We're bringing fast, fibre broadband to homes and businesses across Worcestershire. Superfast Worcestershire is a programme to bring superfast broadband to 96% of homes and businesses in the county by the end of 2019. The network is transforming broadband speeds across Worcestershire, especially its rural areas.
Check if superfast broadband is planned in your area by entering your postcode in the search box and selecting your property from the drop down menu.
29 November 2017
A £6.2 million expansion is expected to extend the superfast broadband roll-out to more than 5,300 further Worcestershire households and businesses.
Worcestershire County Council has signed a new contract with co-funding partner BT Group, which extends the Superfast Worcestershire programme into a third phase, to reach some of the county’s more remote communities. Continued...
Contact an Internet Service Provider to upgrade.
Superfast broadband will be extended and available to more than 96% of Worcestershire homes during 2019 and beyond.
Whatever you’re doing online, do it faster and more efficiently with superfast broadband:
Contact an Internet Service Provider to upgrade.
For businesses of every size; from self-employed and home based businesses, right up to the very largest employers, the benefits of superfast broadband are considerable.
For local businesses, the fibre network will underpin the introduction of many new services and applications. Big business applications driven by new ‘cloud’ services will be within the reach of enterprises of all sizes. Computer back up, storage and processing will be faster, and the use of high-quality videoconferencing will become a viable possibility.
Many businesses who can access superfast broadband are already using broadband to maximise opportunities for growth, to expand their customer base and improve their bottom line. They are doing this by running meetings by video link, conducting training and delivering customer services remotely and using new technology to revolutionise their business processes.
Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme
The Government has made a commitment to provide every home and business in the UK with access to a basic broadband service so that browsing the web and keeping in touch with families and friends is easier.
A subsidised broadband installation is now available if you cannot access an affordable broadband service with a speed of at least 2 Mb per second.
If, after making these checks, you believe your speed is less than 2 Mb per second and you have no other options available enter your postcode below to find out how to apply for help.
Taking out a broadband service under this Scheme will not prevent your premises from being considered for superfast broadband in the future.
Guide to the Better broadband Subsidy Scheme here.
To find out more about applying to the scheme click here.
Superfast Worcestershire is a programme to bring superfast broadband to more than 96% of premises in the county during 2019 and beyond.
Superfast Worcestershire builds on on-going commercial fibre roll-out. Superfast broadband is defined as next generation access (NGA) with speeds in excess of 24Mbps by the UK Government. Broadband speeds are constantly improving, and so solutions for Worcestershire will be chosen that are viable for the future.
Superfast Worcestershire is a partnership between Worcestershire County Council, Openreach and UK Government that is providing a next generation broadband network. The network is transforming broadband speeds across Worcestershire, especially it's rural areas.
Every citizen within Worcestershire can benefit from this project as it helps to uplift the county's economy over coming years. We'll work with local communities as well as help small businesses to adopt technologies and grow.
The project is being funded by Worcestershire County Council, Openreach, Broadband Delivery UK and Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership through the Government's Growth Deal.
1) Check if fibre is available in your area
There are a variety of broadband infrastructure providers that operate in Worcestershire. Some of these allow you to access a range of ISPs via their networks (like Openreach) and others only allow you access to their own services (like Virgin Media). The following links allow you to check which services are available at your address from some of the most common infrastructure providers in the county.
You can also use our Coverage Checker to find out when high speed fibre broadband will be coming to your area.
2) Check your current broadband contract
If fibre broadband is available, you will need to check your current broadband contract. Typically, customers sign up for contract periods (normally 12/18 months) and you may need to complete this agreement if you would like to switch broadband providers. If you are still within your contract, most broadband providers will allow you to upgrade to a fibre package.
3) Do your research
Superfast Worcestershire is working to upgrade the infrastructure that provides your broadband connection. Superfast Worcestershire is unable to offer any advice on the best broadband package for you, or which Internet Service Provider (ISP) you should sign up with.
There are many comparison websites (e.g. www.cable.co.uk, MSE or www.broadbandchoices.co.uk) that allow you to compare packages or look out for offers in local and national media. When comparing packages, look out for things like:
If you require additional information - there are a number of independent sources available including, for example: https://www.uswitch.com/broadband/guides/.
Once you have selected the Internet Service Provider (ISP) of your choice you will need to get in touch with them to place your order. This can usually be done online or by telephone.
Your ISP will supply you with an installation date and details of what you will need to do to get up and running.
If you are served by a fibre to the premises infrastructure (FTTP), an engineer visit may be required to set up your new fibre service ready for use. Your ISP will explain this process to you.
