New Year cheer for hundreds still waiting for faster broadband

BT Openreach: Fibre broadband is here.

December finally brought some good news for scores of residents in central Bradley Stoke who had been waiting for months to be able to place an order for superfast broadband after their lines were re-routed into a new fibre-enabled street cabinet back in September.

As reported in our December magazine, frustrated customers within the postcode areas said by South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) to be served by cabinet no. 31 (located on the corner of Brook Way and Savages Wood Road) had complained that they were still not seeing the elusive Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) service in their BT Broadband Availability Checker result, which is a prerequisite for ordering superfast broadband from any internet service provider (ISP).

In an attempt to spur SGC and BT into action, The Journal asked residents affected by the issue to supply their landline numbers so that they could be forwarded to SGC for investigation and details of five customers unable to order superfast broadband were duly passed on to the council officer overseeing the SGC broadband project on 15th December, with a copy of the email also being sent to the council’s chief executive, Amanda Deeks.

Ordering at cabinet no. 31 now possible for all?

Remarkably, within less than 12 hours of sending the email, all five customers confirmed to The Journal that the FTTC service had suddenly become available for them and they had been able to order superfast broadband from the ISP of their choice.

Other readers who had also been unable to order also reported on the BSJ website that they had now been able to do so, with installation dates promised for the first week of January.

Journal editor Stephen Horton commented: “I’d like to think The Journal deserves some credit for this breakthrough (which comes almost three months after the cabinet was declared “live and ready for service” by SGC), but it may, of course, be just a random coincidence that BT finally corrected its database hours after we sent the email.”

A day later, a BT spokesperson provided the following statement: “The number of homes that are served off this cabinet has been increased and as a result our records needed to be updated.”

“There are occasions when a delay can occur between the time that a premises is recorded as being served off a specific cabinet to when it shows up on the system as being ‘ready to place an order’. This delay explains why the premises that were brought to our attention were unable to place an order.”

“We would like to apologise for this delay and assure residents that this matter has now been resolved. Residents being served off cabinet no. 31 should now be able to contact their communication provider and place an order.”

In other developments, the first customers on new cabinet no. 30 (at the top end of Bradley Stoke Way, near the Hilton Hotel) reported being able to place orders on 15th December, although SGC is yet to officially declare this cabinet “live and ready for service”.

Orders being taken again at cabinet no. 44

There has also been some good news for customers on cabinet no. 44 (junction of Ellan Hay Road and Baileys Court Road), which is part of BT’s commercial rollout programme. Town councillor Ben Randles, who lives in Juniper Way, reported on Twitter on 16th December that he had finally managed to get superfast broadband installed via this cabinet. Cllr Randles and a number of other residents in the area had previously reported that they were unable to order because BT was saying the cabinet was “temporarily out of capacity”.

Enquiring on behalf of another customer on cabinet no. 44, located in Tarragon Place, The Journal was initially told by a BT spokesperson that it was not possible to order superfast broadband because the property “is over 11km from the cabinet and FTTC won’t work properly”.

After being shown evidence that the property is only about 500m from cabinet no. 44, the spokesperson said: “On further investigation we can confirm the location of this particular premises had been incorrectly recorded on our internal system that was consequently causing problems when the resident was attempting to place an order for fibre.”

“We have now updated our records and would like to apologise for any inconvenience that this has caused.”

Comments from Journal readers

Hisham (Hawkins Crescent):

Following my note to the Bradley Stoke Journal I checked the ADSL checker again today after work and found that I can also order fibre broadband. The order has gone in with BT infinity and the projected install date 6th January.

Finally got somewhere! I would recommend anyone who still can’t order fibre, and is connected to cabinet no. 31, to contact the Bradley Stoke Journal and ask for help.

I am confident that without the BSJ’s support I would still be waiting! Thanks for all your help. Roll on finally joining the 21st century!

Drtbz (Linden Drive):

Just ordered from cabinet no. 31 via EE on the 76Mbps package as the BT checker is saying I should be able to get approx 70Mbps. My router is quoted to arrive in the next two weeks and the (self) install to be completed shortly after when connection is made live.

The end is in sight for me, and I would like to extend my sincerest thanks and some Christmas cheer to the BSJ and everyone else who has kept the pressure on the council and BT to get this sorted.

More information:

This article originally appeared in the January 2015 edition of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine, delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,450 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

Postscript #1: On 25th December 2014, SGC declared cabinet no. 36 (corner of Bradley Stoke Way and Brook Way, near Oaktree Crescent) “live and ready for service”.

Postscript #2: On 26th December 2014, SGC declared cabinet no. 30 (at the top end of Bradley Stoke Way, near the Hilton Hotel) “live and ready for service”.

Both announcements stated that lists of postcodes served by the cabinet were available on the ‘Where and when‘ page of the council’s website. They weren’t – and two weeks later they still aren’t, despite council staff being informed of the error on 26th December 2014.

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  1. I read with interest that cabinet 31 is now taking new orders but I am on cabinet 34 (Kemperleye Way) which has been promising to take new orders for several months. It was originally stating on the checker Oct/Nov which went to Nov/Dec, then Dec/Jan and now says End of January. Can someone chase BT and SCG as to why it takes so long to fix the cabinet. Surely someone would have planned for extra capacity for future subscribers when the cabinet was upgraded or is this wishful thinking. Grateful for any help you could give me to push things along.

