We are delighted that full fibre broadband is now available on Howe Hill and Britwell Hill. Openreach fibre has been laid underground or hung from poles and can now be connected to local homes and businesses. In the last few days two properties have connected quickly and smoothly now getting 100Mb/s download and 30Mb/s upload and 6ms ping. One is with BT the other Zen Internet.
To make the final connection to your property you have to place an order for a fibre service with your internet service provider. They send an Openreach engineer out to make the final connection to a new small grey box on the wall outside your house and a small white box fitted inside your house – see pics. A router from the ISP arrives in the post (the black box in the picture) that you plug into the new white Openreach box.
We know that the majority of locals use BT. Existing customers should go to https://www.bt.com/broadband and login with your BT account to see packages for you. Or click ‘broadband deals’ enter address or phone number and it should show you Fibre Essential, Fibre 1, Fibre 2 etc etc. Check which one you want and sign up. The cheapest is £24.99/month (£19.99 up front) most expensive £59.99/month (£9.99 up front) but there are deals.
It’s a fairly painless process and delivers the highly reliable speed of fibre.
You can switch away from BT of course to other providers. For those of you who have already switched to others call them and ask about an upgrade to ‘an FTTP package’. Not all ISPs yet offer FTTP – we recommend Zen Internet, UK-based with excellent customer service. https://www.zen.co.uk/broadband/ultrafast-fibre-broadband There is a constantly growing list of ISPs who offer FTTP here
Popular ISPs TalkTalk and Sky are starting to trial rollout their FTTP packages after many delays and they aren’t available just yet.
When we started work on bringing fibre to the area it was possible to upgrade your phone line to work over fibre too for higher quality and reliability of voice calls. Frustratingly Openreach has now made this more complicated. Surprisingly, the BT route above delivers broadband over fibre but for some people keeps their voice phone line running over copper with phone line rental bundled into the broadband price. There is a new experimental service called ‘Digital Voice’ that some customers are offered by BT that allows you to plug your phone into the new Smarthub2 with greatly increased quality and reliability, but not everyone is offered it.
If you want to have a better phone line it’s perfectly possible but requires more steps. Ask us about a product such as Vonage
whose little box plugs into your router and you plug your phone into that – you can have your existing phone number moved to Vonage. There are other ISPs who can offer you a voice line as part of the broadband process – with some you can plug your phone into the router they supply – though check very carefully with these that your existing number can be moved to the new line.
When you are connected
Some people get fibre and then wonder why a speedtest in their browser on the PC or laptop doesn’t show the speed they expect. This can be because your computer is older and can’t do the fastest speeds. You will still benefit from a much more stable and responsive connection. You can now upgrade to a new machine confident that you can make more of it with a decent connection. Often a person’s phone is the newest bit of kit they have with the latest wifi technology and this shows the fastest speeds using a speedtest app. Enabling WiFI calling on your mobile can transform your mobile phone experience at home. People also find that their TV or set top box might be quicker but won’t show the speed onscreen but people notice less buffering and higher picture or sound quality.
For Zoom/Teams/Skype users the very low ping times we are seeing mean a much more snappy video call with no lag. For practical affordable tips on how to make home video conferencing work better see William’s post based on years of practice.
Our thanks as ever go to people at SODC, OCC and Openreach who made the many stages on this long journey possible.
Peter and William