Getting better broadband
The Connecting Cambridgeshire programme has been rolling out superfast and full fibre broadband to areas that are not being covered by commercial providers. In addition there are several commercial providers who are rolling out full fibre across the county.
Over three-quarters of homes and businesses that could not get it before have already switched to fibre-based broadband, which is much faster and more reliable – for work, learning or leisure.
But it’s not automatic – you need to upgrade to a faster broadband package with your chosen Internet Service Provider (ISP) to enjoy the benefits.
Research by Ofcom shows that customers may be paying more than they need to on existing broadband contracts, so it’s worth checking if you can switch to a better deal.
Here’s what you need to do:
Check if better broadband is available
If you’re moving to or already live in Cambridgeshire, use our postcode checker to see whether superfast or faster broadband is already available for your postcode area – or if there are plans to roll it out from commercial providers. You can also use the Ofcom broadband checker or search on one of the many comparison websites.
If you already know that the address is covered commercially you can check the main providers’ websites directly. Broadband suppliers who we know are active or with plans in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough include:
- Air Broadband
- Cambridge Fibre
- City Fibre
- Connect Fibre
- County Broadband
- Open Fibre Networks
- Virgin Media
If you don’t live in Cambridgeshire, use the links below to our neighbouring counties’ broadband programmes to check if you can get superfast:
- Bucks and Herts – Connected Counties
- Superfast Essex
- Better Broadband for Norfolk
- Superfast Northamptonshire
- Better Broadband for Suffolk
Wherever you live, you can use the Openreach Postcode Checker to see the progress of their fibre rollout in your area (if you see there’s a “waiting list” for the cabinet you’re connected to, it means the cabinet is full due to high demand, so you won’t be able to order FTTC until additional capacity has been installed).
Check if you can upgrade or switch to get fibre broadband
Ask your current broadband supplier if you can upgrade to a fibre broadband package within your existing contract, or shop around for the best deal using independent broadband comparison sites.
You can choose to switch broadband providers to upgrade to fibre if you’re not tied into a contract. It’s best to check a range of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) as not all offer fibre services in every area.
Shop around for the best fibre broadband package for your needs, and perhaps ask your neighbours who they use. Try a few comparison websites as they may not all list every available ISP and may offer different deals.
Our programme has been using a range of solutions including Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) and Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) technology. You can choose the fibre services package and speeds you need, regardless of the technology. Visit our Fibre Broadband Technologies page for more information.
Please note that Connecting Cambridgeshire cannot advise on the best broadband package for you, or which Internet Service Provider (ISP) you should sign up with, but Ofcom’s independent website has lots of useful tips to help you decide what speed you need and how to get the best deal. How to get more from your broadband – Ofcom.
Which? has also produced a useful guide to the benefits of fibre broadband and also regularly reviews the best broadband deals.
Order a fibre package and get connected.
Once you’ve ordered, your Internet Service Provider will arrange the connection and send you a router (if you’ve ordered Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC)), and inform you when it’s live with superfast broadband.
Installing Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) is more complex as it involves engineers making appointments to bring the fibre connection to the property. Find out more in our FAQs.
Look at your options
There are a number of options if you can’t get superfast broadband yet or are looking for higher speeds.
Some areas are harder to reach, however a fourth phase of the broadband rollout is underway to bring superfast broadband to as many places as possible – using the latest Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) technology to address gaps in connectivity.
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, which are more complex to upgrade to fibre broadband.
If you live in a block of flats, it may be that Openreach requires permission to complete the connection. Take a look at our “Fibre Broadband for Flats” page for more information.
The data for the postcode checker will be updated regularly as the fibre broadband rollout progresses, so look out for changes in the status of your postcode area.
Businesses and residents groups in rural areas where there is demand for higher speeds via full fibre, can sometimes help themselves through the Government’s Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme which helps eligible premises install gigabit-capable fibre broadband as part of a group scheme. The scheme is currently on pause for premises in Cambridgeshire, as we are one of the first areas to benefit from Project Gigabit – the government’s national mission to deliver lightning-fast, reliable broadband for everyone in the UK. If for any reason your premise is not included in the Project Gigabit intervention area you will be able to apply for the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme sometime later in 2022, after the procurement has been announced.
Households and businesses with broadband speeds below 10mbps can also request decent connections under the Government’s Universal Services Obligation (USO).
There may be other interim solutions to get better broadband speeds sooner using alternative technologies such as satellite and wireless. Find out more on Other Technologies page.
If you’ve done all these checks and believe you should be able to get fibre broadband, but are unable to upgrade, contact us and we will be happy to help.
Full Fibre in Cambridgeshire
Full fibre coverage across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is increasing at pace through a mix of direct intervention by Connecting Cambridgeshire’s superfast broadband rollout and stimulation of the market to provide commercial coverage.
We are now seeing an increasing number of fibre broadband providers actively planning and delivering fibre networks across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
This is good news for our area, and we are actively working with suppliers and local authority teams to support this.
However, this much competition can sometimes lead to confusion.
Because of the highly competitive market, providers do not generally announce rollout plans ahead of delivery. If they do, these may change at short notice.
Most suppliers are actively engaging with communities before build work starts. But we have noticed that this build work can sometimes raise questions, especially as the fibre providers will generally be using sub-contractors and occasionally share the same sub-contractors.
If you’d like to check the situation where you live, use our postcode checker to find out if superfast broadband or faster is already available.
We can tell you if there are plans to provide superfast broadband in your postcode area in the final phase of our superfast rollout, however we don’t always have full details of all suppliers’ commercial plans.
We do have a list of suppliers who we are aware are active in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough so you can check your postcode with them directly.
The Connecting Cambridgeshire team are talking regularly to providers to ensure proactive community engagement and we would encourage anyone with questions or concerns to contact us and we will do our best to help.