Superfast Fibre BroadbandThe Big Build

Superfast fibre is lighting up the UK

Our network upgrade is one of the biggest and fastest in the world. More than 20 million homes and businesses already have access to superfast broadband. By the end of Spring 2014 we had already rolled out superfast fibre to around two-thirds of UK premises. And, working alongside the UK Government we're helping to make sure that 95 per cent of Britain get access to superfast fibre broadband by the end of 2017. So what's involved in getting the country connected and why does it take up to a year to get an area ready for fibre? Find out below...

How is it being rolled out?

Unfortunately, it's just not feasible to replace the entire copper network with fibre – we'd have to dig up the entire country. So we have two approaches:

1

Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC)

A part-fibre, part-copper solution, capable of delivering download speeds of up to 80Mbit/s and upload speeds of up to 20Mbit/s. With FTTC, we overlay fibre on the copper infrastructure running from an exchange to cabinets in the street. Copper will still be the final link (i.e. from the cabinet to your home or business).

2

Fibre to the Premises (FTTP)

A pure fibre solution, capable of delivering download speeds of up to 330Mbit/s and upload speeds of up to 30Mbit/s. If that's not fast enough for you, there's a 1Gbit/s already being tested. As the name implies, FTTP uses fibre all the way from the exchange to individual premises, usually delivered using underground cables.

See the power of fibre

What's so great about fibre?

The network that delivers today's phones and broadband is an all-copper infrastructure. But that means the further from the exchange you are, the slower your broadband speed.

Fibre is different. A single fibre is capable of carrying much more information than copper, and doing so in a far shorter space of time. Compared to copper, fibre is:

  • inherently more reliable
  • longer lasting
  • able to carry more data over long distances
  • resistant to electromagnetic interference
  • immune to corrosion
  • secure and immune to crosstalk
  • easier to handle and install.

The key stages from planning to go live

Once we start preparing an exchange to be enabled, it is typically 10 to 15 months (but could be longer) before it's ready to supply superfast fibre broadband to one or more street cabinets in the area. Why? Here's what’s involved…

Pre Planning

The most important thing is to know what the current picture is like in an exchange area. So we do a full assessment of the existing network infrastructure to provide accurate, up-to-date information for engineers.

Months 1-9: Preparing the exchange

We then agree and plan where the new equipment goes. As every exchange is different, we may have to create bespoke equipment. Once ordered and built, we install everything and upgrade the power facilities.

Months 3-9: Planning the network

While we're upgrading the exchange, we survey the area and draw up a plan for where the fibre, new ducts and street cabinets go. This often involves consultation with local councils to comply with local planning regulations. Cabinets themselves can be subject to delays (see our FAQ to learn more).

Months 10-15: Installation

The final stage is building from the exchange to new street cabinet locations that have passed the planning stage. When the first 10 cabinets are ready, we tell our customers so they can start to offer fibre broadband services to homes and businesses.


Our fibre broadband rollout is one of the fastest in the world

We're currently upgrading 2,000-3,000 cabinets a quarter and connecting over 100,000 premises with fibre every week.

But it's not easy. The local access network covers 30 million customers and 8 million broadband lines from approximately 5,500 local exchanges. 300 million telephone calls and 350 million internet connections are made across this network every day.

The key stages from planning to go live

Once we start preparing an exchange to be enabled, it is typically 10 to 15 months (but could be longer) before it's ready to supply superfast fibre broadband to one or more street cabinets in the area. Why? Here's what’s involved…

Pre Planning

The most important thing is to know what the current picture is like in an exchange area. So we do a full assessment of the existing network infrastructure to provide accurate, up-to-date information for engineers.

Months 1-9: Preparing the exchange

We then agree and plan where the new equipment goes. As every exchange is different, we may have to create bespoke equipment. Once ordered and built, we install everything and upgrade the power facilities.

Months 3-9: Planning the network

While we're upgrading the exchange, we survey the area and draw up a plan for where the fibre, new ducts and street cabinets go. This often involves consultation with local councils to comply with local planning regulations. Cabinets themselves can be subject to delays (see our FAQ to learn more).

Months 10-15: Installation

The final stage is building from the exchange to new street cabinet locations that have passed the planning stage. When the first 10 cabinets are ready, we tell our customers so they can start to offer fibre broadband services to homes and businesses.

When can I get it?

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Find out if the cabinet near you is enabled for fibre – or when it will arrive

Do you need planning permission for a new cabinet?

Find out the answer to this, and other frequently asked questions here >