PCP102 Waiting List

The BT Wholesale DSL Checker is still reporting a ‘waiting list’ for fibre on PCP102, however our checks show most providers have not yet updated their systems to be able to offer this service which was only set up by Openreach last month.  PlusNet are the only mainstream provider we’ve checked that currently shows Fibre Broadband as available to properties connected to PCP102;  BT Retail, Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone and Zen all just imply fibre is not available.

None of the providers state the area is fibre-enabled but the current cabinet capacity provisioned is temporarily full.  Even PlusNet, who will take an order, do not highlight upfront that there may be a delay.

The good news is that Openreach were seen working on the cabinet yesterday and appeared to be installing a new line card to provide extra capacity, though it is not yet showing up in any of the online checking tools.  We expect the cabinet is only 1/6th or 1/3rd “sold” currently, and was only provisioned with 48 or 96 ports from a maximum of 288.  Openreach do this as a large proportion of the cost is in the 48-port line cards, so they are fitted as the existing capacity is filled up (eg/ at 75%).  Due to high initial demand when the cabinet was released for service last week, they were not able to install the next card before the previous “sold out”.

We will send an email to those registered once further capacity becomes available.

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Cabinet full…. already?

It has been a little over 63 hours since Superfast Fibre Broadband went on sale to users of PCP102 – and it seems the initial capacity provided has been sold out already!  We’ve fired off an email to query, but the Superfast Openreach website is reporting “High Demand” (which means the cabinet is enabled but all provided ports are occupied), and the BT Wholesale DSL Checker now shows there is a waiting list in place!  FTTP-on-demand has remained listed as available, so again pointing to the same issue.

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Availability checker for PCP102 showing FTTC estimates with a waiting list!
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A similar status on the Superfast Openreach website
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… but BT still say you can’t order right now.

We understand that initially Huawei cabinets like ours are initially deployed with one or two 48-port fibre line cards, but can accommodate up to six in total (giving a maximum capacity per cabinet of 288 ports).  It therefore appears at least 48 households have ordered a fibre upgrade in the last 2½ days!

We’ll update this page if/when we find out any news, but  if the first card or cards are full, expect it to take Openreach a week or so to provision more.

Whilst the BT Wholesale DSL Checker says that there is a waiting list in place, and you can still place an order, the main BT website doesn’t allow you to place an order with them!  The waiting list featureless only added by BT Wholesale in November, and providers will still be updating their systems to work with it.  Some providers may well still accept orders by phone, but then and promotional terms and offers are unlikely to be available – so for most people, the best course of action would be to wait.

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Superfast Fibre Broadband is now Available!

Superfast Fibre Broadband is now available at Everest Park…. only 5 years after much of Basingstoke received it!  This morning (8th Dec 2015) around 10am, Openreach released the new VDSL2 cabinet to ‘accepting orders’.  This is the second cabinet of the three we’ve been campaigning about to go live, just leaving PCP95 in Rooksdown.

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Broadband Availability Checker now showing Fibre is available at Everest Park

The new cabinet covers all of the former John Hunt of Everest School site, comprising of the Elevate, Glaciers, and Everest Park developments – around 405 properties in total.   We had around 140 registrations to this site, and Openreach typically only install line cards to support 96 lines when they first enable a cabinet (however it will be upgraded with additional cards to 288 lines as needed)…. so if you want fibre broadband for Christmas, get in quick!

There are details of current broadband offers on the Costs and Options page, however please check the details thoroughly with the actual providers before committing to a contact.  Also be aware that if you’re currently on an “LLU” package (typically if your current provider is Sky or TalkTalk), there needs to be a two stage process to proving broadband if you change provider, which the new provider should manage, but there is a risk you lose all broadband for a period when doing this.  The better providers will manage this more effectively.

As the BT Regional Partnership Director pointed out in August when she visited Everest Park, there are no fibre-fairies, and you won’t automatically receive a speed upgrade because of the new cabinet;  you do need to explicitly purchase/upgrade to a fibre broadband package.

Will anyone take advantage of the 330Mb fibre-on-demand product?  This is a niche item, and carries an install charge of several thousand pounds, but the ‘regular’ up to 38Mb fibre packages, with line rental, can be had for effectively around £20/month if you switch supplier and choose a promotional offer and take into account cashback and gift vouchers – sometimes even less.   With the more niche suppliers such as Zen, the cost with line rental starts at £36.49/mo.

If you have any particular questions, we recommend the thinkbroadband forums, forums from the individual providers (which include lots of ‘feedback’!), the Basingstoke Broadband Facebook Group, or you can email us.

 

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Checker Update for 102

On Friday afternoon, Openreach finally (successfully) updated their master information which feeds all of the provider websites and the BT Wholesale xDSL Checker to show that FTTC is coming soon;  this means you can now (finally) see estimates of the speeds you’re likely to get with a fibre broadband package.

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Let’s hope the final threads of work are completed on Monday and the cabinet is released for orders.

