Openreach joins the mapping game
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 maps.thinkbroadband.com 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.