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Openreach joins the mapping game
Thursday 08 December 2011 13:53:38 by Andrew Ferguson

Openreach has published spreadsheets and other document formats by which people could ascertain whether superfast broadband was coming to their area as part of the FTTC and FTTP roll-out for some time. It has now made it easier for the general public to consume this data via a Google Maps page, where people can enter a postcode, and see what the status of exchanges are within the area. The four keys used on their map are, Accepting Orders, Coming Soon, Future Exchange, Not Currently in rollout plans.

It needs to be emphasised that even if your exchange is offering a superfast service, your actual property may not be passed by the FTTP network, or served by a cabinet that offers a FTTC based service. Additionally as take-up of services improves, the situation may arise where there is no more capacity on a cabinet. To determine accurately the availability then a telephone number is required, and the best location to do this is via the BT Wholesale checker which will return something similar to what is shown below if a fibre service is available.

For Telephone Number 12345678 on Exchange xxxxxxx

Your exchange is ADSL enabled, and our initial test on your line indicates that your line should be able to have an ADSL broadband service that provides a fixed line speed up to 2Mbps.
Our test also indicates that your line currently supports an estimated ADSL Max broadband line speed of 4.5Mbps; typically the line speed would range between 3.5Mbps and 5.5Mbps.
Our test also indicates that your line currently supports an estimated ADSL2+ broadband line speed of 4.5Mbps; typically the line speed would range between 3Mbps and 7Mbps. Our test also indicates that your line could support an estimated ADSL 2+ Annex-M broadband upstream line speed of 500Kbps and downstream line speed of 4.5Mbps; typically the downstream speed would range between 3Mbps and 7Mbps.
Our test also indicates that your line currently supports a fibre technology with an estimated WBC FTTC Broadband where consumers have received downstream line speed of 33.9Mbps and upstream line speed of 13.6Mbps.
The actual stable line speed supportable will be determined during the first 10 days of use. This speed may change over time, to ensure line stability is maintained.
Thank you for your interest.

The BT Wholesale Broadband Availability Checker

The accuracy of using just a postcode search was raised by a complaint to the ASA over some search results on the BT Retail website. The complaint was not upheld, and highlights that the checkers are just estimates, with the actual user experience being dependent on many factors. In this specific case testing and further investigation is underway. We would add that the experience from people who have ordered FTTC on our forums, is largely that the checkers are under estimating the speeds, which is a stark contrast to previous checkers.

For those browsing an area, for example searching for an area with fast broadband, be aware the Openreach map does not handle scrolling very well. It is best to use the postcode search to ensure all the exchanges are showing for an area. Our own community project, features layers of data that includes daily updated speedtest results for the providers we list. This allows people to get an idea of what speed people with live connections are getting in an area.


Posted by strzelecki over 5 years ago
'Google Maps page'? Linky?
Posted by scolland over 5 years ago
I agree, The title is good news, skimmed to find the link, would have explored it and read the article in full after.

As it is, had to google it and read the detail elsewhere.

FYI link:
Posted by themanstan over 5 years ago
It's a bit pants as the little flag that it pins as the chosen location has little indication of whether you will be connected or not. They could have used the same colour scheme as the exchange you are connected to and carry the rider "subject to your cabinet being included" or such.
Posted by ADSL24 over 5 years ago
Waste of time if you ask me. It only shows an exchange location, which has no relevance any more as you are not served from an exchange for FTTC, but from a cabinet which could be on any exchange. When entering a postcode it does not even tell you which exchange you are on, so you have to guess. Plus as you point out in the article, showing an exchange on the map just doesn't help as your cabinet may not be included. Why can't Openreach just show the cabinet you are on and whether that cabinet is planned, that would be more logical.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago

Sorry missed that link out of the item, did have it on my desktop.
Posted by delone over 5 years ago
Is there a link for the spreadsheets and other documents too?
Posted by cyberdoyle over 5 years ago
I would no more believe what the checker says than the moon is made of cheese. Only the properties next to the cabinet or the exchange will get anything like 'superfast'. The rest will get what they can depending on distance and those on dial up get nowt, unless the agree to 'alternative technology' costing a fortune. Many of the slow ones will be in urban areas too. A great big digital divide is opening up.
Posted by themanstan over 5 years ago
Cyberdoyle, what you don't understand is that human nature gets in the way of any perfect society. The perfect market economy or social society would be able to deliver solutions for everyone... however both suffer when humans become involved as they suffer from corruption and greed.... hence the imperfect world we live in.
Posted by welshwarrior over 5 years ago
Links and Docs:

