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.