Q. When will I get superfast fibre broadband?
A. It depends. We plan to roll out superfast fibre broadband to two-thirds of the UK by the end of Spring 2014. If your local exchange is part of the our commercial plans, and we have completed our work, we'll let our customers – the country's communications providers – know so they can start selling. You can view the rollout programme on an exchange by exchange basis here. Don't lose heart if you don't see your exchange on the list now. We announce a new batch of exchanges every three months. Yours could well be amongst the list of exchanges in the next release.
Q. How do you decide which exchange areas get superfast fibre broadband?
A. Working closely with our customers, we consider various criteria. They include population density, likely demand, the layout of our existing network, the cost of deployment and, obviously, the potential return on our investment.
Q. Why is it taking so long for you to upgrade your network?
A. Along with the exchange work we are overlaying part of our existing copper network with fibre (the part between exchanges and green cabinets). Due to the scale of this work we are using a rolling programme.
Q. I've been told that the cabinet my home is connected to isn't able to deliver superfast fibre broadband. Is that it for me?
A. We're looking at solutions to overcome the technical limitations of the way our network is built in some areas. Usually, where our network is built in a non-standard way, the costs to deploy to it mean that it is not commercially viable for us to provide Superfast fibre broadband to you without external funding. The solutions we are working on in the majority of cases would be for a tender bid to win government funding, meaning we can revisit these areas.
Q. What's the difference between Fibre to the Premises and Fibre to the Cabinet?
A. Fibre to the Premises is a pure fibre connection from your home to the exchange, delivering download speeds of up to 300Mbit/s. Fibre to the Cabinet provides a fibre path between the cabinet near you and the exchange. But the final leg uses the existing copper network between your home and the cabinet. This will still deliver much faster speeds than are available over standard broadband, offering download speeds of up to 80Mbit/s and upload speeds of up to 20Mbit/s.
Q. How do you decide where you're going to put a new fibre broadband cabinet?
A. New cabinets are located as close as possible to existing cabinets and always within 100m of them. We carefully consider various factors, such as safety (to pedestrians and other road users), visual impact, the security of adjacent properties, and ease of access for installation and maintenance.
Q. Do you need planning permission for a new cabinet?
A. Planning permission is not usually required, unless it's in a national park, conservation area and other area of special interest. Legislation states: Under Part 24 of the Town & Country Planning Act BT as a Code Operator has deemed planning permission to install Cabinets so no notification at the planning stage is required in most cases under this piece of legislation. However if the Cabinet is to be installed in Article 1 (5) land i.e. National Parks , Conservation Areas etc then a Prior Notification application must be sent to the Local Planning Authority (LPA).
Q. I represent a local group and want to know when superfast fibre broadband will be available in our area. Who do we contact?
A. If investment is coming from public subsidy, we would expect to be one of a number of bidders, as part of an open tender. Even so, if you have been told that your cabinet is not part of our commercial plans and you feel that you could arrange private funding , please contact us at email@example.com.
Q. I'm a councillor. I'm getting more and more complaints from my constituents about where you're installing your new superfast fibre broadband cabinets. Is there any process in place to tell me about this kind of thing in advance?
A. When we select an area for a network upgrade, we make every effort to brief the relevant authority via the Chief Executive's office and their regeneration/planning departments. We also provide literature and naturally keep in close contact during the actual installation process.
Q. Why are your cabinets painted green?
A. We order them that way from the manufacturer. If a council planning team requests another colour, perhaps to match the special character of an area or to blend in with existing street furniture, we'll consider it. However, we'll only agree to change the colour of our cabinets in exceptional circumstances.
Q. I live in a rural location. I can't even get a decent broadband speed now. Will I ever get superfast fibre broadband?
A. The cost of extending our fibre network beyond cities and large towns is huge. As a business, we have to recoup such costs. In areas where the take-up of superfast fibre broadband is likely to be comparatively small, we would be forced to charge our customers (Communication Providers) a premium which makes it commercially challenging. The reality is that it could well take a government subsidy to bring superfast fibre broadband to you, and details can often be found on your County Councils website under Broadband Development UK (BDUK).
Q. Are there any alternatives for rural areas?
As BDUK Government subsidy funding will be put out to commercial tender which we will bid for, we are developing a portfolio of products that address line length and other challenges in rural areas. These products would typically not cost in for a suitable commercial return, but may be viable with public subsidy.
Q. Who can I talk to locally about working together to generate funding for the deployment of superfast fibre broadband?
A. The organisations involved in this vary from area to area. As a first step, we suggest making contact with your local authority, as they will be better placed to suggest who to speak to.
Q. On my chosen Communications Provider’s line checker, the availability date for superfast fibre broadband has changed. Why is that?
A. Please be aware that the dates shown are advisory only as we sometimes encounter difficulties deploying the new network.
The deployment of a superfast fibre broadband cabinet can be delayed by a number of issues. Typically these are: 1. Our underground duct routes are congested 2. There are utility cables or underground structures where we want to lay ours 3. We have been unable to agree a suitable location with your local authority 4. The costs of providing electrical power have become excessive and meant the cabinet is no longer economic to deploy in that location.
Any cabinets that fall into delay will display a date at the end of the quarter (eg March, June, September, December) as an advisory date for deployment. Please note, this will change to the next subsequent quarter until a definitive ‘ready for service’ date can be advised.
We are sorry that you may have to wait a number of months in some cases for a solution. If you require further information please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that we cannot tell you whether your area will get superfast fibre broadband in the future if not yet published on our “Where and When” rollout plan, or deal with questions about a live service which should be made to your Communications Provider.
Q: My cabinet has been repeatedly delayed, and now appears to have been moved from March this year to the end of your programme in 2014. Why has this happened?
A: Deploying fibre cabinets is a complex engineering challenge, which involves not only provision of fibre, but availability of power connections, planning consent for the cabinet itself in some cases, road closures, traffic management permissions and space within our duct network to make the necessary connections.
In a small number of cases we encounter problems which can delay the cabinet by several quarters, and take time to resolve; in the vast majority of cases these are caused by power provision and local planning permission. We work closely with the power companies and local authorities to minimise such delays.
In order to avoid repeatedly delaying these cabinets, we have moved their due dates to the end of our commercial programme to reduce multiple changes to the likely activation date. We will continue to seek solutions for these cabinets and where possible will activate them before the end date given.