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The number of premises that have access to superfast broadband, delivered by Superfast Staffordshire:
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Frequently Asked
Questions

 

Superfast broadband is taken as meaning download speeds of 24 Mbps or more and this is delivered through a fibre-optic network. This threshold was set out by the government for this programme. The current average broadband speed in the UK is 36Mbps (source: www.ofcom.org.uk).

Fibre broadband is the new generation of broadband – it’s much faster, more reliable and it uses a different technology. Whilst most traditional broadband is delivered via copper telephone lines, fibre broadband commonly uses fibre optic cable as part of the link between the customer and the exchange.

Fibre broadband can be delivered in two ways: fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) and fibre to the premises (FTTP).

The exact speed you get depends on a number of factors like length of your copper line from the telephone exchange or green roadside cabinet, the copper line quality and the equipment and internal wiring within your premises. The Internet Service Provider (ISP) package you select may also affect the speed available. Superfast Staffordshire will be working to ensure that everyone is able to access as fast a speed as possible given their geographical location.

FTTC uses fibre-optic cables throughout the network right up to the street cabinet. It then uses existing copper wires to connect the cabinet to homes and businesses. FTTC provides download speeds up to 80mbps and upload speeds up to 20mbps, which are then offered as different service packages by retail Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Most of the fibre broadband in Staffordshire will be of this type.

Anyone in an FTTC-enabled area will be able to upgrade to FTTP 'on demand' in the future. 'Fibre on Demand' (FoD) allows any end-user to have a full fibre connection installed to their home or business premise. This is outside the scope of the project and therefore the business or individual will have to pay charges for the associated network build and an installation charge - all based on distance from Openreach's nearest network nodes. FoD will allow access to speeds to up 330mbps download and 30mbps upload. A limited number of suppliers are offering this service.

FTTP means fibre-optic cables run from the exchange right to the door of each house or business. It provides download speeds up to 330mbps and upload speeds up to 30mbps, again offered as different service packages by ISPs.

Not all ISPs supply full fibre services at present. Here is a list of providers that do. 

Mbps stand for Megabits per second – it’s the way that internet speeds are measured. One bit means one piece of basic information and one megabit is a million bits of information.

Benefits to Residents:

Do more online all at the same time

With fibre broadband it doesn’t matter how many family members want to use the internet at the same time. Everyone can do their own thing, all at the same time, whether it’s downloading new songs, watching the latest movie, playing games or shopping online.

Watch films and TV shows in seconds

With fibre broadband you can easily stream or download the latest movies or watch a favourite TV show whenever you want, including ultra high definition (4K).

Chat to family and friends

Talk to your family, friends and colleagues wherever they may be in the world through high definition video calling such as Skype or FaceTime. What’s more you can do this without any time delay or frozen screen.

Download and play games online

With fibre broadband, games will run quicker without lag and the connection won’t be lost.

Take an online learning course

With fibre broadband you can study online courses with flexible hours that fit in with family life and access video tutorials that work immediately buffer-free.

Work from home

Fibre broadband makes working from home fast and effective. Working from home may mean you can work more flexibly, giving a better work/life balance. You could even consider setting up your own business from home as you will have access to global markets and a host of services that allow you to run your business more effectively.

Store your files and keep them backed up with cloud technology

Store your pictures, music, videos and other documents online in the cloud rather than on your home computer. Your files will be kept safe and you can access them anywhere. Files can also be backed up instantly!

Watch the benefits to residents

Benefits to Businesses:

Boost productivity

Faster speeds even at the busiest times of day mean that you can upload large files such as complex graphics and videos in a fraction of the time.

Better service and reliability

It doesn't matter how many users are using the internet at the same time.

Cloud Computing

Get the latest and best business software through cloud computing services such as instant data back ups - taking away the hassles of security and upgrades.

Better customer relations

Connect with customers and suppliers in new ways such as through internet telephony (e.g. Skype) and high definition video conferencing.

Work from anywhere

Working from home and on the move can be seamless and easy. Save money at the same time by reducing travel costs to the office and face to face meetings.

Reduce Costs

Cut down on energy use by using cloud computing which means less need for energy-hungry servers at every office. Virtual Private Networks (VPN) allow business PCs to be remotely accessed, saving energy too. NB VPN is a system where people can access work intranets and private networks over the internet.

Watch the benefits to businesses

The Superfast Staffordshire project is a partnership between Staffordshire County Council, Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) and BT Openreach.

The partnership will bring superfast broadband to 96% of homes and businesses, providing access to superfast speeds over 24Mbps by 2018.

Staffordshire County Council will be investing £8.06 million, which is being match-funded with £9.62 million from BDUK and a further £14.77 million from BT.

Public funds will be spent on bringing faster broadband services to areas of the county that are not expected to receive private investment. Many of these areas are rural in nature and are outside the commercial roll-out area.


