It’s difficult to go a mile down our local roads without seeing an OpenReach van. The amount of work the BT affiliated company is doing around here is quite formidable.
Aside from general repairs to the telecom infrastructure they are responsible for getting as many homes and businesses as they can connected with fibre optic Internet.
Most (but not all) properties will be connected to the fibre network by October of this year.
Just for clarification, this image helps you understand how the Internet is delivered into our homes and places of work:
ADSL is the most basic connection type. Utilising the existing network of copper cable that carries your landline signal. If you live near to the telephone exchange then you might get speeds of 15 or 20Mbps but speeds drop off the further away you are and I’m aware that some people can only get a measly 0.5Mbps on a good day.
A vast improvement on ADSL is FTTC, or Fibre To The Cabinet. This is the connection that most of us will be able to get and depending on the distance you are from the cabinet, the number of properties using the same service and your chosen tariff, you might get fast or even superfast speeds in excess of 60Mbps.
FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) is the fastest you can get locally and it’s possible to attain speeds in excess of 300Mbps.
Until recently Mobile Data and Satellite plans have been the only options for those wanting reasonable speeds and living more rurally. Both methods are more expensive than the cabled options above and satellite in particular can be prone to fluctuations in speed. If you are unable to get fibre or even ADSL then I’d urge you to look into a data package from EE or Vodafone.
(N.B. The information above is particular to the local geographical area covered by our services. Other methods and options may be available to you depending where you live.)
So How Fast is Yours?
You can check your current speed here:
The figure that is most useful is the download speed. If you have a download speed of around 20Mbps or higher you have what is currently thought of as fast broadband. Anything less than 15Mps is considered slow but in practice speeds as low as 5Mbps can be quite sufficient for a lot of users. If your Internet speed is below 2Mbps then you’ll have trouble accessing quite a lot of what’s useful about the Internet.
I’ve just tested my own Internet speed and it was 97Mbps. I’m on a mobile data plan from EE and 97Mbps is considered very fast. This is what I’m getting at the moment but it wasn’t so long ago that we were limited to just 0.6Mbps, so if your speed is chronically slow, I understand your frustration, I really do.
Why Do You Need Fast Broadband?
The truth is, you don’t NEED fast broadband speed. Life will still continue without being able to browse the Internet at lightning fast speeds but with speeds of about 5Mbps you will be able to watch video on YouTube comfortably and enjoy services such as TV catchup (iPlayer etc) Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
Fast speeds also make shopping online less stressful. A steady, fast speed will help to avoid shopping carts crashing just as you’re waiting for your payment to get processed.
Do You Need SUPERfast Broadband?
Speeds in excess of 50Mbps are very useful if you have a few people accessing the Internet at once, watching YouTube, Netflix, Skyping or downloading films etc.
So, Can You Get Fast Speeds?
The best way to check if you can get fast speeds is to use the OpenReach website to check if you can get Fibre.
Click the green “Use our fibre checker” button, fill in your postcode, click the “I’m not a robot” check box and click the magnifying glass symbol.
Choose your property from the drop down list and click Go.
Hopefully the results will show you can get fibre. If so, call your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and see whether they can upgrade you.
So, How Much More Will I have To Pay?
Surprisingly, moving over to fibre broadband shouldn’t cost you much if anything more, especially if you’re willing and able to swap provider.
Actually, now is a good time to shop around for the best deal. I recently did this, reassessing all our telecom services and managed to upgrade my broadband to Fibre To The Premises, up my data allowance on my wife’s and my mobile and SAVE £38 per month!
I recommend using a service like Uswitch to assess your options.
I can appreciate that so if you’re an existing customer or live in the Machars area and want to contact me, please get in touch.