Newsletter — September 2014

Topics in this edition:

  • Simplified guide to the Public consultation – respond now!
  • Rolling 12-month plan to be updated with new cabinets
  • Practical tips for improving your broadband speed
  • Events on website
  • Questions and Answers

Simplified guide to the Public consultation – respond now!

Unfortunately when we launched the public consultation we were required to use some jargon that made things more complicated than they need be. Here is a more straightforward explanation:

We are about to go out to tender for additional coverage under the additional funding that we have been awarded. As part of the process we have already asked the suppliers where they intend to provide superfast broadband by the end of 2017. We know from the current project that not all areas that are claimed to be covered will achieve superfast speeds, so this time we are being a lot smarter about how we define the areas in which we can intervene. We can only spend public money in the white areas.

The areas that the providers are saying will be covered by superfast broadband are coloured either grey on the Intervention map (one provider) or black (two or more providers). The Intervention map can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/oxn7zdl

Should you respond?

If you live in an area that is coloured grey on the map but you cannot get superfast broadband (over 24Mbps) then we will need to hear from you. A common reason in urban areas for being unable to achieve superfast broadband is being on an exchange only line, meaning that there is no roadside cabinet that can be upgraded. The way in which the infrastructure works form exchanges is more complicated than from cabinets so it makes it more difficult to install equipment to achieve superfast speeds

If you are attached to a cabinet but are a long way from it we need to hear from you. This is because although fibre is provided to the cabinet the final stretch uses the existing copper lines and broadband signals degrade quickly over copper lines.

If you are shown on the map as being in a white area then there is no need to respond.

What do we need you to do?

  • Look on our map to check if you are in a grey or a white area: http://tinyurl.com/oxn7zdl
  • We need to know if we have the designation for your area correct on the map. Please use the BT Broadband checker (www.dslchecker.bt.com) to find out if superfast broadband is available in your area – in which case it will say that speeds of 24Mbps or above are achievable. To use the checker, either enter a BT landline telephone number (including area code) or your address (you need to click the link below the number box). Please do not use the postcode checker as it is not accurate enough to be of any help!
  • If you are currently subscribing to a superfast broadband service are you achieving the speeds that you should? Check your speed on the new Which? speedchecker and note the results
  • If you know of alternative provider(s) to BT using fibre, wireless or other technology to bring you services please make a note of them
  • If, after carrying out the checks above, you believe that we have your area wrongly designated on the map please complete our survey at www.cswbroadband.org.uk/consultation

Thank you for your help – your responses will help us to ensure that we are able to consider those areas that will not otherwise be upgraded.

The consultation closes on 18th September. This is your opportunity to help make sure that we are able to include the maximum coverage area in our next invitation to tender.

Rolling 12-month plan to be updated with new cabinets

The current broadband rollout is progressing well. We have just updated our rolling 12-month plan to reflect that there are now 66 cabinets live and offering superfast broadband services. Phase 1 started in April and Phase 2 started in July. Each Phase lasts for approximately 6 months, so that that there are now two Phases running at any time. Phase 3 will start in early October and we are working on updating the map and rolling 12-month plan to show the additional 70 cabinets that are in Phase 3. This should go live in early October.

Practical tips for improving your broadband speed

Ofcom reports that there are a number of factors which can affect the speed of your broadband connection. The distance your home is from the telephone exchange, the time of day you go online and the number of people in your home using the internet at the same time, can all play a part in slowing down your connection.

Your device may also not be set-up correctly or the line that provides the internet connection to your home may be damaged, while your internet provider’s traffic management policies could also be a factor.

The following tips could help bring your connection back up to speed – the last three tips (8-10) apply specifically if you receive your broadband through your telephone line rather than via cable.

1. Carry out a speed test on your line. This will show you what speed you’re actually getting. Carry out a few tests over several days and vary the times you carry out the test. Ofcom accredited price comparison sites Broadband.co.uk, broadbandchoices.co.uk, Cable.co.uk and Simplifydigital all have speed checkers.

2. Talk to your internet provider. If you have a problem with your connection, we suggest

contacting your provider in the first instance. They should be able to help you work out what the cause is and how you might be able to fix it.

3. Update your browser. Check whether you’re using the latest version of your web browser – newer versions not only provide better security but should also work faster. You can check your browser via this page on the Get Safe Online website.

4. Some electrical devices can cause electrical interference to your router. Halogen lamps, electrical dimmer switches, stereo or computer speakers, fairy lights, TVs and monitors and AC power cords have all been known to cause interference. Keep your router as far away as possible from other electrical devices as well as those which emit wireless signals such as cordless phones, baby monitors etc. Try to place your router on a table or shelf rather than on the floor and keep it switched on.

