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