Hamstead Marshall
broadband
Current options

BT landline broadband – no chance
Most households in the village, whether served by BT from Kintbury, Newbury or Highclere, cannot receive broadband by
landline because they lie too far from the exchange. Following a long campaign of lobbying by the village broadband
committee, BT has made clear that there is no plan to remedy this situation because the investment required is too high, and
Hamstead Marshall is demographically and commercially insignificant.

3G mobile broadband
However, since around 2008, at least 30 houses in the village have been successfully receiving broadband at speeds of 1 to
2Mb by 3G mobile telephony, using a roof-mounted aerial and a specific type of router. The monthly subscription carries an
download/upload cap. There are however a few Notspots in the village which cannot receive 3G, so check before investing in
the equipment.

Satellite
About half-a-dozen households and businesses subscribe individually to satellite services. These are not, in general,
significantly faster than 3G because of the latency (signal to satellite and back again). They don’t work well for gaming. They
may, however, be faster for sustained downloads or uploads (eg, software, video, or back-up to cloud) but, like 3G, the
monthly subscription relates to a cap on traffic. Exceeding this can be costly. There is also a set-up cost and a minimum initial
contract period.

4G mobile broadband
A Vodafone 4G signal is now being obtained in some parts of the village and offers users significantly faster broadband speeds
than are currently being obtained with either 3G or satellite systems. Download speeds of more than 15Mb are obtainable with
4G in the right conditions.
    The first problem is that it is very difficult to determine whether the 4G signal in any given location is sufficiently strong to
justify the expenditure necessary to harness it for broadband. A 4G mobile phone may detect the signal, but it will not give an
exact measurement of its strength.
   As with 3G, the 4G system requires a roof-mounted aerial (not the same type as the 3G aerial), costing about £65,
connected to the right kind of router, of which few are available and they can cost £100 to £200. Vodafone’s own routers do
not have the necessary socket for connecting to the aerial.
   Like any mobile broadband system, there is a cap on usage and a minimum contract period: for example, a one-year
contract at £26 per month buys 8Gb per month download, which wouldn’t suffice for regular Netflix viewing, gaming or heavy
usage of cloud backup. As with 3G, exceeding the cap carries a heavy financial penalty without warning.
    Currently the only 4G signal which has been successfully captured locally comes from Vodafone, but users have reported
difficulty in finding anyone in the company who can discuss the system knowlegeably, so it can be extremely difficult to obtain
any help on this from Vodafone itself.
     

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Copyright Penelope Stokes 2016
Latest development: minutes of the parish council meeting November 2015 report in detail a presentation from
the national sales manager of Gigaclear, from which it appears that Hamstead Marshall will have fibre-to-the-
household by the end of 2016.