BT connects first fibre broadband customers

BT Openreach: Fibre broadband is here.

Telecommunications firm BT has finally connected its first superfast broadband customers in ‘The Herbs’ area of Bradley Stoke, almost three years after announcing the upgrade of the Filton telephone exchange to provide fibre services.

The area is the first part of the Bradley Stoke ‘digital ghetto’, consisting of around 4,000 homes in streets not served by Virgin Media’s cable network, to receive the Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) service.

Around 20 properties in and around Coriander Drive are understood to have been connected so far, with Journal readers on the new fibre circuits reporting download speeds of up to 73Mbps, compared to previous values around the 1 to 2 Mbps mark.

According to Ofcom, the average fixed line residential broadband speed in the UK was 14.8Mbps in May 2013.

So far, only one street-side cabinet (at the junction of Baileys Court Road and Ellan Hay Road) has been upgraded and it is believed that the cabinet will only be able to provide the new superfast service to around 100 homes. At the present time, BT has not announced dates for the upgrading any further cabinets connected to the Filton exchange (which serves 0117 numbers).

Subscribers on 01454 numbers will have to wait until at least the middle of next year before they can order superfast broadband, as the Almondsbury telephone exchange is included within the state-aided upgrade programme being managed by South Gloucestershire Council (SGC), which is looking to cover areas missed by BT’s commercial roll-out.

Around 3,500 homes in Bradley Stoke stand to benefit from the SGC programme, although the council has not guaranteed that all of those homes will be able to access superfast (24Mbps+) speeds.

There appears to be good news on that front too, as The Journal understands that work has been taking place over the last fortnight to install a fibre ‘spine’ cable from the Almondsbury exchange along the northern section of Brook Way and along the section of Savages Wood Road between Brook Way and Bradley Stoke Way.

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  1. In coriander and being connected on 23rd December, Dylan I hope they turn up today, keep us posted…tell us all what speed you have….if it comes that is…!

  2. Have you recently been connected to fibre broadband in ‘The Herbs’?

    We’d like to hear how good the service is and what practical differences it is making to you and your family’s enjoyment of the internet.

    Your contributions (by email please) will be used in the January edition of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine. Don’t be shy!

    We’re also looking for a family who wouldn’t mind being photographed using all their internet gadgets (computers, laptops, iPads, smartphones, games machines etc.) at the new superfast speeds.

  3. Just been upgraded to super fast broadband with Talk Talk. Super fast speed just waiting for it to settle down. Cabinet 44. Lavender Way. Speed of around 35mbps, I can get more but its the package i’m on.

  4. Also in Coriander Drive and had ours fitted a few weeks ago, such a huge difference, with 3 lads living in the property and all using the internet for streaming on iPlayer and Youtube and the such, it has made our lives allot easier, we can even stream things in HD on iPlayer now! Speeds when tested were 67.77 Download speed and 18.56 upload speed with BT

  5. After looking around and comparing providers, it seems I waited too long. It’s no longer showing as available, but target live by end of Jan. Cabinet limited to a certain number of lines until they add another fibre link perhaps? Frustrating…

  6. BT do not seem to understand Broadband demand.

    Placing a cabinet that can support 128 fast lines in an area with 1000 subscribers and Cable and standard DSL of 12-20 MBs is one thing. Placing a similar cabinet to service the same number of subscribers with no cable or poor DSL is another.

  7. @Simon
    I share your frustration but it may be that the orders have come faster than BT Openreach can provide. Hopefully they will ensure that capacity is increased as the orders are fulfilled. I am not sure where you have got your figures as I know for fact that the cabinet can only support 96 fibre connections. For subscriber numbers I thought there was only about 500 on street cabinet 44; perhaps there are more. Whatever the figure, it wouldn’t make sense for any company to provide service for potentially all lines. Just because we have slow lines doesn’t mean everyone will upgrade. I haven’t as FTTC is a costly solution compared to standard ADSL2+ broadband.

  8. Orders are once again being accepted against cabinet 44.

    I spoke to the BT Openreach engineer working on the cabinet last week. He advised that the cab was originally built with a single 64 port card and he was installing a second 64 port card, making 128 connections. When I asked about the 96 connections he advised that that was the maximum for a different type of cabinet. Apparently our cabinet has copper cables for 150 connections.

  9. That is good news.

    Who’d have thought that more than 40% of broadband customers would want high speed broadband, BT certainly didn’t!

    It just goes to prove that the demand does exist, especially when the alternative is so poor!

  10. It appears some good news for the Herbs again today. Traffic report says work is to begin on cabinet 35 (Juniper Way, Majoram, Tarragon) is due to start tomorrow (Wednesday).

  11. @Toxteth O’Grady: Good spot – thanks!

    Other cabinets where suggests work is about to start are: No. 22 (Brook Way, opposite Dewfalls Drive junction); No. 37 (Champs Sur Marne) and No. E4? (Woodlands Lane).

    (N.B. You need to set at least a two week timeframe in your search to see all the above.)

