This is the story of lower Halstow in it's bid to 'level up' with the U.K's digital society.
The story so far.....
In March 2020, Kent County Council presented to the Parish Council the prospect of applying for Government (DCMS) funding to facilitate Full-Fibre to Premises (FFTP) connectivity for the whole village.
A quick poll conducted through a village Facebook campaign attracted a disappointing level of interest with only 67 residents expressing an interest.
By the end of March, COVID-19 had struck and the project was put on hold whilst the village came to terms with both working from home and educating children on-line simultaneously.
In August the project was revisited and it was discovered that KCC were poised to Launch a massive 'Top-Up' to the governments current funding by releasing up to £7,000 for each household and business (up to an additional £3,500 per business and £5,500 per household). This is unprecedented and a game-changer for villages.
A working group was formed to pull the project together and to submit a bid for the necessary funding.
On the 2nd September our bid was submitted with a total of 149 registrations.
On the 17th November we received official confirmation that our bid had been successful and we were eligible for funding. On the same day we invited villagers to pledge their vouchers on the Openreach webpage. Within 3.5 hours the target had been reached - one of the fastest attainments ever seen by Openreach.
On the 18th November it was confirmed that Gigabit Broadband was now definitely coming to Lower Halstow in 2021.
At the end of December 2020 the first vouchers from DCMS were being received by residents.
On the 21st Jan it was confirmed by Openreach that sufficient vouchers had been redeemed and that the project had now moved to the build phase.
During May and June engineers have been running the Fibre cable throughout the village. It is anticipated that the first homes will be offered connections to the new service as early as October.
Work continues through November and December with significant civil and tree obstacles causing delays. First connections now anticipated to be from January 2022.
Village installation & connection work now completed in November and moving to test phase.
It appears that the previous advice from Openreach was incorrect and that only two of the fourteen structures have been completed at the end of Jan 2022. They will seek to offer connections to those completed and we await an update on this.
Connection bookings commence w/c 14/2/22 .
First property reported a connection on the 3/3/22 and receiving a constant 550Mbps !!