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BT Wholesale Remove Some ADSL Results from UK Broadband Checker

Wednesday, Jul 10th, 2024 (10:18 am) - Score 6,840
BT-Wholesale-ADSL-Checker-Results

The BT Wholesale Broadband Availability Checker, which is really intended for network operators and ISPs but has always been used by savvy consumers to check the status of BTW and Openreach based services, appears to have recently made a change that seems to stop displaying ADSL results in areas where VDSL or FTTP (or both) are present.

Just to recap. Pure copper line based ADSL (SOADSL / SOTAP) broadband services offered highly variable speeds of up to c.20Mbps and were fed directly from the exchange (these are very old). By comparison, FTTC / VDSL2 (SOGEA) lines are considered hybrid-fibre services and offered speeds of up to c.75-80Mbps (i.e. the fibre went from the exchange to a street cabinet / DSLAM, which then fed the service to homes via existing copper lines).

As it stands today, both FTTC and ADSL lines have a similar level of coverage (i.e. c.98-99%). But there are still some remote rural and a few very disadvantaged urban areas where ADSL remains the only fixed line broadband option available.

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Equally, there are some locations where FTTC is available, but the local street cabinet may be full to capacity and this can force new customers back on to ADSL lines until capacity improves. Furthermore, there are situations where the nature and distance of local copper lines means that FTTC may actually end up delivering slower speeds than local ADSL lines.

Situations like those above make it helpful to know what’s actually available at a specific address and, until recently, you could generally see ADSL, FTTC and FTTP (Openreach) availability for every address via the BTW Checker. But some of our readers recently spotted that (here) BTW have stopped showing ADSL speed results in areas where VDSL/FTTC or FTTP are present. We also found the same when testing a number of addresses.

Forum Member ‘Some Edinburgh Guy’ said:

“It now appears that if you are able to receive a VDSL (SOGEA) service, no matter what speed it is (even if it’s just 10mbps), you can no longer request an ADSL service. The availability checker now ONLY reports the VDSL speeds if that technology can be provisioned at a location, and you can no longer see ADSL speeds, even if you could theoretically receive that service.

Properties which are too far to receive VDSL service and don’t have FTTP will still display the ADSL speeds, but that only seems to be relevant to very rural areas that are too far from the DSLAM they are connected to. I have to assume BT Wholesale are now in the process of a phased withdrawal of ADSL in some form?”

ISPreview are currently attempting to clarify BTW’s position on this change and will report back shortly, although it should be said that most Openreach-based ISPs have long since stopped advertising ADSL based broadband packages or have already completely removed them as an option for new customers.

The reality is ADSL remains a very old service and one that’s due for withdrawal, particularly after 2030 when Openreach starts shutting down around 4,500 of their oldest exchanges under the Exchange Exit Programme (here and here). BTW’s change is thus probably part of that process and the prior “stop sell” on WLR (Wholesale Line Rental), even if quite a few people still use ADSL.

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In addition, it also makes it much harder for people to know what services and performance actually exists in such disadvantaged locations.

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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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Comments
9 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Patrick says:

    The lay person can use that checker currently if they have a phone number
    but soon we will lose out landline numbers, so how can we know our “access line ID ”
    or “UPRN” , whatever they are?

    1. Mark-Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      Just click to use the regular ‘Address Checker’ at the top of the BTW checker page.

    2. Avatar photo Simon Farnsworth says:

      While the “Address Checker” is the right answer for the BTW checker, you might be interested in https://uprn.uk/ as a way to find your UPRN given that you can find your house on a map (using your postcode to find the right place on the map).

      The UPRN itself is a government creation (https://www.geoplace.co.uk/addresses-streets/location-data/the-uprn) that gives every property in the UK a unique ID number, even if it’s not somewhere that receives post (e.g. a substation), and that avoids dealing with things like house names in more rural areas (e.g. my parents-in-law, who live on an unnamed road, where the postal address is “House name, Village name, postcode”). And that’s useful for BT, since it avoids fun with people doing things like renaming the house and expecting you to know that “Woof House” is the historic name of what’s now called “Meow House”.

    3. Avatar photo Josh says:

      UPRN is Unique Property Reference Number. You can find it by searching your address at https://www.findmyaddress.co.uk/search

    4. Avatar photo MilesT says:

      Does the tool now show availability for SOTAP for Analogue (in pilot)? (I think it should)

  2. Avatar photo Tom says:

    For some time the footnotes on the checker have stated
    “ADSL, ADSL2+ and SOADSL availability: If shown at FTTP or SOGEA premises,ADSL, ADSL2+ and SOADSL are not available to order due to WLR Withdrawal stop sell rules.”
    so it is likely they are now not displaying the ADSL results where this is the case.

    A check on a cabinet with a waiting list does include the SOADSL Products results.

  3. Avatar photo Phil says:

    I use Access Line ID to get full checker and also showing SoGEA and G.fast for Observed Speeds for broadband without phone number.

    https://i.ibb.co/2Y25Yhc/BTw-Checker.png

  4. Avatar photo Nick Roberts says:

    Why does this remind me of smart meters.
    “Customer herding”, not for any substantial technical reason, but so the precious marketeers (Saintly be their names) can maximise commercial exploitation. Any concept of customer service . . . right out the window . . . years ago.

    The Broadband Checker still reports FTTP “On-demand” (And of course I’m connected to the cabinet 250 yards away at the other end of the street, not the one 100 feet away from my front door) and Exchange Product Restrictions (N, Y, N).

    It won’t be long to bye-bye BT and hello unlimited data SIM and £600 extra in my pocket each year

  5. Avatar photo Peter says:

    I’m a wholesaler and have reached out to BTW for comment, no reply yet.

    I’m able to order ADSL directly on BTW’s portal thankfully, the manual order process will allow the order to be placed against DN.

    I’m hoping the decision can be reversed until March ’25.

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