Fibre to the Cabinet or FTTC uses fibre-optic cables throughout the network right up to the street cabinet. It then uses copper wires to connect the cabinet to homes and businesses. FTTC provides wholesale download speeds up to 80Mbps and upload speeds up to 20Mbps. Our Big Build film explains in more detail.
For contracts 1 and 2 superfast broadband was defined as 24Mbps or above. For other contracts, superfast is defined, as per EU requirements, as 30Mbps or above. Superfast broadband may be delivered using a range of different technologies.
Ultrafast is defined as speeds of over 100Mbps and up to 1Gbps. This is usually delivered using Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) technology, so may not be available in all areas. Even if you have an ultrafast connection, you will still have a wide choice of packages available so can choose options to suit your budget.
The exact speeds you'll be able to get will depend on how your own premises are connected. There are two main ways in which fibre optic can be used to bring you fibre broadband:
Fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) and fibre to the premises (FTTP).
FTTC uses fibre-optic cables throughout the network right up to the street cabinet. It then uses copper wires to connect the cabinet to homes and businesses. FTTC provides wholesale download speeds up to 80Mbps and upload speeds up to 20Mbps.
FTTP means fibre-optic cables run right to the door of each house or business. It provides wholesale download speeds up to 1Gbps and upload speeds up to 220Mbps.
The exact speed you get also depends on a number of additional factors like the length of your line from the telephone exchange or green roadside cabinet, the line quality and the equipment and internal wiring within your premises. Worcestershire is working to ensure that everyone gets as fast a speed as possible given their geographical location.
Despite significant investment, some areas of Worcestershire aren't currently included in the Superfast Worcestershire roll-out plans. This guide to alternative solutions potentially outlines options to obtaining a better service.
Since 2013, Worcestershire County Council (through its Superfast Broadband partnerships with Openreach, BDUK & Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership through the Government's Growth Deal) has extended the availability of faster broadband to over 90% of Worcestershire premises and we're going further. By the end of 2019, 96% of premises will be able to access 'superfast' speeds.
Superfast Worcestershire continues its drive to cover as much of Worcestershire with fibre based broadband as possible, and around 3,000 more households will benefit from a £3.7 million expansion (announced in March 2017). Work is scheduled to take until December 2019 to complete.
Additionally, in November 2017, the next phase of the deployment 'Phase 3' was announced. Phase 3 is a £6.2million expansion that will connect a further 5,300 premises to superfast and ultrafast broadband. Funding was received from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), Openreach and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Work is underway until 2019.
1. The first thing to do is to check whether fibre is actually available in your area. You can do this by entering your landline telephone number or postcode into the checker on our website at www.superfastworcestershire.com or using BT's DSL Checker at http://www.dslchecker.bt.com/. Future deployment can also be checked on WCC's checker available here.
If fibre broadband is available, you will need to check your current broadband contract and either upgrade with your current provider (an option for people who have weeks or months left on their current contracts), or switch broadband to a different provider of their choice. Please remember to do your research and place the order with your chosen provider.
If you would like more information on whether fibre roll out will be coming to you via the Superfast Worcestershire partnership please check the cabinet status page at /cabinet-status (please note, you will need to know your exchange area and cabinet number, both can be found by checking how you are connected to the network via the above checkers). If still unsure, please don't hesitate to contact us at email@example.com.
2. If you are some distance from the upgraded cabinet then you may achieve better, but not 'superfast' speeds. This is because the broadband signal degrades rapidly over a copper connection. Most providers make no distinction in their product so while you will see an advert for up to 38Mbps it is important to recognise the personal estimate given once you have entered your address or telephone number. BT may not offer you their Infinity service but you may consider their Unlimited Faster Broadband product: tinyurl.com/km55s4z. This should be offered to any BT customer who calls to order fibre, but though connected to a fibre enabled cabinet is too far away to be able to receive ‘BT Infinity’. Typically, a customer may order it, if it offers a usable increase in download speeds. Please note that this is the same technology but with different product naming to emphasise that you should not expect superfast speeds.
3. If you aren't covered under Superfast Worcestershire's current or upcoming plans, you may want to consider alternative internet service providers (ISPs) operating in Worcestershire, and providing their own infrastructure on a commercial basis. Suppliers like Openreach (www.openreach.com/fibre-broadband/community-fibre-partnerships), Virgin Media (tinyurl.com/pk4cm3j) and Gigaclear (http://www.gigaclear.com/) continue with their national demand led campaigns.
Openreach's Community Fibre Partnerships' encourages communities to work with them to 'part-fund' a solution, which could be made up of any of the following solutions e.g. Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC), Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) and network re-arrangement, including new fibre cabinets to deal with long lines or exchange only lines and Fibre to the Remote Node (FTTRN), which, simply put is like a 'small cabinet' on a pole or in the ground, much closer to properties (please also see section 8 below - for more information).
