Broadband Q and A

Here are some questions and answers that may help you once Superfast Broadband is available in Great Staughton.

Q: Do I automatically get superfast broadband now that the work on the cabinet has been finished and the service has been switched on?

A: No. This is a new service and has to be specially ordered, either as an upgrade to your existing ADSL/broadband service or possibly as a new service or new line, if you dont already have some form of broadband installed and working.

Q: Do I have to order superfast broadband from BT, as BT installed the cabinet?

A: No, you dont. BT Retail is just one of many companies able to offer superfast broadband. BT advertises its own superfast service under the Infinity brand, but other suppliers offer services based on the same fibre technology, so shop around!

Q: Do I have to stay with my existing supplier?

A: No. you dont have to stay with them (unless youre under contract for a period), so now may be a good time to see what deals are available if you switch. Theyll know that superfast broadband is now available, so you may find youre being offered a good deal to tempt you to stick with them.

Q: From which companies can I get superfast broadband?

A: A lot of suppliers offer superfast broadband in the UK. However, not all of them may choose to provide services where you are, so you will need to check which ones offer this service using this list . You will find a useful discussion of factors to consider when choosing a supplier at and a couple of comparison sites are: and .

Q: Will it cost me lots more money to get this much faster service?

A: No. Superfast services will cost a little more, but prices should not be substantially higher than you currently pay.

As an example, TalkTalk currently offers a bundled ADSL package that includes broadband, telephone calls and Freeview TV for 15.50 (plus line rental of 15.40) per month, which some of you may be on at the moment. You can upgrade this to a fibre service for an additional 10 per month.

There are some even less expensive suppliers available if you have a limited budget or are looking to reduce costs. It will pay you to shop around, possibly using the comparisons sites mentioned above.

Q: Do I still have to pay a line-rental fee if I order superfast broadband?

A: Yes, there is still a charge for the monthly rental cost of the copper wire into your house, so this wont disappear if you sign-up for fibre broadband. Some suppliers offer a small monthly discount if you sign-up for 12 months or pay up-front for the year, but for the moment, thats a cost you will still see on your bill.

Q: Will I need to commit to a new minimum term contract?

A: Probably yes. A lot of the companies will ask you to sign up for 12 or even 18 months or to extend your existing contract if you decide to stay with your current supplier.

Again, it is worth shopping around as you may get shorter term deals than this, although the suppliers offering greater flexibility may charge slightly more each month for their services.

Q: OK, so which of these companies would you recommend to us?

A: Sorry, I cant and dont recommend specific companies or services. However, I know that broadband can be a confusing subject and that everyone has different needs. For example, you may live alone, share broadband with other family members, or live in a multi-tenancy property. Some of you may run businesses from home. I am happy to talk through your choices if youre unsure.

Q: How does superfast broadband actually get into my house?

A: The FTTC (Fibre To The Cabinet) service available to us still comes into your property over the normal copper (or in some cases aluminium) telephone line that you probably already have installed. Even if you use a company such as TalkTalk or Sky, their services still need a telephone line.

Q: What if I dont have a working telephone in my property already?

A: You will still probably have a telephone line installed in your property; it is just not being used. Your supplier will be able to check this for you. If youre one of the few properties that doesnt already have such a connection, there may be a new connection charge to pay, but this is dependent on the supplier, so ask them first.

Q: What speed will I get?

A: The maximum download speed you can currently get from the FTTC service is around 76Mbps, while the upload speed can be up to 19Mbps.

The speed will depend on the distance of your house from the new cabinet, as the signal has to pass along the length of copper (or aluminium) wire from the cabinet to your house. The speed is also affected by the condition of the existing cables both outside and inside the house. For example, if you have lots of old extensions wired in and around your property, this may reduce the speed youll see.

All being well you should be able to obtain close to 76Mbps if you are within 300m of the new cabinet. Even people at the very edges of the village should see a speed improvement over the level they see now. For example, 1km away from the cabinet, the download speed should be around 28Mbps.

In the future, the deployment of new technologies is likely to further improve the maximum speeds possible with FTTC.

Q: How can I find out how fast my service will be in advance?

