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Can you help with options?

DavidC

Member
Last year when I checked the Openreach site to determine if fibre would be enabled soon in my area (Exchange name: Hoghton Exchange Code: LCHOG status: Fibre enabled Cabinet number: 13) it told me it was in the activate status and I could expect to be able to order in about a month. When it got to February and the site was still displaying the same status I contacted Openreach to find out what was delaying the process. In the middle of May I finally got this answer:

We have been liaising with the project manager for the area and unfortunately the projects are not going to take place.
There have been numerous issues including a potential railway and road closure leading to us to cancel the project. Alternative options were looked at but there was no other way to move the line to the other cabinet.
There is an option if you were interested in FTTP, you could consider getting together with neighbours or local community group and raising the money to help build the network yourself. We offer a community fibre partnership scheme where we work with local communities to find a fibre solution. We cannot always guarantee this will be feasible but we would be willing to look at it if you were interested.
Interestingly if I go to the newly revamped Openreach page it still says:

Better broadband is coming
Good news – we’ll be upgrading your area to Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) soon.

But I guess the system isn't updated that frequently.
I'm totally stunned as they have clearly spent a lot of time and money getting to this point. Indeed my internet and phone got cut off at one point as when they were laying fibre they managed to damage the copper (at least that was the reason given for the outage) and since then my broadband speeds have been significantly poorer ( I see speeds of 0.25Mbps in the evenings regularly but a good night I get 2Mbps). As I write this the speedtest from this site shows:

116

This is fairly typical. So the question is, where do I go from here?

If Openreach have already looked at alternative options due to the required road and rail closure, I doubt they will be able to deliver FTTP either or at least not at a cost that makes sense.

Questioning about the 10Mbps+ Universal Service Obligation (USO) might be an option? But I guess there would be a significant cost involved?

Wireless operators? From this site I see Boundless Networks, Virair and Unify Wireless (their website says their account has been suspended so I guess isn't an option)are potential suppliers but need a site visit to determine if they can provide a service.

Low Earth Orbit? Realistically when are these services likely to be operating?

Something else? Needless to say phone reception is pretty much zero here too.

Many thanks for any thoughts on how best to progress?
 

baby_frogmella

Regular Member
It might be a blessing in disguise - assuming you & all your neighbours are willing to pay for a CFP-FTTP build. Since Openreach clearly mentioned CFP to you, its means FTTP is more than feasible if you paid them. They may have simply cancelled the FTTC due to extra costs outside their budget, but obviously if Joe Public was to partially contribute, they will re-consider. My advice would be to talk to every householder on your street/neighbourhood and try to convince them that CFP-FTTP might be the only option - which should be easy if they're all getting speeds < 10 Mbps. The more people who commit to paying, the cheaper it will be per property.

 

AdamH

Casual Member
I would suggest experimenting with 4G mobile broadband.
Even if your mobile phone reception is very poor, the antennae in dedicated 4G routers are much better than those built into phones (I can't get a Three 4G signal here at all on my phone, but can in my router) - plus you can connect an external directional or omni-directional antenna in a poor signal area (like mine).
Three do unlimited SIMs for around £20 to £24 per month (depending on current offers - current one is £20 a month on a 24-month contract - see: Three Phone SIM plans) - and paired with a 4G router (e.g. Huawei B525 or similar - Amazon Huawei B525), and maybe an external antenna *if required* (e.g. Poynting 4G-XPOL-A0001 omni-directional outdoor antenna or Poynting 4G-XPOL-A0002 directional outdoor antenna - also, various "Yagi" directional antennae), that can be a good solution. So check out coverage for Three in your area (you can get a free Data SIM with 200Mb of data per month, just about enough to check coverage + speed tests: Three Free Data SIM). EE also do packages for 4G home broadband (4GEE Mobile Broadband packages), but they have data caps (up to 500Gb per month) and are much more expensive than Three. But, if you can't get a 4G signal with Three in your area, then that may be another option. EE can also install an external antenna for you if required (£100 extra), which are professionally installed directional antennae, so should give you a good signal. If using Three, it's DIY all the way.
So - I would definitely explore the possibility of using 4G for your broadband, even in a poor signal area. (But - be prepared for having to spend out on a router and maybe external antenna, just to see if it's viable for you [although if you get a 4G router online, you have the 14-day returns policy in case it doesn't work], and experimenting a lot with router location [high up in an upstairs window is usually best] and external antennae!). It's worth thinking about at least.
Failing that - the USO comes into force in March next year.
Good Luck!
 

DavidC

Member
Many thanks for taking the time to respond. I now have a Huawei B525 with two internal antenna which I have been moving around the house. Speeds are variable but download speeds of 2-6Mbps are possible (but it does vary day-to-day, hour-to-hour) which although isn't great it is certainly better than what I am currently getting over the telephone line. So it might be worth me investing in an external antenna to see if this improves further.

I've also reached out on the CFP element too and I'll wait and see just how expensive that option is. I suspect due to the small number of properties, and how far apart they are, this might not be feasible, but if you don't ask...

regards,
David
 

Captain_Cretin

ULTIMATE Member
Many thanks for taking the time to respond. I now have a Huawei B525 with two internal antenna which I have been moving around the house. Speeds are variable but download speeds of 2-6Mbps are possible (but it does vary day-to-day, hour-to-hour) which although isn't great it is certainly better than what I am currently getting over the telephone line. So it might be worth me investing in an external antenna to see if this improves further.

I've also reached out on the CFP element too and I'll wait and see just how expensive that option is. I suspect due to the small number of properties, and how far apart they are, this might not be feasible, but if you don't ask...

regards,
David
If you can, hang the antenna out of various upstairs windows and test the speeds.
If you know the direction to the mast you are connecting to; then a window facing that way if possible.

This will give you an idea on whether external antenna will make a large enough difference or not.

It could be you get more signal and more speed, or it might be that the speeds you are getting are due to the tower having too much traffic and limiting your speeds based on traffic levels.

Unless you live on a mountain top, higher usually means better for signal and speed; but not always.
 
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