February 2016

If you are a Badgworth or Biddisham resident please take the broadband survey so we can gauge the demand for superfast broadband in our village. 


January 2016 

The broadbrand group supporting Badgworth, Biddisham, Tarnock and The Allertons have been hard at work to find some solutions. James Brazier is our Biddisham representative who will meet with the group to discuss the issues we have with broadband speeds. 

Here are some notes from the last meeting in January taken by Paul Hipwell. A questionnaire will go out to as many people as possible. 

1 BT has investigated condition of existing network in Badgworth after we provided about 17 tel to investigate. Conclusion was that condition was as they would expect given our distance from the Axbridge exchange and that getting 2-3 MBS speeds was typical - nothing they can do to improve existing network (expect for a  fault on one individuals line)

2 BT/Openreach will support community fibre solutions - see Johns note. This would require a new fibre box in each community centre then existing copper circuit would be used to feed broadband to houses within about a 1km radius of box. This means new box needed for Stone Allerton, Chapel Allerton, badgworth and Biddisham. BT will part fund based on them contributing the ‘commercial cost’ and community making up the difference. Typically it takes about a year to get this in place and total cost is £25-50k. Lots of examples of other village who have been successful. Next step is to provide BT with a list of those interested in each community then they will provide  a cost estimate - agreed we should proceed with this asap. Also agreed we should include all four villages as a bigger scheme seen as being more attractive to BT . This was seen as the preferred option and could mean we get high speed broad several years ahead of current roll out - no one will give  precise a date but suggestion is that earliest we are likely to get the national roll out scheme here is 2020

3 4G - seen as more expensive but can give fast speeds - rollout of 4G is still happening with Banwell now having a new O2 mast. Plans to roll out to this area not clear -  Jason will talk with his contacts to see if he can establish what the plan might be and any technical constraints. The alternative is to support our own mast for the village - costs and feasibility not yet established.

4 Satellite - several householders now installed their own private satellite - works well dish is quite large so won’t suit all and its relatively expensive though speed reasonable (10MBS). Thought was that this is a stop gap but not a long term solution 

5 Wireless WiFi - several firms are actively promoting this to village communities like ours. Seems to give very high speeds but even more expensive than satellite - issue is that we cant find any company promoting this in our area.

6 Questionnaire - we working on refining John’s excellent draft. Key seen to be to find out how many people are really interested and also getting people to agree to providing name address etc to enable BT to cost a  fibre solution . There would be zero commitment but we need as many names as possible as this influences BT’s commercial cost. 

November 2015

It was great to see the Badgworth school rooms packed and overflowing last night at the Rural Broadband meeting hosted by James Heappey.
A HUGE thank you to Wendy Kemshead, Paul Hipwell, James Heappey and the brave men Matt Barrow from CDS and Laurent Boon from BT.

There were residents present from Badgworth, Biddisham, Weare, The Allertons and most of the Axe Vale BS26 postcode all stating that they could not be connected to superfast broadband. This is despite receiving letters from BT saying their local green cabinets had gone live with fibre and they could upgrade.

I have already mentioned the situation on the Broadband page but I will try to make this info as simple as possible.

BT have indeed installed fibre to the green cabinets. These are situated on the A38, opposite the New Moon and on Notting Hill Way. You will need to have a look around to find where your nearest one is.

This is called Fibre To The Cabinet FTTC, and is the most economic and effective way for BT to bring us a superfast broadband service.

The problem is that this only applies if you are within 1 - 1.5km from the cabinet. The copper lines we have cannot carry the service effectively over long distances and drops back down to 2mbps if you are further away.

Due to the layout of our villages this means most people cannot have super fast broadband and won't work as stated by CDS and BT.

There was talk of the copper lines being very worn. Why can BT not replace these?

And the question of why BT couldn't run fibre along the lines replacing the copper?

The answer was that it wasn't efficent and would very expensive to run the fibre in this way. The copper lines could be replaced with financial help from the government.

CDS and BT said that phase 2 to get more people connected was going out to tender and would be completed by the end of 2017. This wouldn't neccessarily mean to we would then be connected but they will try. We could still be in that last 5%of the country.

In the 2 year+ meantime there were options of what people can do for themselves. 

