Questions and Answers

General

Why can’t I order fibre broadband even though it appears to be live in my area?

There are a number of reasons you may not be able to upgrade to fibre broadband. Some premises may be too far away from the fibre cabinet they are served by to receive superfast speeds, or may be directly connected to the Exchange on copper lines, so cannot upgrade to fibre broadband at present. Our ‘Getting Superfast’ pageexplains what you can do if you’ve done all the checks and believe you should be able to get fibre broadband, but are unable to upgrade.

Why can’t you provide a more accurate timescale for when my area will get fibre broadband?

We’re working closely with BT and Openreach to plan the follow on phases of the Connecting Cambridgeshire fibre broadband rollout to reach as many premises as possible. Finding the best solutions involves taking into account many factors including local demographics and geography, planning requirements, the existing engineering infrastructure and the availability of suitable technologies to provide a service.

We fully understand people’s frustration and the high demand for superfast broadband and we’ll update our information regularly as plans evolve.

How can residents help to bring fibre broadband to their community sooner?

Residents interested in helping their communities to get better broadband speeds sooner may wish to look into community funding a solution via BT’s Community Fibre Partnership (CFP) programme

Any community interested in helping themselves to get better broadband speeds can register with CFP to see what the possible solutions and costs are. Although the offer does have an element of additional funding available for schools, it is not dependent on there being a school.

Registering for a Community Fibre Partnership does not represent any commitment from the community at this stage, however it enables you and us to find out more about potential solutions and costs to deliver better broadband to your area.

If the Community Fibre Partnership team can give cost estimates for a solution, there may be opportunities for match funding from Connecting Cambridgeshire or from the Government’s basic broadband voucher scheme (only for premises currently receiving speeds of 2 Mbps and under).  If delivery and funding of a solution is then agreed, Connecting Cambridgeshire will work together with residents to manage the delivery to reduce the time demands on their community.

If you community is interested in exploring this option and has registered with the Community Fibre Programme, please contact the Connecting Cambridgeshire team here.

I’ve been told I cannot upgrade to superfast fibre broadband because the fibre cabinet has reached capacity – what does this mean?

When a cabinet is installed BT know how many properties will be connected to it and estimate how many of the available connections will be taken up. Therefore, cabinets are installed with around a third of their total capacity initially so there is room to increase it where demand is high. The majority of the cabinets have enough room to connect 288 lines. There are also smaller cabinets which can connect 96 lines.

Cabinets at capacity are reported to Openreach, who have a rolling programme to install extra capacity, but it may take a while before you can order fibre broadband through your chosen internet service provider.

Why does it take so long to increase the capacity of a fibre cabinet?

BT aims to provide extra capacity as soon as possible for those parts of the network where they are experiencing high levels of demand. Catering for additional demand in an area can take time to plan and may involve expanding the existing infrastructure to accommodate the extra equipment needed. In some cases, BT may even need to supply an additional fibre cabinet to increase capacity (Incremental Cabinets) as this has to progress through planning it can take a while.

Why is the cabinet located on the edge of the village? Would it not reach more properties if it were in the centre?

There are a number of factors that influence the location of a cabinet. These include (though are not limited to) access to mains power, the proximity of the fibre spine that will need to be extended to support the connectivity of the cabinet and taking into account that all existing distribution points are included.

Why can’t you simply reconnect me to a nearer cabinet?

Due to the historic complexity of the cabling connecting premises to a cabinet, which does not always follow the shortest routes, it is not as straight forward as simply connecting you to closest cabinet.

The network over which fibre broadband is provided is bespoke, and all premises are served from dedicated fixed distribution points.

Why don’t all premises in an area get improved broadband at the same time?

The delivery of fibre broadband is a complex engineering task which is why there are different solutions for different areas. Some areas are served by more than one fibre cabinet and/or exchange which may be upgraded at different times.

Each area may have different types of fibre or other technology deployed and some will take longer than others to plan and deliver. These will include Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC), Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) and alternative technologies such as satellite or wireless. Read more about these technologies here.

Take a look at our ‘my area’ pages for more details on solution and timescales for the roll out in your area.

Why wasn’t my ‘Exchange Only’ (EO) line connected to fibre broadband at the same time as the rest of my area?