Posted by Dixinormous over 5 years ago
Pretty rubbish map, one of PCPs would have been a huge help, this is a waste of time.
Posted by Somerset over 5 years ago
cd - what do you mean by 'next'?
Posted by matbarrie over 5 years ago
Very depressing, not sign on fibre anytime soon for me:-((
Posted by warweezil over 5 years ago
"NC".. oh that means "No Chance" I would assume.
Posted by m0aur over 5 years ago
It is also not interested in what else is on or planned for your exchange. Samknows gives more information.
Posted by themanstan over 5 years ago
As in whether you can get VM or other ISP LLU?
Posted by AndrueC over 5 years ago
Lol - yet another date for my exchange. 'End of 2012'. Meanwhile most of the fencing has been taken down I expect to see a concrete plinth there when I walk past at the weekend - maybe even a cabinet.

I think that the wholesale checker 'March 2012' is a more reasonable date. If not earlier if they do cabs as they come on line which seems likely since we're being fed from a nearby town which already has Infinity.
Posted by crocks256 over 5 years ago
@warweezil beat me to it.. LOL I was thinking "No Chance" (In Hell)?
Posted by idf03 over 5 years ago
NC, what a surprise. Not exactly out in the sticks either
Posted by fastman over 5 years ago
Cyderdoyle -- i think you are badly misinformed or what around what expectation of speed you might get from the cabinet or the distance you might need to be be to benefit for an uplift i understand the bandplan changes that have been announed may prvide enhancements for those close and also osme benefit from those not as close
Posted by fastman over 5 years ago
Also Where and Wehn is base done announced exchnages as of today -- normally annoucement on New exchanges are made quarterly and are publically avaialbe once announced
Posted by dsample over 5 years ago
I think It would be a lot more useful if they gave EVERY exchange some kind of realistic timeframe, rather than putting them all in the NC category. The people who are looking at that list aren't the people in well populated cities that have cable/fibre already, it's people in the less populated places (whether that be large town, or village), and those locations ALWAYS get put in the NC-equivalent category.

Even if those timeframes were ">2013" or "not before 2H2012" it would be some sign of how long we're likely to wait, and the "never" category would then clearly the deadzones.
Posted by lmschuffer over 5 years ago
I understand BT's need for ROI, I read that FTTC uptake is slow, it would seem that those like me a long way from the EX and getting 1.5Mb would benefit the most and would likely have a good uptake. BT's list for SWPEK does not include the 2 cabs fartherest from the EX with over 500 homes, how logical it that ?, and yes the fibre goes past it !.
Posted by chrysalis over 5 years ago
I am finally on FE, the map is a nice addition, FE date is by end of 2012. When I zoomed out the map, the 2 urban exchanges are FE, the rest look like they were picked by throwing darts and picking closest exchange to dart. But the pattern is the non urban exchanges are affluent areas.
Posted by themanstan over 5 years ago
Chrysalis, that's likely influenced by homeworking compatible jobs that BT may expect from people in those areas/affluency and hence prepared to cough up for Infinity or VULA, rather than cheap sub £10 BB.
Posted by 135Goodwin over 5 years ago
I agree with ADSL24 why can't their be a map to show what cabinets are connected, my Phone No is Burton, I live in Stretton but I believe I am connected to Repton Exchange which surprise surprise even with all the negative Press about Stretton's Slooow Broadband Speeds is still not planned
Posted by chrysalis over 5 years ago
themanstan my view is its political as affluent people tend to be more active politically and as such have more clout. As people less well off tend to be more reliant on the internet and as such are more likely to pay for it and upgrade to higher speed services. Working from home doesnt need a super fast connection. it just needs a stable one.
Posted by themanstan over 5 years ago
I agree that the more affluent would be more effective at campaigning, but disagree that the less well of would be more reliant. Everyone has become more reliant on internet services. But being more affluent I would expect them to be less budget concious and take-up new services more readily. As for homeworker, true homeworker based, yes stability is key. However, for the "take work home with you" type professions that the more affluent do, then it's download and upload speeds that influence as key files ppts, pdfs, docs and binaries via VPN. These can be shockingly big files.
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