Work under way to bring faster broadband to 01454 numbers in Bradley Stoke

Work at BT Cabinet no. 35 on Webbs Wood Road, Bradley Stoke.

Work is finally under way to bring faster broadband services to the first of around 3,500 homes in Bradley Stoke that are connected to the Almondsbury telephone exchange (serving 01454 numbers) and have no access to the Virgin Media cable network.

The homes that will benefit lie within ‘intervention areas’ in which BT, Virgin Media and other prospective network providers said they had no plans to invest in new superfast broadband infrastructure over the period 2012 to 2015, meaning they qualified for inclusion in a state-aided upgrade programme.

Subscribers in Marjoram Place and Juniper Way look set to be the first to benefit after excavation work began in the vicinity of BT cabinet no. 35 on Webbs Wood Road, opposite the junction with Marjoram Place.

The work to install a new fibre optic cabinet adjacent to the existing one is the first visible manifestation within Bradley Stoke of an investment programme that is being jointly funded by BT, South Gloucestershire Council and central government.

The new fibre optic cabinet will be the third to be installed in Bradley Stoke, the first two (in Baileys Court Road and Stean Bridge Road) having been wholly-funded by BT as part of its upgrading of the Filton telephone exchange (serving 0117 numbers), originally announced in April 2011.

There are also signs that work is about to start on upgrading a further four BT cabinets in Bradley Stoke, after notices of planned work appeared on the website.

The Bradley Stoke Journal is asking readers to help maintain a Superfast Broadband Upgrade Status page on our website, where we list the streets connected to each cabinet and the progress of the upgrade process.

South Gloucestershire Council has previously said that the first homes on 01454 numbers in Bradley Stoke will be able to order superfast broadband services from “summer 2014”, with all work completed by May 2015. An update report provided to Bradley Stoke Town Council on 6th February stated:

“[BT] Openreach are making excellent progress with the surveying in Bradley Stoke. Once surveys are completed, work to install the new fibre-enabled cabinets will begin.”

“Residents will see increased construction work going on in the Bradley Stoke area over the coming weeks. This work will include engineers laying the concrete plinths and installing the new fibre-enabled cabinets next to the existing ones, digging trenches between both cabinets and the nearest suitable power supply and installing the new fibre connection.”

A ‘fly in the ointment’ that has become apparent from our readers’ feedback is the large number of homes in Bradley Stoke that are connected via so-called ‘exchange-only’ (EO) lines. Such premises are wired directly to the telephone exchange without passing through a streetside cabinet, meaning that they will not benefit from the initial cabinet upgrade work that is now commencing.

One Journal reader says the council has told him that BT will “need to “completely re-arrange the existing copper network” in areas served by EO lines, to make it possible to install new fibre-enabled cabinets.

For instructions on how to find out if your home is served by an EO line, visit our Superfast Broadband Upgrade Status page.

To access superfast broadband services once they become available, consumers will have to sign up for a fibre broadband package from an Internet Service Provider of their choice (e.g. BT, TalkTalk, Sky, PlusNet, EE). These currently cost £5 to £10 per month more than a standard ADSL (copper wire) service and there may be one-off charges for the provision of a new router and activation of the service.

Photo (top): Work currently under way at the site of BT cabinet no. 35 on Webbs Wood Road.

Better Broadband Campaign.

Photo: Councillors and local business owners campaigning for better broadband services in Bradley Stoke back in November 2010.

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  1. Had a good response to our appeal for broadband checker results, but still a few streets not covered.

    If you suffer from slow broadband and live in a street not listed on our Superfast Broadband Upgrade Status page, 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.

  2. Good news if you live in Champs Sur Marne or Hornbeam Close. Work is now also under way at the site of cabinet no. 37 (on Bradley Stoke Way, close to the Savages Wood Roundabout).

