Last chance to complete South Glos broadband surveys

Broadband - photo by charmcitygavin (licence: cc-attr)

Help bring faster  broadband to Bradley Stoke – complete the online surveys by Wednesday!

Local residents have just a few more days to complete two crucial surveys that could determine whether Government and Council money will be used to improve the notoriously slow broadband speeds experienced by many residents and businesses in Bradley Stoke.

South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) has agreed to add £2.2 million of its own money to the £710,000 allocated to the district by Broadband Delivery UK, the Government agency tasked with making the country’s broadband  the “best in Europe” by 2015.

The Government has given local Councils until the end of July to appoint a commercial telecommunications provider to install the necessary infrastructure and SGC is due to begin a “mini procurement competition” within the next few months.

The Council is currently undertaking a survey to capture data about residents and businesses’ current broadband service. The data will be used to encourage commercial suppliers to bid for the contract by demonstrating that residents and businesses in South Gloucestershire want access to faster, more reliable broadband services.

The surveys, which include a check of your current broadband speed, can be found here:

The Editor comments

I’d urge everyone in Bradley Stoke to complete these surveys, as the results could determine whether the Council chooses to bring superfast (>24Mbps) broadband to our town or bypass it in favour of other areas.

Residents and businesses in Bradley Stoke have already demonstrated exceptional demand for better broadband through our strong showing in BT’s 2010 Race to Infinity competition but it is essential that we keep up the pressure by reinforcing that message with a good showing in SGC’s own survey.

I spoke at the SGC Cabinet meeting on 6th February to emphasise Bradley Stoke’s needs and urged Councillors to set their sights higher than the 90% superfast coverage target they have given themselves – if necessary, by considering additional “community” funding sources (e.g. Town/Parish Councils or street-level community groups).

How disappointing it was to see that our own Town Council couldn’t find any space to promote the SGC broadband surveys in its recently distributed newsletter, preferring instead to use two whole pages each on “the new Bradley Stoke Town Council Office” and “How does a Town Council work?”.

Better Broadband Campaign

Photo: Cross-party and business support for the Better Broadband Campaign in 2010.

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  1. Just completed the on-line questionnaire (although not sure how much good it will do).

    Will our Conservative MP be supporting the case for priority for Bradley Stoke? Perhaps he, or one of his cronies could inform us.

  2. Meanwhile in the worst affected area of Bradley Stoke where most of us on ADSL 0117 have less than 2mb or worse :

    Works have started on the NGA cabinets in Little Stoke and also in Winterbourne high street.

    The cabinet for the majority of 0117 South Bradley Stoke is going in middle of March so when both exchanges go live on the 31st March we can order from our respective providers.

  3. What is the status of Inifinity rollout?? Upgrade work should have started for 0117 (Filton) but are we any clearer on which cabinets are getting upgraded? I am on Cab 44 (Palmers leaze, Ellen hay, etc) and heard from a BT guy it was getting fibre, but it is yet unconfirmed.

  4. Fred:

    The works for the NGA Cab coming from Winterborune, which will serve South Bradley Stoke and parts of Stoke Gifford are due to start on the 21st March. I recall Ellen hay and Palmers Leaze being on the rollout. I can check for you what is your postcode?

  5. Matt – would be very surprised if this is the case as Palmers/Ellen Hay are all on 01454 numbers and served from Almondsbury.

    But would be very happy if fibre goes near this end of town!

  6. Also, what will this mean for us if/when it does become available? I have a 12-month contract with Virgin Media (on their ADSL), will I be able to upgrade immediately or am I stuck with my current ADSL setup and plan until my contract runs out?

  7. @Fred

    I have checked your postcode the result :

    FTTC YES – Which means at some point you are going to be able to order it.

    Quite a few of the NGA cabs have gone in for Filton, the Winterborne ones should be done before the end of the month.

