Why won’t I get superfast broadband?

We always knew that the funding would be insufficient to cover the whole of the area, and that is simply because some places are more challenging than others. This may be because of geography – perhaps they are more remote from existing infrastructure, because of the local topography, or because of other issues.

To see if anything is planned in your area, either through this project or from commercial providers, use our unique property checker, which shows the currently planned status (down to property level) up to the end of 2019.

You simply need to enter your postcode and you will then see a list of premises and their status. The information about commercial providers was largely derived from the Open Market Review and Public Consultation that we carried out in preparation for the Contract 3 procurement. Now that Contract 3 has been let, information about the CSW Broadband rollout uses the latest information that we have.

If the coverage has been promised by the commercial provider, then we are bound by commercial confidentiality and cannot give further details. However, if the upgrades are planned through the CSW Broadband project then you can see the status on our latest map and on the Rolling 12-Month Plan.

The current national target is that the final 5% should receive a minimum of 2Mbps, although in practice this may be anything up to 23.99Mbps – at 24Mbps (30Mbps for contracts signed from 2017 onwards) it becomes superfast.

Most communities are currently served by a green cabinet, which serves as a distribution point for the copper which runs from the exchange and is then split at the cabinet to serve each property.

Our programme involves the installation of an additional cabinet which is fed by a fibre connection from the exchange, and then links in to the existing green cabinet so that the final distribution is via the copper network.

As broadband signals degrade over lengths of copper, the current distance from the cabinet over which superfast broadband can currently be achieved is around 1km. However, this will be dependent on a number of factors, including the quality of the existing copper connection and conditions at the property itself.

The positioning of the new cabinet is crucial as it has to be near the existing cabinet, but unlike the existing cabinet the new one also requires a power supply. There are also highways and other issues to be considered.

Some of the existing green cabinets are over 1km from the local communities, for instance where a cabinet serves a number of villages, and so we simply will not be able to achieve superfast speeds using the technology that is funded under the current programme.

Our ultimate aim is to achieve the 2020 EU targets with each property receiving a minimum of 30Mbps, and we are actively seeking funding to help us to achieve that.

For some properties there is no cabinet and the property is connected directly to the telephone exchange. In these instances it is necessary to install both a copper cabinet and a fibre one, which can create difficulties for us in letting people know what is happening in a particular area.

The best thing is to register for more information through our website. We will send you our e-newsletter, which comes out once a month and contains project updates, information about local meetings and events, broadband news, FAQs, and more.

By providing us with your landline number and address we can also send specific information as we learn more about what is happening in your area.

We have been getting some good reports from people who have moved to mobile broadband. Some are achieving speeds of around 70 Mbps! This technology relies on a good mobile broadband connection so it is important to use the mobile coverage checkers available on mobile broadband supplier websites before committing.

You can access a mobile broadband connection by subscribing to a data plan with your chosen mobile operator; this can usually be done using a mobile device, a dongle, or a 4G router.

When considering this option, it is important to take into consideration your data usage. Searching around for an unlimited data package can pay off, especially if you do a lot of streaming or playing videos on YouTube.

Under Contract 1 BDUK committed to make available over 2Mbps to all properties by 2016. This is through the  Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme that covers the installation costs of broadband using alternative technologies such as wireless or satellite.

If a community get together they could even pool their vouchers to get a new fibre cabinet installed. Rental and ongoing costs will fall to the user. Mobile connections are not eligible for the scheme.


Posted in: Broadband in General