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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. The current average broadband speed in the UK is 12Mbps.

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).

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.

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.

Anyone in an FTTC-enabled area will be able to upgrade to FTTP 'on demand'. ‘Fibre on Demand’ [FoD] allows any end-user to have a full fibre connection installed to their home or business premise. There will be a charge for the associated network build and an installation charge – all based on distance from BT’s nearest network nodes. FoD will allow access to speeds of up to 330Mbps download and 30Mbps upload.

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 ISP package you select may also affect the speed available.  Superfast Staffordshire will be working to ensure that everyone gets as fast a speed as possible given their geographical location.

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.

Get films and TV shows in seconds

With fibre broadband you can download the latest movies instantly or watch a favourite TV show whenever you want.

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 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 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!

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 hosted, saving energy too. NB VPN is a system where people can access work intranets and private networks over the internet.

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

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 £9.12 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 our Can I get Fibre Broadband page.

The primary objective of the project is to address those areas of the county that are not covered by the commercial rollout.

To this end the County Council undertook an Open Market Review 2012 to establish where the commercial suppliers were delivering fibre networks, or where they were intending to by October 2015. This information was used to define the gap in provision and thus establish the project intervention area.   This was undertaken at postcode level and formed the basis of the Invitation To Tender (ITT). Postcode data was used because it was the most comprehensive and accurate source of data available in terms of where premises existed and therefore where fibre connectivity was or was not available. Any postcode that was not served fully by the commercial coverage was included in the ITT so all gaps would be considered. The key driver for the project was to deliver fibre connectivity to as many premises in Staffordshire for the fixed funding available, and thus ensuring best value for money and maximum connectivity.

Now we enter the deployment phase of the project it is clear that extending the fibre footprint beyond the commercial rollout will lead to some areas of overlap. It is accepted that this is inevitable and the project will seek to minimise this at every opportunity. The project is seeking to minimise the level of overbuild, whilst addressing the gaps in provision.

There are a small number of remote areas in the county which are unable to get broadband at the moment. Under the contract we will be able to find new solutions for these areas and ensure that there are no areas with less than 2Mbps by 2018.

We have been granted a further £1.68 million by the government to extend delivery of superfast broadband across the county.

Superfast Staffordshire has undertaken a further Open Market Review 2014 to define the revised intervention area. This time the commercial operators were asked to identify postcodes that were not expected to get access to services in excess of 15Mbps by 2018. These postcodes were then deemed to be the intervention area, and allowed the project to identify premises connected to the fibre network, but not capable of ordering a superfast service.

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 will need to visit your premises to install the necessary equipment.

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.

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.

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.

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 18,000 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.

We have always stated that the timings given are indicative only. As we proceed with the rollout we are encountering a number of unforeseen issues in the remoter areas. A number of cabinets have suffered delays due to the requirement for extensive civil engineering works.

Engineering work is undertaken to build, maintain or repair infrastructure. This may be required for a variety of reasons such as blocked / broken ducts, installation of new ducts, desilting underground infrastructure to name a few. Very often traffic management schemes and diversions will be required. In the worst cases, issues occur in multiple locations which serve to exaggerate the delays.

Unfortunately, we do not have timescales for cabinets delayed by engineering work due to the unpredictable nature of the problem. However, the engineering teams are working as quickly as they can to resolve these issues.

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 97% of premises will have access to fibre and 95% 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. 

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.

 

This is where data is stored and accessed by the internet (‘Clouds’) instead of on your computer – this can include online storage and on-line applications. The software and data are no longer hosted on your computer or server, but remotely as a data centre. Some cloud computing services are free and some are available as a pay-as-you-go service.

Many people already use cloud computing without realising it in things like email accounts, Facebook, You Tube and Google Maps.

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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