Superfast Broadband – Work Begins

We spotted on the way home tonight that work has been started by BT Openreach on the new  street cabinets for Superfast Broadband (What BT Retail call Infinity, or Fibre Broadband – it isn't, but nevermind) in Whitwell.  It's finally happening!  We had to take a photo just to make sure we weren't imagining it.

Once the equipment is installed and all setup, you'll be able to get up to 80Mbit/s download speeds if you're close enough to one of the new street cabinets – It was 40Mbit/s, but by the time they have finished in Whitwell the new 80Mbit/s products will be available to ISPs – Remeber, you don't just have to use BT to get Superfast Broadband, you can pretty much use any ISP (With the exception of Sky, as we don't think they are taking part in the new scheme to allow them to do so, but we think TalkTalk are).

23 thoughts on “Superfast Broadband – Work Begins

    • Hi,

      Without wanting to come over as a bit of a big-head or clever-dick, it isn’t.

      It comes in to your house using the same copper wire that your broadband does now, it’s just that instead of that copper for your broadband going all the way to the telephone exchange on New Street only the voice side does.

      The broadband “side” of the copper only goes to the green BT street cabinet, where it is then patched over using a tie cable to one of the new BT street cabinets. There it connects to a device called an MSAN which strips the broadband connection off the copper (previously it would be done on an MSAN inside the exchange) and puts it on to the Openreach fibre network back to the telephone exchange.

      From the telephone exchange it then either:

      – goes over the Openreach network to one of the twenty or so Metro Access Nodes where the data connection is handed over to your ISP.


      – handed straight to your ISP inside the exchange if your ISP is TalkTalk or Sky or one of the other LLU providers using GEA.

      Just to be fair, Virgin Media isn’t fibre internet either – it’s coaxial copper cable from your house to a Virgin Street cabinet, where it then goes on to their fibre network.

      There will be a proper fibre based product where fibre optic cable comes to your house, but Whitwell is not scheduled to get it. The only way will be via the FTTP on demand programme at some point in the future, but it will come with a large install fee estimate to be around £1000.



      • Actually we have aluminium cabling in Whitewell and Hodthorpe, they call it fibre to the cabinet for a reason, its fibre to the cabinet. Thus, not meaning to sound like a clever dick, it is fibre. It then utilises VHDSL over the de-mark from the cabinet to your home, but still 90 percent of the leg to the exchange is fibre.

        • We'll agree to disagree to an extent.  I suspect I know who you are and who you work for, so you're never likely to agree with me and many others in the industry who think calling it fibre broadband is misleading (including Sky & TalkTalk) and leads to customer confusion.  Yes it is fibre to the cabinet (which I've never disuputed and pointed our previously), it's still copper for the last part of the presentation, by the same token we could call ADSL/ADSL2+ as currently deployed FTTE (Fibre-To-The-Exchange)

          If we work based on the amount of a connection that is fibre to define it then those with the shortest lines connected to a PCP near to the exchange but utilising ADSL/ADSL2+ might as well be called fibre – as they'll have potentiall less  than some of the FTTC connected customers that are further away from their PCP.  It's a situation the ASA should never have allowed to occur in the first place – for anyone interested in any further reading on it (I doubt there's many, unless you can't get to sleep!) you can read about it here:  It's all a bit like budget airlines saying they fly to a certain city, then you find that this renamed airport is actually 40 miles away – they've got most of the way there on the name given, but not quite.

          Some lines will be aluminium, but I know from attenuation & line length data on the lines I've been involved with that they are copper as they wouldn't register those figures and speeds on alumium (although since the FTTC work has been done, I have seen attenuation on those lines increase and thus speeds drop off :().  We certainly don't have issues like Milton Keynes have, where most of their lines were aluminium before the copper overlay process was instigated.

          As I say, I think we'll have to agree to disagree, this is what happens when they let marketing people loose on something.


          • Whilst I can see you are very knowledgeable I do take issue with the statement that this is not fiber broadband. Broadband by its very definition is the transition of data over frequency or amplitude multiplexing, if this were JUST fibre it wouldn’t technically be broadband, it would be a very wide bandwidth baseband implementation, there is no modulation to speak of.  You don’t get multiple channels over fibre because it isn’t analogue; TDM is a different thing entirely.
            Infinity is both fibre AND broadband.
            Most people won’t make that distinction; the enabling element of “superfast broadband” however is the fibre cable interconnecting exchange to cabinet.  To say this is not fibre indicates that in fact no fibre is in use at all.