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PCP102 Getting Closer…

One of the tell-tale signs that a cabinet is about to be ready for service (accepting orders) is that the cabinet lock is fitted – the latest model seems to be a shiny silver.  And that happened today for PCP102.

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PCP102 fibre twin sporting its shiny new lock

Thanks to Maxim for the photo.

We’re therefore anticipating the cabinet going live in the morning (Friday 4th), or at least very early next week!

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PCP92 LIVE!

Cabinet 92 serving parts of Marnell Park has, as of about 10am today, gone live (accepting orders). This is great news for residents, who can now boost their broadband speeds by up to 20x previous ADSL rates.

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We hope PCP102 will follow in the next day or so, and will keep tabs on PCP95.

Unfortunately the Black Friday offers (such as £100 gift card and fibre for £10/month) have ended, but for those looking to upgrade immediately the current promotions from BT Broadband continue to run until midnight on the 7th. This link offers up to 38mb fibre for £12.50/mo (normally £15/mo), plus standard line rental charges. Sky, Plusnet and other providers also have various promotions running. The good news is anyone signing up now will hopefully have the service in place for Christmas.

PCP92 VDSL2 cabinet with new lock fitted
PCP92 VDSL2 cabinet with new lock fitted
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Availability Checker Dates Revised

Whilst we’ve been focusing on works on the ground with the fibre cabinet installations for PCPs 92 and 102, the forecast ready for service dates provided BT Wholesale DSL Tracker have recently been updated.

Earlier in the year, and in line with many outstanding commercial cabinets across the country, dates for PCPs 92 and 95 were revised to Mar 2017.  However this latest update brings the dates back into line with the work ongoing, very positively giving a date of 31-Dec-15 for PCP92;  PCP95 has been given a date of 31-Mar-16.

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An FTTC forecast for PCP102 has only ever appeared briefly once, it appears some issue in BT’s systems stops FTTC data being displayed;  we hope this is corrected when the cabinet goes live, or we may never know about it!

 

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Further updates – PCP95 (Basingstoke), PCP7 (Bassett) and PCP60 (Southampton)

Openreach have supplied further detailed updates to the information provided last week on several cabinets, including PCP95 in Rooksdown, Basingstoke.

Basingstoke 95 – the civil engineering supplier is awaiting the power connection fee to be processed;  they will then be able to obtain a date for the power connection from the power supplier, and plan the cabinet build around that date.

Bassett 7 – We have been following this fairly closely due to contact from several residents, and therefore queried its status with Openreach.  It appears the physical FTTC VDSL2 cabinet was installed over 18 months ago, shortly followed by a new PCP cabinet itself.

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Bassett 7 where the PCP is in the process of being moved through “copper re-arrangement” – © Google Street View

Openreach have now confirmed that the cabinet upgrade was previously released back from the supplier due to complexities in completing the work [which requires copper re-arrangement, moving the PCP formed of two old cabinets into a new modern adjacent cabinet].  However recently they have been able to progress this work again, having managed to get an early start on major lane closures of the A33 Bassett Avenue to enable access to underground chambers in the carriageway to perform the necessary re-arrangement.  This was completed 2 weeks ago.

Southampton 60 – This PCP is located next to a potential development site (the former East Street Shopping Centre in central Southampton, which was demolished several years ago).  Like Bassett 7, the PCP is formed of a pair of older cabinets, and a VDSL2 cabinet was sited in 2012 (before the demolition) but has not been able to be brought into service.

Openreach have stated the development site has changed hands several times over the last couple of years, causing delays.  However our approach appears to have prompted Openreach to restart works on this cabinet as it doesn’t appear any nearby development will be taking place soon.  As of this week they are therefore now progressing planning for the power, copper and fibre, and will provide a further update when details are confirmed.

 

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Hampshire Superfast Broadband “Wave 2” Launched

Hampshire County Council have published details of “Wave 2” of their superfast fibre broadband programme across Hampshire, which gets formally underway in January in partnership with BT Openreach.  This should take superfast coverage across the county to 96% – but of course only when the commercial programme of work is also completed.

Hampshire County Council and Central Government have provided funding of around £18.4 million for Wave 2, which will connect 34,500 properties over the next 3 years.  According to detail here, BT will add £3.8m to this.  Investment in Wave 1 was £10m from Council and Government (BDUK) funding (£5m from HCC and district councils, and £5m from BDUK), and  £3.8m from BT, and entering the final few weeks has reached over 72,000 properties.

Costs per property are therefore increasing significantly as the challenges to reach each property mount.  Simple maths on the above shows a wave 1 cost per property of around £192;  and a wave 2 cost per property of nearer to £645.  We anticipate BT’s commercial programme costs would have been nearer to £100 per property.

Whilst the “final 4%” did get a mention in Hampshire County Council’s announcement, it was disappointing they did not address the issue of completing the commercial rollout programmes.

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Superfast Fibre Broadband for Everest Park, for Basingstoke, for Hampshire