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Herefordshire Now Magazine:

Herefordshire Council distribute a newsletter for residents that they are keen to share digitally. Here is the link to the list of all editions, where you can also sign up to receive alerts to new issues: https://www.herefordshire.gov.uk/council/herefordshire-now

Broadband Connectivity:

This has been raised as a topic of concern so in July 2023 we invited Herefordshire Council’s Fastershire and Engagement Officer, Chris Smart, to the Parish Council meeting to talk about the current situation, planned improvements and actions residents can take to improve their connectivity.

The digital changeover from analogue to digital lines (PSTN switch off) anticipated over the next few years will require properties to have a fast and reliable broadband service for both telephone and broadband. 

Fastershire is part of BDUK (Building Digital UK), a government funded scheme to bring fast and reliable broadband and mobile coverage to rural areas.  It should be noted that the Fastershire project is focused solely on fixed broadband coverage and does not encompass mobile communication provision and coverage.
The installation of fibre broadband via Airband is progressing well in the three parishes.  Mr. Smart offered to check availability for any individual property experiencing difficulty. He can be contacted on 01432 383 682.
The digital changeover from analogue to digital lines (PSTN switch off) anticipated over the next few years will require properties to have a fast and reliable broadband service for both telephone and broadband. The telephone line is provided using VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol).  In the event of a power cut, current recommendations and guidelines suggest 1 hour of battery backup as a minimum and service providers are responsible for providing a battery back-up for their vulnerable customers. However, residents are responsible for providing any additional back up they feel is required.  
The responsibility for addressing mobile coverage “not spots” lies with the UK Central Government through the Shared Rural Network (SRN) initiative. The SRN aims to improve mobile coverage in rural areas and has plans to install SRN masts in Herefordshire to address these coverage gaps.  The masts must be shared across different network providers. Whilst this is not under their remit, the Fastershire team regularly lobby providers to identify areas without service and Mr Smart offered to receive information about ‘not-spot’ areas in the three parishes to pass along so please get in touch if this is relevant to you.

He also offered to research different options for keeping a full-fibre digital voice system working during a power outage.  The response is detailed so the exact response has been copied here:
“Firstly and most importantly, I recommend any vulnerable resident talks to their internet service provider and explain that they don’t have access to a mobile phone service to make an emergency call during a power cut (it’s important to remember that any mobile phone can connect to any mobile network when making an emergency call).
I am not allowed to give specific product recommendations, but I have given links to some examples of the different options that I have listed below.
1. Power Bank (Battery) with AC Plug Socket(s).
One thing people do is to purchase a Power Bank that comes equipped with an AC plug socket and USB for charging. You can find these for around £100 in the shops and often enough to keep your phone and router running for a few hours.
Example 1 NOVOO Portable Laptop Power Bank with AC Outlet
Example 2 Aisung AC Outlet Portable Laptop Power Bank (c£99
2. Uninterruptible Power Supply UPS
A more robust option is to consider a Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS). The great thing with a UPS is that they will start supplying power to the plugged-in phone and router automatically when a power cut occurs. This means you don’t need to unplug the router and phone from the mains and then plug them into a power bank, for example.
These can be quite bulky and may make some noise, and the small ones may not last as long a power bank but a larger one should be able to keep a VoIP phone and modem running for several hours.
Example 1 APC by Schneider Electric BACK-UPS ES 
Adding a generator for added protection
People that need power for longer periods often use a UPS alongside a small home generator. So if the power goes off for just a few hours, the UPS will kick in and keep the phone working. If the power stays off for longer, the generator could be manually plugged into the UPS. This would keep the UPS power topped up, allowing it to keep running the Wi-Fi and phone. Using a generator means you could also make a cup of tea or run a small fan heater. It would also be possible to use a generator without the UPS, but this would mean that as soon as there is a power outage, you would need to manually connect and start the generator.
Example 1 Hyundai 1000w 50cc Quiet Petrol Inverter Generator

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