Fast broadband in Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) came to the Worle exchange, my local exchange, in 2010 and at the time I was one of the first people to sign up, as soon as our cabinet was upgraded. However in 2012 we moved house, literally moving down the road. This house was connected to a different cabinet, and if the internet is to be believed this was the only cabinet connected to the Worle exchange which wasn’t upgraded.
I am connected to cabinet 25, which is on Moor Lane, near to the playground in Plumley Park. At the time of writing it still hasn’t been upgraded with no indication from BT Openreach when it will be upgraded.
I have written previously about my woes with fibre before, when we first moved house and lost fibre and then my initial investigations into why I couldn’t get FTTC and back in 2012 writing about the confirmation of no plans to upgrading cabinet 25.
I did once e-mail BT Openreach (when they published an e-mail address you could contact them on, they’ve removed that option now), their response was that the cabinet wasn’t economically viable and as a result it would probably be upgraded by Connecting Devon and Somerset as part of a public private partnership.
Thank you for your enquiry. You are connected to the Worle Exchange, cabinet 25. We are deploying one of the fastest and largest commercial deployments in the world. Our commercial deployment will have extended to 66% of the UK by the end of December 2014. We aim extend this to 90% of the UK, in partnership with other sources of funding, e.g. local and National government. Our deployment is based on the commercial criteria for each cabinet and your PCP fails to meet the commercial criteria. This is because the cabinet is too small to provide a return on the investment based on the costs for the construction and on-going running costs of providing a new FTTC cabinet. Where cabinets are not commercially viable Government funding is available to county councils and it is worth registering your interest on the County council website.
As a result I of course registered my interest to the council supporting the upgrade of this cabinet to FTTC via the Connecting Devon and Somerset website.
Connecting Devon and Somerset has been set up to deliver next generation broadband infrastructure to areas where the market has failed to invest.
I never heard from BT Openreach or Connecting Devon and Somerset again…
I wrote to my MP, and John Penrose, had had similar queries did some investigation., but again no clear answer from either side.
Connecting Devon and Somerset now say on their web site that:
According to our records your area is either currently, or planned to be, commercially covered by a private service provider. As such we are not allowed to invest in your area under European Commission State Aid regulations. You are not part of our programme and will need to contact an internet service provider (ISP) to find out about the current status/plans for your area.
So the situation is that originally BT Openreach said they wouldn’t upgrade the cabinet as it wasn’t commercially viable. Connecting Devon and Somerset say they won’t upgrade the cabinet as it is part of a commercial rollout.
The BT Openreach website now says that the cabinet is “Under Review”. At one point a third party website said that the cabinet was part of the Phase 13a rollout, but then BT Openreach closed that site down, so that information was lost to the ether.
According to some other stuff I have read it would appear that BT Openreach decided initially that cabinet 25 wasn’t commercially viable, as a result passed it over to Connecting Devon and Somerset. Then at some point BT Openreach changed their mind about the commercial viability, so when Connecting Devon and Somerset came to plan to upgrade the cabinet, they found it was part of a commercial plan, and under the rules they adhere to, they weren’t able to upgrade it. Now we are in a situation where BT Openreach are saying that it is under review with no indication of when or even if it will be ever upgraded.
The end result is now in 2015, when most people across Weston super Mare have access to FTTC, the area around cabinet 25 don’t. It’s got to the point when I think EE’s 4G service may be the only viable option to fast broadband.