When can I get fibre?

When can I get fibre?

What’s so different about a fibre network?

 

In the past, the network that delivered phones and broadband was an all-copper infrastructure. But that meant the further you were from the exchange, the slower your broadband speed became.  

Fibre is different. A single fibre is capable of carrying much more information than copper, and can do so in a far shorter space of time. It’s also more reliable and longer lasting, too. So we can help those houses and businesses further away from the exchange reap the benefits of the fibre network upgrade. 

Over 25 million premises already have access to fibre broadband, with around 20,000 being added each week. And our network is open to all service providers, so there’s plenty of choice of who to buy from. Thousands of our engineers work every day to plan and install the equipment needed to make this possible. The scale of our fibre roll-out programme is massive. But we know we still have more to do. 

Find out if you can access Superfast fibre broadband using our fibre availability checker.


 

The fibre journey

Once we start preparing an exchange to be enabled, it’s typically 12 months (but could be longer) before it’s ready to supply fibre to one or more street cabinets in the area. See what’s involved in the main stages of the fibre journey below.

Fibre journey categories

My stage mentions Exploring Solutions - what does this mean?

You’re in a plan to get Superfast fibre but we haven’t started work yet. It’ll be built either as part of our fibre programme or through a partnership with your local authority so in the meantime please register whether you're at home or in business or a landlord and we'll let you know when a fibre service will become available. To find out more information regarding this stage please click here.

My stage mentions In Scope - what does this mean?

You’re in a plan to get Superfast fibre but we haven’t started work yet. It’ll be built either as part of our fibre programme or through a partnership with your local authority. In the meantime please register whether you're at home or in business or a landlord and we'll let you know when a fibre service will become available. To find out more information regarding this stage please click here.

My stage mentions Design - what does this mean?

You’re in a fibre plan and we’re looking at the existing network in your area to see how we will design the upgrade. You can’t order a fibre service today but typically it’ll be available to your premises within the next 12 months. so in the meantime please register whether you're at home or in business or a landlord and we'll let you know when a fibre service will become available. To find out more information regarding this stage please click here.

My stage mentions Field Survey - what does this mean?

You’re scheduled to be upgraded and we’re surveying your area to make sure our initial fibre plans will work in your community. You can’t order a fibre service today but typically it’ll be available to your premises within the next nine months. in the meantime please register whether you're at home or in business or a landlord and we'll let you know when a fibre service will become available. To find out more information regarding this stage please click here.

My stage mentions Build - what does this mean?

We’re installing the new fibre cabinet and laying the fibre cables to serve your home or business. You can’t order a fibre service today but typically it’ll be available to your premises within the next five months. In the meantime please register whether you're at home or in business or a landlord and we'll let you know when a fibre service will become available. To find out more information regarding this stage please click here.

My stage mentions Connect - what does this mean?

We’re connecting power to the new fibre cabinet and joining the new fibre lines to the existing copper network. You can’t order a fibre service today but typically it’ll be available to your premises within the next four months. In the meantime please register whether you're at home or in business or a landlord and we'll let you know when a fibre service will become available. To find out more information regarding this stage please click here.

My stage mentions Activate - what does this mean?

We’re performing our final quality checks. Making sure everything is ready for your fibre order. You can’t order a fibre service today but typically it’ll be available to your premises within the next month. In the meantime please register whether you're at home or in business or a landlord. and we'll let you know when a fibre service will become available. To find out more information regarding this stage please click here.

My stage mentions Accepting Orders - what does this mean?

Great news, you can order a fibre service. Please get in touch your service provider. However in some instances your cabinet may be accepting orders but due to popular demand we cant offer a service. In this example we would be looking at ways of increasing capacity as soon as possible and worth checking back to see if the situation has changed.

My stage mentions High Demand - what does this mean?

Your area is enabled for Superfast Fibre but demand is high on your cabinet right now. This means you may not be able to order fibre today but we’re working to increase capacity. We aim to provide extra capacity as soon as possible but catering for additional demand in an area can take time to plan and we also need to increase the infrastructure to accommodate the extra equipment needed. In a number of cases, we may even need to supply an additional fibre cabinet.

Timing and availability

I’ve used the postcode checker. What’s next?

 
Is your area accepting orders, or do you live in an enabled area?

If your area is accepting orders, contact a service provider to order fibre broadband at home or for business

If your area is enabled but your cabinet isn’t ready, you can't place an order today. We are planning to upgrade it, if you want us to let you know when you can place an order please register whether you're at home or in business or a landlord.


Is your area under review, or are we exploring solutions for your area?

Check our rural broadband page explaining which regions are covered by the Government’s BDUK roll out. If you see your region listed, visit that regional website for more info. 

