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Community Fibre Partnerships Delivering fibre to the hardest
to reach communities

Building your community fibre network

We're helping to provide 95% coverage across the UK by the end of 2017, but aspire to go further and are always searching for ways to reach the last 5%.

We're committed to working with all communities to find a fibre solution, and our community fibre partnership scheme is designed to enable this. Delivering fibre to the hardest to reach communities is a huge challenge. In rural areas we often face long distances and challenging terrain and in urban areas we have the complexity of working in busy streets with limited space. Our strong ambition is never to say 'no' and work together with local communities to agree a suitable and affordable option to bring fibre to an area and our dedicated team is focused on helping communities understand what we can do, as well as to support them to bring faster broadband to parts of the UK not covered by existing rollout plans.

As part of the Community Fibre Partnership scheme, BT has made £2m available via a grant for Community Fibre Partnerships that could benefit their local school. This enables communities in the final 5% of the UK not covered by fibre broadband rollout plans to apply for a grant of up to £20,000 toward the cost of their new fibre infrastructure, if that new infrastructure could also serve their local school. So, for example, if the cost for a gap-funded solution that serves a school has been quoted as £23,000, the community would pay £11,500 and £11,500 would be match-funded from the grant.

We aim to make the process as simple as possible for communities

We've a dedicated team providing management and support.

If a community wants to work with us, we provide a single point of contact for the full journey and have established a crowdfunding partner - Spacehive.

The first step is to see if we're coming to your area already by checking your phone number on the line checker so you'll know if you can get fibre broadband already, or whether your cabinet is in scope or being built

If that's happening, you don't need to do anything, and your infrastructure will be enabled in due course. At that point you'll be able to order fibre broadband.

If your premises show as 'we are exploring solutions' we have no plan at the moment to fibre-enable your area, so a community fibre partnership may be a good option for your community.

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If the line checker shows 'we are exploring solutions', it's worth investigating a community fibre partnership

Please use our simple form to let us know you’re interested in finding out more about a Community Fibre Partnership to get fibre broadband for your home, or business.

We'll then send you some information on how community fibre partnerships work, and ask you to let us know which premises in your community are interested. You may need to chat to some of your friends and neighbours to see if they are interested too, as the more premises in the same area that are interested, the more cost effective the solution is likely to be.

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We'll get a named contact to come back you, typically within fifteen working days, to discuss your situation

That person will be your main contact point all the way through the process.

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Once we've discussed your situation with you, we'll give you an idea of the cost

We'll provide you with a ballpark cost for providing the fibre infrastructure in your area. The cost we quote will be the money you need to pay after BT has contributed to the solution. Typically the solution we cost will be to enable your local green cabinet for fibre or, if that's not possible, to build a new cabinet.

Sometimes we'll need to come up with a different solution, such as running fibre directly to the premises in your community

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This is the point you'll need to start working with your neighbours to decide whether you want to proceed

We can help you go about engaging the community and we also have information about partner companies who could help you with the mechanics of getting the money together via crowdfunding.

If your community agrees to proceed with a Community Fibre Partnership using our grant, you’ll need to raise your contribution to the cost of the fibre infrastructure via our crowdfunding partner, Spacehive. Successful grants will be made and pledged on Spacehive by BT at the time that the second part of the contracted payment is due.

In some cases, we may be able to help you with marketing and awareness raising within your community.

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We'll give you a firm cost and let you know exactly which premises would be covered by the infrastructure upgrade

We'll start the modelling work to deliver you a more accurate cost and create a proposal that you can contract for.

We’ll send you that full proposal, outlining the proposed solution, and exactly which areas would be covered by fibre broadband. If you have applied for a grant and have been successful we’ll make sure that’s captured at this stage too.

The price we quote is firm, and won't change later.

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We can support your fundraising

Now it's time to get the community together to raise the funding for the solution.

You'll need to pay 50% upon contract signature, and the balance when the infrastructure is delivered.

Crowdfunding can help you to simplify the process of gathering funds, and we have a partner who can assist.

We also have a partner who can make the process of creating your legal entity (so you can contract with us) very straightforward in case this is something you'd like to explore.

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Then it's over to us to build the infrastructure. Once that's complete, you can order from your preferred internet service provider (ISP)

Once the contract has been signed, Openreach start the process of deploying the infrastructure.

Deploying fibre can be a complex job, so it won't happen overnight. Though work has begun, you'll be able to track the progress of your project through the interactive map on our website

Once the infrastructure is in place you'll need to contact your preferred ISP to order an upgrade to your package.

We'll let you know when to do that.

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Register your interest in community fibre

Check availability using the checker above (we will use that information) then enter your details below:

Featured Case Study

Case study pic

Partnership with BT brings superfast broadband to around 400 homes and businesses

After finding out they weren’t included in any fibre broadband upgrades being carried out by the public or private sectors, villagers from Bussage and Chalford worked with Openreach to come up with an alternative solution.