  3. @Andy Ham: The work won’t benefit people on existing ADSL connections; you’ll need to upgrade to a fibre broadband package (see last para of article). SGC says ‘exchange only’ (EO) lines will get upgraded, but it will take longer, as it is a complex operation that involves installing fibre-enabled cabinets at new sites and re-routing lines. They say all work (including EO lines) will be completed by May 2015.

  4. Re. Andy Ham and Editor. My Internet speed has increased about 25% since the upgrades. Albeit from 0.8 to 1.1mbps. I assume due to the lower demand as people switch to the FTTC. So I think you will see an increase in download speed without taking a new package (provided others take the FTTC packages!)

  5. Once the cabinet is upgraded is there further work to do to activate this back in the exchange or will we be able to move across immediately to the faster service ?

  6. @Guy wrote: “FTTC status: RFS date set : 01/06/2014″ (where RFS = “Ready For Service”).

    At least that’s consistent with SGC’s statement that first orders will be in “summer 2014” (meteorological summer starts 1st June!).

  7. I can only think (considering the progress they’re making) that the RFS date is nothing but a pessimistic worst-case scenario from BT. Should they hook people up in March and April then BT look good. If they don’t do it until June then no harm done. The power is in on Webbs Wood Road. They wouldn’t have done that bit before the fibre was as good as ready to go, surely?

  8. More good news: Work is now also under way on cabinet 22 (Brook Way, opposite Dewfalls Drive junction) and cabinet E4 (Woodlands Lane, near Ash Ridge Road junction).

  9. Trying to get a more detailed answer regarding the EO lines but nothing as yet. I understand it may be a bit more complicated but I really can’t see installing a new cabinet being that big a deal. Surely they just pick a spot where most of the lines run and chuck it in. Anyone who wants to connect they just reroute their cable.

    Might be worth anyone else on an EOL pressing the council for an answer.

  10. EO lines are deployed by BT for clusters of homes that do not justify a cabinet, or not near a cabinet.

    Why EO lines were ever used by BT in Bradley Stoke I have no idea, but it might be related to the piecemeal nature of development of Bradley Stoke.

    EO lines are not deployed as a single cable from exchange to home, but as a sealed bundle of cables that is split at the DP points (telegraph poles or BT manholes) near homes.

    Unlike many areas addressing the EO lines issue in Bradlay Stoke should be straightforward. All cables are full ducted, so it should be possible to add a few small cabinets to catch most EO lines, but the biggest issue then may be location and distance to users.

    FTTC works by cutting the distance from exchange to user to allow vDSL to be used. This woks over a much short range than ADSL, but is a lot faster.

    So, this is the one area that BT/SGC cannot rush. They have to balance cost of solution with with the numbers that benefit.

  11. I had a reply from the council stating that

    “Openreach are currently working on the plans for the EO lines in Bradley Stoke, and the re-arrangement of the existing copper network … it is too early … to be able to confirm when the planning will be complete … currently it is anticipated that the first EO line cabinets will be installed in Bradley Stoke in Autumn 2014, but this is subject to the results of the planning and surveying work that still needs to be carried out.”

  12. Since the cabinet upgrade has been in progress, I have noticed a considerable drop in download speed to near 0.4mb in Juniper Way. Has anyone else had a similar experience? Is the upgrade having an initial negative effect?

  13. I’ve not noticed any drop yet. In throughput or in rx or tx snrm.

    However, I’ve not tried re-syncing since they’ve started work, so that might change.

  14. Mine seems to have dropped quite considerably over the last week. I initially put it down to half term, and extra traffic during the day.

    It looks like Cabinet 35 has been finished, as all trenches have been filled and barriers moved waiting collection. The BT wed site says that once 10 cabinets are ready, the exchange will start taking orders. Hopefully not long to wait now.

  15. Interestingly my ping has almost doubled this morning and thruput down slightly as well. This upgrade can’t come fast enough.

  16. Openreach had put cute little waterproof-looiking tents around cabinet 35 and its new sister cabinet at lunchtime today and they were both gone tonight.

