Ellens Green gets partial FTTC availability

Ellens Green premises are mostly connected to cabinet 2 on the Rudgwick exchange, so were waiting on the West Sussex roll-out. Whilst not all checkers have yet been updated, the key BT Wholesale checker is now showing FTTC (“fibre” broadband) availability for part of the village. Unfortunately, the distance from cabinet 2 in Cox Green means that households near the start of Furzen Lane can only expect “fibre” broadband download speeds between 8 and 20 Mbps, and service tails off to the North and East. For example, School House has an estimate in the range 5 to 17 Mbps, whereas Fairfields a little further East has no availability at present. In Horsham Road, The Wheatsheaf estimate is 5 to 14 Mbps, but Pollingfold Manor is out of luck. Brookside Rural Park is in a better position, with estimates in the range 15 to 35 Mbps. The UK definition of “superfast broadband” is now 25 Mbps or more.

The Superfast Surrey project target is 94.6% of Surrey premises achieving a minimum service level of 15 Mbps. Rudgwick cabinet 2, serving Ellens Green, was upgraded as part of this project, so anyone on this cabinet who cannot get a 15 Mbps download service should seek further improvements from Superfast Surrey; email enquiries@superfastsurrey.org.uk.

The first step is to check your own availability at dslchecker.bt.com and note down the 4 FTTC Downstream Line Rate figures, if shown. If these do not appear above the ADSL estimates, then you cannot currently order “fibre” broadband from any ISP. It is worth checking again every few weeks, as coverage may expand in future. You should also press Superfast Surrey (Surrey County Council) for further help, and if you are interested in actively supporting a community FTTP/FTTH project please also contact me.

If you have an FTTC estimate, then you can start to compare the various “fibre broadband” services available. It may take some time for all service providers to register your availability. It is also quite common for availability to disappear, usually temporarily. This happens, for example, when the current capacity of the fibre cabinet is reached, and it should re-appear once the cabinet is upgraded. Initial capacity is often inadequate, and these upgrades can take months, so those with urgent need for the faster service should order quickly. Software and firmware updates, and various faults, can make the checker results erratic for a time, but estimates may occasionally improve after an upgrade. Certain lines may be identified by Openreach as being unable to support a stable FTTC connection, and in some cases this appears to block availability for neighbouring lines as well. Unfortunately, current Openreach policy is to remove availability, rather than fix the problem in the line (e.g. the corroding aluminium underground cables in Horsham Lane, Ewhurst).

When comparing the services on offer, beware the speed estimates provided by the ISP. These must be based on the figures you noted down, but it appears that the ISP can pick any number within that range. For example, BT have tended to quote speeds from the upper end of the range, which you may be unlikely to achieve in practice, whereas more responsible service providers suggest a lower, perhaps more realistic estimate. Remember that all providers are selling you the same FTTC connection to the exchange (from Openreach). However, performance upstream from the exchange does vary between ISPs, mainly due to “contention and congestion” differences. Once again, BT customers are often reported to have some of the worst problems in this area, so do shop around and check reviews.

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3 Responses to Ellens Green gets partial FTTC availability

  1. David Nye says:

    Phil reports that Rudgwick cabinet 3 is also now enabled. Does anyone know what area this covers?

  2. Walter says:

    Rudgwick & Ellens Green Cabinets 2, 3 and 4 are all VDSL enabled now which I know covers the Rudgwick shops all the way out to Ellens Green. As to be expected there are the usual poor performers. Cabinet 2 has one property with a minimum download speed of only 14 Mbps.

    Meanwhile Albury PCP 4 off the Shere exchange has at long LONG last been re-enabled after a FIVE MONTH wait for BT to re-excavate the entire 47 m pavement duct run to bury the second duct as presumably BT accountants prohibited the payment for the extra duct upgrade six months earlier. PCP 5 in Shere is also AWOL since December 2014 with a twice postponed date of 25 March BUT BT failed to complete the scheduled roadworks yet again required to re-excavate a long and complicated duct run earlier this month. Very sadly this illustrates yet more SuperFARCE with the incompetence of the purchasing authority in not insisting that BT include their basic costs just for ducting in the original deployment.

    The really distressing aspect of this SCC debacle (As well as much of Lancashire I have observed personally and probably the whole of the UK too) is that EVERY duct run between the PCP Green cabinet and the FTTCabinet is only provided with a single duct. Whilst this may only require small excavations on short run upgrades, any of the longer runs will cause quite unnecessary and expensive remedial work mayhem. Note that all three Ewhurst cabinets required re-excavations to provide the extra services over the original 100 pr tie cables. Cabinet 18 required a complete new duct run as BT Openreach had jammed the old infrastructure solid. Cabinet 20 required an extra chamber and three sets of tie cables.

  3. David Nye says:

    The latest analysis from ThinkBroadband estimates that 93.4% of Surrey premises now have 30+ Mbps “superfast” broadband available. Therefore, it seems possible that the Surrey target of 94.6% at 15+ Mbps has been achieved, if the ThinkBroadband estimates are accurate. The ThinkBroadband figures are independently calculated from their own data, but have been questioned by the sceptics. However, the same analysis suggests that 11,000 premises are still excluded from connection to the fibre network, and many thousands of those now connected have gained no benefit whatsoever. The estimated 6.6% which cannot access a “superfast” service represents 30,000 premises.

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