Dear Members and Users.
It has been some time since we met. Members will recall either from the meeting we held on 13th November 2012 or from my letter of November 16th that your Directors were going to investigate the cost of replacing and upgrading our equipment to make it robust for the next five years. We should remind you that the equipment we are using is at least six years old, we are already seeing parts that need renewing and the system will not last another three to five years. Also the contract Herefordshire has signed with BT will not provide anything to this area until 2015/16 and then only 2Mbps.
We are making progress. The Directors accepted a project plan at their last meeting;
Phase One involves stabilising the system and obtaining an uncontended access to the internet that will provide speeds of up to 5Mbps – five times faster than the current service. That means we shall install mains electricity to Mountain Building (as we did at Cadwell) and obtain a better wireless signal from Airband so that we may cease using the three BT lines.
Phase Two is to improve and expand our network to help us get more customers. This will involve moving the mast at Belgate to avoid the interference from trees, extending the network to Kinsham and Byton, and looking to have a site in Lingen Village to boost the signal. Finally, so that we may all benefit from the improved speed and power of the new connection it will be necessary to upgrade the customer units on each of the houses involved.
You will appreciate that all this costs money. Your directors have discussed this with the Village Hall Committees of Kinsham and Lingen and they are applying for a technology grant to assist us. The quid pro quo is that the company will provide free access to the internet at each Village Hall.
We are seeking other funds to support the refurbishment and expansion of the network. We hope to maintain the monthly subscription costs at £25. However, it is probable that we shall need each customer to pay for the new units on their houses. We will not know the precise cost until we have responses to our requests for grants. We plan to hold a meeting in June to discuss the details with you, when we expect to know a little more.
Further Update soon!