Ultrafast Broadband on Repton Park – Update November 2021

Ultrafast Broadband on Repton Park – Update November 2021

All I have received a confirmation from Openreach and summarise these as follows: –

  • The confirmed cost for the installation work is £22,367 and this needs to be funded 50% up front and 50% on completion of the work.
  • There is no government funding available to us as our location is considered Urban
  • Only the 63 properties in the original proposal are included. There is no flexibility to substitute or add any further properties.
  • The cost is £355 per property (£22.367/63) based upon all 63 properties making a contractual commitment.
  • The contractual commitment would need to be with either the Residents Association or the Management Company (FirstPort).
  • If any that have expressed an interest are not prepared to commit contractually, the cost per property will increase for the remaining properties.
  • Those within the 63 addresses that withdraw at this stage can benefit with full-fibre services after the installation is completed at no additional cost.
  • I have 3 withdrawals so far from those that have responded. These 3 withdrawals alone will increase the cost to £372 for the 60 remaining properties, if the remaining 60 make a commitment.
  • So far, after much chasing up, I have 20 confirmations and I’ve still to hear from more than half of the 63 that expressed an initial interest.

A few people have suggested we initiate another project to connect all properties on the development and pay for the installation via our service charges.  In my opinion this would require: –

  • Widespread communication of the proposal
  • A majority of owners to agree to the approach
  • New costing figures from Openreach

There will be some people keen on this approach and some people against the proposal and probably a great majority that are sufficiently indifferent to not respond.  If we go down this path it may become a divisive issue and it would be important to be open and transparent to minimise any resulting problems.  We all need to bear in mind, there are some services that all residents/owners pay for in the service charges that we don’t necessarily believe we either need or benefit from.  For the Schedule 1 charges, these may include services like security, grounds maintenance, concierge services depending on where we live on the development and personal opinions on what is important.  In the apartment blocks there are charges for window cleaning, communal area cleaning amongst other charges that you have no choice other than to pay.

My current thinking is:

  • Withdraw from the current proposal at no cost
  • Initiate a new project based upon 411 properties on the development
  • Provide all 411 property addresses to Openreach
  • Get firm costs from Openreach for the installation
  • Call for a vote on the project with all Owners that pay the services charges having one vote per property they own
  • The benefits and costs to be explained as transparently as possible
  • If we have a simple majority in favour of those that vote then continue or if not cancel at no cost
  • Assuming we have a majority then FirstPort contract with Openreach on behalf of the RPRA and all Owners and pay deposit and final bill on completion
  • All Owners pay via service charge in one year or two if the project runs over two service charge periods i.e. deposit in one-year balance on completion the next year
  • Once installation is complete all owners/residents can order the broadband service they want from their preferred broadband provider

I will introduce the topic at the RPRA AGM on 16th November 2021 and see what reactions I get.

Alan Kelly – Secretary, RPRA

8th November 2021

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