Virgin's 'Supercharging Local Communities' and 'Cable My Street' are calling upon residents and businesses to influence the decision on where they deploy next by registering demand on their website. To date, Virgin announced their intention to extend their network to: Lickey, Catshill and Upper and Lower Marlbook as part of Virgin Media's Project Lightning rollout.
Gigaclear's commercial model is 100% fibre to the premise (FTTP) and is demand led i.e. the opportunity is promoted within the community and if demand is present fibre to the premises is deployed.
It is also worth investigating whether a wireless provider can provide coverage, e.g. Worcester based Airband (home.airband.co/), or if they could extend coverage into your area. Airband are already covering large parts of Worcestershire, e.g. 14 rural Parishes (Little Witley, Bockleton, Kyre, Hanley, Rochford, Eastham, Lindridge, Mamble, Bayton, Tibberton, Crowle, part of Hanbury, Stock and Bradley and Feckenham), delivered as part of Worcestershire County Council's Community Pathfinder Project. Martley Web Mesh (http://www.facebook.com/martley.web.mesh/) is another locally based wireless provider.
4. Ethernet / Leased (private) lines for Businesses - are private fibre connections often requested for businesses, without access to the FTTC or FTTP networks. Occasionally, businesses choose Ethernet / Lease lines due to their business / service requirements; noting they can be costly options.
5. Visit our Complementary Schemes page to find out about other funding options currently available: /complementary-schemes
6. Other alternative solutions for those that can't get an adequate broadband service delivered via a phone line could be mobile broadband, which is increasingly becoming a viable option. This doesn't need you to connect a computer to a mobile phone. You will be given a 'plug in device' known as a "Dongle" which you plug into your computer.
Depending on your location, the mobile provider should confirm your potential connection speed, as this technology works on mobile phone signals. You can also check how strong your signal should be (inside and outside) by visiting the OFCOM Mobile coverage and fixed broadband checker at maps.ofcom.org.uk/check-coverage/. It is worth noting that mobile packages often come with a limited usage allowance.
7. A community could look to develop and fund their own fibre or wireless based initiatives, through options such as Community Shares - Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) / Community Share Companies or Self build like arrangements such as B4RN b4rn.org.uk/ - who also raised money through community shares. Other examples include Alston Moor http://www.cybermoor.org/ and Herefordshire Community Networks www.hereford-cic.net/.
8. Fibre on Demand – Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) on Demand enables you to order Generic Ethernet Access over Fibre to the Premises in speeds up to 1Gbps for customers who are within a Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) exchange area and are served by a FTTC enabled cabinet. List of suppliers offering Fibre on Demand service:
Full fibre broadband connections offer the fastest and most reliable speeds available, and the government is committed to a vision of a full fibre Britain. As part of this commitment in March 2018 DCMS announced £67m Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme.
Gigabit vouchers can be used by small businesses and the local communities surrounding them to contribute to the installation cost of a gigabit capable connection. Businesses can claim up to £2,500 each against the cost of connection either individually or as part of a group project. Residents can benefit from the scheme as part of a group project which also includes businesses, and can claim for a voucher of up to a value of £500. (Groups must have a ratio of at least 1 business to 10 residents.)
To help with the process, here are some simple step by step instructions:
Visit gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/ to review voucher eligibility criteria
Identify premises to be included in the project – you may wish to check your premises' status on our website: www.superfastworcestershire.com/#where-when
Register your project with a supplier - a list of those operating in your area can be found here: gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/for-residents/suppliers/
Please keep our team informed (firstname.lastname@example.org) – we will help you along the way! We've been heavily involved with Worcestershire businesses and residents utilizing the Gigabit Voucher scheme and since it's launch in May 2018, we have supported many communities in securing over £500,000 worth of vouchers, with many more nearing contract signatures.
Following the success of the Gigabit Voucher scheme, the UK Government announced a new scheme in April called the Rural Gigabit Connectivity scheme.
As part of the Government’s Rural Gigabit Connectivity programme, businesses and residents in some of the hardest-to-reach places in the UK are eligible for additional funding towards the cost of installing gigabit-capable broadband to their premises.
The following summarises the key characteristics of Rural Gigabit voucher eligibility:
Available in defined “rural” areas (by postcode in all parts of the UK)
Available to those with existing broadband speeds of less than 30 Mbps
Up to £3,500 for eligible SMEs (including self-employed) and up to £1,500 for residents
Applications must include a minimum of 2 residential or SME premises (single connections are not eligible)
Whether you live or work in an area with little broadband service or are looking to upgrade to ultrafast speeds to future proof your home or business, more information can be found here: gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/rural/.