    I don’t know if that means we can order at that point, I guess we shall just have to wait and see If you look at the Filton NGA cabs in Kingsway at Little stoke and do a postcode search on a fibre ISP you get a coming soon message. I dare say that will happen here very soon.

    @SH The document can be found on line if you google for it :

    It’s an excel file of every cabinet in the country and it’s respective postcode. Very useful!! Enjoy

  8. @Matt

    Thank you for that, wow that is exciting!

    Let me clarify what you are saying though: you are saying people in South BS on the 0117 (Filton) copper are now getting FTTC from the Winterbourne exchange? As in, they are rerouting our lines?

  9. @Fred – No need to reroute our lines Openreach just install the new fibre cab and connect it all up. Treat the NGA cab as another exchange. I have spoken to different engineers in the area, and fibre ISPS’s up and down the country who have confirmed that this is how fibre works.

    I think further down the line 01454 will get fibre from Filton and Winterborne as well.

  10. @Matt

    Aha, I see, well that is interesting!
    Are you in 01179 yourself? You seem like you know what you are talking about. Would it be too forward to ask you if you could email me if you learn of any new developments?

    I only really ask because the time is coming up for me to either renew my rent on my house or move somewhere else. I had planned to move somewhere with Virgin fibre, but if Infinity is coming soon then I would rather stay put!

    Again, thanks so much for your help. My email is fred(at)almostfa(fullstop)me

  11. Thank you Matt K for your good advice. We love to hear more from you. If the town stands together, we can formulate a strategy to get the best out of it. If there are any other enthusiasts let us rope them in too. Please present your idea at the next Town Council meeting on the 14th too.

  12. Just out of interest, given all the fuss about BT not upgrading Almondsbury and Bradley Stoke getting left out, why are we only hearing now that actually there’s a possibility we don’t need Almondsbury upgraded because we’ll get fibre from Filton / Winterbourne anyway?

  13. The race to infinity was a marketing exercise to promote the new product. Now the dust has settled BT have targets to reach.

    If you look at other areas that are being enabled up and down the country a large majority of these are new housing estates because they have ducting and cabs which is what what FTTC is designed for. The areas that can’t get the product are directly cabled to the exchange. As I said in previous posts all that is needed is to pull fibre and install NGA cabinets.

  14. Matt K – so are you saying that cabinets that are currently connected to Almondsbury exchange will be switched to be connected by fibre to Winterbourne?

  15. SGC sould be announcing soon, see, their BDUK plans and this will confirm if Bradley Stoke is included.

    The options to deploy fibre to the rest of Bradley Stoke covered by the Almondsbury exchange, include

    1 – Upgrade/replace Almondsbury exchange
    2 – Build new Bradley Stoke exchange
    3 – Remove Almondsbury exchange and extend Winterbourne
    4 – Extend fibre from Winterbourne to those who want fibre and leave ADSL from Almonsdbury for the rest.

    Option 4 is probably the cheapest and most likely, but until an announcement is made no one can be sure. It does bring into question would we need a phone line to have broadband, with Internet from Winterbourne and phone from Almondsbury.

  16. @Simon

    From what Matt K is saying, it seems Option 4 is what they are going with on the 01179 lines (looking at the map it makes sense, the Winterbourne exchange is much closer than Filton geographically).

    I just wish there was some way to confirm this, since all I get from Phonenumber/postcode checkers is that fibre is not available (no notice about coming soon or anything).

    A truly helpful checker for fibre availability would be a cabinet checker, then you would know whether *you* were getting fibre, not just your exchange (which as Option 4 shows, may or may not be even applicable).

  17. Not exactly.

    BT will have to add a cabinet attached to a 21CN exchange. This new cabinet will have connections for Nx(128), and this number limits those that can get fibre.

    I believe that BT have several cabinet sizes for 128 and 256 connections. How this will workout in Bradley Stoke where demand is likely to be very high I do not know.

