FAQs

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FAQs 2019-10-02T13:22:55+01:00

About the rollout

Q. Can I get fibre broadband?

96% of premises in South Gloucestershire already have access to superfast broadband. You can check what access speeds are available to you via the Openreach website. You should contact your Internet Service Provider to find out what broadband speeds/packages are available to you.

Q. How do you decide the order of the rollout?

We’ve done our sums and know that current funding won’t allow us to deliver superfast broadband access to everyone. Connecting up our most rural areas and isolated properties is challenging and expensive, often requiring new infrastructure, so we’re working with our partner to use what money we have to provide access to as many households and businesses as we possibly can.

We cannot deviate from how the network will be rolled out across the area, as doing so would result in a time-consuming and costly project, and would ultimately reduce the number of premises we are able to deliver superfast broadband to.

Signing up with an Internet Service Provider and accessing superfast broadband

Q. How do I get fibre broadband once my new fibre street cabinet has been installed?

Once you have checked your line to confirm that fibre broadband is available to you, it is much the same as ordering normal broadband. There are a number of different Internet Service Providers (ISPs) offering the service, so you can just shop around and choose the best deal for you.

Q. When fibre broadband becomes available in my area, will my broadband simply get faster without me taking any action
No – to get fibre broadband, you will need to place an order with an Internet Service Provider (ISP).

There are several ISPs offering fibre broadband in South Gloucestershire, so you can shop around and choose the package that is best for you. If you choose not to upgrade to fibre broadband, you will be able to continue using your existing broadband service as normal.

Q. Can I stay with the same internet service provider that I am with now?
The superfast broadband platform will be open to all ISPs. You should contact your ISP to check what packages are available to you.

Q. Will I have to pay more for superfast broadband?

Generally yes – you will be getting a much better service and the new infrastructure needs to be sustainable. You should contact your ISP to check what packages are available to you and what are the associated costs.

Q. How much does fibre broadband cost?

Lots of communications providers offer superfast fibre broadband services, often bundled with phone and TV packages. You should contact your ISP to check what packages are available to you and what are the associated costs.

Q. How long does fibre broadband take to be installed after I place an order, and what does installation involve?

The time before installation of fibre broadband may vary from one Internet Service Provider (ISP) to another – typically it takes about two weeks. An engineer will call and install a new modem at your premises and you will receive a new router from your Internet Service Provider.

About broadband

Q. What is broadband?
Broadband allows permanent, faster access to the internet due to the increased bandwidth.

Q. What is superfast broadband?

Superfast refers to access line speeds greater than 24Mbps (megabits per second).

Q. What does Mbps mean?

Broadband speed is measured in megabits per second, commonly written as Mbps. It essentially means the rates at which data is downloaded or uploaded. Alongside price, speed is a key factor to consider when it comes to choosing broadband.

Q. Why does my broadband speed fluctuate?

Broadband works on a shared network so it is perfectly normal to see speeds change from day to day, from hour to hour, even from minute to minute.

The available capacity on the network is shared out amongst all the customers that are using the Internet at that time. This means that at busy times, when more people are using the Internet, each person gets a smaller share of the bandwidth and so slower speeds than when the network is quiet.

Q. What speed do I need?
This will depend on what you use the internet for. The table below explains what speed you might need for different applications.

Broadband speed (Mbps = megabits per second)

This speed is suitable for…

250K to 1.5Mbps

Basic e-mail, web browsing

1.5 to 3Mbps

Streaming music, standard definition video, remote surveillance, telecommuting

3 to 6Mbps

File sharing (small/medium files), internet TV (iPlayer, 4OD etc)

6 to 10Mbps

Online gaming, streaming movies online, instant web page loading

10 to 25Mbps

Telemedicine, remote education, High Definition (HD) internet TV

25 to 50Mbps

HD video surveillance

50 to 100Mbps

Video conferencing(multiple users), remote supercomputing

100Mbps +

Real-time data collection, real-time medical image consultation

Who are Openreach

Openreach, the UK’s digital infrastructure company

Openreach work with virtually every council and local authority across the country to connect homes, schools, shops, banks, hospitals, libraries and businesses – large and small – to the internet.

Over the last decade, Openreach has invested more than £13 billion into their network – maintaining it and upgrading their cables so they can deliver faster, more reliable broadband connections to people. Openreach are continuing that investment to take the network further and making better broadband available to thousands more homes and businesses every week.

Openreach work on behalf of more than 680 communications providers such as Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone, and BT, and their fibre broadband network is the biggest in the UK, connecting more than 27 million homes and businesses.

What Openreach are doing in South Gloucestershire

Openreach engineers are currently busy building a new faster, more reliable and future proof broadband network in South Gloucestershire. This new network delivers fibre optic cables all the way from the local exchange right to residents and businesses front doors, also known as Fibre-to-the-Premises technology (FTTP) or full fibre.

It’s a once-in-a-generation upgrade that will enable people and businesses in every corner of the country to connect to any platform or device, to each other, and to the world, and from a business perspective, to connect, trade and compete with the world, reliably, and for decades to come.

Residents and businesses can keep up-to-date with the progress of the build by visiting the Openreach website.

Why this is important?

The Government has set a target to deliver a reliable, future-proof, full fibre broadband network to everyone in the UK by 2033, in place of the old copper network that lasted over a hundred years.

Openreach are very ambitious about this full fibre future. They are investing billions of pounds to be the national FTTP provider.

Openreach has just stretched their target to making full fibre broadband available to four million homes and businesses by the end of March 2021 – and fifteen million by the mid-2020s, if they have the right conditions to invest.

