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Bradley Stoke’s Exchange Only Lines Finally Get BT Superfast Broadband

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014 (7:45 am) - Score 4,566

After years of waiting it now looks as if at least some of the 22,000 strong population of Bradley Stoke, a busy town in South Gloucestershire where many of BT’s copper wire based telephone and broadband services are delivered via Exchange Only Lines (i.e. no street cabinets), are finally getting access to superfast broadband (FTTC) connectivity.

Despite its population the town, which was only properly built in 1987, is effectively split between two distant telephone exchanges in Almondsbury and Filton. This results in many people receiving painfully slow broadband speeds of less than 2Mbps, which isn’t helped by the high proportion of Exchange Only Lines (EOL) in the area (approximately 1,700).

Unfortunately upgrading EOLs can be expensive because BT needs to re-do part of the local infrastructure and build new Street Cabinets from scratch, which is a lot more work than their usual approach of simply upgrading existing cabinets with a new fibre-enabled twin. But the town has been listed on South Gloucestershire’s local Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) scheme since last year and now locals are finally about to benefit.

A Spokesperson for South Gloucestershire Council said (The Journal):

Excellent progress continues to be made with the EO lines solution in Bradley Stoke. This is a much more complex process than the FTTC upgrades and so takes more time to plan and deliver. We are also one of the first areas to implement the solution for EO lines, so we are leading the way with regards to this solution.

Of the five EO cabinets planned from the Almondsbury exchange, four will be in Bradley Stoke: no. 30 is planned to be erected at the top of Bradley Stoke Way, no. 31 at the junction of Brook Way and Savages Wood Road, no. 36 on Brook Way and no. 38 on Brook Way. There is still a lot of very complicated work to do to connect the EO lines to the new cabinets, but we are hoping that the cabinets will be live and ready for service in the autumn.”

Over the past few months a number of areas where EOLs have been a historic problem are finally starting to see activity and this is likely to grow as the national BDUK project matures and starts having to tackle increasingly difficult areas. It’s understood that BTOpenreach has already installed the cases for cabs 30, 31 and 36, with 38 due to follow imminently.

However it remains to be seen whether all 1,700 EOLs will benefit from the upgrade and the local authority won’t have an answer for that until after Openreach completes their upgrade work, although by our reckoning four cabinets should be enough to enable around 1,200 lines (this very much depends upon the cabinet type and thus the figure might equally be several hundred lower). Of course not all of those 1,700 will necessarily choose to take an up to 80Mbps FTTC service.

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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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19 Responses
  1. Matthew Williams says:

    Glad to hear this is happening being on a EO line is a major problem glad they haven’t forgotten about them.

  2. TomL says:

    Now for the 3rd largest city, Sheffield’s Central exchange???

    1. 3rd….debateable…anything between 4th and 7th, depending on official stats..j/k, just being picky 😉

  3. SImon says:

    Question that the council can’t / won’t provide other then a fob off answer to is: What about the Filton Exchange that provides EO lines (upto 5km lines) into the same area of Bradley Stoke.
    This exchange has accepted Fibre orders for years with the costs covered by BT, where the Almondsbury Exchange was done under this project.
    You can almost see the tumble weed roll past trying to get an answer to this.

    1. fastman2 says:


      you could wold with your community and private fund new PCP and DSLAM close to your community

    2. Bob says:

      People working together as a community in the UK?

      A man can dream…

    3. Raindrops says:

      “you could wold with your community and private fund new PCP and DSLAM close to your community”

      Is that not what the BDUK is supposed to be for in the first place. Funding things via the tax payer? Are you saying he should pay twice for his area which is due under the BDUK?

  4. adslmax says:

    FTTC is not super fast broadband (it ran by copper to the house from the cabinet) nothing is 100% fiber! For EO lines, it should replacing with Fiber all the way to the house instead. Shame, further away from FTTC cabinet, you probably stuck with slow speed.

  5. Raindrops says:

    It is stuff like this which IMO is what tax payer money such as the BDUK scheme should be spent on. IF (and that is a big if) BT enable everyone even if it is just FTTC then well done to them on this occasion.

  6. fastman2 says:

    raindrops if ite EO it probably wont be in BDUK — there is an ooption for a community to do that if not covered under BDUK

    1. Raindrops says:

      Rubbish try reading the story for a start and also replying in the right place.

  7. fastman2 says:


    no dream actualy realiity and a number of villages to prove it
    those villages had less that 1 mega and how majority have excess of 50

  8. fastman2 says:

    Raindrops i the EO in quesion i was refering to was in Filton and no thats not rubbish – EO in excess of 3 – 4k from exchange is bespoke complex and not easy to do so coudl get covered under BDUK but depends on BDUK priorites under SEP – or community coud fuind the New pcp and DSLAM if they Chose and be live in less that a year

    1. Raindrops says:

      The BDUK was set up for reasons like this. The story is an example of BDUK funds being used properly. Suggesting the community funds things is rubbish.

    2. fastman2 says:

      So the EO in filton wont be in current BDUK — so could be eliglble in next round of BDUK — the interventionl areas will be greater and the amount of monies will still be lilmted and there will only be a certain amount of thigs that cab be done and that will be a value fo money decision for the LA — so you could wait and see till end of SEP in 2017 or proacively work with openreach to insert a new cab near the estate — that a choice community have to wait but at least they will be informed rather than finding out in 2017 that they are in the final X percent and not good value for money

    3. Raindrops says:

      “So the EO in filton wont be in current BDUK — so could be eliglble in next round of BDUK”

      That makes as much sense as the rest of your dibble, either it is eligible or it is not.

  9. Ian Wilcox says:

    Now to roll this out to other EO lines across the country!

  10. Steve clarke says:

    EOL. Can anyone help in telling me BT’s solution to Exchange Line Only FTTC on the Byfleet exchange 01932 area. I can’t get a straight answer from BT?

  11. Rajesh says:

    I live in Bradley stoke with an EO line connected to the Filton Exchange. Will it help if i get an additional new line – will this new line be also EO or will it be more sensibly connected to a cabinet ?
    If so I could order one and upgrade to infinity once installation has been complete , but not keen to pay the connection charge if another EO line will be connected ?

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