  18. @Fred Google “PCP Postcode checker” it’s a google doc file you should find it in the broadband forum that comes up. The December 2011 version is not the most up to date version but I am currently in talks to get the most recent update. I will keep you posted.

  19. My postcode says Winterbourne, but only 10% lines.

    I am afraid what this means is, a small part of my postcode is already served by Winterbourne and will get fibre, whilst the remaining 90% is served by Filton, meaning no fibre..?

    Could that be correct?

  20. @Fred – I have found out a lot more about this in the last few days just by doing research and taking walks around the area, identifying cab numbers and following pavement dig tracks. Cabinet 16 is actually located by the traffic lights on the gloucester road Winterboune road junction. See Google street view link –
    On the 21st March BT OPenreach will start to install a new fibre cab at this location, and many of the postcodes in Stoke gifford who receive their voice from Winterbourne are coming up in postcode checkers as having having fibre from 1st april.
    I have yet to find any Filton voice postcodes coming up in postcode fibre checkers.

    The percentage of lines is rather confusing and I am trying to find out from an expert what this all means in terms of fibre.
    As it stands Cabinet 16 once fibre enabled is set to bring fibre to 85 postcodes but as you pointed out does that mean all of them. It’s getting more confusing by the day!!


  21. Ok seems my research has made me realise the horrible truth.
    I and many others will not get FTTC as we are directly connected to the exchange.

    There are a staggering amount of postcodes in South Bradley Stoke that are fed directly from the exchange which will go some way to explain the atrocious speeds that we have.

    BT are working on a solution to this, that I believe is being trailed in Cornwall. The alternative is true Fibre overlay to the property which would be nice but will cost a fortune and is completely unrealistic at this time.

    I have also discovered that there is a mix:

    Many households in South BS are connected to Winterbourne exchange, and will have 01454 numbers, so these lucky people could order Fibre when it goes Live in April, providing the NGA box gets installed this week.

  22. SGC deadline for broadband proposals was Fri, 16th Mar, so we should soon hear what will happen for

    1 – Almondbury and other exchanges not in BT’s FTTx plans
    2 – No cable access
    3 – Customers directly connected to the exchange

    I fear though that SGC, BT and Virgin will mess up again.

  23. @ Matt

    I’m connected to the cabinet on Webbs Wood Rd near the primary school. Any idea what might happen with that one?

  24. They have been doing work at the end of Stean Bridge Road. Looks like they dug a channel and installed a new green box then connected it to an older one nearer the roundabout…

    Any idea why they did that?

  25. SH (Editor)


    Has SGC revealed any details yet on what proposals it has received.

    I believe the BDUK is supposed to be OPEN, so it would be nice to know who has offered what, and the cost, before SGC make any decisions.

    With BT apparently rolling out FTTC for Stoke Guifford and Little Stoke from Winterbourne, and not Filton, it begs the question why not Bradley Stoke from Winterbourne as well, NOW!

  26. As I understand it, SGC should now have an accurate picture of which postcode areas aren’t going to be upgraded commercially.

    The next step is to put out a public tender for the work to upgrade the remaining areas on a subsidised basis.

    According to the plan agreed at the February Cabinet meeting, this “mini procurement competition” will take place in Spring 2012 and a contract will be awarded to the (single) successful supplier in Summer 2012.

    Infrastructure and civil works are due to begin in Winter 2012 and the roll-out should be completed by April 2015.

    Strange how the final date is the most precise – something to do with elections I believe!

  27. @Mike

    New fibre cabinet in Stean Bridge Road will serve 100% of the following postcodes.


  28. @Matt K

    They all appear to be Little Stoke postcodes. Why would they install it in the oldest part of Bradley Stoke if its not upgrading that area, less than 10m from the first house on Stean Bridge?

    I know Stean Bridge and the roads off it are served by Virgin, just interesting understanding the infrastructure and logistics around the fibre upgrade.

