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Harborough area of Leicestershire should see better broadband soon
Thursday 05 June 2014 13:01:25 by Andrew Ferguson

Good news for those living and working in parts of Leicestershire, particularly the Harborough District since FTTC services are coming to several exchanges in the area. This means mainly properties in Church Langton, Foxton, Smeeton Westerby, South Kilworth and parts of Kibworth Beauchamp and Kibworth Harcourt.

The contract for Leicestershire was signed in August 2013 and the council website states a goal of 96% with access to a fibre based broadband service, building on the expected 75% commercial coverage in the county. The percentage getting superfast broadband is harder to work out, with the project talking about an extra 54,000 getting superfast broadband, working on the presumption that there are 280,000 households in the county, the 54,000 figure equates to 19.3%, which when combined with the commercial coverage gives a superfast figure in the rough area of 89% to 95% (exact figure depends on FTTC speeds in the commercial areas).

Looking at our own data, if all the cabinets in the county were enabled for FTTC and no work carried out on Exchange only lines we get the following data for Leicestershire.

Area %'age at 30 Mbps or faster %'age at 30 Mbps ignoring cable %'age 2 Mbps or slower %'age EO lines
Leicestershire County 90% 88% 1.7% 8%
City of Leicester 96% 88% 1.6% 6%

Looking at the areas mentioned in the local press it seems to be three exchange areas, East Langton, Kibworth and Welford. On the East Langton exchange cabinets P1 and P2 look like they will be enabled, but P3 which covers just a handful of premises is not in the current plans. For Kibworth only P8 is not on the roll-out list at this time and is a very small cabinet again. Welford crosses the border into Northamptonshire and only cabinet P1 is slated to be part of the Leicestershire project, other cabinets will be enabled in the Northamptonshire scheme. No sign of any work on Exchange Only lines, though of course this may change in the future.

Our estimates of speeds versus line length are fairly pessimistic so the 2015 national goal of 90% at superfast speeds seems feasible in the county, and the 95% target for 2017 is already job done in Leicester City, and with some work on Exchange Only lines is achievable across the county.


Posted by MBebbington over 3 years ago
Leics County Council, Harborough District Council and BT are all shouting about this from the 'roof tops' in the local Press - as they should. On closer examination though it's clear that all is not well with the LCC (and neighbouring Northampshire) parishes for example in the Welland Valley. Neither BT nor LCC/NCC with whom they contract can give any firm plans - with timescales - for upgrading a poor sub 1Mbps service, nor acknowledge the problem. Other councils around the country do recognise the problem and shortfall, and are taking steps to address it.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
Got a more specific postcode for the Welland Valley area, there may be plans that are vague and not mentioned yet, but Welland Valley is too vague to check.
Posted by timandhaylea over 3 years ago
There should be more news on this after Monday as LCC have another Stakeholder Forum with "Presentation from BT on their innovative solutions for the Final 6%"
Posted by MBebbington over 3 years ago
To Andrew: LE16 8HL - broadband is pretty bad here, but by no means the worst. There's now dozens of post codes across our Group with poor and very poor broadband, and no plan for upgrades.

To: timeandhaylea: we're all interested to hear what BT have to say on Monday next week. If you'd like to hear what the Welland Broadband Group is doing, assuming you're in or around the Leics/Northants Welland Valley county boundary, your Parish Council should be able to tell you what's happening. Or if you wish, there's a Welland Broadband Group Facebook group.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
Okay around 500-600 metres away from cabinet 26, but it is a very small cabinet, 3rd smallest on exchange. Hence missed out so far, as lots of other bigger cabs across Leicestershire that give better value for money. LE16 8HP and LE16 9AA (also some EO)

A full size cabinet would make no sense due to the cost. More suited to the minicab that can support a maximum of 64 lines.

When the target is less than 100% at superfast, someone has to be in that small few percent missed out.

Posted by martingriffin over 3 years ago
3,836 properties in the Harborough area are NOT covered by this roll out.
Residents are blighted and there is little hope of any reprieve for years to come if ever. Read post added by one resident on the article in Harborough Mail link:
[under reply to MBebbington where a businesswoman has to park in a McDonalds car park to run her business.
I am afraid the reality on the ground for the 3,836 of us abandoned is miserable. I get 300kbps and it stops working when it rains & BT can't sort it.
Posted by michaels_perry over 3 years ago
The chart differentiates wrt 'exchange only' lines. What is the definition of an 'exchange only' line?
Where I live, very rural Wiltshire, there are no cabinets between us subscribers and our 'nearby' (4.7 km) exchange, so are we on an EO line?
It seems that these lines are being omitted from any upgrade work, or is the reporting incorrect?
Posted by WellandBroadband over 3 years ago
To: michaels_perry. EO/exchange only refers to dwellings - typically the more/most remote - that do not connect to a cabinet in say a village, but instead have a copper wire running all of the way back to the exchange. Those distances are usually long, hence the rotten broadband. There's plenty of them in the Welland Valley, Leics/Northants border - but not enough that the Councils are doing much about them. Hope that helps.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
@michaels_perry if the BT Wholesale checker does not list a cabinet when checking a WLR number then you are an EO line.

Some EO lines are getting upgrades, a lot depends on where a county is in its programme and what the goals are.

Most counties are choosing to do the cheaper/easier upgrades first and if money is left do what will require more work/cost more later down the line.
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