New Upper Valley group plans superfast network

Friday, 21 November 2008

Report of public meeting of 19th November at the White Lion in Hebden Bridge

Richard Hull, chair of 3-C and provisional chair of the new group Calder Valley Our Net, told the meeting that a grant of £5000 had been received from Community Foundation For Calderdale. This grant is to cover the wages for two days a week for someone to do a pre-feasibility study, leading to a much larger feasibility study. The proposed project of installing a fibre and wireless network throughout the Upper Valley would cost millions of pounds, and will probably take some years to come into fruition.

The meeting was told that it can work and were reminded that a town of 8000 in Holland, Neunen, had just such a network which was owned by the people who lived there and had a 95% take up. A similar exercise had been repeated in Eindhoven in Germany. Hebden Bridge and the Upper Valley would be an excellent place to pioneer this technology in the UK.

If we don't take this route, we are likely to be left behind as the cities and large towns get faster and faster Internet. As it is, we will have to wait until 2011 for digital TV and for BT to upgrade the network to an intermediate technology.

Robert Curry told the meeting that the Internet was currently delivered using wires developed for telephone, and the current infra-structure was near the limit of its capacity. "Every community," he said, "will have to upgrade at some point. We need a reliable network which doesn't go down, and where we are able to upload at the same speed we can download."

Shaun Fensom from the Community Broadband Network said that he anticipated fibre-connected communities all over the country which could interlink, in the way the national grid does. Eventually, this could be an independent dimension of the Internet. He also pointed out that creating a fibre network had a green dimension. It would make video conferencing so easy and effective, people will be less inclined to travel long distances for meetings.

A constructive discussion took place where people raised their questions.

A management committee was set up to move the project forward and to appoint someone to carry out the iniitial research and feasability.

See also

Hebweb News - 11th November 2008

Community Broadband Network

Hebweb News - Second generation broadband: report of 3-C public meeting in Mytholmroyd - December, 2007

"The network that powers the next generation of broadband is going to be radically different from the one we currently have." BBC News, November 2008

Fibre; from dream to reality - Closing the gap, in Holland

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