Having spent virtually all of the last eighteen months working from home, I have had the luxury of my FTTP connection, with 1Gb/s download speed and an upload speed of 100Mb/s.
However for a few weeks now I have been venturing to the office in Bristol. The connection in the office is usually fine, however I had forgotten what the experience was like using internet and 4G in a coffee shop was like. Having ventured to Coffee #1 near Queen’s Square in Bristol I was struggling with my 4G personal hotspot, so much so I had to switch to The Cloud free wifi.
I had forgotten how bad and unreliable 4G can be in an urban environment. I had been spoilt with my home broadband reliability and speed.
Having said that, the coffee was great and it was really nice to have a change of scenery and routine.
Jump forward three years and following further work by BT Openreach I was able to upgrade to FTTP or as it was called Full Fibre resulting in a download speed of 1Gb/s, which was faster than the 30Mb/s I had with FTTC and significantly faster than the 1.3Mb/s ADSL connection we had when we first moved in.
I did think that was the end of the saga, well it was the end of the saga for me, the reality for Weston Village is that there is now a bundle of companies putting in fibre and cable connection. As a result there is a huge amount of roadworks and cable laying across the village.
This is as you might imagine making a mess of the roads and pavements.
So I am now also getting bombarded with pamphlets and advertising new fibre and television services.
This though was no faster than the built in Airport card, however I could use it on my MacBook which had a slower card and I have managed to achieve speeds in excess of 400Mbps, but not quite the 800Mbps I was hoping for.
I think, though I love the speed, one of the key advantages of my new FTTP connection is reliability. I don’t think I’ve noticed if it has gone down or not.
On my old FTTC connection, it was fall over at least once a day or even more. I would usually notice as my Alexa Spot device would show my hub login screen when the connection failed.
Not seen that since we upgraded.
The other key is how much better the BT Hub is over my older (2017) Plusnet Hub was. The strength and spread of the WiFi is much better and combined with the faster speed means that a stable and reliable connection even at extreme distances from the hub in the house. Pleased with that, I was thinking about buying WiFi Extenders, but don’t think I need to do that now.
BT came round yesterday and fitted FTTP or full fibre as BT likes to call it. It was quite a painless process, so much so that I didn’t actually notice that the FTTC connection had been turned off and the FTTP turned on, well I was in the midst of writing an e-mail at the time.
They had to upgrade the terminal outside, drill a hole through the wall and mount the modem and the Smart Hub near some power sockets.
Now we have a 1Gb connection, though the reality with WiFI is that the most I can get is about 500Mb/s, but that is still 25 times faster than what I had before!
The speed and quality of the WiFi signal is much better and is working well It will take a little time to settle in over the next few weeks so the speed will fluctuate up and down. Though for my first Teams call after installation it was working a treat.
Accessing streaming video and downloading files is so much faster, but the other main benefit is better quality WiFi across the house. Though the signal degrades as you move away from the Hub, 20% of 400Mb/s is much better than 20% of 30Mb/s for doing stuff.
I had to go around and reconnect everything to the new wireless network, the Apple devices were the easiest as I could share the password across my devices just by bringing them close to each other.
Where I could use WPS that meant I could connect the printer and some Windows machines. The hardest devices to connect to the new wireless network was the Amazon Alexa devices, but got those done in the end.
Having placed an order for full fibre from BT I was expecting to have to go through the process of cancelling my plusnet account.
However this was all automated as BT made a request to them, as I was changing provider.
They did make repeated requests to me to change my mind, but the problem was not that I wasn’t happy with them or their service, just that they didn’t provide the FTTP service I wanted. If they did I would have stayed with them.
Alas there wasn’t an easy way to provide them with this feedback, the e-mail I replied to bounced!
I have placed an order for fibre to the premises FTTP with estimated speeds of 900Mb/s down and 110Mb/s up. Should be up and running in the next couple of weeks.
A few months back our local area was awash with BT Openreach vans.
So we have FIVE BT openreach vans within 20 metres of our house and loads of BT workers as well. No idea what they are up to, I would go and ask, however a) social distancing and all that and b) they may, if I went up to them, think I was of those 5G conspiracy nutters!
I did wonder if they were installing full fibre connections, or fibre to the premises FTTP. I remember at the time doing a search, but no news on any kind of upgrade to either cabinet 25 or the Worle Exchange.
Bizarrely enough it was an advert on Instagram that caught my attention back on the 1st October. Almost for a joke I decided to see if I could get faster fibre, I wasn’t expecting to, but was quite surprised to see that I could in fact have FTTP!
Having suffered poor ADSL speeds for many years, I was really pleased, in September 2017 when BT Openreach finally finished the upgrade to cabinet 25 and we could have FTTC fibre.
With roughly 30Mb/s download and 9Mb/s upload speed I felt I was back, in terms of internet speeds, where I was in 2012 at our old house before we moved. Eight years ago I blogged about how I lost my FTTC connection having moved house (literally just moved down the same road).
It took over five years for BT Openreach to upgrade Cabinet 25 so we could have FTTC.
One of the reasons I didn’t place an order straight away was that, if I ordered BT Full Fibre I would have to close my current internet account with my ISP. Now I have been with my ISP since 1998, they were my first ISP, well the first I paid for after a free trial with AOL. I had seen an advert in a computing magazine, they were called Force9 and were based in Sheffield.
I had a dial-up internet account with them initially where I paid a monthly fee for internet access as well as any telephone charges.
Stayed with them when I moved house. In June 2000, the Force9 brand was changed to Plusnet. This coincided with the introduction of the Surftime dialup internet products, the first real 24/7 unmetered dial-up service in the UK. This worked really well with the Airport Extreme base station I had with integrated modem. I could use my Mac to enable the connection and then use the wifi across the home to use the internet wherever I was in the house.
When ADSL was enabled in February 2003, I upgraded to this new faster internet. The always on nature of ADSL changed how I used the internet, and in some ways how the internet used me.
Plusnet was sold to BT in 2007 and I think it lost a little of its soul that day, but I stuck with them.
On this day in 2010 I upgraded to FTTC and this was a real revelation. With 40Mb down and 10Mb up this is significantly faster than the 1.3 down and 0.6 up I had before.
I was so disappointed when we moved house two years later and lost it and went back to the slow speeds of ADSL.
Five years later, cabinet 25 was upgraded and we had fibre back.
All that time I was with Force9 or Plusnet as they like to be called.
When I found out I could have FTTP from BT, I did think I should be able to get FTTP from Plusnet as I recalled they were doing FTTP trials a few years back. Alas it was apparent that they don’t do FTTP products. So it was with a little sadness (don’t know why) that I ordered the BT Full Fibre product and this automatically activated the cancellation of my account with Plusnet.
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.