Here's how the process works:
Contact our team on email@example.com to check if there is already a scheme underway in your area.
If not, use the Gigabit postcode checker to find a supplier in your area: gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/for-residents/suppliers/
Contact your chosen supplier to confirm your eligibility
Identify premises to be included in the project – you may wish to check your premises' status on our website. www.superfastworcestershire.com/#where-when There's a helpful guide to forming community projects here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/community-led-broadband-schemes/guidance#before-you-start-forming-a-community-group-and-deciding-on-the-best-solution
Register with your chosen supplier
Supplier provides a quote; group accepts and is given a build timescale.
The £200 million scheme is set to run for 2 years and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) will also be trialing a model connecting local hubs in rural areas, starting with primary schools. Working with the Department for Education, DCMS has identified the first 31 schools eligible for a connection under the scheme. These new speeds will enable whole classes to simultaneously surf the internet as part of structured lessons, and gives schools easier access to online training and educational learning.
The Superfast Worcestershire team would be really happy to support you and we'd love to keep in touch with you about your Community-led broadband scheme. We've been heavily involved with Worcestershire businesses and residents utilising the Gigabit Voucher scheme and since its launch in May 2018 we have supported many communities in securing over £500,000 worth of vouchers, with many more nearing contract signatures. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The UK Government has decided to implement the National Service Obligation (USO) via a regulatory approach by 2020. Under this framework, the USO will be demand-led. This means that consumers will have a right to request a connection of at least 10Mbps (download) where their existing speeds are less than 10Mbps (download.). A universal service provider will then be obliged to build all reasonable requests up to cost threshold of £3,400 proposed. Any costs above this amount will be funded by consumers.
Ofcom will implement the USO using a mix of technologies that meet the minimum specifications. Satellite connections are unlikely to fulfil the additional quality parameters but will probably be the only option for some consumers (approx. 0.2% nationwide).
Worcestershire County Council continues to extend superfast broadband service to as many Worcestershire premises. The proposed USO will not impact on the programme's current and future aspirations of becoming a 'Connected County' but will provide a safety net for those outside of the current scope.
The UK Government is introducing a Universal Service Obligation (USO) for broadband as part of its commitment in the UK Digital Strategy (March 2017) to ensure that the UK has world-class digital connectivity and inclusion.
More information on the USO can be found here: www.ofcom.org.uk/phones-telecoms-and-internet/advice-for-consumers/broadband-uso-need-to-know
The first phase (Contract 1) completed in summer 2016. Following the completion of contract 1, over 90% of residential and business premises have access to fibre broadband.
Through Contract 2 (Superfast Extension Programme), over 95% of the county's premises will have access to fibre broadband by December 2018. As of February 2018, 95% target was achieved in Worcestershire.
Through 'Gainshare', our £3.7 million expansion, around 3,000 more households across Worcestershire will be able to access fibre broadband. Work commenced in autumn 2017 and will take until December 2019 to complete. Additional communities across all six districts in Worcestershire have been earmarked for upgrades.
Additionally, in November 2017, the next phase of the deployment 'Phase 3' was announced. Phase 3 is a £6.2million expansion that will connect a further 5,300 premises to superfast and ultrafast broadband. Funding was received from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), Openreach and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Work is underway until 2020.
In addition to the above schemes that allow communities and businesses to take control of their future broadband provision, Worcestershire County Council is seeking additional funding from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The County Council is committed to taking coverage further by also investing any elements of underspend or other funds arising from earlier contracts to extend superfast broadband infrastructure further into Worcestershire.
We always knew that the funding would be insufficient to cover the whole of Worcestershire, and that is simply because some places are more challenging. This may be because of geography – perhaps they are more remote from existing infrastructure, because of the local topography, or because of other issues.
The network is being rolled out using fibre, because that is the most future-proof technology that will enable faster speeds to be achieved.
Each community is currently served by a green cabinet (although some premises are served by exchange only lines), which serves as a distribution point for the copper, which runs from the exchange and is then split to serve each property.
Our programme involves the installation of an additional cabinet which is fed by a fibre connection from the exchange, and then links in to the existing green cabinet so that the final distribution is by copper.
As broadband signals degrade over lengths of copper the current distance from the cabinet over which superfast broadband can currently be achieved is around 1km. However, this will be dependent on a number of factors including the quality of the existing copper connection and conditions at the property itself. The positioning of the new cabinet is crucial as it has to be near the existing cabinet, but unlike the existing cabinet also requires a power supply. There are also highways and other issues to be considered.
Some of the existing green cabinets are over 1km from the local communities, for instance where a cabinet serves a number of villages, and so we simply will not be able to achieve superfast speeds using the technology that is funded under the current programme.
