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BT Wholesale Adds UK Street Cabinet Data to its Broadband Checker

Monday, January 14th, 2013 (11:41 am) - Score 28,560

One of our readers notes that BTWholesale has quietly updated its Broadband Availability Checker service to display some additional information, such as which BT street cabinet you’re connected to and whether or not superfast broadband (FTTC) is enabled or due to be installed.

The development follows last week’s controversial ruling by the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which upheld multiple complaints against ISP BT Retail’s related checker service because it often appeared to return unreliable “provisional” availability dates for their BTInfinity (FTTC) service and was thus deemed “likely to mislead“.

At the time the ASA told BT to adjust the wording so as to “ensure that [it] only included dates if they corresponded to scheduled plans for Openreach to engineer the BT Infinity service to the corresponding area“. A sample of how the latest output looks is shown below.

bt wholesale broadband checker 2013

Thanks to Bob for the heads-up on our forum (here).

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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17 Responses
  1. Phil says:

    What does served by Cabinet 8 mean ? I was wondering what is Cabinet 1-12 mean ?

    1. DTMark says:

      It means that the other end of the phone line that comes to your house is connected to cabinet number 8.

      Though the “average” user isn’t going to care about that, they would only care about the speed that’s estimated.

      It’s only relevant because the part-fibre service “FTTC” is rolled out by cabinet so in order to know whether you can have that the checker needs to know which cabinet you’re connected to, and they have decided to include that piece of data on the screen.

    2. Toonshorty says:

      It means you are connected to the exchange via cabinet 8.

      Each street cabinet has its own ID, yours is #8.

      This is first method I’ve found of finding your cabinet for non-FTTC planned exchanges.

      “Address [x] on Exchange WYLAM is served by Cabinet 2”

      Exchange is ADSL Max only, no 21CN/FTTC planned.

  2. DTMark says:

    How can the line rate be “up to 12Mbps” and the downstream range have an upper bound of 17Mbps?

    1. Toonshorty says:

      AFAIK BT Wholesale will make up a figure based on average line statistics.

      Assuming an average quality line it will typically get 12Mb/s however if the line is of a good standard they may see up to 17Mb/s. Same applies for the lower bound too, if the line quality sucks.

      The BT Wholesale checker gives me up to 2Mb/s with a range of 1 – 3.5Mb/s on ADSL Max. I’m currently on a CPW LLU (ADSL2+) line but when I was on ADSL Max I was easily getting 6Mb/s so honestly the estimated speeds don’t really mean much. I was also predicted around 3Mb/s for ADSL2+ and I see around 8-9Mb/s with just over 10Mb/s if I put interleaving on.

    2. Ignitionnet says:

      The checker is really intended for ISPs, the first figure is an estimate of average performance and the next one is a performance range the line should fall within as a guide to the ISP of the line’s capabilities and a range outside of which Wholesale will consider a fault. Remember the ISPs don’t raise faults to Openreach unless they are LLU operators, they raise them to BT Wholesale so need an idea of what Wholesale consider acceptable for a particular line’s sync speed.

      Some ISPs give the first figure to the customer, some give the second, this gives them a choice.

      Wholesale kindly keep this checker available to the public rather than in the secure section of the site.

    3. DTMark says:

      I thought it might be something like this when the performance of the circuit is not known.

      Here, with no LLU and an ADSL service about five years ago before we upgraded to 3G, the IP profile was 1750kbps and the sync rate was 2048kbps. The line length is 3680m. The lines round here are dreadful quality, this is far from the worst in relation to length. Here, no guesswork is needed: the performance is known.

      So there’s no need to estimate, since the wiring hasn’t changed, the house hasn’t moved and nor has the exchange.

      As we’re right in between the two cabinets which have similar E-side lengths but one longer than the other, the addition of the cab data confirms we’re on the nearest one of the two, the line length seems long to me but is plausible.

      Yet, the “range” is 1Mbps to 5Mbps with a prediction of 3.5Mbps, twice the speed it ever managed to achieve in the past. It’s a work of fiction.

  3. Phil says:

    BT Wholesale should be including estimated of ip profile rate on your line not speed up to because sometimes BT Wholesale activated with interleaved ON or Fast Path

    Interleaved ON – less ip profile rate eg: 6500K on ADSL or 12788 on ADSL2+
    Fath Path – more ip profile rate eg: 7150K on ADSL or 13358 on ADSL2+

    1. PhilT says:

      I have 8128 with interleaving.

    2. DTMark says:

      I was wondering what the relevance of the ‘sync rate’ is when it’s the IP Profile that determines the speed. The only successful phone line I ever had which managed a broadband service was no more than about 600m long and managed a profile of 7150kbps (sync rate the full 8128, I think) with interleaving on, and never managed to hit much more than about 6Meg down. Where’s my missing 2Meg..

  4. Adam says:

    Doesn’t really help me much as I still have no planned date for FTTC

    Ironic thing is my area was FTTC enabled last July, and every street cabinet on my road has a lovely green fibre cabinet next to it accept mine which is on a brand new housing estate.

    We all have to suffer 1mb or slower speeds on our estate, and theres a few hundred houses.

    I keep hoping that BT have scheduled this cabinet in for a future upgrade waiting for all houses to be built, but looking at that no such luck.

    Wonder what is going to happen when 2mb/s becomes the standard and we are all on a lot less in a town.

  5. Greg says:

    According to the search results I get on that site, I would get “up to” 36.1Mbps on FTTC, and
    “up to” 7Mbps on ADSL2+ and ADSL2+ Annex, which must surely be the lowest estimates.

    I’m currently getting ADSL2+ from O2 Home Broadband, and with the distance my home is
    from the exchange I’m connected to, I can currently max out my broadband connection at
    around 12-13Mbps, which is somewhat considerably higher than the 7Mbps estimate.

    If that site says I can get “up to” 36.1Mbps on FTTC, then should I actually expect to be able
    to max that type of connection out at around 60-70Mbps when I get around to upgrading?

    1. FibreFred says:

      It depends on the quality of cable I guess, the estimator is certainly shy. You might get up to around 60 in reality

    2. Kyle says:

      Nope. “Up to 26.2” on FTTC…18.2 in reality!

    3. kirk says:

      BT ensure that people on fibre should get at least 12Mbps for the Standard service and at least 16Mbps for the Elevated option (throughput, not sync).

      I’m happy with my fibre. BTW estimate 80mbps down and 20mbps up.


    4. DTMark says:

      The wording appearing on ISP websites at the moment (e.g. Zen) gives a lower bound acceptable performance of 2Meg for FTTC.

  6. JS says:

    great news fibre now in my area
    bad news only up to 8mbs speed
    reason—- although nearest cabinet is 200yds from my home i am served by a cabinet
    1.3 miles away,everyone else in my neighbourhood gets up to 80mbs

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