Wandsworth council has announced a possible plan that could see it partnering with a commercial operator to get fibre optic broadband installed into properties it owns across the borough.
"As part of its Wandsworth Connected campaign, the council wants to ensure estate tenants can get online as easily as the rest of the borough. Currently 85 per cent of Wandsworth residents have some form of internet access - up from 74 per cent in 2007 - but the figure falls to around two thirds among council tenants.
Currently there is nothing to stop tenants subscribing to broadband, but in blocks of flats this has traditionally been via copper wire. This means they had to pay line rental and delivery speeds are not always as fast as advertised."Wandsworth council driving social inclusion
This is at a very early stage and it appears will only go forward if the housing committee agrees to proceed at a meeting on November 14th. Interestingly the small amount of information released so far indicates there would be no charge to the council, though it is not clear if this is just referring to monthly subscriptions rather than including the cost of installing fibre optic cabling direct to every flat in a building. We suspect that the delivery would be fibre to a cabinet inside the building, and then ethernet cabling to each flat, if full fibre is delivered to each individual flat this pushes the cost up.
The low take-up among council tenants may not just be a factor of cost, and while the need to pay voice line rental for telephone delivered broadband can raise the cost, when you can obtain a broadband service for a monthly fee as low as £13.99 (Primus Saver 20GB) or £16.68 (Plusnet Value 10GB + Primus Saver line rental) then price may not be the issue, perhaps other factors like contract length, credit checks and other factors are coming into play. How a commerical fibre operator will be able to install and cover its installation costs while also under cutting this sort of pricing in London will make for interesting reading.
Interestingly the council appears to see the improved broadband service as being a way to finally rid themselves of building mounted satellite dishes, which suggests that the there might be new rules stopping tenants from mounting a satellite dish under the belief TV content that is delivered by a satellite can be viewed online just as easily.