  29. Sorry I pasted the wrong Fibre box, this is the right one for the box in stean bridge road.

    BS328BH {SSFLT}{P39} 0 25%
    BS348PT {SSFLT}{P39} 0 25%
    BS328DJ {SSFLT}{P39} 0 71%
    BS328AH {SSFLT}{P39} 0 97%
    BS328AG {SSFLT}{P39} 0 100%
    BS328AF {SSFLT}{P39} 0 100%
    BS328AD {SSFLT}{P39} 0 100%
    BS328AJ {SSFLT}{P39} 0 100%
    BS328AE {SSFLT}{P39} 0 100%
    BS328AQ {SSFLT}{P39} 0 100%
    BS328YL {SSFLT}{P39} 0 100%

  30. So Stean Bridge road has Virgin cable already and they’re upgrading that, but areas without cable already are commercially not viable – how does that work?

    Does anyone know the postcodes that are fed directly from the exchange (and also why on earth they would have done that)?

  31. I have been saying that for years.

    The only explanation possible is that BT are competing where BDUK funding is not available, ie Virgin already deployed, and holding back everywhere else to soak up BDUK subsidy.

    Historically, cabinets where deployed to trunk bundles of lines to customers. Local cabinets where probably full and BT may have decided it was not worth adding new cabinets for a few new houses but to directly attach these houses to the exchange. BT are committed to rolling out FTTP to from Apr 2013, but I am not sure if this is for cabinet connected customers only.

    Finally, if you are unhappy about any aspect of BT broadband in Bradley Stoke, please email BTs chairman Ian Livingstone. The more people that complain, the more likely he is to do something.

  32. Hi

    Just use his name, as shown above add (at)bt(dot)com.

    I have been emailing for about a year now, and he has always responded in a friendly positive manner, but it has achieved nothing.

    Yesterday he responded to me saying

    “We roll out in a priority order based on where we believe is best to get a return. … but we will go through the economic and technical aspects for every exchange and cabinet in the UK. “

  33. I thought I’d check here for an update to our broadband woes after hearing the announcement of Bristol being one of the Super-connected cities following the budget. No doubt the new announcement will mean 100Mbps for those in the city whilst Bradley Stoke will continue to suffer from what technically can’t even be called broadband anymore due to the speeds available (or should the be unavailable!)

    I was interested in the previous comments that referred to the postcode checker. I stuck mine in (BS32 0DJ, Coriander Drive) and it comes up as FTTC from Winterbourne covering 4%. I’m on an 01179 number and reading the comments above expect the result (specifically the 4% number) to mean I’m more than likely not going to be able improve my 0.8Mbps connection in the short term but somehow there will be a couple of lucky people on my road that have a different cable route and they will; I’ll bet they don’t even use the Internet!!

  34. Dave W

    Hi if you have a 0117 9 number you are connected to Filton Exchange, and from what Matt K is saying you may have a direct connection to the exchange. Please check the spreadsheet, listed above, to confirm if you are on the FTTC roll out with other Filton consumers.

  35. It’s no big surprise that BT are prioritising the cabling of Virgin enabled streets. After all, BT own the copper, which means they are already making money from those people not on cable. Financially it is more prudent to offer fibre to current fibre customers, to gain a larger customer base. This is capitalism, and what happens when you privatise telecomms 🙁

  36. @Dave – This is the confusing thing, I don’t know why such a small percentage of South Bradley Stoke are connected to the WINTERBOURNE exchange they all must have 01454 numbers?

    Does anybody on here have an 01454 number and live in South Bradley Stoke, not those who are on the crossover point in Juniper Way and Palmers Leaze.

  37. According to South Gloucestershire Council’s website, the results of the Council’s recent consultation on commercial operators’ plans for the rollout of superfast broadband are to be published by 1st May 2012.

    That will tell us if BT is intending to include the Almondsbury exchange in its own commercial rollout that completes in 2014.