It is more complex bringing fibre to premises on EO lines as they are connected directly to the exchange, so there is no green cabinet between the property and the exchange to upgrade with fibre cabling. Connecting these areas requires rearrangement of the network as there is no aggregation point to connect to the fibre cabinet (DSLAM). Therefore two cabinets have to be installed creating additional challenges.

You’ve said my postcode is in a Change Request (CR) what is this?

A Change Request is raised when Connecting Cambridgeshire formally request BT to investigate additional solutions for an area which is part of the intervention programme.

Do I have to order superfast broadband from BT?

The new fibre network being rolled out across the county by BT for the Connecting Cambridgeshire Programme is universal which means any internet service provider (ISP) can choose to offer a service.

Most ISPs offer a fibre service so make sure you shop around for the best broadband package to suit your needs. However, we are aware that not all ISPs offer FTTP (Fibre to the Premise) packages yet.

For more information about upgrading to Superfast Broadband visit our ‘Getting Superfast’ page

Why does the Openreach checker appear to contradict the information on your website?

The Openreach website is a national site and we are therefore unable to influence the information it provides about different stages of the rollout. If you are unsure of the plans for your area, please take a look at the relevant ‘my area’ page or contact us via our ‘contact us’ page.

What criteria have been used to plan the rollout phases?

The superfast broadband roll-out is being carefully planned to make the best use of public money so that it reaches as many homes and businesses as possible, that would not be able to access it otherwise.

Having delivered fibre broadband access to over 100,000 premises in the first phase of the rollout, we are now working on follow on phases to reach smaller communities and groups of premises in harder to reach areas.

The nationally agreed criteria being used to plan the rollout includes factors such as the geographic location and proximity of premises, configuration of the existing copper network and proximity of fibre spine, together with the cost and availability of power.

Will we be left out if we live on the borders of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough?

No. The Connecting Cambridgeshire programme is based on Cambridgeshire postcodes and does not depend on whether the serving exchange is within the county.

What is meant by the term ‘superfast’ broadband?

Superfast broadband is defined as a download access speed of at least 24Mbps.

Connecting Cambridgeshire has already brought access to superfast broadband to over 93% of premises in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, and is on track to reach at least 95% across the county by the end of 2017.

Why do some premises not get ‘superfast’ speeds?

We are aiming to deliver superfast broadband (of at least 24mbps) to as many areas as possible. However, some premises connected to the fibre network may be too far from the cabinet/exchange to receive superfast broadband, but will still be able to subscribe to ‘faster fibre’ services.

Will my area benefit from the Government’s proposals for a minimum broadband speed of 10 Mbps?

The Government has proposed a new broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) with a minimum speed of 10Mbps, however this has to go through a lengthy consultation and legislation process, so it could take up to two years or more before it is implemented.

The initial consultation on the broadband USO took place from 23 March until 18 April 2016 and the consultation response document is available on the gov.uk website here.

This clarifies the Government’s powers to implement a broadband USO to provide internet access appropriate for today’s needs, and the requirement for Ofcom to keep the minimum speed under review.

Ofcom has now been commissioned to undertake detailed analysis of the key factors that will help inform the design of the USO, and to report on the findings by the end of the year. Secondary legislation will then be developed, which will be subject to a second consultation to cover the detail of the USO and its implementation.

Will I benefit from the recent national announcements about reaching more premises?

The Connecting Cambridgeshire roll out programme is committed to bringing fibre broadband access to as many premises in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough that would otherwise not have been able to get  it. The programme has been extended with additional Government funding and BT investment to reach even more premises during follow on phases from 2016 – 2017 and beyond.

Why was the contract to rollout fibre broadband on behalf of Connecting Cambridgeshire awarded to BT?

During 2012, a complex procurement process involving several bidders was carried out to find a commercial partner to provide broadband infrastructure in areas that would not be able to get it otherwise.

In March 2013, Cambridgeshire County Council Cabinet signed the contract with BT to roll-out fibre broadband across the county within the next three years. Bidders were asked to demonstrate the greatest broadband coverage and the highest speeds they could offer for a total public investment of up to £23 million.

BT submitted the highest scoring bid with a competitive broadband deal which means we  exceeded our original target of more than 90% of homes and businesses in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough being able to receive superfast broadband (of at least 24 Mbps) by the end of 2015.

The roll-out has subsequently been extended with additional Government funding and BT investment to reach even more premises during follow-on phases from 2016 – 2017 and beyond.

