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BT accused of slow rural broadband rollout, says ‘nobody does it better’

BT has dismissed accusations of slow progress of the rural Superfast South Gloucestershire & Wiltshire broadband plan, saying ‘no one is doing more than us’. 

Responding to an article written on the Western Daily Press, outlining concerns businesses and South Gloucestershire MP Steve Webb have about the speed of the ISP’s rural superfast broadband, BT said its rollout of the service is better than any other company in the UK.

BT said it is investing more than £3billion in the project and more than 20 million premises, with 82 per cent of the UK benefitting from superfast broadband already.

BT says no one is doing more than it is to get superfast broadband rolled out quicker
BT says no company is doing more to improve broadband services across the UK

Coles said: “We do understand people want to know now if they’re getting fibre, but we can’t do that through guess work. With an infrastructure project this big and complex, we need to survey every area thoroughly before there’s certainty about the build.

Most local authorities, including both South Gloucestershire and Wiltshire Council, have published maps, supported by us, showing indicative plans. We’ve also made our own website more detailed, so people can now see whether the cabinet serving their property has, or will be, upgraded.”

An indicative map has been published which provides a vague overview of the areas in Gloucestershire and Wiltshire that are due to get either superfast broadband (at least 24Mbps download speeds) or a basic service (at least 2Mbps download speeds).

Openreach, BT’s network division, has upgraded the postcode checker on the ‘Where and When’ page of its site, giving customers a better idea of when they’ll be able to order superfast broadband.

While this is more helpful than the indicative map, the postcode checker still doesn’t let you enter your full address when you perform a search. This means you can’t check to see when, or even if, your house or business will be able to get superfast broadband.

 

Can you accurately pinpoint your home from this map?
Can you accurately pinpoint your home from this map?

Can you accurately pinpoint your home from this map?

Because postcode data can refer to several houses in a street which may not all be served by the same cabinet, it’s currently not a sure-fire way to find out if you can order superfast broadband or not. 

BT might be rolling out the goods quickly, but until that postcode checker is finished, people and businesses on the fringes won’t know which side of the digital divide they’re on for sure. 

Superfast broadband is being rolled out the majority of properties across the UK Government’s BDUK (Broadband Delivery for the UK) scheme. By 2015, 95 per cent of premises should be able to access superfast broadband.

Labour party activists have ambitiously called for every property in the UK to be able to get gigabit (1,000Mbps) broadband by 2020. How BT and other ISPs already providing such services fit into the picture, or even how this will be funded, is another matter. 

The top speeds you can currently get on Openreach’s FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) lines is 80Mbps, but that’s only if you’re living within spitting distance of a green street cabinet.

BT has recently announced results of a trial of G.fast, an emerging technology that should see top download speeds jump up to 700Mbps for most – but not all – customers who stand to get FTTC broadband. 

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