The commercial rollout areas are those where a fibre broadband connection either already exists or is expected to be provided by the commercial providers. In Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent these areas account for approximately 400,000 (approx. 80%) of premises, which means that the majority of premises will already be able to access fibre broadband services or will be able to on completion. The Superfast Staffordshire project targets the areas not covered by the commercial rollout.

To find out if you already have access to a fibre network please visit https://checker.ofcom.org.uk/

Fibre broadband is being rolled out across Staffordshire between early 2014 and 2018. The latest available information about the fibre broadband rollout will be posted on the Where and When page.

No. To get fibre broadband, you'll need to place an order with an Internet Service Provider (ISP) who offers this service. This is because fibre broadband uses a different technology and an engineer may need to visit your premises.

There are several ISPs offering fibre broadband packages so you can shop around and choose the package that’s best for you. If you choose not to upgrade to fibre broadband, you'll be able to continue using your existing broadband service as normal.

Watch how to upgrade

Once you've checked your line to confirm fibre broadband is available, it's much the same as ordering normal broadband. There are different Internet Service Providers (ISPs) offering the service, so you can shop around and choose the best deal for you.

Watch how to upgrade

Monthly prices vary considerably depending upon whether you want stand alone broadband, whether you have a bundle deal that includes a home phone and digital TV and what download and upload speeds you require etc. You can use comparison websites to find the best deal for you.

Although Openreach is delivering the fibre optic broadband infrastructure to Staffordshire, there are many Internet Service Providers through which you can order the service.

When planning the rollout across the county we need to work closely with partner organisations and take into account many factors, such as household density, geography, planning requirements, the existing infrastructure and the availability of suitable technologies to provide a service.

It’s not possible with a programme of this size to plan every area at the same time so some areas will be enabled before others. We fully understand people's frustration and the huge importance of fibre broadband so we'll update our information regularly as plans evolve.

The Superfast Staffordshire project will deliver access to superfast broadband services to 96% of premises by end of 2018. Staffordshire County Council and Central Government want to extend coverage as far beyond this as possible.

There are approximately 16,000 premises that are not expected to have access to superfast speeds by the end of 2018, and represent the "final 4%" in Staffordshire.

To address the "final 4%" additional funding, the development and adoption of new technologies will be required. Should additional funding become available the postcodes will be modelled on a next best value for money basis. There are two alternative solutions you may consider in the meantime - the Better Broadband Scheme or Community Fibre Partnerships.

It is unfortunate that there isn't sufficient funding available to address 100% of the County at this moment in time. Please be assured that the Superfast Staffordshire project team will continue to work with the government and its commercial partners to address as much of Staffordshire as is technically possible, and as funds allow.

There is a Better Broadband connection voucher scheme for premises that currently cannot get a minimum of 2mbps. The voucher would provide up to £350 towards the cost of a satellite, wireless, 3/4g type system. Further details can be found here.

BT have set up a Community Fibre Partnership initiative, to allow communities to get a quotation and address the funding shortfall themselves. This means that you are not reliant on waiting to become the 'next best value for money'.

The Superfast Staffordshire project has launched a funding support package to compliment this initiative. If you get a quote from BT to deliver services in your area, the project will provide up to 50% of the gap funding required, if the community provide the remaining 50%. Further details can be found here.

When a cabinet is installed BT know how many properties will be connected to it and make an assumption about how many available connections will be taken up. If the take-up is higher than anticipated then BT will increase capacity by installing new connections cards into the cabinet.

BT Openreach actively monitor each cabinet and will automatically order the new cards, so that in many cases the upgrade will happen before the cabinet reaches capacity. On occasion, however, take-up is not only higher than expected but also happens very quickly, so that the cabinet reaches capacity and there is a short delay before more orders can be taken. 

It would not be feasible for Superfast Staffordshire to specify a higher capacity in every cabinet just in case it reaches capacity quickly. For one thing, this would add considerably to the cost of cabinets and would result in less overall coverage for the project - with fewer communities having the opportunity to benefit from faster broadband. Upgrades once the cabinet has gone live are carried out by BT Openreach as "business as usual" basis, and at no cost to Superfast Staffordshire. The best thing to do is to ensure that you order the new service as soon as you know that superfast broadband is available in your area.

 

By the end of Contract 1 & 2, around 98% of premises will have access to fibre and 96% will have access to speeds of 24Mbps and above. Some premises will be connected to fibre but have speeds of less than 24Mbps due to a number of factors, including the copper line distance to the upgraded roadside cabinet. Conversely some premises will have access to speeds up to 80Mbps. An explanation on speed vs distance is available here.

It should be noted that in some areas people have been advised that there is an issue with the condition of the existing copper or aluminium telephone line. As many of these were installed many years ago and were not intended for data transmission this is hardly surprising. If this applies to you then the matter should be taken up with your telecoms provider.

We are keen to ensure that broadband service providers are aware of the location of the newly built infrastructure and how to get access to it.  Service providers can register with BT Openreach via the website (www.openreach.co.uk) to get this information.
 

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