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BT Wholesale’s UK Broadband Checker Adds Status for Bridge Taps

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017 (8:08 am) - Score 16,091

The BT Wholesale Broadband Checker has recently added a new row to its output that appears to very generally reflect the status of a wiring issue known as a ‘Bridge Tap‘, which so far as we can tell only shows when testing with a specific telephone number (not address or postcode checks).

The term Bridge Tap was previously only alluded to in the checker’s description (below the results output), where a piece of text states: “For VDSL or G.fast Ranges A and B, the term “Clean” relates to a line which is free from any wiring issues (e.g. Bridge Taps) and/or Copper line conditions, and the term “Impacted” relates to a line which may have wiring issues (e.g. Bridge Taps) and/or Copper line conditions.”

A Bridge Tap is a physical issue with the copper line that can occur when an unterminated wire is not dealt with correctly (e.g. left connected to your circuit), which may result in your broadband service suffering more disruption due to interference and a higher volume of errors (i.e. your speeds will probably drop). Such problems aren’t a big deal on the voice side but they’re bad for broadband.

In simple terms it’s a bit like turning the wire into an antenna that catches noise and that’s bad for copper line based ADSL, FTTC (VDSL2) and G.fast services. We’d expect the status output options for this new row to be ‘Y’ for Yes, ‘N’ for No and the ‘U’ is probably Unknown. Most people are likely to see a result of N or U.

Some Bridge Tap problems are easier to solve than others and an engineer is often required. Switching your service to a new pair is likely to be easier than removing the bridge tap itself, depending upon where the problem is located.


Thanks to Peter and Chris for pointing out the change.

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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