Tenders for the Hatherden Broadband Grant were received from British Telecommunications plc (BT) and Internal Communications Systems Ltd(ICS).
"This is the only telephone exchange in my constituency that has not been enabled for broadband. An earlier initiative, which was to be funded in part by a proposed grant from Hampshire County Council and involving a wireless solution was not a success, and was abandoned earlier in the year. Hampshire County Council retendered for the contract to bring broadband to Hatherden, Wildhern, Tangley and Charlton Down and the two resulting tenders were evaluated last week by representatives of the County Council,Test Valley Borough Council, eHampshire Partnership and the Parish Council."
All agreed that the preferred supplier should be BT. The prevailing reasons were:
Value for money: BT's grant request was significantly lower than ICS;
BT's entry level price to customers was lower than ICS.
Risk: the BT service has a proven track record.
The BT proposal also met with the desires expressed by the community that the service should be able to support a range of ISPs and could be available to the whole community as quickly as possible.
It was recognised that the ICS proposition had significant potential,but this could not justify the significantly higher cost of both the grant and the entry level price.
Hampshire County Council have subsequently placed the contract with BT.
Residents are raising a further £3000 to enable the exchange to take the better SDSL level of broadband through
the Hatherden exchange.
"This is a marvellous example of the local community taking control of the agenda and, with a key role being played by the Parish Council, gaining access to a service that had previously been elusive. I hope it won't be too long before broadband is rolled out."
strong community action taking place within our parish."
A draft copy of the contract from BT was received on Friday afternoon. Their provisional ready for service date, subject to a full survey, is 7 January 2007.
This is significantly less (11 weeks) than BT's normal timescale of at least 16 weeks.
Latest news on oct 26th
BT have confirmed this morning that the price they will charge for enabling the exchange for ADSL and SDSL is £15,400. There are sufficient funds from the contributions committed from SEEDA, the County Council, Test Valley Borough Council and the balance from the original grant to cover this amount.
Work has already started on upgrading the exchange with dig work to upgrade the electricity supply for the new equipment.