Contract two, the Superfast Extension Programme, allows us to extend coverage in the county.
We had £2.39m allocated to Worcestershire from Broadband Delivery UK and that required match funding. Worcestershire County Council were able to match this through additional investment by the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership through the Government's Growth Deal, providing a total of £4.78m.
Having secured the public funding above Worcestershire County Council went through a new procurement process, including a second Open Market Review and Public Consultation.
As Openreach, our partners, were again successful in tendering for the contract we have been able to announce the Superfast Extension Programme as part of the existing programme to avoid confusion. Having been appointed as partners in March 2015, Openreach have contributed a further £1.42m taking the total available to £6.2m.
Some premises will be connected to fibre but have speeds of less than 24Mbps due to a number of factors, including the distance to their street cabinet. Additionally, some premises connected to fibre will have speeds in excess of 24Mbps as FTTC delivers speeds of up to 80Mbps.
The aim of the Superfast Worcestershire is to achieve the best long-term broadband coverage for the county.
We’re planning the roll-out, working closely with our partners and participating organisations, taking into account many factors including local demographics and geography, planning requirements, the existing engineering infrastructure and the availability of suitable technologies to provide a service.
It’s not possible with a programme of this size to plan every area at the same time so some areas will be enabled before others. We fully understand people's frustration and the huge importance of fibre broadband and we will keep you regularly updated as our plans evolve.
There are a number of broadband speed test website that you can use to test your current broadband speed. Speeds will vary according to the time of day and day of the week, so it is worth repeating the test to get the range of speeds you will receive.
This can be due to one or more different factors.
1. Your line may be connected to a roadside cabinet that has not yet been upgraded to fibre broadband. As we progress through the roll-out more and more cabinets will be upgraded.
2. You may be served by what is known as an 'exchange only' line that is connected directly to the telephone exchange without an intervening green roadside cabinet. Please see the relevant question about exchange only lines.
3. You may be on a line that is too long to support a fibre broadband connection from your local roadside cabinet.
We’re working hard to upgrade as many premises as possible to fibre broadband, and where fibre optic cannot be made available we’re aiming to develop solutions to bring faster broadband using alternative technologies.
Register your details with us so we can keep you updated with progress.
Existing phone lines that are connected direct to the exchange (Exchange Only (EO) lines) require a slightly different solution to a standard 'Fibre to the Cabinet' type deployment as there is currently no 'copper' street side cabinet.
If you're connected to an EO line and within our deployment plans there are currently three ways in which your property could be connected by the programme:
1. Fibre to the Premises: In this scenario you will continue to be connected for your voice services via the copper line, however a new fibre network will be built close enough for you to connect it direct to your property. Speeds delivered by this technology can reach much quicker speeds than a Fibre to the Cabinet technology. As the programme progresses the use of Fibre to the Premises is becoming increasingly common.
2. By re-engineering the copper (CuRE): In this scenario phone lines are often moved from the exchange into a new 'all in one' street side cabinet for fibre and copper. From this new box your broadband service will be delivered by copper and will essentially be delivered as a Fibre to the Cabinet type solution. Please see the following press release for an example of how this works: www.worcestershire.gov.uk/news/article/935/worcestershire_children_brought_up_to_speed_on_the_latest_fibre_broadband_technology
3. Fibre to the remote node: A very small number of structures in the programme may be via this solution. In short, fibre is brought much closer to the premises but then terminates at a 'remote-node' – copper is then used to bring the solution to your property.
It won't. To get fibre broadband, you'll need to place an order with an Internet Service Provider (ISP). This is because fibre broadband uses a different technology and an engineer will need to visit your premises to install the necessary equipment.
See our "How do I get it" FAQ for more information.
There are several ISPs offering fibre broadband in Worcestershire so you can shop around and choose the package that’s best for you. If you choose not to upgrade to fibre broadband, you'll be able to continue using your existing broadband service as normal.
The time before installation of fibre broadband varies among Internet Service Providers, typically it takes about two weeks. An engineer will call and install a new modem at your premises and you should receive a new router from your Internet Service Provider. In most cases, your other telephone and computer equipment doesn’t need to be replaced.
Information on new areas of availability has to be released to all Internet Service Providers on an equivalent basis and that's why new areas are only announced as part of this national process when they go live.
Also, engineering plans and delivery timescales do depend on factors such as planning, the provision of electricity to the new roadside cabinets and weather conditions.
In areas where fibre broadband is not an option, Superfast Worcestershire will make use of other superfast broadband technologies such as wireless, satellite and advanced copper. These areas and technologies are not currently covered by the postcode checker but may be in the future so please check back or Register to be kept up to date.
