July 2016 - Superfast Broadband is Here - Now What?
With cabinets 9 and 17 now accepting “superfast” fibre broadband orders, there are a number of things you can do to ensure a smooth and successful migration from your current service. The fibre enablement of our cabinets does not, and will not, improve existing broadband services. To benefit, you’ll need to purchase a new superfast (or equivalent) package from your preferred Internet Service Provider (ISP).
The old-style broadband signals still need to find their way up and over the hill, from BT’s Brimscombe telephone exchange, sharing something like 7km of copper wire, per telephone line, with analogue voice and other signals. The journey through the copper wires degrades and attenuates the signals to “next to nothing” by the time they reach the broadband routers in our homes, hence the poor bandwidth and continuity of service we’ve suffered - until now.
This is a very good time to get the ISPs competing for your custom, so do some research, talk to folk who have already ordered, and see if you can get a really great deal by playing off one against the others…
The work that’s been undertaken (at significant cost to all those from our community who pledged and donated to BCBAG fund for the upgrade) provides an alternative fibre-optic path for digital communications directly from the exchange to the new green boxes (that have been installed adjacent to the original cabinets 9 and 17). Within the new boxes, the fibre digital signals are recombined with the analogue telephone signals for the last leg of the journey into our homes, thus significantly improving the quality of the signal.
Once inside your property, the combined telephone and broadband signals arrive, over a twisted-pair of wires, at the “NTE5 residential telephone socket”. BT Openreach advise that your broadband router should be plugged directly into this socket because the internal telephone extension cabling, within most households, is not appropriate to support very high frequency broadband signals.
If you don’t already have one, it’s advisable to purchase an “Interstitial Faceplate vDSL Filter & I-Plate” that is designed to plug into a standard NTE5. Sitting between the BT’s main housing and the Customer's Connection Unit, it provides filtering for all connected telephone extensions and can be installed without having to disconnect any previously installed extension wiring. Router connection is provided by a shuttered RJ45 socket on the front of the unit. This all sounds very “techy” but is in fact very easy to do. A search for “vdsl faceplate” on Amazon brings up several good value options, and all good electrical suppliers should be able to provide similar. It’s also possible to purchase original Openreach equipment directly from BT. If you choose not to use an interstitial faceplate, you’ll need to continue using micro-filters to isolate the router and filter each of your connected telephone extensions.