What is a Broadband Champion and what do they do?

Our Broadband Champions played a key part in success of the original demand registration campaign , keeping communities informed about the progress of the broadband rollout and raising awareness of the benefits of upgrading to high speed fibre broadband   As a result, take up of fibre broadband in Cambridgeshire is among the highest in the country, particularly in communities with Broadband Champions.

Connecting Cambridgeshire will continue to work with our Champions, communities and businesses to keep residents informed and follow up with any issues that my arise as the rollout progresses.

If you are interested in getting involved please visit our ‘contact us’ page and let us know.

 

Fibre to the Premise (FTTP)

How do I check if FTTP is available in my area?

If fibre is available, you can check if the technology is Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) or Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) using the Openreach fibre availability checker https://www.homeandwork.openreach.co.uk/when-can-i-get-fibre, or simply ask your Internet Service Provider (ISP).

How do I upgrade to FTTP to get superfast broadband?

To upgrade to superfast broadband you need to contact an Internet Service Provider (ISP) to find out if they are offering Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) fibre broadband packages in your area. You can do this by using broadband comparison website such as SamKnows.

Because this is a relatively new technology, not all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) offer FTTP services yet. BT, Zen, PlusNet and Andrews & Arnold, are currently the main ISPs offering FTTP services, although we expect other providers such as Sky and TalkTalk to be coming on stream soon.

When placing an order, your ISP will provide you with dates when an engineer will come out to investigate what work needs to be carried out in order to provide you with a service.

Will I get speeds of up to 300Mbps?

The fibre cable direct to your home is capable of running at the headline speed of 330Mbps.However the speeds you will get will depend on the fibre package you order. You will need to select the relevant fibre services package from your chosen Internet Service Provider (ISP) to benefit from the fastest speeds the network can offer.

The speed you actually experience may be lower depending on how you choose to connect your computer and other devices. A wired connection offers you the maximum speed, whereas if you use wireless, it may limit the speed.

Will FTTP cost more?

You pay for the speed package that you order, regardless of the technology. With FTTP, residents will be able to upgrade to speeds of up to 300Mbps, which may cost more, or they can order standard superfast speeds at the same price paid by Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) customers.

How is FTTP installed?

FTTP delivers the fibre cable direct into your home, rather than to the street cabinet, which requires a different installation process. The very latest FTTP technology no longer requires a connection box to be fitted outside the property, therefore offering greater flexibility on where the fibre cable can enter the building.

The installation of FTTP takes place in two stages:

 

Stage 1: External Work: Bringing the fibre cable to your property.

You do not need to be present for this part of the installation process, provided the engineer has access to the outside of your property to connect the fibre.

There may be a short outage to your telephone service during this work.   If you have an alarm on your telephone line, please let your alarm provider know that your line may go down for a few minutes.  The downtime could trigger a false alarm on any security or fire system linked to your telephone line.

 

Stage 2: Internal Work: Completing the fibre installation inside your home.

You will need to make an appointment and be at home for this part of the installation process as the engineer has to access the inside of your property to fit the fibre equipment.  This usually takes 2-4 hours.

The engineer will bring the fibre into your home and fit a fibre optical network termination unit (ONT) and the router provided by your internet service provider in the most convenient place agreed with you. Both the ONT and router will each require their own power socket.

Why do some areas get FTTP and others get FTTC?

In most areas, fibre broadband is being delivered via Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) although Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) technology may be used in some areas, where it is more appropriate.

BT investigates solutions using the technology which provides the best fit for each area and make a value for money assessment based on nationally agreed criteria including factors such as the geographic location and proximity of premises, configuration of the existing copper network and proximity of fibre spine, together with the cost and availability of power.

What if I have problems placing an order for FTTP?

If you have checked that FTTP is available but are having problems ordering it, you will need to take this up with your Internet Service Provider (ISP) or try and alternative ISP.

You can report your problem to Openreach using a web form in their FAQ section here

Technical

What provision is there in the contract for other technologies to bring better broadband to more remote premises?

We are working with BT to extend the fibre broadband network as far as possible.  However, residents in harder to reach areas may consider other technologies, such as satellite or wireless, that deliver a better broadband service to their premises. Find out more on our ‘Other Technologies’ page.

Where can I find out more about broadband and how it works?

Take a look at our ‘Broadband Guide’ which can be found here.