1. a community broadband project where you can club together to buy your own cabinet/mast/dish. 

A cabinet will be approx £15,000 according to Laurent Boon of BT. The village pay 50% up front and 50% upon completion.

This will only work for houses in the centre of villages.
For example siting the cabinet at the Old School rooms in Badgworth would supply the houses within a 1km radius.
This wouldn't solve the problem for the few properties on the outskirts.
James Heappey said there could be funding from the Chancellor, County and District councils to help with such a project.
The Broadband group set up on Badgworth is now looking into different options for a community scheme. 

2. Looking at alternative providers in the meantime like Satellite Broadband. We know this works well at BS26 2RS giving speeds at 10 - 15mbps, however this is a little more expensive. Avonline are a reliable provider. They can set you up in approx two weeks.
In fact I am writing this with the help of Satellite Broadband now.

3. Mobile Broadband. Faster speeds but not amazingly reliable. If a mast goes down the same problem of not being a large number of customers makes us less of a priority. Can buy one from a shop and see if it works today.

James Heappey MP will be making broadband in our parishes a priority and said "if I can do one thing in these 5 years, it will be to get you all broadband." He is actively seeking companies to provide alternatives such as 4G masts, G Fast lines and Remote Nodes FTTRN which are smaller cabinets in villages connected to fibre.

James will be working with BT and CDS to make sure something is done alongside raising the issue in Parliament of which he has already done. I feel we can be reassured by Mr Heappey's engagement.

BT need to communicate better with residents and need more communication from us in return. When asked if you 'can you cancel your contract with BT for not providing a reasonable service?' The answer wasn't quite clear. Nor was the answer to 'Can we have a reduced rate for such poor speeds?'

Voting with our feet may be answer? As long as everyone goes along with paying their bills BT have no reason to think we are unhappy with our service. According to their figures the market is satisfied.

Laurent Boon from BT asked for the community to put phone numbers and address together where they can't get a superfast broadband service so they have accurate figures to work with and complaints on mass.

Matt Barrow of CDS wants us all to have superfast broadband and is putting out to tender phase 2 of the superfast broadband rollout. All companies from Airband to EE and BT will be offered the job of getting us superfast broadband. With so few and far between bill payers in comparison to a town, it is easy to see why the process is very difficult to make financially viable.

Matt is happy to hear from residents to help answer any questions you may have.

The wonderful thing about last night is there were three people standing at the front who will be trying everything they can to get working broadband to our villages. And all the residents who turned out know what is happening, when and what they can do now to get good broadband now.

James Heappey MP


Tel: 01749 343255

Matt Barrow - Stakeholder Engagement Officer

Connecting Devon & Somerset
Email -

Tel: 01392 382221

Laurent Boon - BT


Rural Broadband public meeting 7pm 30th October, Badgworth School Rooms, BS26 2QW. 

There will be a public meeting in Badgworth to discuss the lack of super-fast broadband in the parish despite the cabinet 'going live' earlier in the year.

James Heappey MP, Matt Barrow from Connecting Devon and Somerset and Badgworth Parish Council will be chairing the meeting.
Paul Hipwell and Wendy Kemshead have kindly organised this meeting with Parish Council Chairman Stuart Babbington.

At BS26 2RS the broadband speeds from BT are 0.17 kbps

At BS26 2JU the broadband speeds from BT are approx 4 mbps

At BS26 2QW the broadband speeds from BT are approx 2 mbps

Superfast broadband is classed at 24 mbps and over.


October 7th 2015 - residents in Biddisham had received flyers from BT that superfast broadband was available to them.

"Dear CDS,

covering Postcodes BS26 2JU to BS262RS. Badgworth and Biddisham.

In Biddisham we are waiting for the cabinet to go live. Your website states 'By October 2015' please could we get a date for this to happen?

The village of Badgworth has gone live but many residents are reporting that superfast broadband is still unavailable to them from BT or any other service.
Please could you explain this and offer a solution for these people?"

(sorry this wasn't the most inviting email to have sent to CDS!)  

Reply from Connecting Devon and Somerset.

