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Frequently Asked Questions about the West Sussex Community Broadband Society

Who are West Sussex Community Broadband?
Why did the Society come about?
What will the society do?
What support do you have for the project?
What experience do you have with wireless broadband?
Who can join the Society?
How much is membership?
How do I join the Society?
Why should I join the Society?
What does membership offer individuals?
What are community services?
What does membership offer businesses?
Do I have to join the Society?
What are the rules of the Society?

Who are West Sussex Community Broadband?

The West Sussex Community Broadband Society was formed by a group of local residents to bring wireless broadband to the six villages and surrounding area of West Sussex.

The aims of the society are to:
      provide broadband-based community information services to the benefit of its members, the local community and the general public
      provide broadband internet services to its members
      further the interests of its members in all aspects of the provision of internet services.

The Society is run on a not-for-profit basis and is financed by membership subscriptions. It is managed by an elected committee who are accountable to the Society's members. All income of the Society will be used to further the interests of the Society.


Why did the Society come about?

By getting together and putting ourselves on a formal footing we were able to apply for government funding. In partnership with Invisible Networks Ltd. we successfully bid for a grant from West Sussex County Council which has helped us build the wireless network earlier than would otherwise have been possible. It has also enabled us to negotiate discounts on the regular set-up and monthly subscription costs of the service from Invisible Networks.


What will the society do?

The society aims to use the wireless network to provide the infrastructure for service providers to develop innovative community services at reduced cost to the potential benefit of all sectors of the community.


What support do you have for this project?

The following community representatives and organisations have been contacted personally by the Society's committee and have given their support for this Project:

  · The Duke of Richmond
  · Howard Flight MP - Member of Parliament for Arundel and South Downs
  · Yapton Parish Council
  · Michael Fellows - Chairman, Yapton Parish Council
  · Mr Tritton - Chairman, Barnham Parish Council


What experience do you have with wireless broadband?

Not very much which is why we have called in Invisible Networks to provide and manage the wireless network. They are specialists in wireless networking and are ably equipped to provide the service. The Society will concentrate on facilitating the provision of community services and representing the interests of its members. IN has formally recognized WSCB as representing the subscribers in our area and are working with us to provide the best service at the best price.


Who can join the Society?

Membership is open to all persons interested in the aims of the Society. Membership is open to all businesses, voluntary organisations, households and individuals regardless of age, sex, religion, nationality or political affiliation.


How much is membership?

Society membership fees mirror the subscriber's level of service:
Members subscribing to the Standard level service £18 per year
Members subscribing to the Premium level service £28 per year
Members subscribing to the Enterprise level service £50 per year

Your membership will be due for renewal on the anniversary of your joining the Society (i.e. for your £18 you get a whole 365 days membership unlike some societies where the membership year runs from January to December).


How do I join the Society?

You can print out this form and send it with your payment to the address given on the form or you can join online if you pay your membership fee by FastPay.


Why should I join the Society?

By joining the Society you not only get the wireless broadband service at a heavily discounted price but you also get access to a range of community services.


What does membership offer individuals?

Apart from super fast access to the internet, the service links neighbour to neighbour to office to school to other neighbour in a true community network.

We use a central computer server located within the community itself to provide local e-mail addresses (e.g., free web space and a community-based web server run by and for the community. This can be developed to offer web-hosting services to connected local businesses and the revenue generated will be re-invested in further community services and infrastructure.


What are community services?

Possible community services that can be included:
  · Community news and events  
  · Provision of healthcare information (especially community based and community collated)  
  · Public transport timetables  
  · Opening hours of chemists  
  · Streaming video of local community events (webcasting)  
  · Links to WSCC community pages  
  · Local Job Vacancies noticeboard  
  · Local Clubs & Societies noticeboards  
  · Local special interest group forums with voting/poll option  
  · Local Neighbourhood Watch Pages with a live crime alert banner  
  · Incorporate the Sussex Police Missing Child Alert as a 'pop-up'  
  · Local Care / Rest Home vacancies including short-stay availability (diary)  
  · Local Tide Tables  
  · Local Flood Warning noticeboard  
  · Local Planning applications  
  · Local Hotels and B&Bs including vacancies  
  · Local School noticeboards  
  · Local evening and day classes with details (possibly with on-line booking)  
  · Local baby and childcare information - nurseries, etc.  
  · Local For Sale and Wanted notices  
  · Lost and Found noticeboard  
  · Find a local trader/ contractor/ service (e.g. plumber) with availability updated on the site by the traders themselves  
  · Local Council House Exchange noticeboard  
  · Local Air quality data from monitoring stations  
  · Publication of Parish council minutes etc.  
  · Church Newsletters and Parish Information  
  · Local Council Meetings (link to WSCC)  
  · Local Council Information  
  · Sports Centre facilities with availability (i.e. diary) (possibly with on-line booking)  
  · Local "Gig list" of live music and other performance events  
  · Local "Road Works" information / warnings page  
  · Local Markets, Jumble Sales and other community events  
  · Local Web-Cam images  
  · Local car share offer/request noticeboard  
  · Distance learning  
  · Virtual classrooms for sick children locally (e.g. webcam based)  
  · Virtual studyrooms for students to team together on homework projects (e.g. webcam based)  
  · Local chat rooms  
  · Recycling Info  
  · Virtual Boot Sales  
  · Attic Auctions (cf. car boot sale)  
  · Community Volunteer forum / noticeboard (e.g. Church needs team to weed the graveyard, RNLI needs volunteers for helicopter rescue exercise etc)  
  · Host a Local Exchange Trading System (LETS)  

In addition, the service will allow:
  · "Community Hotspots" in locations such as parish halls, pubs and other public places where subscribers will be able to access the internet and the community services  
  · Roaming within the community - subscribers can access the service from anywhere within the coverage area  
  · Roaming within sister communities - subscribers can access the local community services from anywhere within the coverage area of sister communities (e.g. the 'Cambridge Ring' or such other similar communities as may be installed).  


What does membership offer businesses?

Through their membership of the Society, local businesses will have access to a large group of potential customers. Businesses will be able to host commercial web sites on the community server or on their own in-house server. These web sites can be accessed at speeds up to 5Mbps allowing previously impossible marketing approaches to be realised. For example, it will be possible to deliver streaming video showing your products in action without the 'film' jumping or jerkiness. This is something which, up to now, has been unworkable.


Do I have to join the Society?

Quite frankly you would be daft not to! For your annual membership fee of the Society you not only have access to discounted setup fee for wireless installation and reduced price monthly subscriptions but also to free web space and e-mail addresses as well as a raft of "community services"

For your membership fee of £18 (for a Standard Service subscriber) you could save over £180 in the first year!


What are the rules of the Society?

The Constitution and Rules of the Society can be found on the Society pages.


All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. 2003 West Sussex Community Broadband Society unless stated otherwise.
Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that current and accurate details are provided, West Sussex Community Broadband Society cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information or accept any liability arising from its use.
In the event of any discrepancy between the information provided here and the Rules of the Society or the Terms and Conditions or the Acceptable Use Policy of any part of the wireless broadband or community services then the latter shall take precedence.
Page last updated 19/05/03