The BT broadband checker can be confusing. Just above the table you will see your telephone number, exchange and cabinet – if you have one. If there is no cabinet listed then you are on an exchange-only line.
On the table the main thing to concentrate on is the Downstream Line Rate, which is given in Mbps.
If the first item is shown on the left as FTTC (or FTTP) then you have a connection to the fibre cabinet and the speeds shown should be 24Mbps or above. If they are below this then you are connected to the fibre network but may be too far away from the cabinet at present to achieve superfast speeds with the current technology
You may also see ADSL 2+ or ADSL Max. This is an older technology that may deliver maximum speeds of 20Mbps but it uses only the old copper networks and is therefore not capable of reaching the higher speeds. Each Internet Service Provider usually installs equipment in the local exchange in order to deliver this service.
WBC Fixed Rate is similar to ADSL in that it uses the copper network, but is only available in some parts of the country. It means that the supplier puts their equipment further up the network and it may serve a number of exchanges. The speeds achieved are usually lower than with ADSL.
So, the best option is to have a fibre connection with superfast broadband – and that is exactly what Superfast Worcestershire Broadband is trying to bring to our communities!
If you are some distance from the upgraded cabinet then you may not achieve superfast speeds. This is because the broadband signal degrades rapidly over a copper connection. We hope to look at some of these issues later in the roll-out.
We are aware of some fibre products, which can be offered by some ISPs to customers, who though connected to a fibre enabled cabinet are too far away to be able to receive superfast speeds.
We have always said that we would bring information to you as early as possible, but that there was a degree of uncertainty about the data that would be resolved as the project progresses. This is a technically challenging project and we always knew that some areas would be more difficult to reach than others. Unfortunately we cannot be everywhere at once, and whilst some areas are being accelerated, that will unfortunately mean that others may slip back in the programme. We have to look at the whole area and the overall benefits of acceleration mean that a greater number of properties are being covered early in the programme. We are working hard to ensure that the network is rolled-out in the best way possible and whilst we are doing our best, changes are inevitable as further challenges come to light.
On our cabinet status page, we have recently added issues experienced on some of the cabinets we are working on. Examples of issues experienced include: temporary traffic lights required, road closure requirement (which requires a statutory 3 month lead time before we can proceed), wayleave issues (e.g. to stand a cabinet or power wayleave), extensive civils to remove blockages and many more.
We have started to publicise some issues we experience during the roll out. The most common is when a blockage is found in the duct and the fibre cannot be blown through. If this is the case then digging will have to take place to repair the ducts – and the problem is that there may be more than one blockage, which would require more digging.
Unfortunately, we do not have timescales for cabinets delayed by civil engineering work due to the unpredictable nature of the problem. However, the engineering teams are working as quickly as they can to resolve these issues.
By registering for more information, we can email you to let you know when your cabinet goes live. You can register here: /#register.
When planning our roll-out programme, Openreach needs to ensure the new fibre broadband cabinet is located within 100 metres of its associated telephony connection cabinet (copper cabinet). They also need to make sure there is enough access to power and existing infrastructure. Other things they consider are that the cabinet doesn’t get in pedestrians’ way, or pose a danger to road users. Plus they have to survey for other utility companies’ underground structure and obstacles. Openreach have to take into account the visual impact in some areas and make sure they’re not putting the security of adjacent properties at risk. Ease of access for installation and maintenance are also important considerations in the decision of where to place new fibre broadband cabinets.
Not immediately. Standing the cabinet is only a very small part of the process to bring superfast broadband to our communities. Once the cabinet has been stood it needs a power supply, and this entails a different contractor who will probably work to different timescales. It will also require a connection to the existing cabinet. By far the biggest job – or at least the one with the highest number of variables and potential pitfalls is the fibre connection back to the exchange. There are often problems with blocked or broken ducting, tree roots and other issues to overcome before the fibre can actually be connected through. Once the fibre is in place it has to be connected to the main spines and tested before the new service is ready to accept orders.
The best thing is to register for more information here: /#register and we will be in touch when your cabinet has gone live.
When a cabinet is installed Openreach know how many properties will be connected to it and make an assumption about how many of the available connections will be taken up. If the take-up is higher than anticipated then Openreach will need to add additional capacity by installing new connections cards into the cabinet. Openreach actively monitor each cabinet and will automatically order the new cards, so that in many cases the upgrade will happen before the cabinet reaches capacity. On occasion, however, take-up is not only higher than expected but also happens very quickly, so that the cabinet reaches capacity and there is a short delay before more orders can be taken.
