applied for. We still have to apply for payment for a small number of later connections and these will be submitted soon.
New Grant System 2019
On 22nd March the Grants system for businesses as we know it came to an end when Welsh Government withdrew the Ultrafast Connectivity Voucher ‘UCV’.
We used UCV’s for all the businesses we have connected and without them we could not have built our network.
In order to claim grants for any new businesses we will now have to use the UK Gigabit Voucher Scheme. This scheme is administered by the UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.
We have just submitted an application to become a registered supplier for the Gigabit Voucher Scheme and will keep you informed of progress regarding this.
Assuming we are accepted onto the scheme the application process for grants is very different. It is an online system and is supplier led, so we as the supplier will need to submit all applications, a somewhat different process to which we will adapt.
The amount of grant available under the new scheme is very different. Previously we claimed £3,000.00 per business but the new scheme allows£2,500.00 per business from the Gigabit Voucher Scheme and Welsh Government will provide a top up if required, of up to £3,000.00 per connection potentially giving a total of £5,500.00 per business.
We can also connect residential properties using the new scheme provided we are connecting businesses at the same time. The grant is £500.00 per property with a £300.00 top up from Welsh Government so the overall amount is the same for these properties as we previously received using the Access Broadband Cymru ‘ABC’ scheme.
Although the UCV scheme has been withdrawn the ABC scheme is still open and should any individual residents wish to be connected we can still make use of this scheme.
Without the support of the Welsh Government UCV’s we would never have been able to build our network and so we are of course sorry to see them go. It has certainly been a pleasure dealing with everyone within Welsh Government and we thank them all for their assistance.
Introduction to LoRaWAN and Internet of Things ~ Richard Wenner
We welcomed Richard Wenner to our public meeting to talk to us about The Internet of Things.
The Internet of Things could be very useful for people living in our area, especially farmers. We therefore intend to install two ‘gateways’ to facilitate use of the system by people in our immediate area, and further afield.
For an excellent explanation of The Internet of Things take a look at this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LDPkBEE7s0 or for more information please see https://www.thethingsnetwork.org/community/cardiff/
Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport
On March 7th we were delighted that Lee Waters, Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport, visited Michaelston y Fedw to see how our project had developed.
Mr Waters was shown a demonstration of fibre bowing and splicing followed by a visit to The Cefn Mably Arms where Ben and Mr Waters discussed how Ultrafast internet had benefited the pub.
Update on Generator
The new generator has been procured and delivered. We are now in a position to maintain internet service during times of power failures and to take over from the UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) which kicks in immediately the power fails and which will last for over one hour. The generator needs to be started and connected and will then continue supplying power for as long as necessary providing we top up the diesel!
This new piece of equipment which is vital to our internet service will be have a regular testing regime to make sure it works if it is ever needed.
Many thanks to Chris Bolton for carrying out the electrical work required to connect the generator up.
Updates on Expansion Plans
We have established that there are 22 interested parties, both businesses and residents, in Draethen, Ruperra and Lower Machen, that would like to be connected. A draft route is being worked on but because of the distances involved, the cost to connect each property is much greater than our previous connections.
To protect the initial investors we are ring fencing the original capital raised in order to pay back those people in due course. We do however have some money to contribute towards the initial outlay of materials and equipment for this expansion.
Given that grants do not get paid until connections are completed, money has to be raised by those wishing to be connected to part fund the rollout until grant money is paid to us. This process will be discussed soon with those concerned.
Clearly this plan is based upon the numbers presently interested. Should this number reduce, the expansion may not be financially feasible. It is also based on 11 businesses and 11 residential properties all achieving approval for the grants to ensure that this expansion to our network is covering the majority of the costs.
FTTH Conference 2019
As mentioned previously, I was invited to be a guest speaker at the FTTH Conference in Amsterdam recently to talk about our community project and how we achieved it. It was very interesting and enjoyable, if a little nerve racking at the beginning as these things usually are. There were around 200 people present from various countries in Europe, some representatives from commercial operators, EU Ministers and representatives from supplier companies etc.
Giving our presentation reiterated just how special our community project is and what an amazing achievment for the Community. Every other presentation throughout the day involved commercial operators at some point in the installations and upload / download speeds of 300 / 100 mbps. We achieved our project success without the aid of commercial operators and are delivering a Gigabit per second upload and download, which is the target that Europe want to achieve by 2025 and one that very few people experience in either the UK or around the world.
Throughout the day, I spoke to a number of people about our project and received lovely compliments and feedback. Our project is considered to be hugely inspirational and an amazing achievement by the community of Michaelston-y-Fedw. I had several emails from people I met and talked to including this one :~
Email excerpt received from Michael Korschen. CEO and Partner of Intellifinder.
“ I can only repeat myself, thanks for a lovely and very interesting and very constructive conversation, I have the deepest respect and admiring for yours and the community's achievement. It was et beautiful seminar speech you gave.
I love the whole concept, at most that you are independent form the "big providers" ðŸ˜Š.”
The date of the next meeting is Thursday 25th April 2019 at 7.30 P.M.
EVERYONE IS WELCOME.