Back in May 2012 we had a small update indicated that those people whose telephone line runs directly from the telephone exchange to their premises without going via a green street cabinet may not completely miss out on the new superfast broadband products from Openreach (lines like this are called Exchange Only lines).
Now a briefing has been issued by Openreach to highlight that Network Rearrangement is something they will be offering to BDUK funded local authority projects to get these lines upgraded onto a superfast service. The solution detailed involves inserting a street cabinet somewhere between the premises affected and the telephone exchange, hopefully fairly close to the cluster of properties. Network Rearrangements are nothing new, following the links on the briefing page reveals the costs for services communication providers and consumers can request, as an example labour costs £150 for the first hour, and £100/hour thereafter.
The number of lines affected across the UK as a whole is unknown, but we believe that perhaps 2% to 5% of all telephone lines may be affected by this problem, the ones within 500m of the exchange generally get reasonable speeds on ADSL and ADSL2+ services, but a good number of clusters of properties built in the last 5 to 10 years, which can be a few kilometer from the exchange and be well under the threshold for the 2 Mbps USC, let alone meeting the superfast broadband target of 30 Mbps or faster. For those properties very close to the exchange, we still hope that a full fibre solution may be feasible, particularly if the surrounding area is offering FTTP based services.
How well BDUK projects will fare in fixing these problem lines is unclear, many local authority projects only have around £150 per property to spend on improving speeds, so stretching this to build a new street cabinet looks only likely where there is a large cluster affected.