It would not be feasible for Superfast Worcestershire to specify a higher capacity in every cabinet just in case it reaches capacity quickly. For one thing, this would add considerably to the cost of cabinets and would result in less overall coverage for the project – with fewer communities having the opportunity to benefit from faster broadband. Upgrades once the cabinet has gone live are carried out by Openreach on a “business as usual” basis, and at no cost to Superfast Worcestershire. The best thing to do is to ensure that you order the new service as soon as you know that superfast broadband is available in your area.
We are installing a wholesale fibre network and there will be a wide choice of providers. The decision as to whether to offer a service is a purely commercial one that each provider will take. We cannot influence this, but if you were to run a local campaign to encourage people to register their interest with a particular provider that might help your case. We are unable to get involved in influencing providers’ commercial decisions.
The remit of Superfast Worcestershire is to install the fibre network. The existing copper network is the responsibility of Openreach, so we have no influence over repairs or improvements to the copper wiring.
Your contract will be with an Internet Service Provider who will also have little influence over the condition of the copper network.
If your broadband speed is affected by the condition of the copper network and your Internet Service Provider is unable to have improvements made, you may want to contact Ofcom. There could be grounds for you to cancel the contract with your Internet Service Provider if you are not getting the speeds that you were promised.
If you want a speed improvement, even if it is not superfast, then BT has a product called Unlimited Faster Broadband that offers up to 17Mbps. Availability will depend on you being able to connect to a fibre cabinet, but your predicted speed being below superfast levels. For more information go to http://bt.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/47740/~/what-is-unlimited-faster-broadband%3F.
There are a wide range of satellite providers and (just as with fixed broadband) they each have different packages with different pricing structures. Unfortunately satellite broadband won’t suit everybody as the technology is different so it may not be as effective for some applications.
There are some funding schemes available and more information can be found here complementary schemes
A range of technologies are being used for properties on longer lines. The choice will depends on the distance involved, how many properties are clustered together – and how many are outlying form these, and other variables. Each case will be determined on its own parameters and the most appropriate solutions will be employed.
The information available to Worcestershire County Council does not enable us to be specific at an individual premise level, we are aware of numbers of premises. Postcode areas are the lowest level at which we can show how superfast broadband plans are expected to be rolled-out; this involves interpreting information available to us from a number of sources.
Postcodes can vary significantly in geographical size. Speed availability as a result of a Fibre to the Cabinet solution is affected by the distance that a premise is located from its serving cabinet.
Also, whilst premises may be located in the same postcode area, they are not always connected by the same broadband network infrastructure, cabinets or network suppliers. As such, there is the potential that premises within a particular postcode may get access to superfast services within different timescales; not all premises in the same postcode will necessarily benefit from a particular cabinet upgrade.
You may wish to transfer suppliers for a variety of reasons, such as:
First of all, check if the contract period you signed for with your existing supplier has expired. Contracts are generally for either 12 or 18 months. Most contracts require you to give a month’s notice, even after the initial 12 or 18 months. If it hasn’t expired, you may be liable for a cancellation fee or even the balance of the fee until the contract runs out. It’s your choice if you decide you want to buy yourself out of a contract that hasn’t yet expired.
It is important that you check that the new service you wish to sign up to is available in your area.
There are impartial sources of advice, such as:
Which? Have a great broadband speed checker – easy to use and some good advice as well tinyurl.com/l3o8d9s
Moneysaving Exert has lots of advice about switching provider: www.moneysavingexpert.com/phones/cheap-broadband
You can also use various comparison websites to check this – we’ve listed a few below:
We have no influence over the prices charged by commercial providers. Our role is to extend the wholesale fibre network as far as possible, and we are doing this through the contracts that we hold with Openreach.
If you are some distance from the upgraded cabinet then you may not achieve superfast speeds. This is because the broadband signal degrades rapidly over a copper connection. We hope to look at some of these issues later in the roll-out.
In simple terms - yes!
There are several schemes running at the moment - including Gigabit Voucher Scheme and Rural gigabit Connectivity Programme - that offer funding towards installation of gigabit capable connections. Where project quotes exceed available funding options, communities can pool together to proactively secure future-proofed broadband installations for their businesses and properties.
Additionally, the Better Broadband Voucher scheme contributes up to £400 to installation costs for those with existing connections of less than 2Mbps
More information can be found here: Complimentary Schemes
No. A private line is just that. Businesses can purchase a high-speed leased line. They will pay several thousand pounds for installation and a high usage charge. These lines run on a different network and are therefore not available for use by communities or individuals.
There are several reasons why the speed you get from your broadband varies:
Is more than one person using your internet connection at certain times?
For example, if you have a home network and your son is downloading a movie, your daughter is playing an online game on her X-Box, all whilst you’re browsing the web, you will notice a drop in internet connection speed.
Are you using the connection at a peak time of day (such as evening)?
General volume of traffic on the internet as a whole at peak times (national and international usage) will cause slower traffic.