If your area isn’t covered by the Government’s BDUK roll out, you might want to consider co-funding fibre access in your community. Many different communities have already done this, so when can I get fibre? checker will tell you firstly, when we enable your serving exchange and then when your cabinet is ready to provide you with Superfast fibre broadband. It will also tell you if you can get a Fibre to the Premises connection. You can also check for yourself by viewing the rollout programme on an exchange by exchange basis at the bottom of the when can I get fibre page. If you don’t see your exchange, please do check back on a regular basis  as we announce new exchanges regularly and yours may be among the list of exchanges in the nextphase.  

Why is it taking so long for you to upgrade your network?


In a nutshell, there's a lot to do. Compared to similar projects in other countries, our fibre roll-out is one of the fastest in the world, but it’s still a very complex project. Along with all the work we're doing in our exchanges, we are overlaying part of our existing copper network with fibre (the part between exchanges and green cabinets) and directly to the premises for Fibre to the Premises. This involves a huge amount of civil engineering work, often in different and difficult locations.

Why can’t you tell me exactly when my cabinet will be enabled so I can order fibre broadband?


The upgrade of cabinets to fibre broadband is extremely complex and involves a high number of inter-dependant activities, including work by power companies and local planning departments. If a specific activity is delivered later than expected, then there’s a knock-on effect, which delays subsequent activities. We do our best to give a date for the cabinet to be enabled, but this can only be indicative and is subject to change.

Why has the enablement date on my cabinet moved back?

The deployment of a Superfast fibre broadband cabinet can be delayed by a number of issues. Typically these are: our underground duct routes are congested; there are utility cables or underground structures where we want to lay ours; we have been unable to agree a suitable location with your local authority; and/or the costs of providing electrical power have become excessive and have made the cabinet uneconomic to deploy in that location.

My cabinet has been repeatedly delayed, and now appears to have been moved back. Why has this happened?


Upgrading our cabinets to include fibre is a complex engineering challenge. It involves not only provision of fibre, but also could include availability of power connections, planning consent for the cabinet, road closures, traffic management permissions and space within our duct network to make the necessary connections.

In a small number of cases we encounter problems which take time to resolve and can delay the cabinet sometimes by several months. In the vast majority of cases these delays are caused by either power provision (we cannot utilise domestic or street lighting power sources) and local planning permission. We work closely with the power companies and local authorities to minimise such delays.

On my chosen service provider's line checker, the availability date for Superfast fibre broadband has changed. Why is that?

We can't comment on the information your chosen service provider's line checker does or does not include. However we do provide information about cabinet availability to service providers that they can choose to use and share with you. We always make it clear that the dates we provide are advisory only, as sometimes we have unforeseen difficulties deploying the new network.

 

Where we have encountered issues with our new network, we’ll indicate the location of the cabinet and display a reason for delay on our When can I get fibre page. We are continuing to work hard to upgrade these cabinets as soon as possible.


 

There is another cabinet nearby that is already accepting orders, can I get fibre broadband from there instead?

No, the network over which fibre broadband is provided is bespoke, and all premises are served from dedicated fixed distribution points. Many lines are connected via their own overhead or underground link to a nearby green telephony cabinet. There are no interconnections that could be used to move a line from one cabinet to another.

Your 'when can I get fibre’  checker can’t give me an answer as to whether I can get fibre. Why is this?

In some cases, we can’t be 100% certain which cabinet serves you based on your postcode alone. Most postcodes are served by a single cabinet; however some postcodes could be served by more than one cabinet – in this case, without further details we cannot determine which of the cabinets serve you.

Another reason could be that your property is served directly from the exchange, rather than your line being connected via a green roadside cabinet. See Exchange Only (EO) line FAQs under the 'fibre technology' section below for more details.

For specific information on your premise you will need to check with your supplier of choice.

I've been told the cabinet my home is connected to isn't able to deliver Superfast fibre broadband. Is that it for me?

We're looking at ways to overcome the technical limitations of our network in some areas. Sometimes, where our network had to be built in a non-standard way, the costs of deploying Superfast fibre means it's not commercially viable for us to provide it to you without external funding. If your area doesn’t seem to be covered by the existing BDUK/SEP programmes, an alternative option is for communities to get together and consider community fibre partnerships. This is where Openreach pay the economically viable cost and private funding covers the remainder. Find out more about community fibre partnerships here

Planning

How do you decide where you're going to put a new fibre broadband cabinet?

When planning our rollout programme, we ensure the new fibre broadband cabinet is located within 100 metres of its associated telephony connection cabinet. We also need to make sure there is enough access to power and existing infrastructure. Other things we consider is that the existing cabinet doesn't block pavements or compromise highways access. Plus we have to survey for other utility companies’ underground structure and obstacles. We have to take into account the visual impact in some areas and make sure we're not putting the security of adjacent properties at risk. Ease of access for installation and maintenance are also important considerations in our decision of where to place new fibre broadband cabinets.

Do you need planning permission for a new cabinet?