    There was an opernreach van and at least one bod doing something in the cabinets as I drove past.

  17. Since cabinet 37 upgrade i have experienced daily internet slowdown to the point it has effectively died. A min to load bbc news web page? A dl at a speed of 3kb?!
    Has anyone else seen this speed collapse?
    Will phone provider tomorrow as sky connect is 17quid plus line rental.
    Disgusting, i was getting better 12years ago on dial up.

  18. @HornbeamCloseInternetRIP

    I have also seen a significant drop in BB speed – also with Sky Connect.

    I assumed it was my aged pc but maybe not.

    Last week, I recorded download speed of 0.06mb/s, upload of 0.26mb/s.

    It’s improved a bit this week, but still drops out of all connection at times. Frustrating and not getting what we pay for.

  19. Juniper Way has now seen a further drop to 0.3Mb. It has been stable at this new ‘all time low’ speed for the last week. The previous comment was correct…. The old dial up system was better!

  20. If i was a paranoid person i’d say it was a conspiracy to make us believe changing to fibre was the only way.
    I had sky on the phone for over an hour trying all sorts.
    Recorded a speed check of 0.125mb.
    Speedcheck? Sorry meant slowcheck.
    Obviously these new bt fibre cabinets do not like non fibre connections!
    To fellow hornbeam, you know its bad when your upload outperforms your download. 🙁

  21. @HornbeamCloseInternetRIP
    The main problem is with SKY as SKY doesn’t have a LLU in Almondsbury Exchange they use BT Wholesale to go through the exchange and so it is slow. I used to get 1mb while I was with SKY then I moved to Tesco which used C&W LLU ( Found from SamKnows website) and my speed changed to 5mb. If your provider doesn’t have a LLU then you are likely to have slow speed. I guess you need to ask SKY to put a LLU in the exchange to see any improvements in speed.

  22. @gyre – looks like any number on the Almondsbury exchange has got “copper multicast” (I’m on an Exchange only line and it’s on mine too!)

  23. Copper multicast – it seems – if for broadcasting the same TV programme to multiple customers via broadband.

  24. Thankyou sam says.
    With that info and that i tried this morning at 6am and got a 1mb speed seems to suggest sky and maybe other providers are no longer set up correctly with these new cabinets.
    Presumably this is the same experience for anyone else coming off the same cabinet.

  25. No idea why people will get sky connect when they don’t have LLU installed on the exchange.

    I’ve asked them many of times to do it but they don’t see it as a money making scheme…. Same with Virgin vision i suppose, but they will have a shock when BT start rolling in the money on superfast broadband in Bradley Stoke.

  26. And so the death rattle begins again.
    800ms ping and 3 out of 4 packets lost.
    Fibre broadband rollout cant come soon enough.

  27. More changes on the checker – now says alongside the ADSL 2 listing that capacity is expected by 30 April … Could this be a possible FTTC date?

  28. Sky confirmed they received reports of falling speeds and will be applying a fix if possible. Have already seen speeds return to that prior to ngc installation. Still bad but passable… barely.
    Also once bt announce fibre ready for orders sky normally take a month after but should know straight away if they will be rolling out fibre too.
    If they do roll out response was they should be notifying customers to make them aware.

  29. @ Say Says – If only I had known that Tesco was LLU. I had wondered why C&W was mentioned on SamKnows. I went with Orange a few years back purely because they were LLU, and then a couple of years later they took their kit out of the exchange. I had thought the only LLU alternative was TalkTalk, and I wasn’t doing that! Anyway, high numbers in Juniper Way and getting about 1.8 Mbps on Orange. I am sure I used to get more like 2.4 a few months ago. Will probably go with PlusNet when we can get FTTC.

  30. I haven’t noticed the significant speed reduction that some readers are experiencing.

    However, my what was a rock solid connection now disconnects very frequently. A couple of times at least every evening.

