Superfast broadband promised for 01454 numbers by summer 2014

Superfast broadband is promised for Bradley Stoke by summer 2014.

BT and South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) have announced that Bradley Stoke is to be the first South Gloucestershire town to benefit from their joint state-aided superfast broadband investment project.

The upgrade will mostly benefit premises served by the Almondsbury telephone exchange (01454 numbers) that are outside the coverage area of the Virgin Media cable network.

The first homes and businesses should be able to order the new superfast fibre broadband service “from summer 2014”.

Other communities set to benefit as a result of today’s announcement include Barrs Court, Lower Almondsbury, Olveston, Rudgeway, Thornbury town centre, Tockington, Tormarton and Warmley.

The work represents the second phase of the South Gloucestershire BDUK broadband investment project, following an earlier announcement that Pucklechurch and Wick are to receive upgraded services from June 2014.

The council says that 94 per cent of premises in South Gloucestershire will have access to superfast speeds of 24Mbps and above by March 2015. Additionally, all premises within the district will have access to a minimum speed of 2Mbps by March 2016.

Councillor John Goddard, Chair of South Gloucestershire Council’s Resources Sub-Committee, said:

“We recognise that high speed internet connections are vital for South Gloucestershire’s economic future, and for promoting business growth and encouraging inward investment, which is why we are delighted to announce that Bradley Stoke is our first town to benefit from the roll out of superfast broadband under this partnership. Today’s announcement marks a major achievement for this large and complex project.”

“Bradley Stoke is our largest area to date to benefit from the roll out of superfast broadband, with the first homes and businesses able to order the latest technology by next summer.”

Bill Murphy, managing director of next generation networks for BT Group, said:

“This is another important milestone for a partnership which is making rapid progress. Working with our partners, we are able to bring this exciting technology to locations where the economics and engineering challenges are that much greater.”

“High-speed fibre is increasingly important if local households and businesses are to make the most of the huge range of opportunities offered by the internet, whether they are seeking to start a new business, find new customers, undertake on-line training or simply wishing to browse for entertainment or leisure purposes.”

Filton and Bradley Stoke MP Jack Lopresti said:

“I’m delighted to hear that homes and businesses in Bradley Stoke will be amongst the first to benefit from the new service. As a rapidly growing town, it is vital that local infrastructure keeps up with demand and enables the town to continue to thrive.”

“The campaign for better broadband was one of the first initiatives I took up following my election in 2010, meeting with South Gloucestershire Council after receiving a great deal of correspondence from constituents on this matter. I’ve met with Department for Culture, Media and Sport Minister Ed Vaizey, and I’m pleased that the Government saw the merit in providing funding to this project. I also met with representatives from BT, and I’m glad we have now almost realised our aims for long overdue, constituency-wide superfast broadband coverage.”

Bradley Stoke South Councillors John Ashe & Rob Jones and Bradley Stoke Central and Stoke Lodge Councillors Sarah Pomfret & Brian Hopkinson commented:

“We are delighted to see that Bradley Stoke is the first town set to benefit from the council’s publicly-funded superfast broadband project because you won’t find a community anywhere in the country as determined as our town is not to be left in the broadband slow lane.”

“We know that poor broadband services are a major barrier to economic growth and investment, whilst also restricting individuals and families in accessing online services such as educational activities, communication, entertainment, shopping and paying bills.”

“Residents and businesses should not have to struggle to take maximum advantage of the internet and online services and we look forward to the first Bradley Stoke households being able to order fibre broadband from summer 2014.”

“And we will keep lobbying the council to make the maximum amount of information available to the public, including which specific Bradley Stoke roads will be able to order fibre broadband first.”

Additional information provided to The Journal by South Gloucestershire Council explains some of the “economic and engineering challenges” referred to by Mr Murphy:

BT will be bringing a range of technologies to Bradley Stoke, including Fibre to the Cabinet and Fibre to the Premise, as well as designing the solution for exchange-only telephone lines. It will be the biggest area of fibre deployment, and is the most complex from a ‘fibre network design’ perspective.

The existing copper network in Bradley Stoke has resulted in a complex picture with, for example, some parts of the same street being serviced by different telephone exchanges. A large proportion of Bradley Stoke is also served directly from these exchanges, some distance away, rather than through street cabinets, which is the norm.

In order to install fibre in the most cost effective way, this means that as part of the project, the copper network needs to be completely re-arranged in those areas, to make it possible to install new fibre-enabled cabinets. Bringing fibre to those new street cabinets resolves the problem of Bradley Stoke not having its own telephone exchange, as it brings fibre directly into Bradley Stoke – much closer to people’s homes and businesses. The council’s project will address these complex issues.