Planning permission is not usually required, unless it's in a national park, conservation area or other area of special interest.

Community information

I represent a local group and want to know when Superfast fibre broadband will be available in our area. Who do we contact?

You can use our when and where checker to see the latest plans for your area. If we appear not to be coming to your area, check with your local authority l who will be able to tell you if are likely to be covered in the next round of Government subsidy (the Superfast Extension programme -SEP ). Another option is to work, as a community, to privately fund the upgrade of your cabinet. The cost of this will vary but if this is of interest to you please fill out the form. You can find out more about private funding

When we select an area for a network upgrade we make every effort to brief the relevant authority via the Chief Executive's office and their regeneration/planning departments. We also provide literature and keep in close contact during the actual installation process.

Who can I talk to locally about working together to generate funding for the deployment of Superfast fibre broadband?

The organisations involved in this vary from area to area. As a first step, we suggest making contact with your local authority, as they will be better placed to suggest who to speak to. Please go to our Rural Broadband page and click on your area for the latest information. You can find out more about Community Fibre Partnerships here.

I live in a rural location. I can't even get a decent broadband speed now. Will I ever get Superfast fibre broadband?

The Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme, now aims to extend Superfast Broadband to 95% of the UK by end of 2017 by making more funding available via a Superfast Extension Programme (SEP). Once Local Councils have appointed a supplier for this next phase, we expect many areas that haven’t yet received fibre will be re-evaluated.

Is there anything I can do to make sure fibre broadband comes to my cabinet?

As a first step, we suggest making contact with your local authority. They are the ones deciding which areas to prioritise for the next wave of BDUK funding and you may be able to influence this. Simply go to our Rural Broadband page and click on your area for the latest information. Another option is to consider contributing, as a community, to privately fund the upgrade of your cabinet.

The cost of this will vary but if this is of interest to you please fill out the form. You can find out more about private funding here.

Fibre technology

My nearest serving cabinet is enabled and I still can’t get fibre broadband?

Some premises connected to a fibre enabled cabinet may be unable to support fibre broadband because they’re too far away from the cabinet. Or your premises may be served by an Exchange line. We continue to explore solutions for delivering fibre to these affected premises. See Exchange Only (EO) line FAQs below for more details.

What's the difference between Fibre to the Premises and Fibre to the Cabinet?

Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) is a pure fibre connection from your home to the exchange. FTTP can deliver download speeds of up to 330Mbps.

Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) provides a fibre connection between your nearest street cabinet tand the exchange. The final leg uses the existing copper network between your home and the cabinet. This will still deliver much faster speeds than are available over standard broadband, offering download speeds of up to 80Mbps and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps.

Note that the above speeds are the top wholesale speeds delivered by Openreach. Individual service porviders will decide on the download and upload speeds offered to consumers and businesses.

I’ve been told I have an Exchange Only (EO) line what does that mean?

The vast majority of UK premises are connected to a green roadside cabinet which then connects to the local exchange. However, a small proportion of business and consumer properties are served directly by the local exchange rather than by a green cabinet – so called "exchange only” lines. It can prove more challenging to bring fibre broadband to properties served by exchange only lines, but Openreach is busy working on solutions to achieve this.

Can I change my exchange only (EO) line connection so that it goes via a cabinet?

We are busy looking at solutions to provide fibre service to EO lines via existing cabinets as well as creating new cabinets for EO lines. The majority of lines in our networks are connected via their own overhead or underground link to a nearby green telephony cabinet. Exchange Only lines, by their very nature, are not connected to green telephony cabinets, instead being connected via a copper line directly to the local exchange.

I have fibre broadband delivered by Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC), however I want Fibre to the Premise (FTTP)?

Why are FTTP developments not visible on the map?

We working hard to provide a complete view of current UK coverage. For the time being, this map is based on cabinet level information. As FTTP brings Fibre services directly to the home,, not via a green cabinet in the road, they aren’t captured in our current map data base.

Why are your cabinets painted green?

We want our cabinets to be consistent and we order them in green from the manufacturer. If a council planning team requests another colour, perhaps to match the special character of an area or to blend in with existing street furniture, we'll consider it. However, we'll only agree to change the colour of our cabinets in exceptional circumstances.

Additional support & help:

My service is intermittent and/or my broadband speed is low, what should I do?

As always, any questions you have about your broadband service should go straight to your service provider, they will be able to check for a fault and, if necessary, request a repair visit on your behalf.

I can’t find the answer about Superfast Fibre I’m looking for in your FAQs

We hope we’ve answered all your fibre questions. But if you can’t find the information you’re looking for, please fill out this short form and we’ll get back to you. 

Please note: More people than usual are writing to us at the moment because of the interest in our new home and work site. We promise that enquires will be answered in the order they’re received, but it might take us a bit longer than we would like to get back to you. We’re working as fast as we can.