"Our website is not a definitive answer to fibre service provision – it can only ever be a guide. The only body who can definitively answer whether a service is available is an internet service provider (ISP)(ie. BT), as by definition they provide the broadband service. All we are doing is providing the infrastructure capable of a level of service to 90% of premises. Whether the infrastructure is there or not is ultimately not the deciding factor, it is whether or not an ISP chooses to rent this new infrastructure on a wholesale basis from Openreach that determines whether or not a service is available to a premises. That is purely a commercial decision on behalf of the ISP.

This isn’t the only factor either, there are numerous reasons in addition to this why a fibre service might not be available to a resident whose postcode is connected to a fibre enabled cabinet. However, it is the reason why the map can only ever be a guide to service provision and likely speed. The reasons are all outlined in our map considerations, linked to clearly within the messaging of our website’s map for any returned postcode result. I don’t wish to write an essay so I will just link to these for your residents to refer to:

Again, the only body who can clarify which of the reasons listed applies to a premises in question, if a service is not available, is an ISP. What I will say is that a resident must make sure they are not confusing the postcode level information which our map is limited to, to premises level, cabinet information. In other words they must enquire with their ISP as to which cabinet their premises is connected to, or indeed whether they are in fact connected to a so called ‘exchange only line’ with no cabinet between them and the exchange.

If the latter than unfortunately they will more than likely be unable to benefit from our programme’s rollout which is focusing on fibre to the cabinet technology; which by definition can only service premises connected to cabinets. Unfortunately it is not feasible to rearrange most exchange only lines to the existing old copper cabinets which a fibre to the cabinet technology connects to. This is because such a change would stand to have a detrimental impact on everyone else’s copper speeds connected to said cabinet. This is in addition to the shear costs involved with rearranging networks which make such work unviable in the majority of cases.

Exchange only lines for these very reasons represent sizeable technical and financial challenges to upgrade, and will make up a considerable portion of the so call final 10% of hard to reach areas this current programme does not have the funding to cover by the end of 2016 - our target always having been 90% superfast – a fact widely acknowledged and not hidden behind from the very start of the programme.

If a resident is connected to a cabinet and have acquired the number and name of this cabinet from their ISP, they can then check the status of their postcode on our map. All live or soon to be live postcodes list the cabinets the postcode status relates to. If their cabinet is listed as live within the messaging for the postcode they may be able to receive a fibre service but not necessarily a superfast speed. The main factor determining what speed a resident can receive, if indeed any uplift at all, will be the copper line distance from the fibre enabled cabinet to the premises in question. Again, the only body who has access to this information is a service provider who can conduct a line check.

In reality, what will probably happen if a resident can’t access a service will be that an ISP will probably just state it’s not available, rather than outline the reasons. Especially if the reason is they simply haven’t chosen to take up the infrastructure as things stand at present. As such it is always wise to check with a range of ISPs if the first states it’s not available. If all state a service is not available and the resident’s cabinet is marked as live on our map, I would then advise they check Openreach’s wholesale line checker found here:

This is quite a confusing, techy tool, hence why we don’t link to it. However, it is the very same line checker the ISPs use when they purchase fibre services from Openreach. There are two quirks with this tool though. The first is the phone line checker which is far more accurate than the address checker only works with BT landlines. If the resident does not have a BT landline they’ll have to use the address version of the checker which isn’t as accurate as the phone line checker but should still be good enough. The address version of the checker can be found here and should be quite self-explanatory when it comes to its use: The second quirk is that a BT landline number cannot be entered with any spaces.

Once a landline or address has been entered and a result returned using this tool, a table will be displayed. If FTTC or FTTP is not listed in this table and only ADSL is viewable but the cabinet listed is the same as that shown as live on our website, unfortunately the premises is too far away from the cabinet to receive a fibre service. If however FTTC or FTTP is listed and the speed range is about the 7Mbps mark, if multiple providers are stating a service is not available, this will mean a resident will have to wait until a provider does take up the service.

Many ISPs do have demand registration forms which residents can use to show they are interested. I would advise in such cases a resident gets multiple residents to fill in the form as the more people registering their interest in the service, the greater the case for an ISP to rent the new infrastructure! Unfortunately I believe Openreach only provide take up information for ISPs at an exchange level given that such information is highly commercially confident, otherwise we would be the first to list the ISPs who have taken up each fibre cabinet on our website!

