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

Tuesday, Aug 5th, 2014 (7:45 am) - Score 4,638

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.

Mark-Jackson
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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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