As many of you will know, Viki Parnell from Voneus attended Manley Village Hall this last Wednesday night. She was accompanied by James Hurst (Infrastructure Engineer) and Zoe Day (Head of Marketing & Communications).
The evening was opened by myself and Viki to introduce Voneus, all attendees had not been to the last meeting, so this was an ideal time to explain the background of the business.
Questions began to flow from the beginning, community members wanting to understand how it all worked and how previous builds had come together.
After Viki's introduction on the company the floor was handed over to James, where a number of slides were shown which I have linked to HERE
Q: Do you believe that this service is viable and can we actually get the service?
A: Yes, we are fully committed to this area and we believe that from the surveys we have completed that all current registered parties will receive the service.
Q: Is this service provided via line of sight only?
A: Yes, this service requires a line of site to a 'B' side. If the property can not see a 'B' side, then every effort to get a service to that property is looked at. Any additional costs will be discussed with the property owner before a decision is made.
Q: Do you have SLA's in place?
A: We are currently in the process of putting together Service Level Agreements (SLA's) and will have them posted on our new website when it goes live. We currently attend sites within 3 days.
Q: Voneus provide one location in a community build that will benefit from a free service, given the size of the build, is this still one location in the area?
A: Voneus MD has confirmed that one place PER VILLAGE will receive this benefit. It is up to the communities to decide the best location for this. It can be, but not limited to a school, community center, church, Village Hall.
Q: What is your reliability (uptime) like?
A: We do not currently put an official figure on our reliability, however, this is something we are looking into doing. If we had to say, given our current service to other communities, we are in the high 90's. We will certainly make this something to report on in the future and share on our new website.
Q: Given the size of this build and the number of current interested parties not to mention the future customers, how will you cover service outages?
A: We will be installing a backup line away from the main backhaul network, should the main network to the internet go down, then we will switch to the backup. Whilst this connection will not be as fast as the main, it will mean that customers will still have access to the internet (at a lower speed) for the time it takes to repair any faults on the main infrastructure.
Q: Anthony mentioned that the church in Ashton Hayes is on the list of build locations, is this going to be a problem with the diocese?
A: We have decided that the church will not form part of the build, this is due to the complications in access should an unexpected equipment failure occur. We would require scaffolding or a cherry picker, these things are not quick to set up and are costly. We believe that this would have a negative impact on end users. During each build we look at all areas and because the church is not longer viable, we have found another prominent location to use.
Q: How fast is your service to each property?
A: The service complies with BDUK (Broadband Delivery UK) minimum speed requirement. 24Mbps over a 24hr period. Other communities we are live in typically receive 30 - 40 Mbps upload and download.
The upload speeds are currently being looked into as we do not believe that every household requires this. We believe a 10Mbps upload is sufficient. That said, if you do require a connection which is sequential, this can be discussed with each customer.
Q: My download speed is currently less than 1Mbps am I able to get free installation?
A: Yes, if you can prove that you have a connection which is less than 10Mbps, this will validate your ability to claim your BDUK voucher. This entitles you to a free install. You will be required to submit your request to BDUK yourself.
To understand your current speed please visit here
Q: How much is an install if I am not eligible for the BDUK voucher?
A: We charge a fee of £150 for installation regardless of your location.
Q: Do you provide a fixed I.P address?
A: Yes, we do offer a fixed I.P service, this is useful for those who use a VPN, host a website or have home CCTV camera systems. This is priced at £5 extra per month.
Q: Do you have the capacity to ensure we have the speeds we sign up for?
A: The backhaul will be a 1GB (Gigabit) connection, should this begin to strain under the amount of users, we will increase this to ensure there is no detrimental effect on the end user. This might be a 500MB increase, or another gig. We will continue to monitor the throughput and adjust accordingly.
Due to the size of this network and given it is the largest one we have ever undertaken, we want to ensure it is designed and built to fully accommodate the load of it's users.
Q: Why are we not live now?
A: As we have said, this is the largest build we have ever undertaken, because of this we have had to wait for additional substantial funding from shareholders and other areas. We could knock something together and it might be good for a few months, but then the problems would begin and we would have a lot of angry customers. We do not want to be in that position. We are doing this with the best equipment on the market right now to ensure that there are no bottlenecks and the service is everything you expect. Because of this, it will take longer than a traditional village build.
Q: Can you say when we will be live?
A: We can't give an exact date for this, there may be factors which slow things down such as wayleaves, equipment delivery delays etc. however, what we can say is that the entire network will be available to all current interested parties within 12 months.
Q: Should I be looking at renewing my current contract?
A: You are free to renew your current contract whilst the build is taking place, then move over to Voneus when it expires. If the service is live part way through your current contract, you can leave without penalty if:-
1: You are given a mid contract price rise
2: The service speeds you are getting are lower than you were quoted*
3: You have no service over a period of time (ISP dependent)
* To check your speed against what you should be getting visit here and run the test. This will show what your maximum and minimum speeds should be. If you are running less than the quoted speed, contact your ISP.
Q: Do you offer an email service?
A: No, we do not offer any email services. We may consider this in the future, but right now we are focusing on bringing faster broadband to the community.
Q: Are we required to use the router that Voneus provide?
A: No, you are free to use a 3rd party router if you wish to do so.
Q: Do you offer a phone service and what is the pricing structure?
A: We are offering a phone service, this is Voice over IP (VOIP).
We have not yet released our pricing structure for this, however, it does follow along the same lines as Google Voice
Q: Can you transfer your current landline number?
A: Yes, you will be able to port your current telephone number over or alternatively choose a new one, this does not need to be a local number, you are free to choose any geographical number if you wish.
The meeting was received very well, community members stayed back when it finished to have one to one chats with the Voneus teams.
I hope you have found this update interesting, we are still heading in the right direction.
If you have any questions regarding what you see in the slides, please do drop me an email.