Sorry for the length, but unfortunately it’s not a simple answer – our map is doing it’s best to simply the process by referring direct to the ISP who is best placed to advise on what services they offer!


Ed Cross
Economic Development Officer

Devon County Council


On Friday 31st July we met with James Heappey MP at the Library in Cheddar. 

He was very helpful and understood the situation we had with Broadband in Biddisham. Rural broadband connection was one of Mr Heappey's main concerns and even made it a pledge in his election campaign.

Here is the update on what will be happening with rural broadband in Biddisham and surround Somerset areas from James Heappey himself. The government are aiming to give 100% of households the option of superfast broadband. 

October 2015 - the cabinet on the A38 will be fibre enabled by Openreach. This will improve speeds and should give the households close by the option of signing up to superfast broadband.

January/February 2016 - The phase two contract for a company to connect the further away households (remaining 10%) will be signed within 6 months. Households will then know if and when they will get superfast broadband.

Phase two will be complete by 2019. 

James Heappey hoped that for the remaining households who will not be included in phase two, a voucher scheme would be offered by the government to cover the costs of installing alternative methods of broadband ie. satellite, airband or 4G. This would run simultaneously to phase two still aiming for all households to be connected by 2019.


March 2015

We can all agree that rural broadband speeds in Biddisham, Tarnock and Badgworth are less than ideal. Traditional methods via BT lines are not working and aren't going to be upgraded for quite some time.

The latest from the Connecting Devon and Somerset website is that the cabinet at Edingworth may be upgraded in October 2015 to a usable speed.

The internet has improved our lives and opened our worlds dramatically enabling us to live and work in beautiful places like Biddisham. However this is more than a luxury. Not only do our younger residents need fast broadband for education but it is an essential utility like mains water and electricity with access to online banking, prescriptions and essential services.

It isn't fair that as a rural community we don't even have the option of efficient working broadband like the majority of the country. And it isn't just the money, I'm sure we would all pay a small percentage more if we could just have it working.

Below are a few links to companies that can provide working broadband until it is bought to us. 

I am not affiliated with any company, this is simply to share the information we have found when searching for a working broadband solution so that we could stay and work in Biddisham. 

If any of the services are of interest to residents it may be worth working together to see if a deal can be offered with a provider? I will try to keep you updated with progress via the website too.

Connecting Devon and Somerset Broadband  - the website for information on when working broadband will come to our area.

James Heappey MP - part of Mr Heappey's campaign was promising faster working broadband for us in rural communities. He needs to be held to this, so please write, phone and tweet him about our improving our broadband.
James Heappey, 3c Town Street, Shepton Mallet, BA4 5BD 
Telephone: 01749 343255   Twitter: @JSHeappey

Avonline Satellite Broadband 

This is not the same as Sky. Satellite broadband was our solution at the end of Biddisham Lane and it works well enabling us to upload and download files, watch video and access the internet in a normal way. 
The costs are a little higher, there is an installation fee and there will be a satellite dish on your house. There are set data allowances eg: 25GB per month and when you reach your limit, they do not charge extra they just slow your speeds dramatically.

Set Up: satellite dish on the house, hub inside with wifi to connect 10 devices.
Our speeds: 11 Mb/s
Price: Approx £45 per month for 25GB

Three Mobile Broadband  

This is the solution we found to use in our holiday cottages. Our guests thought they had entered the dark ages when we couldn't offer wi-fi which was when we realized how far behind we were!
Three have recently upgraded their system and it is currently working very well enabling emails, browsing and videos. When a mast goes down it is difficult to get them to fix it quickly as rural customers are not a priority.

Set Up: sim card in a mi-fi dongle to connect 5 devices in the home.
Our Speeds: 3.59 Mb/s
Price: Approx £15 per month for 15GB data allowance

*Please note it is easy to use up the data allowance and they charge a huge amount if you go over, so ask them to set a cap on your limit. We luckily avoided a £500 bill!

EE Mobile Broadband

We are in a 4G area covered by EE. This will work the same as the Three Mobile Broadband service, we haven't tried this option but it looks like it could work well.
Again a Mi-Fi home hub with a sim card would be installed.

Price: Approx £30 per month for 25GB data allowance

If anyone has any info they would like to add to help our villages get better broadband please add a comment or contact us.

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