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BT’s fibre broadband Race to Infinity slows to a trot in Whitchurch

Last Spring we heard that BT’s Race to Infinity promotion, aiming at bringing faster broadband speeds to the rural not-spot of Whitchurch, faced some delays setting the clock back until November 2012.

Now it’s January 2013 and we’ve heard that parts of the Hampshire village are still unconnected to 21st Century speeds.

Understandably residents are upset with the progress of a project that was announced two years ago.

BT’s fibre broadband Race to Infinity slows to a trot in Whitchurch
FTTPP – Fibre to the Pub Please

However there’s a few of things to be taken on board here which are relevant not only to Whitchurch but to communities all up and down the country that are waiting to benefit from BT broadband.

First of all, there’s the issue of distance regarding FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) broadband.

As we’ve reported before, FTTC suffers to some extent from the same ‘distance difference’ that you get with ADSL broadband.

That is to say the further away your house it from a street cabinet, the slower your top download and upload speeds are likely to be.

If you’re living 1.6 kilometers away from the cabinet for example, FTTC broadband will give you the same speed as standard ADSL – around 10Mbps. Currently, if you’re living from than 3.4 kilometers away from a cabinet then you’re not looking at an FTTC upgrade any time soon as it wouldn’t make a difference.

If you’re living 1.6 km away from a fibre broadband cabinet, Fibre to the Cabinet broadband will give you the same speed as standard ADSL – 10Mbps.

Secondly, there’s the issue of the severe weather (the ‘worst in 100 years’) that plagued the country last year. Torrential rain has kept BT engineers working overtime and this, sadly, has had a knock-on effect with job queues elsewhere.

Back in May BT mentioned that it’s “difficult to be precise with dates” for Whitchurch as building the spine is “a major civil engineering programme.” So it was always going to be a long job, something that’s been exacerbated by the weather.

In the last update sent to Whitchurch residents, it was announced that power had been connected to the cabinet at Hurstbourne Priors, which would give venues such as the Hinstbourne Inn (above) a speed boost.

Street cabinets at Freefolk Priors and Litchfield Road – originally due to go live at the end of June 2012 – are reportedly ‘still waiting for power’.

We’re waiting for word back from BT on what’s happening in Whitchurch and will update once we know more.

January 14, 2013

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