    If BT states it isn’t going to do it, we’ll then have to wait until the Council appoints its own telecommunications supplier in “Summer 2012” to find out if we’ll be getting superfast (at least 24Mbps) or standard (at least 2Mbps) broadband on 01454 numbers through the Government/Council-subsidised work.

  38. Looks from the Openreach website that Winterbourne is now taking orders.
    Checked PlusNet for a 0117 number in Juniper Way but it seems that is a Filton exchange connection.

  39. So it’s back to chasing Virgin Media for cable again. Has anybody had any success in Bradley stoke getting this. My problem is : I live in a Pursey Drive coldi and the last CATV duct is just outside the coldi private driveway.
    The neighbour across the way has it, but it’s nicely disguised in some trees. VM would have to pull a cable across the driveway or dig a small trench which I don’t think is going to happen.

  40. I live in Cornfield Close, with CATV ducts at the top of the road and alongside the road in Brook Way.

    At a guess I am 20 meters from one of these and they keep saying no.

    I just cannot understand this. Fifteen years ago, when I lived in Ellicks Close, the whole street of 200+ houses where connected in a few days by 2/3 men cutting a trench in the tarmac pavement and laying the cable.

    Surely this could be done again, the infrastructure to the street exists now, and Virgin would recover its costs very quickly.

  41. The lack of decent broadband in Crystal Way irritated me so much, I am having a direct fibre pull put into my house by BT in 2 weeks time. I won’t even go into the cost :S

    Such is my irritation with 0.3MBit ADSL (that isn’t even stable) that extreme measures are needed…

    If there is anyone reading this from Crystal Way and you want to get a decent connection as well, let me know 🙂

  42. Dan – sounds expensive…4 figures? 5??! Where are they pulling it from? If they can do it ‘easily enough’ wonder why they don’t do it everywhere.

  43. Dan – could you please provide some details on on this?

    I did check this out a few years ago and it was not available domestically but used a BT leased line. Very expensive.

  44. DaveP is right about the 4 or 5 figures – it’s certainly very costly. It’s a 750 Meter new fibre pull to the nearest splitter from here. I struck a deal with my company – don’t be under the illusion I have pockets of cash to pay for all of it myself!

    I was considering setting up a strong wifi antenna and offering decent local broadband for some sort of small charge, but not sure if it is worth it or if there is interest 🙂

  45. Not that it really makes any difference in understanding this but I’ve been wondering how BT break out each line for Exchange Only lines.

    Obviously we don’t get FTTC on Bradley Stoke 01179 numbers served from the Filton exchange because we don’t route via a cabinet, but there must be some point that a multi pair cable is broken down to serve individual houses, or is it just grease filled joints in pits to slowly drop the size of the cable until you get the few pairs that come into your house?

    It just seems a strange technical decision to have been made in the event of faults occuring on directly connected pairs at such a distance from the exchange (for very close connections I could understand it). I always assumed the use of cabinets and street furniture allowed for inherent maintainability e.g. patching onto a different pair to bypass minor cable issues.

    It’ll be interesting to see the output of the consultation even if we have to wait until May to find out if our wait for any improvement can be measured in months or more likely years.

  46. BT probably found it much cheaper to push a bundle of copper cables from the exchange to a duct in your street.

    From here, the cable pairs will be terminated/joined to another set that runs to your house.

    As no cabinet exists, or a place to hold a mini DSLAM unit, BT is left with the option of running fibre from the exchange straight to your house. It is unlikely that BT will run one fibre to one house, more likely a single fibre to a some sort of splitter to then to your house.

  47. I note the results for the survey were published yesterday;

    But I see no link to the results anywhere. Has ayone seen them yet to get an indication of the demand etc. from the Bradley Stoke area so we can draw some assumptions on how we may be included within the consultation and future work. If not I’ll be dropping an email to them tomorrow to try and get sight of them.

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