BT announced in April 2011 that it was upgrading its Filton exchange (serving 0117 numbers) to provide superfast broadband but, so far, very few subscribers in Bradley Stoke have been able to order the service. As reported recently in The Journal, the company recently upgraded a street cabinet at the junction of Ellan Hay Road and Baileys Court Road and it is hoped that premises in the nearby ‘herbs’ roads will be able to order superfast broadband from the end of September.

Photo: Cllr John Goddard with Matt Lloyd, Next Generation Access Programme Manager for BT.

UPDATE (26th Sep): South Gloucestershire Council’s answers to questions submitted by The Journal

Q. Can you provide figures detailing how many Bradley Stoke premises will benefit from today’s announcement and how many of those premises will be able to access superfast (24Mps+) services, as opposed to the very limited ‘standard’ service of 2Mbps.

A. More than 3,500 homes in Bradley Stoke are in the intervention area, with the first homes and businesses able to order the improved broadband services by summer 2014. BT will carry out detailed surveying in order to carefully plan the deployment in Bradley Stoke. Until this survey work has been completed, it is too early to state figures regarding access to superfast broadband speeds. Once these surveys are complete, we will have more details on the deployment plan, including a more accurate picture of which areas will get which solution. A range of technology will be deployed across Bradley Stoke, including Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC), Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) and the Exchange-Only (EO) lines solution, which is still undefined in terms of technology.

Q. Are any premises on 0117 numbers that have yet to benefit from BT’s upgrade of the Filton exchange included in the council’s project?

A. This announcement relates to the Almondsbury exchange, as this area has no commercial deployment overlap. The Filton exchange has had a commercial deployment – this exchange has been upgraded under BT’s commercial plans. There will be deployments in Filton in the future to fill in the gaps left by the commercial rollout.

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  1. Sorry – posting again. Interesting reading the editor’s extra info from SGC. FTTP could be a very interesting solution for some in the long term, especially as they’ll likely get some extremely good speeds via that technology.

    From a selfish perspective I can only assume that the Webbs Wood Road cabinet serving Juniper/Majoram etc will be upgraded sooner rather than later. I mean, how hard would it be to run a few hundred yards of fibre from the one they’re currently upgrading??

    But good news all round. Now the impatient winter wait starts …

  2. What’s going on? Positive news about broadband in Bradley Stoke…and it’s not April 1st..!! Here’s hoping all goes to plan although I’ll hold final celebrations until the time I’m reading the Journal at home via fibre.

    Any news on what will dictate FTTP? Or what the cost / options are for FTTP?

  3. One further comment, one doesn’t want to be negative on what is a relatively good news day, but we’re told the ‘first’ homes will be able to order by summer 2014, do we know when the ‘last’ homes will be able to order by?

  4. Great news!

    The saddest part of this whole episode is, from the article above, that the original deployment of telephone infrastructure was piecemeal and haphazard.

    What were BT and BSDC doing?

  5. R.King wrote: “I am really happy that we are the first to get the super fast broadband here.”

    Rather than the first, we will be some of the last to get it. 82% of premises in South Gloucestershire either already have it or will get it by spring 2014. This project is about filling in the gaps that BT said it couldn’t afford to fill without the help of state aid.

    Let’s hope that everybody in Bradley Stoke is given access to superfast broadband (24Mbps+) and not the paltry 2Mbps that 6% of South Gloucestershire will be left with in March 2016.

  6. I’m glad we have 120mbps I feel sorry that BS have to wait so long for just 24mbps it should have been taken up by Virgin but it’s their loss.

  7. This is great news and something to look forward too

    But I notice that there is this question of being able to ORDER the faster broadband service from your provider, which most probable will be at an extra charge per month on your existing bill and not being able to benefit with the extra megs automatically when it comes, eventually, which is the way I interpret it.

    Correct me if I’m wrong!!

  8. @Ed – When I heard the announcement on BBC Radio Bristol this morning referring to Bradley Stoke and Almondsbury I immediately expected this to only benefit those on Almondsbury 01454 numbers. Yet the photo in your article features Cllr John Goddard with Matt Lloyd at the “Welcome to Bradley Stoke” sign at the southern start of Bradley Stoke Way in 0117 territory. Will those on slow 0117 lines also be upgraded? I wonder if South Glos know and will answer your question?

    @Simon2 – the original deployment of telephone infrastructure did what it was supposted to do, provide everyone with a phone line. Broadband came later. There is no point blaming BT or BSTC for a piecemeal install. They (and the builders of the developments) did what was required a the time.

    @Matt K – you never know those on EOLs may end up with FTTP!

  9. @RichardA – Bradley Stoke was a planned development, so I do expect BT/BSDC to have considered the location of exchanges, current and future developments when installing the infrastructure.

