broadband End User

Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells FTTC Broadband Availability Data Reliability

Actually that post title was a bit misleading. It should have read “frustrated of Lincoln”. The FTTC broadband availability checker has been saying 31st March for FTTC at my house for a good six months now.

For a long time I considered this to be a reasonable target date – 2 out of 4 Lincoln exchanges have already been upgraded. Moreover I’ve seen teams out laying fibre up Lindum Hill (down the road from me in Lincoln)  and when asked they confirmed this was for FTTC broadband.

As we got nearer the deadline I noted that they still hadn’t upgraded my cabinet – it is easy to find out which is your cab – you just follow the  telephone wire back from your house. Last weekend I noticed that the availability date for my line had totally disappeared from the checker.

I get so many enquiries re cabinet availability that it isn’t feasible to ask Openreach for information on every one but on this occasion I pulled rank on myself and decided to use my contacts to find out what is going on. All I can find out is that my exchange is not due to be upgraded until the end of June. This potentially means that my own FTTC broadband connection could be months after that date. The checker data base is knackered because this info is not in it.

BT of course say that the dates they give are “only indicative”. TBH I wouldn’t plan anything around availability of FTTC. It will come when it comes. Openreach does have a difficult job to do but the company doesn’t do itself any favours with what can only be described as terrible expectation management. Also it can’t be so difficult to provide their engineers and planners with some mechanism for properly reporting progress with network roll outs.


Trefor Davies

By Trefor Davies

Liver of life, father of four, CTO of, writer, poet,

9 replies on “Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells FTTC Broadband Availability Data Reliability”

Its very annoying isn’t it? My local exchange was FTTC’d in late 2010/early 2011, and 90% of the cabinets for my town completed by summer 2011. However my cabinet and one other across town were not completed. Apparently for “planning” issues. Since then getting any information on what the blockage might be or how to appeal (council etc) is zero. Since OpenReach can’t/don’t talk to the public, and ISPs like yourself just get told “cabinet not done yet”. Pretty worrying as we have this de-facto monopoly.

“Not Spots” will end up being in the middle of towns and cities at this rate.

Hi Tref, I live in Cambourne (Cambridgeshire) and we’ve had a similar experience. We’re in the somewhat priviledged position of having won BTs ‘Race to Infinity’ competition at the back end of 2010. Updates locally suggest that the buld of properties will in fact be getting FTTP which is fantastic, however there is one FTTC cabinet which is to be constructed where due to ducting constraints by the developers they cannot economically lay the FTTP infrastructure. Sadly the local councils have had a large part to play with BT arguing over where BT Openreach vans will park in order to construct the cabinets!! As a result our install which got brought forward to December 2011, then got pushed back to March 2012 and just last week got pushed back to June 2012! I’ll believe it’s actually coming when the cabinet is installed! Interestingly there was an article on BTs quarterly results that pointed at them having trialled a ‘new technology’ for providing FTTP in areas that had previously been enabled only for FTTC – but sadly no further details on this……

Openreach are going to be very busy with all the completion dates that are now set to June 2012.
I like a lot of others have been waiting for infinity to arrive, also we have had the date pushed back several times, the first one being Sept 2011.
I’m quiet lucky as I can get a steady 7 megs living about 3 km line length from the exchange but I do notice a 3-4db drop in the noise margin in the evening, it would seem mostly due to street lighting given the timing of the reduction.
Now we have a village off our exchange that is about 5km in distance from the exchange and they struggle to get .5 meg and frequently loose a connection altogether but their cabinet seems not to be on the upgrade list, I suspect it is the old catch 22 syndrome I.E not enough people off that cabinet have BB so it’s not worth upgrading but a lot more would use it if they could get a reasonable signal.
I really would have thought someone at BT/Openreach would have tumbled to this by now.
So when will all think we are hard done to, just think of those that are much less fortunate in terms of internet access.

My local exchange is less than 500m from my back garden & has been FTTC ready for 12months+… However, from what appears to be a financial rather than technical reason, all the cabinets around the exchange itself have been ignored – why give FTTC to people who have ‘reasonable’ ADSL and are therefore less likely to adopt!? Might be considered fair, but it’s (expletive-removed) annoying…

I think the economics of having lots of providers serve the same areas don’t add up. sad but true. Look at all the telecom markets int he world for evidence – you simply can’t build a network for billions of pounds and have it sat half empty because the guys across the road built one and its half empty too.

See the US marketplace as an example.

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