Fringe Box



New Broadband Infrastructure Planned for Surrey Hills

Published on: 4 Sep, 2018
Updated on: 4 Sep, 2018

By Amina Sahbegovic

The borough council are to invest £10,000 in a project to bring high-speed broadband to the more remote, rural areas of the borough.

Overall the project is expected to cost £750,000 with most money being raised from local private investors, many of whom expect to benefit directly from the new infrastructure.

Phase one of the scheme covers the Albury and Chilworth areas. Rollout will then progress southwards into the Surrey Hills.

Map showing some of the provisional routeing for the planned new broadband installation.

The Executive of Guildford Borough Council (GBC) agreed last week (August 28, 2018) to make the investment which will go to Broadband for Surrey Hills Limited (B4SH), a not for profit, local community benefit group which aims to install “hyperfast” broadband networks with 1 Gb download and upload speeds throughout the Surrey Hills.

Sonya Graham, the company secretary at B4SH said: “High-speed broadband is essential these days for many residents in Surrey Hills. One told me that if she was looking to buy her house now she wouldn’t because of the poor internet connectivity.”

The installation of the broadband network will also facilitate the future introduction of 5G mobile connectivity currently being developed at the University of Surrey.

In July (2018) the Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) stated: “Connecting hard-to-reach rural areas through full fire broadband has since become a new priority for the government as it sees these wireless networks as “vital for the UK to remain globally competitive in a digital world.”

Guildford Borough is following this initiative by providing rural areas in Surrey with full symmetric fibre which, the council says, “exceeds the DCMS ambition”.

This project was anticipated in the council’s Rural Economic Strategy 2017-2022 which considered how rapid technological changes, such as 5G mobile connection, would change daily life.

Cllr David Bilbe

Lead Councillor for Enterprise and Economic Development, David Bilbe (Con, Normandy), explained that this investment shows the council’s commitment to “future-proofing the borough’s economy”.

He added: “Although the initial phases of the project have mainly a social benefit for those rural areas with poor broadband coverage, the scheme as a whole will help create conditions for the economic transformation of our rural and urban economies.

“All of our futures are dependent on technology from business, leisure, retail and education to those currently less mainstream such as telemedicine and elderly care.”

Tim Metson, Director at Broadband for Surrey Hills Ltd said: “We are delighted that Guildford Borough Council has decided to invest in B4SH. This investment demonstrates how important the connectivity of rural communities throughout the Surrey Hills is to Guildford Borough Council and is also testament to the work achieved so far by BASH’s volunteers.

“Our intention to install a hyperfast network to replace an ageing infrastructure will enable rural residents and businesses to enjoy connectivity speeds only achieved in a minority of the UK at present.”

Cllr Susan Parker (GGG, Send) a Shere resident welcomed this initiative. But she made a plea that all communities share these new installations having noticed that the village of Shere (population around 650), although in the Surrey Hills, was not included in the proposal.

Cllr Gordon Jackson (Con, Pirbright) added that this infrastructure plan is part of a wider picture as it, “…gives facility, going forward, to look at other areas”.

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Responses to New Broadband Infrastructure Planned for Surrey Hills

  1. Paul Robinson Reply

    September 4, 2018 at 11:01 am

    “Sonya Graham,….. said: “High-speed broadband is essential ……”

    When I lost my BB service for a long period due a fault about a year ago I was told by Virgin Media that the internet is still considered a luxury!

  2. Alan Cooper Reply

    September 4, 2018 at 3:09 pm

    After the debacle of no service yesterday (3rd-4th Sept ), in excess of 24 hours by Virgin Media without any explanation or available telephone numbers, I cannot wait to move and hope that anyone in Guildford area can join.

    • Martin Elliott Reply

      September 5, 2018 at 10:48 pm

      I also had a Virgin Media broadband outage on Sunday. I had the choice of checking service status:
      1) my Virgin Media App on my smartphone
      2) using the number from the contacts for Virgin Media phone call status vmail.
      3) use smartphone as WiFi hotspot.
      4) 1 or 3 could set up text or email alerts for change in status.

      It’s a good idea to sort out/test these while broadband is working.

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