Skip to content

Can you help keep the Newsletter going?

Can you help keep the Newsletter going?

Carolyn Brooks has been editing the Newsletter for several years, but will be standing down after completing the February Issue. This valuable communication is distributed to every household in the parish, and gives everyone (especially those who may not wish to use online services) a monthly summary of news and events. The Community Trust funds this publication, with the assistance of Northumbrian Water for printing and the team of volunteers for the distribution.

The editor’s job includes emailing regular contributors and anyone who might have something for the newsletter, editing if necessary & then formatting the copy before producing a PDF version. This is then sent to be printed.

Carolyn would be happy to explain more about these tasks; you can contact her by email to or by phone on (01434) 673032. She says “all he or she will need is time, access to a computer, reasonable word processing skills and a reasonable command of the English language!”

Slaley Parish Council Minutes of December 2014

Consultation on broadband coverage

Michael Elphick attended the consultation in Hexham on broadband coverage in Northumberland this morning, and had a useful discussion with John Cooper of Arch Digital. They are currently checking whether BT’s estimates of the availability of fibre broadband matches the actual situation on the ground. If you wish to check its availability to your house or business, send a query to your ISP (Internet Service Provider). You could also try the BT broadband availability checker at:

which will usually provide a lot of technical detail. In particular look for FTTC Range A (Clean) ’High’ and ‘Low’ figures and under ‘Availability Date’. If anyone whose postcode is in the areas listed below (which are assessed as able to get 15 Mbps or more) find that their ISP states, or the BT checker shows, that FTTC is NOT available or that the speed is below 15 Mbps, they should inform Arch Digital of this by sending an email to

NE47 0AA
NE47 0BQ
NE47 0BH
NE47 0AB
NE47 0AD
NE47 0AE
NE47 0AF
NE47 0AG
NE47 0AQ
NE47 0AS
NE47 0AT
NE47 0BB
NE47 0BD

Those who are not in these areas will have to wait for the next stage which will aim to extend high-speed access by various means (including wireless, satellite or even ‘fibre to the remote node’). This will be managed by a contractor still to be decided (but almost certainly BT), and hopefully completed in 2016. Funding up to possibly £6 million should be available, but the emphasis for spending on extended coverage will be on “value for money”, and some more remote areas may still be left out.

Finally, if you are on an existing (ADSL) broadband service and still not getting adequate speeds, it may be worth checking some possible causes. Are you on an old contract which has a set maximum speed? If you’ve had the same supplier for years this sometimes happens; you should be able to switch easily onto a new package.

More likely you may have a problem with your internal set up. It could be using an ancient computer, using wireless through a USB connection, plugging the router into a remote extension rather than the master socket etc. Or just measuring the speed when the kids are downloading an HD film (which is a good reason for getting superfast, but not an accurate reflection of the current line speed!)

Fibre broadband available in Slaley!

Garry Winship (Marketing Manager | iNorthumberland | BT Group) has informed us that fibre broadband is now available to order on the cabinet in Slaley, earlier than expected.

Those living in Slaley village itself should find that (if they wish to switch) their connection speeds will show a considerable increase. This will probably require increased payments, of course!

While this is of course fantastic news for most residents, there will be many that do not see any great benefit from the iNorthumberland roll-out due to their distance from the cabinet. My own provider (PlusNet) responded with: “The estimate for fibre is only 3.4Mb for your line. For this reason we wouldn’t be able to offer fibre unfortunately as it wouldn’t be financially viable for you. (We wouldn’t want you paying more for a service that won’t be be able to benefit from.)”

In general the best advice would be to send a query to your ISP (Internet Service Provider) to see if they will offer FTTC (Fibre To The Cabinet) for you. You could also try the BT broadband availability checker at:

which will usually provide a lot of technical detail.

Consultation about plans to improve broadband access!

You may by now have noticed the new green cabinet by the postbox outside the Slaley shop.