Another useful and frequently updated guide to superfast broadband (and broadband services in general) has been developed by telecoms expert Mark Heath, a Broadband Champion for Connecting Cambridgeshire and is available here

What is ‘State Aid’?

Broadband providers will deploy into areas where there is sufficient return on investment (ROI) for them to build a profitable business. This creates a digital divide which disadvantages the population in areas where no provider considers it worth investing. These areas are eligible for State Aid funding to build a sustainable wholesale network which any Internet Service Provider (ISP) can use to deliver a service.

State Aid regulations approves the use of public funds to intervene with funding where there is demonstrable market failure of provision. The Government body BDUK (Broadband Delivery UK) have been cleared to give State Aid approval on behalf of the EU for broadband projects in rural areas.

Mapping to show future levels of superfast and basic broadband coverage in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough has been carried out to support the Connecting Cambridgeshire project and define the Intervention area, where State Aid funding can be used. You can find these maps here.

Will our broadband speeds automatically increase when our cabinet is upgraded to fibre?

No, fibre broadband will not just automatically ‘switch on’. To get fibre broadband you’ll need to first check it is live in your area and available to you and then place an order with your chosen Internet Service Provider (ISP).

The new fibre network is universal so any ISP can chose to offer a service. However, we are aware that not all ISPs offer FTTP (Fibre to the Premise) packages yet.

You don’t need to do anything if you do not want to upgrade to fibre broadband and want to keep your existing service.

For more information about upgrading to Superfast Broadband visit our  ‘Getting Superfast’ page

How much will a fibre service cost?

Prices for fibre broadband packages vary according to the download/upload speeds you require. It is best to shop around and find the best deal for you. Things to look out for include:

Price – Use a price comparison website to find the best deal for you. On average a fibre service is £5-£10 a month more than a standard copper service, but people on old contracts may find they can save money by switching.

Speed – check this carefully as some broadband packages cap download/upload speeds in return for a cheaper tariff.

Usage – some packages are unlimited while others only allow a limited amount of download/upload each month, so check what you need.

Contract – check the contract length which could be 12/18/24 months depending on the package.

Calls – you could save money by combining broadband with telephone services in one package

Offers – broadband companies may offer incentives to sign up to their products such as discounted introductory periods or vouchers for high street stores.

Will I need new equipment for fibre broadband?

It is possible you may need new equipment. Information on this should be made available by your Internet Service Provider when superfast broadband becomes available to you.

Public WiFi

Why has a site been blocked by CambWifi?

CambWifi has a content filtering system. Our focus is on providing access to the broadest range of content which is suitable to all our customers and as such we provide family-friendly filters across all our sites. Find out more here.

What if I have problems connecting with The Cloud?

If you have problems connecting to the free WiFi network via The Cloud, please call the provider’s customer services on 0333 202 0931.

As CambWifi is an open network, can I use it to share personal information?

Public access Wifi networks are not going to be as secure as private networks. So you need to use common sense to ensure you only send personal information to trusted sites that are fully encrypted, and avoid using mobile apps that require personal or financial information.

Will all wireless devices work with Public WiFi?

Any device that can connect to a home, work or public WiFi network will be able to connect to the CambWifi network, once you have registered.

Can my device be hacked into or get a virus from using a wireless network?

This can happen on any connection whether it’s public or not. As with other public WiFi networks, we recommend that you have adequate security and anti-virus software on your device before you start using CambWifi or The Cloud. The majority of security risks online are spread via malware within certain web pages. Up to date security software should protect you from this.

What if CambWifi is not found by my device?

If this happens, it’s likely that you‘re out of range of a CambWifi access point. You can check a map and list of Public WiFi locations at http://www.connectingcambridgeshire.co.uk/public-wifi

What if I can connect but the service is slow?

We aim to provide a high capacity network at every Public WiFi location, but it does have to be shared out amongst everyone. If the service is slow, it’s probably because the area is crowded and a lot of people are using it. Please be aware that, depending on your device, your experience of the service may vary.

After I connect, I keep getting a message saying “Page not available” or “Page not found”. What does this mean?

If you’ve already connected and get this message when you try to surf a web page, it could be due to one of the following reasons:

– You are out of range of one of our hotspots.
– You’ve misspelt the web address.
– The web page you’re trying to reach contains blocked content.
– There’s a network fault in that location. Try moving to another hotspot.