Friday, 17 April 2015

Broadband update

Superfast / Infinity / FTTC broadband orders can now be placed on some Addingham lines

Ahead of schedule too.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Addingham Broadband Update 1

Copy of email circulated to Addingham Civic Society

Next generation broadband upgrade under way

In addition to the recently announced speed upgrades to the Virgin Media network, and perhaps of more interest as many people in Addingham still cannot connect to the Virgin network.  Superfast West Yorkshire have started work installing a Fibre To The Cabinet (FTTC) broadband upgrade in the village that will allow much higher internet speeds down phone line based broadband.

Addingham is part of phase 4 of the Superfast West Yorkshire (SFWY) plan, which is scheduled between January and June 2015.   With a final link for some premises, whose lines connect direct to the exchange, due by September 2015.  (Ironically this was the first cabinet seen to be installed).

The SFWY project is funded by the government under its BDUK programme to provide 90-95% of rural premises ‘superfast’ (>24Mbps) internet speeds.  The remit of the plan is to provide these speeds to those who do not already have access to such speeds.  So in Addingham this means that only premises in postcodes who do not have access to the Virgin network are due to be upgraded, however due to a quirk of how FTTC is delivered it is understood more people than that will get a choice.

FTTC involves installing new cabinets in the street next to the existing BT telephone wiring cabinets to inject a faster broadband signal onto the phone line closer to the customer premises.  Because (according to SFWY, and I have not been able to prove them right or wrong) all except one of our cabinets serve premises without Virgin coverage, only the cabinet 9E(?) (serving Moor Park Drive, Moor Park Close and Moor Park Crescent ) will not be upgraded. 

So 5 out of the eventual 6 cabinets in Addingham will get FTTC presence (the new cab 5 being in front of the exchange for the phone lines that go direct) giving all customers connected to those cabinets a choice of FTTC service from whichever Internet Service Provider they choose.  (For those with the choice of Virgin they can of course stay with Virgin too using their cable network)

FTTC can deliver speeds of up to 75Mbps downstream.  Although some longer lines may get less than this, speeds should be in the region of 30+Mbps.

Technically speaking installation of FTTC cabinets in an area opens up the possibility of supply of a product called Fibre To The Premises on Demand (FTTPoD), which can reach speeds of over 300Mbps.  If this is enabled then individuals, or more likely companies, can individually make a request to have FTTPoD supplied.  However the ‘construction’ costs (ie BT digging the ducting into the street from nearest cabinet to your premises and blowing the fibre down it) will all form part of the installation costs to the end customer which can be many thousands of pounds.  It is not clear if FTTPoD will be offered in Addingham.

Friday, 23 January 2015

It's been a long time since I posted here, and longer since I first mentioned faster broadband for more people in Addingham. But there is some important news to share on this front.

Superfast West Yorkshire is the local BDUK project charged with ensuring that 90% (or later 95%) of premises have the choice of connecting to a 'Superfast' (24mbps or more) in one form or another.

It's important to qualify at this stage that BDUK (in the interests of making the funding go further and benefit more people) is about providing access to those who do not yet have access to any superfast service rather than necessarily giving anyone a choice of provider.

This is particularly important in Addingham as some years ago parts of the village were fortunate enough to have been cabled by Virginmedia, who as well as TV services can provide superfast broadband over the same cables. Presence of a Virginmedia service in an area of the village should exclude that area from the Superfast West Yorkshire (SFWY) project (BDUK plans to a postcode level).

SFWY will be deploying Fibre To The Cabinet (FTTC) style broadband, as described in the really easy to understand video at BT Openreach's Big Build page.

A quirk of this deployment though is that anywhere there is a street telephone wiring cabinet that serves customers who cannot get a Virginmedia service will be upgraded. Thus hopefully 'accidentally' giving all customers served by that cabinet a choice of any broadband provider who will activate the FTTC service built by BT Openreach.

As I understand it so far Addingham's phone cabinets will be upgraded as follows, which is a direct quote from SFWY.  

Addingham Cabs 1, 2, 3 and 4 are in the Superfast West Yorkshire rollout plan, these are currently planned to be delivered in Phase 4; January-June 2015. A new cab will be built to serve the exchange only (EO) lines, this is likely to be in the later stages of the project, by September 2015. There is one other cab that serves premises on Moor Park Drive, Moor Park Close and Moor Park Crescent, this is not being updated as it is already covered by Virgin, as previously discussed. When the cabs have been updated, internet service providers (ISPs) are notified so they can offer services in the area. The lines that were EO will have the same options as the FTTC, because when the new cab has been built for them they will be FTTC. The only difference is they will be updated at a later stage to the other cabs. 

My interpretation of this, and I could be wrong, is that everyone in Addingham will get a choice of FTTC, except those served by Cabinet E7(?) - the premises on Moor Park as described above.

For those residents with lines that run direct from the exchange (that do not pass through an existing cabinet) Exchange Only or EO - the good news is they will get a connection choice too (surprisingly this is only a recent innovation!). However some of those people will have very long lines and that will limit the speed somewhat, but hopefully still be in the superfast band.

In terms of those who might miss out - Anyone on Moor Park, or in that area who cannot get Virginmedia today, and any new premises in that area of the village. Anyone in this position should contact Superfast West Yorkshire immediately and (1) register their interest on the website, as well as checking your postcode, (2) make direct contact to ask if you will be covered by the project in future and how.

Since it is January 2015 already there is some visible progress to report (none of this is inside information, just my interpretation of what I can see in the street)
  • A new wiring cabinet in front of the exchange premises (for the EO lines) 
  • An FTTC broadband cabinet in front of the exchange premises (for the EO lines) 
  • Power laid and an FTTC cabinet on the way at Cabinet 3 (Old Station Way / Mount Pleasant) 
  • Power work started at Cabinet 2 (Silsden Road)