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Progress in Tackling Warwickshire’s Slow Exchange Only Broadband Lines

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015 (9:53 am) - Score 1,301
bt openreach staffordshire engineer

The Government’s Broadband Delivery UK programme is increasingly starting to tackle the historic curse of BTOpenreach’s pure copper Exchange Only Lines (EOL) and the latest example of this comes from several remote rural villages in the English county of Warwickshire.

In an EOL setup the copper phone line for a home or business is connected directly to a telephone exchange and does not go through a local Street Cabinet. Sadly EOLs are common in rural as well as some urban areas, indeed 91% of postcodes in the City of London have at least one EOL (Ofcom’s data) and these often connect into larger buildings. Affected locals end up being stuck on slower ADSL links.

Unfortunately upgrading EOLs can be very expensive because Openreach 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 ‘up to’ 80Mbps capable FTTC twin.

In the future it’s possible that VDSL2 (FTTC) based forms of Fibre-to-the-Basement (FTTB) and Fibre-to-the-Remote-Node (FTTrN) may provide for a cheaper fix, but those are still going through trials.

In the meantime local BDUK schemes, such as the state aid supported CSW Broadband programme for Warwickshire, are finally starting to tackle the problem in small doses through the more expensive Network Rearrangement approach.

The latest to benefit include around 150 premises in the remote rural village of Alderminster and 260 in Harbury, both of which are in the Stratford-on-Avon district. The effort has involved months of planning and work, including the installation of hundreds of metres of new cable as well as new roadside street cabinets in each village.

Alan Cockburn, Deputy Leader of Warwickshire County Council, said:

It’s the first time during the roll-out of CSW Broadband that we’ve enabled faster fibre broadband to homes and businesses whose lines are connected directly to the local telephone exchange rather than passing through a green cabinet that can be upgraded with a fibre broadband connection.

This is great news for the residents and businesses in Harbury and Alderminster as they can now order faster fibre broadband from their chosen service provider. We recommend that residents check if they are now able to receive superfast broadband by visiting www.cswbroadband.org.uk and entering their landline number or address.”

The work is on-going and once complete it’s hoped that more than 400 properties in Alderminster and over 2,000 in Harbury will be able to access Openreach’s superfast capable Fibre-to-the-Cabinet broadband technology.

Lately we’ve been seeing a lot more focus on EOLs, which is welcome and natural now that the BDUK programme is beginning to reach into actual rural locations instead of sub-urban areas.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he is also the founder of ISPreview since 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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1 Response
  1. I’m not in the City, but an adjacent London borough.
    And yes – stuck with an “EOL”, as I eventually discovered through writing to BT.
    Strangely, all the online “find-if-you-can-get-infinity” sites give very coy answers for my address along the lines of “unfortunately we can’t determine if [fibre based product] is available at your address”.
    Looks as if BT don’t want to accidentally make EOL customers aware they aren’t going to get infinity any day soon.
    They did fess up when I wrote, and essentially said they’re thinking about how they might approach the problem. But they wouldn’t say how many subscribers are on EO lines to my exchange – business confidentiality(??). My exchange and line are very old indeed – BT have had years to ponder the technical issues (ever since fibre rollout was planned!). I’m about a mile as the crow flies from the exchange, so I guess there could be quite a lot of EOL subscribers. The issue seems to be unpublicised outside the City of London and one or two (not this one) adjacent boroughs.
    Alas there don’t seem to be alternative, affordable suppliers around here, unlike nearer the City.

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