5. Consider upgrading your router to the latest model. If you have an older router, or you have regular disconnections on your line, you may benefit from upgrading. Speak to your provider.

6. Password-protect your broadband. If you don’t keep your wireless router secure, anyone nearby could log on to your broadband. Not only could this slow down your internet speeds but your online security could also be at risk. To find out whether you are secure, scan your wireless network by visiting ’My Network Places’. There should be a picture of a padlock next to the name of your network. If there isn’t then you’ll need to password-protect your router. Use a password that contains a mixture of numbers and upper and lower case letters. If you’re not sure how to set or change a password, speak to your provider.

7. Try wired rather than wireless. Use an Ethernet cable to connect your computer directly to your router rather than using WiFi. An Ethernet cable is a computer networking cable which should give you a faster, more reliable connection.

8. Tackle phone line interference. Any interference on your phone line could slow your broadband down. Make sure your home has the most up-to-date main phone socket and plug microfilters into every phone socket in your home. They look like little white boxes and split the phone and broadband signals so that they don’t interfere with each other.

9. Plug your broadband router directly into your home’s main phone socket. Try not to use a telephone extension lead – leads can cause interference which could lower your speed. If you have to use an extension lead, use a new, high quality cable with the shortest possible length. Tangled and coiled cables can cause interference.

10. Fit a broadband accelerator or filter device. There are a number of devices available that are designed to filter out interference from your home phone wiring. These may improve speed and, even if they don’t, can help stabilise your broadband line and make it more reliable. Try searching online for devices that may suit your needs.

Events on our website

We have an events section on our website that contains information about a range of events that are held by our project partners. They are mainly on topics such as using Social Media, or Internet Marketing and are held at locations around the area. Some are free, others are charged by the providers.

Best to check this section out regularly http://www.cswbroadband.org.uk/events/event

It is also easily accessible from the link at the bottom right of the website front page where there is also an easy to view listing of the next few events.

Don’t forget our new email addresses!

Don’t forget that we now have new email addresses and that using these will help us to better respond to your enquiries:

Please ensure that these are enabled in your firewall as we would hate you to miss out on the important announcements that we have coming up.

Questions and Answers

How do I know which BT cabinet I am connected to?

BT have a checker where you can find out which physical cabinet you are connected to. You may be surprised to find that it is not the one that is closest to your house! To find out which cabinet you are on please use the BT Broadband checker (www.dslchecker.bt.com) to find out if superfast broadband is available in your area – in which case it will say that speeds of 24Mbps or above are achievable. To use the checker, either enter a BT landline telephone number (including area code) or your address (you need to click the link below the number box). Please do not use the postcode checker as it is not accurate enough to be of any help!

How do I interpret the information that the checker tells me about my cabinet?

It can be confusing! Just above the table you will see your telephone number, exchange and cabinet – if you have one. If there is no cabinet listed then you are on an exchange-only line.

On the table the main thing to concentrate on is the downstream Line Rate, which is given in Mbps.

If the first item is shown on the left as FTTC (or FTTP) then you have a connection to the fibre cabinet and the speeds shown should be 24Mbps or above. If they are below this then you are connected to the fibre network but may be too far away from the cabinet at present to achieve superfast speeds with the current technology

You may also see ADSL 2+ or ADSL Max. This is an older technology that may deliver maximum speeds of 20Mbps but it uses only the old copper networks and is therefore not capable of reaching the higher speeds. Each Internet Service Provider usually installs equipment in the local exchange in order to deliver this service.

WBC Fixed Rate is similar to ADSL in that it uses the copper network, but is only available in some parts of the country. It means that the supplier puts their equipment further up the network and it may serve a number of exchanges. The speeds achieved are usually lower than with ADSL

So, the best option is to have a fibre connection with superfast broadband – and that is exactly what CSW Broadband is trying to bring to our communities!

Many more frequently asked broadband questions can be found on our website at: http://www.cswbroadband.org.uk/faq

Send this email on to all your contacts! We need to reach as many people as possible as quickly as possible. Please send this email to your contacts and encourage them to send it further. It’s probably best to remove the contact details above our logo at the top of the email otherwise it could get to be a very long string before the email itself appears!

CSW Broadband now on social media – come and join the conversation

We are now on the major social media channels and are already creating a buzz. Join in for up-to-date information and an opportunity to influence how the project develops

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