Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Superfast broadband and Exchange Only Lines?

"Fibre to the Cabinet" - by definition, your telephone line needs to terminate at a streetside CABINET.
Many rural houses have telephone lines that do not terminate at a cabinet, but terminate directly at the Exchange instead. These are termed "Exchange Only" or "EO" lines.

We are on an Exchange Only Line - as is most of the rural population of Benderloch that isn't situated on the main 'high street' (see my other posts for the extent of reach of the cabinet)

Can we still benefit from the superfast broadband rollout? More below:

Can I get superfast broadband on an Exchange Only Line?

Good question. The most probable answer is NO.
 BT would have to install extra equipment inside the exchange, or a cabinet outside the Exchange. No planning proposals have been submitted to install a cabinet in the vicinity of the Ledaig exchange, or other cabinets in which to terminate Exchange-only lines in Benderloch. An informal comment from an Openreach employee in Argyll is that it is only the connections to the cabinet in Benderloch can benefit from the fibre at present.

If  I don't / can't get the new superfast broadband at my house, will I see a speed or stability increase?

Most probably not, but possibly yes (!)
In summary:
*The people moving from ADSL to FTTC would decrease the contention for the remaining ADSL users
* the exchange equipment MIGHT be upgraded to allow ADSL2+ connections...
 - ADSL2+ is supposedly more stable than ADSL Max
 - people living under 3km from the exchange could see their maximum speeds increase (see here
- people living over 3km from the exchange would see very little change in their speed.

The Ledaig exchange equipment for broadband access is currently using "ADSL Max" -the common 'up to 8Mbit' technology on BT's "20th Century Network". 

The new fibre broadband uses VDSL2 technology in a new cabinet in the street, and your copper telephone line for this would terminate in the new cabinet. A fibre optic cable runs back to the exchange from this new cabinet.

It is possible that the fibre data doesn't actually terminate at the Ledaig exchange (where your internet data actually jumps onto the national infrastructure if you like) , but instead just uses the ducting at the Exchange to link up to more fibre and more distant exchanges,  and the data carried on the fibre instead terminates at another distant exchange (reference here to other non-WBC exchanges in FTTC areas)

From what I can tell, the fibre data needs to terminate at an exchange that is connected to BT's "21st Century Network Wholesale Broadband Connect".[edit] Once source says that the Ledaig exchange is scheduled for 21CN WBC in "Calendar Year 2014" (reference here).

Therefore, exchange-only lines will continue to use the existing ADSL Max DSLAM equipment in the exchange and will not see any change in speed/stability, bar that from decreased contention.

If the exchange IS to be upgraded to WBC to backhaul the fibre data, then it is possible that exchange-only lines could benefit from an upgrade "ADSL2+" connections.

ADSL2+ is seen as more stable than ADSL Max, and for users under 3km from the exchange, could mean an increase in maximum speed above 8Mbit/s download
More on ADSL2+ and 21CN WBC here

please note, this information is tailored specifically for the circumstances around the Ledaig Exchange and may not apply to any other rollouts.

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