I’ve not mentioned my home internet connection for a while now, since we had the FTTC fibre upgrade. The main reason is that is just works. With roughly 30Mb/s download and 9Mb/s upload speed I feel I am back, in terms of internet speeds, where I was in 2012 at our old house before we moved.
A good example is how streaming video across multiple screens just works with no buffering, whereas on our previous ADSL connection a single stream struggled. Services such as iPlayer, Netflix and Amazon Video both stream in HD with ease. We never use to be able to watch the trailers on the Apple TV, but now no problem.
When working from home I often download and upload large files, this is so simple that I don’t worry about it any more.
So I am really pleased with the FTTC connection, it just works.
Over the last twelve months I have published 26 posts, many of these were about my return to fibre. So it is nice to see that the tenth most popular post on the blog this year was from nearly a year ago. We will have fibre in “12 months”! I said back then that according to BT Openreach we would have fibre within twelve months, I was slightly sceptical, but nine months after publishing that post I did get fibre.
The third most popular post was about the free wifi (or lack of) on my holiday, Haven no wifi
The post at number two was Comic Book Fonts which was about the amazing comic book fonts from Comic Book Fonts.
So the most popular post on the blog was my post about QR codes on chocolate bars, Cadbury QR Coding and Twirling was published in 2015 and was one of many posts I published on the use of QR codes back then.
Well if you have been following my sorry saga of Cabinet 25 in Weston Village and it’s journey to fibre, you will be pleased, sorry relieved, that I finally have fibre. Five years after moving house my broadband is now FTTC and much faster than the 1.4Mb/s ADSL speeds I have had over that time. It’s being seven years since the Worle Exchange was upgraded for FTTC, but as with any FTTC enabled Exchange, you can only upgrade to fibre (FTTC) once the cabinet has been enabled.
I had been given an activation date of the 19th September. I had seen BT Openreach vans there that morning (they had been there the day before) so had reasonable expectations that the activation date wouldn’t be missed.
The only timing I had been given was that it would be completed by midnight, but I did wonder if it would be finished earlier, I just couldn’t see BT Openreach being there in the dark.
Mid afternoon my ADSL connection stopped. I did restart the router/modem but no connection. An hour later the modem went blue, I had a fibre connection.
It takes time for the connection to settle down, but I am pleased with a 25Mb/s download speed and it was nice to see how a 1GB software update which would have taken up to eight hours, take just eight minutes! The upload speed is slower than I would like at 2Mb/s but that’s still five times faster than what I had before.
Later it was nice to be able to be downloading an iOS update whilst streaming BBC iPlayer at the same time and browsing the web.
Okay so maybe being a little impatient, but I am still waiting on my fibre connection to be enabled.
BT Openreach finally enabled the cabinet on the 30th August and I placed my order with Plusnet the next day.
In my initial correspondence with Plusnet they seemed to imply that my connection would be upgraded on the 7th September.
However as with others I have since found out that my connection would be enabled on the 19th September. No actual time, but sometime during the day.
What I was confused with, was when I got FTTC at my old place, we had to have a visit from a BT Engineer who fitted a new faceplate to the master socket. So I was expecting to have some kind of appointment to have a faceplate installed. Talking to Plusnet customer service I have realised that as the predicted speed is low then I won’t need to have a new faceplate and “filters will work just fine”.
It was back in 2014 when BT decided that for up to 38MBps fibre connections that this could be a self-install option and therefore no faceplate needed to be fitted.
However some sites are recommending that you fit a faceplate anyhow.
We urge anyone considering or opting for a self-install fibre broadband service to install a faceplate filter. These are inexpensive and will generally deliver significant improvements in broadband speeds.
So I have been thinking that once I have the upgraded connection to fit my own faceplate. You can get them quite cheaply on Amazon.
Originally BT Openreach said they would upgrade Cabinet 25 in Weston Village by the end of March, this deadline was quickly moved to the end of August. If you have been following my saga you will know that the final phase has been dragging.
Today, the 30th August, one day before the BT Openreach deadline, they have finished the process and are accepting orders for FTTC connections.
I had checked earlier today and as for most of the last month the websites were saying, still checking stuff and no you can’t order a fibre connection today. This evening that has all changed and I could now place an order for a FTTC connection.
Which to be honest is not much good for anything these days, even web pages are so bloated these days, it can take an age to download a single web page from some sites. Flickr for example is really challenging to use. So you can imagine the challenges we face in streaming video, using services such as Skype or any kind of cloud service.
Just up the road, with a property connected to cabinet 17, you can see the different having a FTTC enabled cabinet can make on speeds.
You can see though the ADSL speed is better than mine at 7.5Mb/s, the FTTC rate is around 80MB/s.
I was also interested to see that fibre to the premises (FTTP) is also available on that cabinet to that specific line with a 330Mb/s downstream rate!
Doubt that will be available on cabinet 25.
BBC News are reporting though that this may change…
Telecoms regulator Ofcom forced BT to legally separate its broadband infrastructure division Openreach in March.
Since the split, Openreach has pledged to offer super-fast fibre broadband to 10 million homes by 2025, using technology known as fibre to the premises (FTTP) which it had previously said was too expensive for wide rollout.
I know, I know I should be happy I am getting FTTC and not worry too much about FTTP.
Those who regularly follow the blog will realise that my local cabinet will soon allow FTTC connections, only seven years after the local exchange was upgraded. When we moved house five years ago, we took our internet service provider with us and kept the legacy account. Five years ago we expected to be upgraded to FTTC with a year or two…
This legacy account actually has a bandwidth limit of 120Gb per month, which considering my average ADSL internet speed is 1Mb/s is (usually) more than plenty. Most months we are lucky to hit 60GB. As a result I have never upgraded the legacy ISP account.
As we finally approach the possibility of having a fibre connection, I was checking what kinds of fibre accounts were available, I took the opportunity to check my bandwidth usage and was surprised to see how much bandwidth we had been using. We were using 4-6GB per day (which if you do the math, you will realise would take us over the monthly limit, as especially it is a thirty one day month).
After checking a few things and doing an overnight test, it would appear that the Apple TV was the culprit.
Not sure what it was doing (as it was supposed to be on standby) but I am guessing it was attempting to update itself or downloading one of its (rather nice) screensaver.
Reflecting another culprit could be the Wii U. Well let’s see what happens with the Apple TV turned off. OF course once we have upgraded to FTTC we will have unlimited bandwidth, so I won’t need to worry. Which will be soon…. I hope.
You can’t order a fibre service today but typically it’ll be available to your premises within the next four months.
Well here we are two weeks later at the Activate stage and the site says:
You can’t order a fibre service today but typically it’ll be available to your premises within the next month.
So I am anticipating that this may take less than a month.
However the process is moving faster than it says on the website, it’s one of the reasons I am blogging about it, so I can see if we are on target or slower than the website says. The build phase (which should be a “month”) was just a week and at the end of that we had a new cabinet.