Fast broadband in June
According to BT Openreach, Docking telephone exchange is still on schedule for an upgrade to “superfast” broadband in June.
In a trench alongside the road between Stanhoe and Docking can be seen new plastic piping that will carry optical fibre to the Stanhoe phone cabinet at the bottom of Parson’s Lane.
With only short lengths of copper cable from the cabinets to individual houses, “fibre to the cabinet” (FTTC) broadband dramatically improves internet connection speeds. BT’s standard Infinity packages give bandwidths in the range 24–76 Mbit/s, compared to Stanhoe’s current average of 3–5 Mbit/s.
According to Better Broadband for Norfolk (BBfN), more than 80% of Norfolk homes and businesses should have access to broadband speeds of at least 24 Mbit/s by the end of 2015. “It is intended that all Norfolk premises will be able to access a minimum broadband speed of at least 2 Mbit/s”, BBfnN adds.
Many rural areas of Norfolk do not have enough potential customers to justify broadband improvements under normal commercial criteria, BBfN says. In these cases, BBfN is paying BT to upgrade exchanges using a £15 million grant from Norfolk County Council plus £15 million that the council has obtained from central government. BT is also contributing £11 million to the project within Norfolk.
What use is superfast broadband, anyway?
With fibre broadband costing significantly more than the traditional sort, it’s important to know whether you would see any benefit from the new technology.
If you want to watch TV or download films over your broadband connection, the speed increase will probably be useful – especially if several people in your family are sharing a connection.
For general web browsing, online shopping and banking, fibre broadband is unlikely to show much benefit, and there’s no guarantee that it will be more reliable than standard service.
BT’s Infinity fibre broadband packages cost £15 a month with a 20 GB usage limit – which is not much use if you want to watch lots of TV – or £23–26 for unlimited service.
For new customers, BT conventional broadband is £10 a month with a 10 GB cap or £16 a month unlimited.
With current broadband in Stanhoe it’s hard to get a much better deal than what BT offers. This is because the Docking exchange is so small that there’s no commercial incentive for providers other than BT to install their own equipment. That situation is unlikely to change after the fibre upgrade.