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- Where & When
- Get Superfast
- Other Information
- Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme
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 54Mbps (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.
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.
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).
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.
With fibre broadband, games will run quicker without lag and the connection won’t be lost.
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.
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 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!
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.
It doesn't matter how many users are using the internet at the same time.
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.
Connect with customers and suppliers in new ways such as through internet telephony (e.g. Skype) and high definition video conferencing.
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.
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.
The Superfast Staffordshire project is a partnership between Staffordshire County Council, Building Digital 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 2020.
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 2020. 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.
The BT Broadband Availability Checker will tell you if superfast broadband services are available at your property.
Using the BT Broadband Availability Checker
· Enter your landline number (without spaces) into the TELEPHONE field and click 'Submit'. This will generate a table of results if you have a BT landline.
· If you get a message saying there is no data available for your number, you will need to click on the 'Address Checker' link. Then click 'Proceed'.
· Enter your postcode in the POSTCODE field and click 'Submit'. Select your address from the list and click 'Submit' again to get your results.
Making sense of my BT Broadband Availability Checker results
You only need to focus on the top rows of the results table to quickly find out whether you can get superfast broadband at your property. Information will be displayed in one of the following product categories: VDSL, WBC FTTP and/or ADSL products.
If 'VDSL' is stated under 'Featured Products', this means that the cabinet your landline is connected to has been upgraded via FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) technology and you should be able to order an upgraded fibre broadband service.
The example above shows that fibre broadband is now available and that download speeds of between 80 and 70.4 megabits per second (Mbps) can be achieved on a 'Clean' line or between 80 and 49Mbps on an 'Impacted' line.
"Clean" relates to a line which is free from any wiring issues (i.e. in good condition) and "Impacted" relates to a line which may have wiring problems (e.g. poor extension wiring).
The information under the heading ADSL Products shows the speeds the resident was experiencing before the upgrade (up to 17Mbps) and will continue to experience until they order the new fibre service.
WBC FTTP Products
If 'WBC FTTP' is stated under 'Featured Products', this means that the landline to your property has been upgraded via Fibre to the Premise technology and that you can now order a superfast broadband service.
The example above shows that FTTP is available and that download speeds of up to 1000Mbps and upload speeds of up to 220Mbps can be achieved.
The information under the heading ADSL Products shows the speeds the resident was experiencing before the upgrade (up to 6Mbps) and will continue to experience until they order the new fibre service.
If 'ADSL Products' are the only products shown, this means that you can't order an improved service because your landline or the cabinet to which it is connected has not yet been upgraded to fibre broadband. For example:
Ordering your improved service
If the results from the BT Broadband Availability Checker show that fibre broadband is available, you won't get it automatically. You need to sign-up to a fibre broadband package of your choosing in order to take advantage of the 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.
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 2020. 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 2020, and represent the "final 5%" in Staffordshire.
As additional funding becomes available it will be allocated on the "next best value for money" basis in line with the national framework requirements. At the moment we cannot see any additional funding coming out of central government to complete the final 5%. Instead the government are banking on the forecast that over the next few years, approx. £550m should be returned to the programme from BT through the gain-share mechanism, which will be reinvested to get the nation to 98%. The final 2% will be more reliant on the Universal Service Obligation (2020), where residents will have the legal right to request a minimum of 10Mbps, along as it does not cost more than £3,400 per premise.
In the meantime the community may consider taking matters into their own hands and investigate a Community Fibre Partnership. This is where Openreach would work with you to establish the costs of the upgrade, and the community would be expected to make a contribution. The DCMS Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme can be used to support this initiative.
DCMS have recently launched a Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme which may prove to be a different way of getting the fibre service by aggregating the vouchers, especially if SME businesses are involved.
Further details can be found at the following links:
• Long line issues: http://bit.ly/2nRlno0
• DCMS Gigabit broadband Voucher Scheme: http://bit.ly/2Dmfnuh
It is unfortunate that there is insufficient funding available to ensure that 100% of the premises in Staffordshire can gain access to superfast services at this point. Please be assured that the Superfast Staffordshire programme team, BDUK and commercial partners are doing everything they can to extend provision as far as resources will allow.
Openreach 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 Gigabit Voucher Scheme can be used in conjunction with Openreach's Community Fibre Partnership. Businesses can claim up to £2,500 against the cost of connection either individually or as part of a group project. Residents can benefit from the scheme as part of a group project which also includes businesses, and can claim for a voucher of up to a value of £500. More information on this 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.
Enter your postcode, and find out when broadband is coming to your area, instantly.