  2. Engineer just been to do my install and he said that my line is still connected to the exchange!!!! i’ve taken the day off work! Has anyone on cabinet 36 had their installation? I’m now going to waste more time phoning BT….not happy!

  3. Jon was it a BT engineer that came to do you your install or a third party contractor? If it was the latter its likely that your line was in the cabinet but not where his paperwork said it would be. Exactly the same thing happened to those of us that were the first to get the service from cabinet 31. All the lines were 200 sockets away from where they were supposed to be until they sorted it out.

  4. He was a Bt openreach engineer, I’ve seen a Bt Openreach engineer at the cabinet and outside my home today. Hopefully he is sorting out the cabinet and my line for my new install date of 28th Jan. I’ve also had a message left on my mobile from BT regarding compensation.

  5. Just curious, is anybody who has taken the top 76 meg package getting speeds anywhere close to that. I’m currently looking at about 50meg, which i’m happy with but the BT checker does state 69-80

  6. @Sparky196, If you are using wi-fi, this may be limiting the speed you are getting. To check this, try attaching your computer directly to the router with an ethernet cable.

  7. I got BT Infinity 2 & when ordering the checker said i’ll get speeds between 25 – 32, which i didn’t really care due to rhe slow speeds i had for many years! engineer came (Luckily i knew him) and said i should get around 45mbps which was awesome! I did get 50mbps to start of with but now i’m at a steady 42mbps which i’m happy about! Good job BSJ & SGC.

  8. @Sparky196, The estimated speeds given by the checker will be based on spatial information in the BT database. Inaccuracies cannot be ruled out (as in the case mentioned in the article above where the BT database had a property in Tarragon Close 11km from cabinet 44 when it is only 500m). How far do you reckon you are from cabinet no. 31, measured along most likely cable route?

    FTTC speed versus distance graph:

    P.S. Is your router wired directly to the network socket on the BT faceplate and not through house extension wiring?

  9. I received FTTC VDSL broadband, six months ago, with an estimate of 60Mbps.

    Early on, I was getting speeds of 58-60, but over the past two months the speed has settled down to 51Mbps. A bit disappointing but way better than the 6Mbps I used to be on.

    This month BT Openreach has been enabling G.INP/PhyR technology on all lines as a precursor to deploying Vectoring technology. These two phases will reduce nosy between lines (in the cabinet) and hopefully improve our line speeds towards their maximums.

    Google G.INP/PhyR and Vectoring to get details.

  10. I have heard from a few readers on cabinet no. 34 (reported “live and ready for service” by SGC on 26th June 2014) that they are currently unable to order fibre broadband because the cabinet is “out of capacity” and currently showing a projected FTTC availability date of 11th February 2015.

    Anyone else on cabinet no. 34 seeing this in their BT checker result?

  11. SGC has published lists of postcodes served by cabinet nos. 30 & 36 (see Where and When), but they appear to be incorrect as none are in Bradley Stoke.

    If your checker result says you are on one of these cabinets, please let us know if we don’t have your street listed, so that we can update our status page.

    At the moment we have:

    Cabinet 30: Chessel Close, Oaktree Crescent

    Cabinet 36: Courtlands, Oaktree Crescent

  12. A source at SGC has indicated that cabinet no. 38 (Brook Way, opposite junction with Dewfalls Drive; co-located with cabinet 22) is now “live and ready for service”. This cabinet is intended to serve former EO lines. Anyone seeing this cabinet in their checker result? Does it show the FTTC service as being available?

  13. Previously Merryweather Close was all over the place in terms of cabinet numbers, we’re now cabinet 38 and guess what? Just ordered BT infinity and it’s ready as of January 26th

  14. Due to get BT Infinity 2 today, between 8am-1pm. checked on the order status and it now says ‘Engineer appointment no longer required’ called BT after 20mins on hold got told the order had failed! this is the second time now as my original installation failed on 12th Jan due to the line not being connected to the cabinet! 2 days taken off work…not happy! 🙁 New appointment date 12th Feb…I’m getting to the point where I’m gonna tell them to cancel the order!

  15. Yet again BT fail to install BT Infinity 2!, 3rd time now, 3 days taken off work!, they have said openreach have cancelled the order again! the day before the installation. Has anyone in Stanshaws close managed to get Infinity 2 installed?

  16. Slightly off topic, but could be good news for Bradley Stoke:

    Virgin Media and Liberty Global announce largest investment in UK’s internet infrastructure for more than a decade

    “Virgin Media will extend its unrivalled fibre-rich network to approximately four million additional premises over the next five years.”

    “Network expansion will be prioritised according to demand from households and companies, with a focus on areas closest to Virgin Media’s existing network.”

  17. I live in The Worthys with my phone line an EO line linked to the Filton exchAnge. There seems to be no plans to provide fibre broadband here! I would happily stay with my current broadband provider if fibre was going to be available soon but the slow speeds are such a drag my only option appears to be to change Virgin.

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