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BT promises address-level upgrade to fibre broadband checker

BT has promised address-level fibre broadband information after an ISP complained that its upgraded superfast availability checker is confusing and unreliable.

The BT Openreach Superfast Fibre Broadband Availability Checker was upgraded this week to show the nearest fibre street cabinet when you enter your postcode.

But Nic Elliott, technical director of Evolving Networks, blogged that because it doesn’t use your full address, the new checker is will give out inaccurate and confusing results.

BT's upgraded Superfast Broadband Availability Postcode Checker can make mistakes
BT’s upgraded Superfast Broadband Availability Postcode Checker can make mistakes

“The new BT Openreach FTTC Availability Checker doesn’t make any attempts to identify your cabinet, and so can’t give you a full run down of what FTTC you can or will get in the future,” Elliott wrote.

“It’s not even as accurate as the already existing full address checker that BT provide for general broadband availability (for ADSL and FTTC circuits), and looks like it will only serve to confuse consumers and businesses in a market already plagued with vagueness over the FTTC rollout.”

The problem is that postcode data can refer to several houses in a street, and they may not all be served by the same street cabinet – but the BT service can’t tell the difference and may guess the wrong cabinet or just show an unhelpful question mark.

Evolving Networks says its tests on the BT postcode checker show it’s only reliable and useful when a cabinet has been fully connected up for FTTC, and even then it can take time to appear.

And Elliot’s also critical of the new statuses for future arrival of FTTC, which he says are either vague or simply misleading.

BT said: “Openreach views the recent enhancements to the Superfast site as an interim improvement. We are investigating methods to provide even more accurate data and are looking at the possibility of providing address level information in the near future.”

If you can’t wait for that, Elliot’s blog includes a link to www.dslchecker.bt.com, which appears to be an internal BT service giving address-level information – take a look at our screen grabs below.

It doesn’t tell you when FTTC is coming, but it does give very accurate information about the status and expected line speed of your nearest cabinet, with no confusion.

 

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