If you are considering a subscription to the Cybermoor fibre to the home super fast broadband service, this FAQ will hopefully answer common questions which you might have about the installation of the fibre and the equipment and about investing in Cybermoor Networks.

Q. What is Fibre to the Home?

A. Fibre to the Home (or FTTH) is a special optical fibre run from your home to a communications centre which connects you to the internet and telephone systems at high speed.

Q. Why fibre?

A. Fibre is fast. Unlike other technology such as wireless internet, or copper based internet (like ADSL or BT “Infinity”), fibre to the home gives very high speed access (up to 1Gbps today). In addition fibre is very robust and should last for at least 50 years if installed properly.

Q. What will it look like?

A. The fibre which carries the information is tiny (about the size of a human hair), but it is bundled into larger cables for protection and distribution. Most of the fibre cables outside are installed in ducts buried underground for added protection with the only visible signs that it is there being a few manhole covers and cabinets, although some of the fibre is installed overhead (similar to overhead telephone lines). The fibre inside your property will be quite thin (like small electrical flex) and it will run from where it enters your property to a Cybermoor fibre modem called an ONT (about the size of small paperback book).

Q. What is Cybermoor Networks?

A. Cybermoor Networks Ltd (CNL) is a Cybermoor company that owns and finances the development of fibre optic networks in rural areas.

Q. What will the money raised be used for?

A. CNL will use the money raised to install fibre optic cables to homes and businesses. Your Investment in CNL will help upgrade the internet service to become one of best in the UK and create employment for local people.

Q. If I invest does that guarantee that my house will be connected?

A. The North Pennines is one of the most sparsely populated parts of England so it depends largely on where you live and how much you are willing to invest. We have a team of people locally who can carry out the work and use local knowledge to keep the costs down. Our experience on these early phases will allow us to sensibly plan the roll out to remaining properties. In many cases, this will involve some digging across gardens and fields to reach the most remote properties – we will work in partnership to identify the most cost effective way of getting the fibre to your property. If you can carry out some of the digging yourself, then this will obviously keep costs down.

Q. How secure is the investment?

A. CNL owns all of its assets such as masts and fibre optic cable giving you a secure financial foundation for your investment and pay you an annual dividend when appropriate.

Q. How much is CNL aiming to raise?

A. Share offers are currently closed.  

Q. When will I be able to get my money out?

A. This Community Share offer requires an initial 3 year commitment and any withdrawal of share capital after this point will be at the discretion of the Board of Directors.

Q. Is it safe?

A. Yes, fibre is very safe. Unlike a copper telephone line there is no risk of lightening strike, and unlike wireless there is no radio frequency energy emitted. Fibre is inert glass, so as long as you don't trip over it, it can't harm you!

Q. What is the minimum investment?

A. The minimum investment amount is £100. If you are unable to afford £100, we suggest you group to together to invest, so one person could co-ordinate a group of friends, colleagues or neighbours and invest on their behalf, reducing the cost further. We are willing to be flexible to ensure that members of the community are not excluded from this opportunity – please contact the office for more details.

Q. How much do you recommend I invest?

A. We cannot make recommendations but there are some levels that you need to bear in mind. £100 is the minimum for Enterprise Instment Scheme (EIS). £1,500 qualifies you for EIS and a free connection.

Q. Will the backhaul be able to cope with supplying all the homes in South Tyne Valley and Alston with 30Mbs+?

A. Yes – Cybermoor has a fibre optic connection into Alston provided by BT Openreach and VirginMedia which is capable of 700Mbs. We are working with another provider on a 1Gbs connection. The more customers we have, the more backhaul we can afford. As part of the appraisal of the project by the BDUK, we have had to clearly show how we can deliver superfast speeds with our technology.

Q. What about 4G? I understand that this will deliver great broadband and it will be mobile?

A. 4G is the next mobile phone technology and it is being designed to bring much higher broadband speeds to mobile phones. It is really important that Alston Moor gets this as well as the fibre optic home and business connections being provided by Cybermoor Networks. Cybermoor Networks is aiming to sell capacity to mobile operators who wish to deploy 4G in the area. We have already met with one of the 3 large operators. The issues around Fibre –v- 4G are:

  • Fibre is faster than 4G.
  • It is more reliable as it is not prone to drop outs like existing mobile data services.
  • Downloading large amounts of data (like TV programmes) can be expensive over mobile connections as operators tend to charge more for data.

O2 has still not managed to give Alston Moor and the South Tyne Valley 3G cover, 15 years after they launched 3G in London. While you can take your mobile broadband dongle with you to other parts of the country, it leaves other people in your house without a connection unless you buy multiple dongles.

Q. I live quite far from the main fibre route - will my house be covered?

A. This depends on how much the share offer raised. Our ‘Dig where you Live’ approach means that some residents will have to lay the cable themselves where it crosses their land in order to keep the costs down. Please contact the office for more information.

Q. What are the wider benefits to the community?

A. The fibre optic network will support the development of Alston Moor in the future and ensure that we can amongst other things:

  • Offer telehealth services to elderly residents.
  • Provide young people with online learning and social networking tools that will make Alston Moor a more attractive place to settle. 
  • Demonstrate to businesses and householders aiming to locate here that we have ICT connections on a par with those in urban areas.

Q. People will never need such fast speeds around here – what is the point of putting fibre optic cables in?

A. 80% of the country has superfast broadband  and new services are evolving to make the most of this capacity. Before 1st generation broadband was rolled out, there were no services like Facebook, Skype or Youtube. These services are now taken for granted and new services will continue to emerge which need faster broadband speeds. We are planning for the future –deploying fibre optic connections takes time and we do not want to be left behind, so the timing is very good.

Q. How does this complement the wider Connecting Cumbria and iNorthumberland projects being developed by local Councils?

A. CNL are working closely with the teams at Northumberland County Council and Cumbria County Council tasked with delivering superfast broadband. In Northumberland we have cleared our coverage areas with Broadband Delivery UK who have carried out a Public Consultation.

In Cumbria & Northumberland, we submitted information about our coverage plans to the County Councils Open Market Review (OMR).

Q. Why should I invest in Cybermoor Networks, when BT will do this anyway and we can pay for it through our phone bills?

A. Parts of Alston Moor and the South Tyne valley are in the final 5% of England’s population, which will not receive superfast broadband from BT. BT provide superfast services over their copper telephone lines, which degrades 1000m from the green BT cabinet. In return for an investment, Cybermoor Networks will offer a better broadband service and savings on similar packages from BT, backed up by our local support. You can also plug your phone into your fibre connection and transfer your home phone number across.