Notes from Broadband for Rural Crediton Meeting

1 February 2016

20th January at Black Dog Memorial Hall


* Strong turnout of around 80 people
* Very little fresh information form CDS/BT
* Suggestion for a community-led FTTP scheme outlined by Mike Brett
* Words of support from Margaret Squires (DCC Cllr), and from Mike Knuckey (PA to Mel Stride MP)


* There is real concern that a large group of rural homes and small businesses will not get connected for a long time by CDS, if at all, and may even then only be offered an anodyne but poor performance solution.
* Broadband for Rural Crediton (B4RC) will convene a smaller group of people able to devote time and skills to exploring alternative solutions to the CDS route including, but not limited to, FTTP.


* The BT/CDS Phase 1 process remains opaque to most observers, including perhaps CDS themselves at times. The vociferous meeting failed to get a clear vision from those two agencies on questions like why fibre could not simply be strung from pole to pole to take the fibre network nearer end customers, avoiding digging and wayleave problems at a stroke.
* Usefully, it was confirmed that customers who are served by a fibre-enabled street cabinet (and whose postcode is therefore marked as "served" by the CDS mapping) but who do not achieve the target of 24 Mbps as a result, will automatically be considered for an alternative solution under Phase 2.
* It was not very clearly explained how the Phase 2 Invitation To Tender process in February, and the subsequent contract signing proposed for July, could be taken seriously by commercial providers when the final success/failure status of Phase 1 would not be clear (presumably) until the end of the year.
* The audience, who consisted largely of people with poor or non-existent broadband, were not much comforted by the CDS/BT representatives, feeling that even the relatively easy customers might end up with a poor deal, and at some undefined time in the future. There was thus quite some enthusiasm about exploring all the other possible actions that the community might take to determine its own future.

Short Term Future Action:

B4RC would like to invite those with an active interest in exploring the options to attend a brain-storming to decide what we might do to push forward our objectives of the best broadband we can get for everybody. A first session would include more full discussion of the advantages and difficulties of a community fibre scheme, but also decide whether there was interest and purpose in looking in other directions as well.

To that end please would people prepared and able to spend some time on this project please email with
* Your name, phone, and address (so we can judge the best place to meet)
* Whether you would prefer an evening meeting or a weekend one
* Any professional or personal skills you can contribute to a project (e.g. engineering (particularly telecoms infrastructure), groundworks (duct-laying etc.), building, finance, project management, legal affairs, databases, GIS, publicity, campaigning and so forth)

We'll then try to organise a small group meeting at a time and place that suits everybody to move things forward.  Don't expect miracles - this is going to be a hard slog!

Finally, our website ( should be going live in the next few days.