    Whatever happened is now irrelevant, this news does confirms that within a year we will get broadband infrastructure we need.

  10. I’ve modified the third paragraph of the article to use the wording in the SGC press release. This makes it clear that the first (but possibly not all) customers will be able to order the new superfast service from summer 2014. Sorry for any confusion.

  11. Victor mentions about being able to ORDER the faster broadband service.

    It certainly would be interesting to know how much more BT would put on my bill if I ordered it.

  12. Fibre broadband can be ordered from a number of ISPs, you’re not obliged to use BT (this is a condition of the state aid).

    Taking Plusnet as an example, their currently advertised standard prices for calls and unlimited broadband (excluding any introductory offers) are £9.99 for ADSL (up to 16Mbps but probably averaging about 2Mbps in the Bradley Stoke intervention area) and £19.99 for superfast fibre (up to 76Mbps).

    Other providers are available.

  13. After the zero consequence of our relatively good result in the Race to Infinity this is great news! I certainly wasn’t expecting superfast broadband in 2014 (fingers crossed that this remains the case).

    Well done to all of those who have campaigned for this!

  14. Does this just mean that only if you order fibre bradband you will see a speed increase 20+mb, and/or will standard broadband packages increase in speed from the average of 1mb to eg 6mb?

  15. @Dave – as with all DSL broadband technologies speed is dependent on distance. Bradley Stokers have slow broadband as we are a great distance from Filton and Almondsbury exchanges. Fibre to the cab means that the equipment is moved from the exchange to the street cabinet. As most of us are close to a street cabinet we should get speeds close to that what we are sold (38mb / 76mb). If you chose to stay with your existing ADSL / ADSL 2+ package your speed will not increase.

  16. SGC’s replies to the editor’s questions have been appended to the article (see above). In summary, around 3,500 premises on 01454 numbers in Bradley Stoke stand to benefit from this phase of the SGC project, but the council can’t say what proportion of that number will actually end up getting superfast speeds. Premises on 0117 aren’t included in this phase, although any gaps left by BT’s commercial upgrade of the Filton exchange may be filled by a later phase of the SGC project.

  17. Call me cynical – but if they know they need to use FFTP/FTTC to fill in areas of BS then they’ve likely done the survey work already. Methinks BT not telling the council the full picture here – as per the PAC report today.

  18. The thing that makes me most bemused about all of this – is that there is more fibre and more aggregation nodes outside (under the huge number of BT manholes) the Three Brooks Pub than anywhere else locally. It’s crazy. Fibre already runs down some hawkins cresent, three brooks lane, and all around that area too. Bradley stoke already has a nice fibre core – making it available to the street cabinets is not a difficult job!

  19. Re: 0117 numbers: so the next step for the P44 cabinet at Ellen Hay must be the fibre pull. Power seems to be sorted.

    Re: 01454 numbers: Hopefully this also means upgrades for the many businesses, including the Aztec West business park.

  20. Re:Dore regarding 3brooks already has aggregation nodes/fibre etc.
    I live in hornbeam close, sneezing distance from 3 brooks yet have 20century internet. I never get above 0.8mb, got screenshot of 0.5 and even a saturday afternoon “speed” of 0.1mb.
    I hope savages wood road and the offshoot roads are summer ’14 as even 2mb would be a blessing to me.
    Good timing of the announcement, i almost went mobile bb with sending an open letter stating how incredibly a so called 21st century suburb had 20th century bb.
    It can only come too soon.

  21. With EE’s prices – and low data allocation – I think I’d rather poke my eye out with a hot poker than use them. You’d probably manage about half an HD film before your allowance goes to pot.

  22. The following message has appeared on the BT Broadband Checker for a random telephone number off cabinet 44:

    “FTTC is currently not available on this cabinet due to following reasons:- Sorry it’s taking us longer than planned to get your cabinet ready for service. Please bear with us.”

  23. Now its been moved to Nov-Dec 2013. They so easily take us for a ride !
    This is the message on the BT infinity checker for a phone number off cabinet 44

    When can I get fibre optic BT Infinity?

    Sorry, fibre optic BT Infinity isn’t currently available at your property. Fibre optic broadband is estimated to be in your area between November 2013 and December 2013.

  24. @Ed – since Western Power Distribution connected the cab to the grid at the end of September I have seen no activity from BT Openreach on the new fibre cabinet. Having put this much effort in already I am surprised BT Openreach haven’t completed the job so they can at least start to get a return on their investment.
    @DB – the availability checker actually states 31-Dec-13 as “Availability Date” – 11 months later than first scheduled. Good luck for a November connection.

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