    To check which cabinet your property is served from, use the BT Broadband Checker:

  12. Any word on cabinet 34 yet? BT’s website said this morning that the Almondsbury exchange’s upgrade is “coming soon for June 2014”

    Perhaps, just perhaps, parts of Bradley Stoke will drag itself kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

  13. I am in Lavender and was connected on Christmas Eve with Sky. Speeds around 20 – which is 10 times faster than it used to be! Others seem to have it quicker but I am not complaining – yet. A huge improvement

  14. And cabinet 32, near the Bradley Stoke Surgery is not included, or listed in the next 4 weeks.

    Really annoying as cabinet 22 is a lot closer to my home, but dslchecker reports my line is from cabinet 32.

  15. I have just received an email from SGC confirming, for my benefit, that Cabinet 32 will be upgraded along with some others in a future rollout phase, but alas no commitment as to when, just before May 2015.

    Not happy that I face a further delay, but at least I’ll receive a decent broadband connection at some point.

  16. Opposite the Marjoram Place junction, along the eastern segment of Webbs Wood Road. Near the roundabout with Bradley Stoke Way.

    It serves bits of Juniper Way… including me 🙂

  17. Ah, so you cabinet is being upgraded in the next two weeks.

    So with a bit of luck, you should have access within the next three months.


  18. The process varies a lot from days to months, literally.

    The approximate steps are

    Fibre laid from exchange
    New base with power feed added
    New cabinets installed
    New Cabients connected to old cabinets

    At the moment I believe Fibre is laid along Brook Way and Bradley Stoke Way. The next phase is adding a new base with power. This is appears to be ongoing.

    At any point then a new Cabinet can be deployed and connected.

    In an ideal work you’d like to see this happen sequentially in a few days, but depending on work schedules between separate teams all of this can take weeks.

  19. @Simon: Good news – cabinet 32 on Brook Way, near junction with Oaktree Crescent, is now showing up on with work planned for 27th Feb to 12th Mar.

  20. The Bradley Stoke Journal website now has a new information page showing the superfast upgrade status of BT cabinets in Bradley Stoke:

    Please help us complete and maintain the information by entering your number into the BT Broadband Availability Checker and informing us of your street, cabinet number and quoted superfast fibre broadband (FTTC) availability.

    Please leave a comment on this story or email:

  21. Hi Ed. Can we have a section on the new page for those streets on EOL lines – I can start off with Teasel Mead. The council have said that they will put a cabinet in but are sticking to their line of all work complete by March 2015. Hoping this doesn’t mean we’ll be left to last.

  22. Had quite a few responses to our appeal for results from the BT Broadband Availability checker, but still a few significant streets missing, e.g. Oaktree Crescent, Stanshawes Close, Ferndene, Saxon Way, Courtlands, Winsbury Way, Stoke Meadows, Merryweather Close, Hawkins Crescent, Diana Gardens, The Beeches, The Willows.

    If you live in one of these streets, please help us by entering your telephone number into the BT Broadband Availability Checker and letting us know your street name, cabinet number (if any reported) and FTTC (fibre broadband) availability date (if any reported) shown in the checker results. Please leave a comment on this story or email results to Thank you.

    The cabinet number will normally be shown in the top line of the BT checker result, e.g.
    “Telephone Number 01454XXXXXX on Exchange ALMONDSBURY is served by Cabinet 34”

    If the “is served by” part is missing, it means you are on an Exchange Only (EO) line.

    The collated results are shown on our Superfast Broadband Upgrade Status page.

  23. Checked for Ferndene, cabinet number is 32, table shows ‘available’for all products. Not sure what the gumpf below the table is all about, if anyone wants further info let me know.

  24. Hi, i live in oaktree crescent, and i checked my postcode BS32 and it says this: WBC Fixed Rate 1 — — Available

    Does not provide any Cabinet number… Does this mean i will need to wait longer? :/

  25. So If I live in Marjoram and currently with TalkTalk, am I likely to be able to get the superfast Broadband from cabinet 35 once it is cabled up?
    or do I need to look into switching back to BT?

  26. Virtually everywhere in Bradley Stoke has a BT DP (manhole with ducted conenctions to remote Cabinet and local houses).

    Access to FTTC will be universal (for those connected to a cabinet) at a small increase in their current monthly cost, and the speed they get will be very fast within 400m of the cabinet and a lot faster under 1km. Above 2km FTTC makes very little distance.

    Access to FTTP will be universal to those connected to a cabinet. Cost will depend on distance from cabinet and running monthly cost will be much higher. As an example, 400m from a cabinet will cost around £1750 to install, annual rent of another £1000, with a 330Mbs service costing about £30pm. So, to my mind a business product not a home product (see for latest).

  27. @Kevyn – Once BT Openreach have enabled a cabinet, fibre is available for all ISPs who support it (there are about 15 at present). TalkTalk offer a fibre service so you could stay with them rather than migrate to BT or another ISP.

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