Openreach have made good progress in South Gloucestershire so far, and they are excited to be cracking on with the project.

What are the benefits of full fibre and what difference will it make to people in South Gloucestershire?

It will make a huge difference for both residents and businesses in South Gloucestershire for decades to come.

Full fibre infrastructure (FTTP or fibre to the premises), which runs from the exchange all the way to people’s front door, is an incredibly exciting opportunity. As well as adding even more reliability and resilience to broadband connections and making them less likely to drop out, FTTP can deliver speeds of up to 1 Gigabit. That’s 24x faster than average speeds today.

For families in South Gloucestershire, an FTTP connection means streaming any HD entertainment you like, or downloading content in the blink of an eye – on multiple devices at once, without buffering or interruptions. In fact, downloading a typical HD film would take less time than it takes to make a cup of tea. Activities like home working will become a breeze.

For local shops, hospitals and schools, it means greater productivity, efficiency, reliability and flexibility – whether it is to help students benefit from the latest in online learning, or to enable patients in care to video call their loved ones.

For businesses and sole traders in South Gloucestershire, an FTTP connection will help them compete in markets all over the UK and around the world. It makes uploading, downloading and transferring large files much easier and enables vital new digital services like uninterrupted monitoring, video conferencing and streaming, as well as enabling things like greater flexible working for staff.

Full fibre connectivity will also pave the way for new ‘smart’ technologies like artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things – powering amazing new services like sensors that monitor the health of our elderly or keep roads jam-free, apps that show drivers where the nearest available parking spot is, or buildings that regulate their own heating and lighting. All innovations that can improve city management, reduce costs, boost productivity and improve quality of life. Smart Cities rely on connecting everything to each other and full fibre broadband provides the capacity, resilience and reliability needed to support these new services.

Fibre optic cables are also much more resilient than copper, meaning fewer faults and simpler, quicker repairs.

What will it mean for the local area and me?

Openreach engineers are working hard to deliver full fibre to as many premises as possible across South Gloucestershire. They are using the latest technology, like tiny underground cameras that inspect ducts for blockages, to avoid digging up the streets. Where they really need to, they will be working in underground ducts to lay new fibre optic cabling. However, wherever possible they will make use of their vast existing network of underground ducts and poles to avoid roadworks, and work overhead (up telephone poles) to avoid disturbance.

Of course, this is a major infrastructure upgrade, so there will be more engineering teams working around the area. However, thanks to close collaboration with South Gloucestershire Council, Openreach are keeping disruption to an absolute minimum. Openreach will keep you posted with any major developments and milestones along the way.

There has been interest in the black blocks that Openreach have been installing at the top of our poles.  These are Connector Block Terminals (CBTs) and are part of the fibre infrastructure deployment, not 5G.

How can I find out if full fibre is available in my area?

The first step is to use the online fibre checker to see if fibre is available in your street.  Just enter your postcode and the fibre checker will tell you what is available in your area.

Once available, the next step is to choose the company you would like to supply your internet. You should contact them to order your chosen broadband package. Openreach recommend using Ofcom’s Boost Your Broadband Tool to find the best deal for you.

It is important to realise that your service will not be automatically upgraded. You will need to get in touch with your broadband provider to see if they offer a service over the new network.

Openreach will provide regular updates on full fibre via their website and share their plans as they go.

If you are not currently in scope, you can register your interest on their “Expression of Interest” tool.  It is part of the fibre checker – once you have entered your postcode and found your address, scroll down to “Register Your Interest” then enter your personal details so that Openreach can see that you are interested in full fibre.

Are the new services going to be much more expensive than standard broadband?

This is a once in a generation infrastructure upgrade, and given the new network is faster, more reliable and will last for decades, it is likely that new packages might cost a bit more. However broadband is a highly competitive market, and the advantage of having Openreach build the network is that they are an open wholesale provider which give all retail broadband providers the opportunity to compete – meaning increased choice for consumers and businesses.

Research by industry regulator Ofcom has shown that millions of customers could be over-paying for their broadband, and could be able to access faster speeds for the same price.

Ofcom’s ‘Boost Your Broadband’ campaign provides information to help people get cheaper, faster broadband from their providers. Using a special online tool, you can check your broadband options and select the best package for you and your family or business.

What are the benefits of full fibre other than just faster speeds?

Full Fibre is about more than just faster speeds, it is a much more reliable and resilient technology, so is far less likely to suffer from faults or service dropouts. More importantly, it is future-proof, which means it has plenty of extra capacity to support our ever-growing demand for data hungry services and applications. Full fibre will increasingly be the go-to product to meet future broadband needs.

Is Openreach deploying 5G equipment as part of the SGC broadband project?

No. The new digital infrastructure Openreach are building is fixed fibre optic broadband. You may have seen some of their equipment attached to telegraph poles. This kit is used to link up the fibre cables that connect homes and businesses to the rest of their broadband network. The full fibre network involves no active electronics in public areas, it does not emit any external signals or radio waves, and it should not be making any noises. If you suspect Openreach’s equipment is making a noise or emitting a signal you can report it and they will be happy to send an engineer out to investigate.

Who do I contact if I have a complaint?

If you are at home or work and have a problem with your telephone line, broadband connection or want to change an engineer appointment, contact your broadband provider (whoever bills you for that service). They will raise the issue with Openreach on your behalf.

If you need help for other reasons, you can contact Openreach using the links provided on their website.

Openreach’s social media channels are:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WeAreOpenreach/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WeAreOpenreach

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/openreach/