Hamstead Marshall has never had a good broadband service from BT, and that
situation is unlikely to change. Almost all houses in the village lie more than
9km by cable from the telephone exchange at Halfway, because the line comes to
the village via Kintbury.
BT has officially advised the village that it is unwilling to invest in the cost
of re-routing the line directly (ie, over the railway, river and canal).
Villagers currently obtain their signal by:
a) mobile telephony: formerly 3G, now 4G. This usually requires a specialised
aerial in the roof and a specialised router placed close by. The service comes
by subscription from Vodafone, or another provider if that signal is stronger
(it varies from place to place in the village.) Rates vary according to the
package chosen, but the downland cap and the speed (definitely sub-superfast)
usually preclude gaming, film downloads and Netflix.
b) satellite: this is the only option for a few houses which cannot obtain a 3G
or 4G signal. It suffers from the same limitations as a Vodafone subscription,
plus the irritating latency pauses.
BUT GIGACLEAR IS COMING!
Gigaclear has been contracted to provided fibre-to-the-household in the village,
and work has been under way for some months laying the fibre. A control box was
built at Ash Tree Corner nearly six months ago. True, successive promise dates
have been broken and few villagers still believe what is stated on Gigaclear’s website, but the level of investment to date is surely an earnest of the
company’s eventual intent.
Vodafone’s anxiety at the prospect of losing local customers is another good indicator;
now could be the time to strike a deal if you are renewing.