  31. No confirmation from anyone yet but likely to be end of April/start of June according to the “ready for service” dates touted on either the BT site or

  32. @Neil … Yes it has been for about 10 days on cab 35. RFS on Samknows is a day later. Can only assume it’ll be about then. No sign of Openreach adding fibre to the cabinet yet, though. Power in, fibre not.

  33. SH – I’m on Cabinet 32.

    Toxteth – if it is indeed 30 April 2014 it is a lot sooner than I was expecting. However, if there isn’t any fibre yet that could be prone to some slippage!

    I won’t hold my breath…

  34. Status update from SGC: “We are in the process of delivering fibre broadband in the Almondsbury exchange area. Some premises should be able to connect to services from June 2014. Additional work will be undertaken after this date to connect further premises.”

    Source: Where and When

  35. Great – that matches up with the BT Broadband checker which is showing the end of April. Nearly there, only five weeks to go!

  36. Cabinet 35 seems to have gone live this morning:

    FTTC Range A (Clean) 80 72.2 20 19.9 — Available
    FTTC Range B (Impacted) 80 60 20 17.9 — Available

  37. Cabinet 22 also showing as available:
    FTTC Range A (Clean) 80 69.3 20 19.9 — Available
    FTTC Range B (Impacted) 80 55.9 20 17.9 — Available

    Almondsbury exchange still showing as Coming Soon (June 2014) though..?

  38. My ISP, Plusnet, let me attempt to upgrade to fibre. Possible BT engineer visit at the beginning of April.

    I can only keep my fingers crossed 🙂

  39. @SH – Thanks for the Deals page – nicely laid out with all the £x.xx for y months then £z.zz perfectly clear.
    Cab 35 user starting to wonder who to pick as FTTC ISP. On Orange ADSL but paying BT for phone (and able to use a dial prefix to bill work calls to work). I know that moving phone to Orange would break that… But we do have contract phones on Orange which makes them cheap for FTTC. Agghh.

  40. Guy, you can keep line rental with anybody. I’m plusnet for FTTC and another (very cheap) provider for line rental.

  41. @TOG – That’s what I thought (OFCOM rule?) but Orange just told me by Live Chat that they HAVE to take over the line too. May need to escalate. Apart from the work calls thing, I think I signed up for 12 months with BT before Christmas, not imagining that we would get FTTC quite so soon! Easy option is to go BT for everything of course, but I was looking forward to dealing with people in Yorkshire…

  42. Many give you deals to have both with same firm but it’s simply not true that you have to do so. I’m a combination of Plusnet and Primus Saver.

  43. @ Guy
    I had the same issue, and when I phoned Orange (EE) to cancel the person in the disconnections department told me that all of their Fibre deals are linked to the phone line, and they were unable to upgrade me. As a result I requested the MAC code and ordered with BT.

  44. Thanks TOG and Dean.
    Looks as though BT might be the simplest, though not cheapest option. Their standard router (HH5) seems to review better than the Thomson Technicolor 582n that PlusNet offer (or you can provide your own).
    Plusnet did also say that I could move my phone line to them without incurring a penalty from BT even though I am mid-12 month contract – because BT own Plusnet.
    And of course if I go to BT or Plusnet, I will go through TopCashback or Quidco!

  45. Yeah the Plusnet FTTC router doesn’t look the best but am just going to suffer it for a while and replace with a decent one later in the year. I couldn’t recommend Plusnet enough as an ISP. Very good customer service.

  46. Another vote for plusnet. I’ve been with them for years, and their customer service is top notch. They bend over backwards to help sort things out.

  47. Just ordered fibre service from cabinet 44. Order now cancelled as this cabinet has no more capacity. Apparently only 100 customers can be connected to it. Can anyone confirm if these new cabinets do indeed offer such a limited service?

  48. I believe that BT use four types of cabinets, with vartious capacity limits.

    The usual cabinets support a limit of 250/288 depending on the type and size of user cards added.

    BT should be able to increase this in a few days.

    Finally, it is normal for BT to install cabinets with sub maximum configurations.

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