New BT cabinet

New BT cabinet

This is the hub for the improved broadband services, and Garry Winship (Marketing Manager | iNorthumberland | BT Group) has informed us that fibre broadband is now available to order in Slaley, earlier than expected.

In addition there is now a consultation process about the plans to improve broadband access in Northumberland, and the full details can be found in the attached document. This was only issued on 19th December 2014 and the deadline for responses is 19th January 2015. It is also available online at:

along with a detailed database of all Northumberland postode areas.

There will also be a drop-in session at Prospect House, Hexham from 10 am to 12 noon on January 8th. This is advertised as an opportunity for residents and businesses to discuss the report and what it means for them, but please note that the deadline for responses is 19th January 2015. These can be sent via email to, or by post to:

Fay Cooper
iNorthumberland State Aid Public Consultation Response
Information Services Northumberland County Council
County Hall
Northumberland  NE61 2EF.

The introduction states that “This consultation process invites the public to make a comment on our proposals, particularly where we may have indicated that a postcode is outside the intervention area for future public investment . . . but local knowledge would challenge that superfast broadband services are either already available in these areas or indeed that firm plans are in place to bring superfast broadband to these areas.“

This is an opportunity (although rather rushed with a deadline three weeks ahead) to send responses from businesses and residents to confirm (or question) that our coverage mapping and data is correct. The areas defined as not receiving a broadband service will then be included in a procurement process for the new broadband roll out programme which is due to start in Spring 2015. If you feel that you or your business may not receive an adequate connection, you should respond now.

This consultation document refers to two types of broadband networks: Basic Broadband (which most of us now have), and Next Generation Access (NGA) networks which rely wholly or partly on optical fibre (still to be installed for Slaley). Each area (defined by a postcode) is classified as either GREY or WHITE; ‘GREY’ areas are those where BT has upgraded the network infrastructure serving the area AND premises within the area have an estimated Line Speed > 15Mbps, while ‘WHITE’ areas are those where there are no current plans to enable superfast broadband.

For the Basic Broadband connections, each postcode is GREY if its estimated VDSL speed is greater than 2 Mbps AND it is scheduled to be upgraded by BT AND it is not an ‘exchange only’ line OR if its current ADSL speed is estimated at greater than 2 Mbps. All other post codes remain WHITE.

I have extracted the details published for the postcode areas given by those who responded to our earlier survey in March & April. Those in ‘WHITE’ areas may have to wait until 2016 for additional work to be completed.

The table below shows for each postcode: the number of residential premises, the number of business premises, the total premises in postcode, Basic broadband status, NGA status

PostcodeNumber of residential premisesNumber of business premisesTotal premises in postcodeBasic broadband statusNGA status
DH8 9RU10010WhiteWhite
NE44 6BD404WhiteWhite
NE44 6BH707GreyWhite
NE44 6BJ606WhiteWhite
NE44 6BP202GreyWhite
NE44 6BW202WhiteWhite
NE44 6DL16016GreyGrey
NE46 1TY14014GreyWhite
NE47 0A7303WhiteWhite
NE47 0AA39342GreyGrey
NE47 0AB12012GreyGrey
NE47 0AD18018GreyGrey
NE47 0AF101GreyGrey
NE47 0AG505GreyGrey
NE47 0AL303GreyWhite
NE47 0AN707GreyWhite
NE47 0AP707GreyWhite
NE47 0AS202GreyGrey
NE47 0AT808GreyGrey
NE47 0AW213GreyWhite
NE47 0BB101GreyGrey
NE47 0BD707GreyGrey
NE47 0BG16016GreyWhite
NE47 0BH12012GreyGrey
NE47 0BN909GreyWhite
NE47 0BP303GreyWhite
NE47 0BQ29029GreyGrey
NE47 0BS202GreyWhite
NE47 0BU404GreyWhite
NE47 0BW202GreyWhite
NE47 0BX347GreyWhite
NE47 0BY26127WhiteWhite
NE47 0DF10010WhiteWhite
NE47 0DL505GreyWhite
NE47 0DQ303WhiteWhite

Slaley parish Council November 2014 minutes