Wednesday, 3rd August 2016 | view full story   More icon

Case study pic

'Self-dig' rural community joins the superfast digital highway

The Fell End Broadband project was set up as an innovative ‘self-dig’ scheme in remote Cumbria, spearheaded by Ravenstonedale Parish Council. Around 60 deeply rural homes – spread across a 15Km network – are now able to access ultrafast speeds of up to a blistering 330Mbps after residents helped to pay for and build the fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband network themselves.

Thursday, 31st March 2016 | view full story   More icon

FAQs

When should a community consider a Community Fibre Partnership? +-

A community would typically look at a partnership when it is:

  • Not in our fibre roll-out plans, in BDUK plans or is too far away from a fibre cabinet
  • Keen to have fibre and would consider generating the necessary funds to cover the gap in the cost of the fibre solution

Find out how we have already been working with communities by reading the case studies.

What is a Community Fibre Partnership? +-

A Community Fibre Partnership is where BT works with a local group – this could be the residents of a rural village or a block of flats in a city centre or even a group of business owners in an industrial park – that isn't covered in an existing fibre upgrade plan to find a solution to bring fibre to their area. The community works directly with BT and helps fund part of the fibre build.

How does a Community Fibre Partnership work? +-

A Community Fibre Partnership is when we work together with a local community (that's not in our commercial or BDUK fibre roll-out plans) to develop a solution to bring fibre to their community. There usually needs to be a joint funding arrangement, where we cover the costs in line with our commercial model used throughout the country and the community has the option to self-fund the remaining gap. We always look for solutions to be as affordable as possible.

What are the next steps to take? +-

If you decide a community fibre partnership is the way you'd like to proceed, check the availability checker against your post code or land line to make sure you're not already covered by the rollout or that there isn't an existing co-funding initiative in your community.

If your property isn't covered contact us (link to this) and provide the details of the property you're enquiring about for fibre broadband, and an associated landline number. Once we've received that, one of our team will get in touch.

If you’re interested in a Community Fibre Partnership, how do you find out what’s possible? +-

First check with your local council and - if one exists in your area - your BDUK authority to see if your community is included in their fibre plans. If not, contact us with us providing the contact details of the people wishing to explore a community fibre partnership solution, and who would lead the local side of any potential co-funding arrangements to bring fibre to the community.

Why should communities work with us? +-

Having a community partnership with BT means your community will be connected to the national fibre network. This brings some key benefits:

  • Choice: healthy competition between service providers providing choice for you, the customer
  • Value: as a number of internet service providers will be able to access the network they can offer a range of packages and bundles at competitive prices. More than 80 communications providers are currently trialing or offering fibre broadband over the Openreach network
  • Sustainability: a long term solution for fibre broadband provision for the UK
How long does it take to get fibre broadband once you’ve agreed a Community Fibre Partnership? +-

The average lead time from contract signature to enablement (of the infrastructure to enable service) is approximately twelve months. This will all depend on the amount and complexity of the infrastructure that needs to be deployed.

How much will it cost my community? +-

This depends on the amount of infrastructure that needs to be deployed, so naturally will differ from community to community. Once an application is assessed, we'll provide costings.

What is crowdfunding? +-

Crowdfunding is a way to raise money, awareness and support for a project, from the people around you. It's a means of funding that allows individuals to make their ideas a reality with the power of the crowd. It is based on the idea that a number of people can split the cost of something – in this case broadband infrastructure, with multiple people contributing an amount, rather than any one person footing the whole bill.

Do different technologies have different costs? +-

Yes, we'll explain the different costs as part of our discussions with you. Different technologies require different amounts of infrastructure to be installed and the level of network equipment and labour needed to provide the technology will also determine the costs.

This is dependent on the amount of infrastructure that needs to be deployed. And this will differ from community to community. A community will only be asked to cover costs above those of our commercial model. Once agreed, 50% of the gap funding must be paid prior to work starting and the final 50% on completion (once the infrastructure is in place it becomes part of the Openreach network). Please note: it's the responsibility of Openreach to maintain and update the infrastructure.

Will my community have a choice of which voice and fibre broadband supplier they have? +-

Yes, Openreach provides access to its network to all service providers, on an equal basis. This means that wherever we deploy fibre, a whole range of different service providers can offer broadband, bringing plenty of choice to consumers and local businesses.

What bandwidths will be available? +-

For most solutions, using fibre to the cabinet, bandwidths will range up to 80Mb/s. Final speeds are dependent on each property's distance from the fibre cabinet but you can typically expect a minimum of 24Mb/s at a range of approx. 1200 metres from the cabinet. The nearer the property is to the cabinet, the greater the speed.

Can a community select the type of fibre technology deployed? +-

We're open to exploring different types of fibre solutions, but what we can provide will depend on the existing communications infrastructure in your area. We'll examine this at the application stage of each request.

What is the grant I can apply for? +-

This is an exclusive grant that's available to communities whose co-funded fibre infrastructure serves a school that doesn't have access to fibre broadband, or has a low broadband speed (typically <10Mbps).

A further list of FAQs about our grant scheme can be viewed here.

Contact Us

If you represent a community or are simply an interested party and would like more information about co-funding fibre broadband to your property then please get in touch with us.

register your interest >