A: Ask your chosen supplier. They will be able to give you a (conservative) estimate before you go ahead and order. In practice, its possible that youll do even better than they quote.

Q: How long will it take from ordering until I benefit from superfast broadband?

A: Even if you need to order a new line into your property (if you dont already have a telephone line), its likely that this will take between 8-10 working days.

The company you choose will keep you updated with progress. Bear in mind that lots of people will probably be ordering this new high speed service when it first goes live, so this may cause installations to be delayed initially (as there are only a limited number of engineers to go around!), but hopefully not for too long.

Q: OK, Ive gone ahead and ordered superfast broadband, what happens next?

A: Your supplier will be able to tell you what day to expect the engineer. The supplier may also decide to provide you with a new router, as your old one may not be up to the job of working at this new, higher speed. Many of the companies will offer this free as part of the contract. Some will charge a small(ish) one-off amount.

Also, if you know already that your current router is compatible this may not be necessary (technically, if it will talk PPPoE via a WAN port, then it should be fine; but if those words mean nothing to you, then you should ask your supplier for guidance).

A: What is involved on the day and what do I have to do?

Q: The supplier will have given you a time window, during which the engineer will arrive. He/she is likely to call you in advance to check that youre around to provide access into the house. It will take an hour or so to complete the work. Some of this will involve changes at the cabinet and some in your house. When the engineer comes to your house, he/she will provide a new OpenReach modem, to plug into the main BT faceplate (which is normally where your existing ADSL modem and telephone line are connected).

You will need to make sure you have a free power socket available for this new modem as well as your existing or new router.

Q: Is that it?

A: Not quite. This next note is very important: Make sure your engineer is provided with tea and biscuits!

The engineer will test that the circuit from your house to the cabinet and on to the exchange is working properly and will plug your router into the OpenReach modem to complete things. This should just work either because your supplier/ISP has sent a new one, ready to go, or because the existing one is already setup correctly. The engineer wont leave until this test stage is completed and youre satisfied that its working.

The engineer is technically NOT responsible for anything else in the house, but they can be very helpful, so do make sure your existing devices still do what theyre supposed to items such as your laptop or tablet, PlayStation, games consoles, Smart TVs before waving them on their way.

If you ARE having a problem connecting, theyll often be happy to help you sort it out. So, now you see why making sure they have supplies of tea & biscuits are so important!

Q: Will I see superfast speeds straight away?

A: Pretty much, yes. As I mentioned above, your supplier (and also probably the engineer) will have told you what sort of speed you can expect from this new service, so start surfing, or streaming a film to see how it’s doing.

Theres likely to be a period of time for the service to bed in, so be prepared for a few days of ups and downs before everything properly settles down. If after a week you think youre still not getting the speed youre expecting or were promised when you signed-up, then ask your supplier to check whats wrong on your behalf.

They are responsible for faultfinding, for fixing things for you and for calling out OpenReach if they find theres a fault anywhere outside your premises.

Q: What benefits will I see with superfast broadband?

A: Superfast broadband can give you speeds up to 15 or 20 times faster than we currently experience. This can dramatically improve activities such as watching movies via iPlayer or Netflix (no more annoying please wait spinning beach-balls). It can also enable you to download your high quality music and high definition movie purchases in minutes rather than hours. You will be able to send and receive large, high quality photographs without even noticing, or stay in touch via Skype or FaceTime with friends or relatives abroad.

Do you have children (or adults) connecting their tablets, games consoles, TVs and other smart devices and complaining how slow everything is, especially in the evenings? Superfast broadband will enable these devices to work at the same time.

If you run a business from home, you can have everyone in the business connecting to the Internet at high speeds. I have to say that in this case strictly speaking you should have a business account as use of a residential line for business purposesis in breach of the Terms & Conditions

Superfast broadband also means that future services such as medical consultations via video link and super high-definition TV and live sports events will be accessible to you.

Q: Can you recommend any further reading with more information?

A: Yes. Theres a very useful and frequently updated guide to superfast broadband (and broadband services in general) maintained by Mark Heath, a resident of Spaldwick and a fellow champion, here:

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One thought on “Broadband Q and A

  1. Pingback: Broadband update | Great Staughton Village Website

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