As most broadband connections are shared with others, your peak time usage is likely to coincide with their use too.
This is known as the “contention ratio”. A typical consumer contention ratio is 50:1, which means you share the circuit with up to 49 other users. If all these users decide to use the internet at the same peak time, the speed for all will be slower. Generally, if you are a heavy broadband user, choosing a service with a smaller contention ratio would be a better option for you.
If your internet service provider (ISP) determines that you are a very heavy user, they may restrict your speed at certain times of day.
This is called “throttling” or “traffic shaping”. It is used by some ISPs to ensure that all their customers have their fair share of broadband access. Although you may have an unlimited download package, this technique would probably be covered by the ISP’s Fair Usage policy. Only a very small number of users would fall into this category – normally less than 0.1% of customers.
Contract 3 is a £6.2 million expansion which is expected to extend the superfast and ultrafast broadband roll-out to more than 3500 further Worcestershire households and businesses. When work is complete, more than 96% of Worcestershire homes and businesses will be able to access superfast broadband. Openreach was chosen as the co-funding delivery partner following an open procurement process.
Work on the new phase will begin in early 2018 and upgrades are due to be completed in 2020. The roll-out will focus on increasing speeds to local businesses, in line with Worcestershire County Council's commitment to being 'Open for Business'. Around 90% of structures completed in the third phase will be Fibre to the Premises.
Contract 3 includes around £1 million funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), £3.7 million from Openreach and £1.5 million from Broadband Delivery UK.
Openreach (formally BT) won three fair and open procurement exercises. They are willing to invest their own resources and have the capacity and experience to deliver the solution. Any infrastructure provider was welcomed to respond to the invitation to tender.
We are installing a wholesale fibre network and there will be a wide choice of providers. The decision as to whether to offer a service is a purely commercial one that each provider will take. We cannot influence this, but if you were to run a local campaign to encourage people to register their interest with a particular provider that might help your case. We are unable to get involved in influencing providers’ commercial decisions. If you are in a Fibre to the Premises enabled area, there currently aren't many ISPs who offer the service, so you may need to consider changing your provider.
Superfast Worcestershire's LBP Fund has been set up to complement Openreach's CFP initiative and support local communities by providing financial support.
The first step is to check whether your community is included in our deployment plan www.superfastworcestershire.com & e-services.worcestershire.gov.uk/broadbandproject/PostcodeStatus.aspx . If you are not included you can register your interestby completing our expression of interest form.
a) A community lead will be required to liaise with WCC and Openreach in the first instance. This is a very important role, where the community lead will be best placed to build an understanding of which premises in the location are not served with fibre broadband, and would be willing in principle to make a financial contribution to the cost of building the infrastructure. The community lead will also be responsible for gathering the local funding required to support the county council contribution.
b) The community lead will be required to initiate contact with the Openreach Community Fibre Partnership team (Superfast Worcestershire will be available to support the community if necessary).
c) Once a Community Fibre Partnership is registered, Openreach will design a solution and provide a quote to the community lead. Once this is received it should be shared with Superfast Worcestershire Team.
d) The community lead will then arrange a payment of the community share to Worcestershire County Council's Superfast Worcestershire Programme to secure match funding contribution. Once the council receives payment in full, the Superfast Worcestershire project team will initiate the start of the project.
All current funds are fully allocated against contracted build. Should more funding be secured, it will be modelled against all eligible premises in line with the chosen procurement process.
From the point of the community payment being received and processed, to the service going live and accepting orders, we would expect a period of up to twelve months. During this period the community will be kept informed with progress.
The solution will be planned by Openreach to achieve a minimum of 24Mbps for every property in scope. In reality most premises would receive speeds significantly above this. The solution would be designed to be the most affordable, and could be Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC), Fibre to the Premise (FTTP), or Fibre to the Remote Node (FttRN).
Yes. The Superfast Worcestershire Team appreciates there are other infrastructure providers which may be willing to provide similar solutions. However, WCC is only able to participate in this process and co-fund a solution with Openreach, as a result of the existing State Aid compliant processes following a year-long procurement and compliance check with state aid rules.
It is an operational matter for Openreach as to which cabinet they connect your landline to. There is a legal obligation to provide a copper telephone connection, but not for a fibre broadband connection. In some areas, Openreach are carrying out Copper Re-Arrangement works, which do involve moving lines from one cabinet to another. In other areas we are seeing FTTP (Fibre to the premise) installations, in which case the cabinet is irrelevant.
You can check which structure you are actually connected to and what speed is available to you now by using the BT DSL checker.
To see if anything is planned in your area for the future, either through this project or from commercial providers, use our checker, which shows the currently planned status up to June 2019.