Broadband News

Signs of progress for those with an Exchange Only telephone line

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.


Does the BDUK system only apply to rural areas then? EO is just as big a problem in urban areas; at least ten blocks of flats in the town centre where I live are affected, probably several thousand lines between them.

  • bezuk
  • over 8 years ago

BDUK is not a pure rural initiative, as the final third by definition covers both rural and urban issues. Often it is portrayed as a rurual issue, but I try to avoid that distinction.

DEFRA says 80% of UK is urban. 20% rural

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • over 8 years ago

I see. The confusion came from the following paragraph of the Openreach link:

"...we wish to advise interested CPs that this may be an option available to all those who are involved in proposals connected with areas for intervention under BDUK County led rural broadband programme."

  • bezuk
  • over 8 years ago

Thank god for that - I haven't seen a green cabinet in the little village I live in - and as I sync at 8128k - I suspected I was connected directly to the exchange 200 metres down the road.

  • asjonesmcguire
  • over 8 years ago

I still don't understand why BT continue to put in new EO lines to large blocks of flats. Is it really saving that much money or just easier than putting in a new PCP? No one wants an EO line!

  • locutus
  • over 8 years ago

I am in London & where i am are about 70-80 (maybe more)property's mainly from council which are direct from exchange
There is a cabinet about 60-80 meters (including mine) of the cabinet, a Large fibre
Is any way i can contact someone to redirect the lines there...Thanks

  • babis3g
  • over 8 years ago

If you're living in flats, try registering at

You're much more likely to get FTTP to a block than have your lines diverted to a cabinet - and can get faster speeds too!

  • New_Londoner
  • over 8 years ago

@ New_Londoner
No i am across (are few private buildings across as well) of the the council flats but i guess if FTTP will ever come should be ok
I thought was cheaper to just divert the lines to cabinet as it only far about 60 meters away
Any way whatever they think
Thank YOUUUU... i have register to that link

  • babis3g
  • over 8 years ago

The situation in the country can be pretty crazy. We had a survey done for a possible village-funded connection a couple of years back only to find that most of our village (Whaddon, Cambs), despite being 4-5km from the exchange, is directly connected to Arrington exchange. Thus we have no cabinet in the village to which a fibre could be run. Why the heck can't BT put a cabinet here? Answer: rural connections don't make the money of urban ones...

  • nstrudwick
  • over 8 years ago

Most rural lines are EO and a majority are below the stated 'up to' figures, many are well under 1 Mbps. Many ISPs fail to understand the issues with these lines, mainly on overhead wires, and how they are affected by weather and noise. We're lucky to be getting around 1.8 Mbps at 4.83 km by wire, we should get almost 4 Mbps but our ISP will not pay as we are getting 'above the 1 Mbps minimum' that is not mentioned anywhere! A cabinet fed by fibre will help that crazy situation that is fairly general in rural, and some urban, areas.

  • michaels_perry
  • over 8 years ago


I find 4Mbps target hard to believe, at 4km on a copper line I just about get 3.5Mbps.

  • otester
  • over 8 years ago

I live exactly 1 mile from the exchange which has had all it`s cabinents FTTC enabled. Unfortunately I am connected directly to the eachange. I have two line, one that has been installed since my grandmother lived in the house many decades ago and a new second line to a portakabin office which BT ran a new line from the exchange when installing, both are EO lines and cannot get infinity - eagerly awaiting FTTP or some other solution

  • Kilsally
  • over 8 years ago

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