            Also FTTE would also be a little dubious as not all exchanges are serviced over fibre, our exchange until recently was LLU with DSLAM not MSAN. This is why we have all seen a decent boost in standard DSL rates due to more efficient hardware.

          • The DSLAMs were still hooked up with fibre to the Openreach 20CN network :)  In fact some of the DSLAMs I believe were replaced with MSANs and still hooked up to the old 20CN network in a lot of exchanges before the 21CN works were completed.  The speeds were less to do with the hardware and more to do with BT enabling the ADSL2+ profile on the line cards because they’d increased the backhaul capacity by hooking the exchange up to the 21CN network.  Again, I believe a lot of the DSLAMs could do ADSL2+ had Openreach so wished.

            Fibre – you do get multiple channels, they are just called wavelengths, either via CWDM (Coarse Wavelength Division Multiplexing) or DWDM (Dense-WDM).  Off the top of my head 320 wavelengths is the current maximum per fibre strand.

            As I say, I’m not alone in not wanting to call it fibre as it confuses the issue when FTTP comes along – Sky & TalkTalk didn’t find it acceptable either and they’ve several million customers.  Of course so they don’t get left behind in the marketing stakes since the ASA cleared it they have now jumped on the bandwagon as well.


  1. You dont get multiple channels on fiber. Its light. Log permiable and short permiable cannot and do not co-exist in the same frame making it TDM. What you describe denotes the choice between plastic or glass core fiber.

    • WDM is not TDM.
      Wavelengths are essentially different colours of light and can co-exist in the same strand of fibre simultaniously. You don't have to co-ordinate between the different wavelengths in order to stop transmitting on one wavelength and start transmitting on another as you would with a time-sliced system.

    • Each "wave" is a different frequency of light acting as data carrier. So yes it is light, but "white" light is made up of many many frequencies.

      TDM I believe is often employed electrically to multiplex older protocols on to a wavelength – although I only deal with Ethernet on waves.

      Systems like PON use WDM and TDM together.

  2. Hehe i love a good debate, but i fear were discussing something thst is a metter of opinion. Good health to you. Long may this site exist.

    • Well, that's one of the reasons it was set up for, good debate – even if we have somewhat got off the topic of Whitwell.

      Whatever the marketing people want to call it, it's good for the village and especially good for those in Creswell and Hodthorpe who will finally see some decent speeds.

  3. Just to keep you informed the BT Infinity Map has been updated today.
    It now no longer lists whitwell, At All. Although Dinnington is still listed for the 30th of June (same rollout date as whitwell on sam knows and openreach, even though their dates differ).
    If anyone gets futher info, spread the word :)

      • We are? I cant see us on the BT fibre map at all. Were on Sam Knows and Openreach though. Openreach also says Dinnington is September and that we are also September. However the BT website shows Dinnington as June.  

        • Openreach list is the definitive.  Checked the PDF today as well and it has us as September :(  I just wish they'd give a bit more detail on what PCPs and any reasons for the delay.

          • Its typical of BT to change the release date (or removal of) 2 days before its supposed to go live…
            Probably to stop people cancelling with there poor service (price wise its a ripoff).

          • they haven't completed installing all the new cabinets yet so i would think it might have something to do with that. they only just installed the one across from the hairdressers on sheffield road around a week ago.

  4. Good to know there is a real reason (lack of finished cabinets) as when you phone BT they give you "Its not on the list" rubbish. Wish they could just said they havent finished installing the cabinets.

  5. Hi,
    Still on for September. I’d guess based on the work I’ve seen them doing in a few places that it is blocked/collapsed ducts that have held things up.  As they’ve been digging pavements and roads in some spots – and as they use compressed air to feed in the fibre the ducts have got to be pretty clear.

    • They seem to be digging some ducts here in creswell too. Fingers crossed within a week we might be able to order 😀

    • Damn you beat me to it. Once again they pushed us back :(
      I have submitted a question to openreach on there website asking the reason why we have been put back again (6months from the first plan i saw (June 2012)).
      How many here have submitted interest on both BT and Openreaches sites?
      Just to be sure could we pass these links around and get greater interest. They may just not care about our interest due to areas with more responses.
      (links = (use the number checker and register interest) &
      BTW dinnington has been upgraded to FTTC, good for them.

      • Hi,

        It’s not down to lack of interest, otherwise they wouldn’t have done any of the work they’ve done so far.  My hunch, given the work they have been doing is that it’s down to collapsed ducts that they are having to dig out/repair.



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