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Frequently asked questions

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Got a question for us?

Hopefully we can answer it below. We've put together questions the people of Cumbria have asked most, from technical stuff to what happens next, we've got an answer for you.

Connecting Cumbria is a partnership between Cumbria County Council and BT and aims to bring fibre broadband to as many residents, businesses and visitors as quickly as possible with the funds available.

The project is being funded by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), Cumbria County Council and BT.

Funding associated with the Connecting Cumbria programme is predominantly spent in areas where there is no existing fibre broadband service.  Our delivery partner, BT, advises of the structures which can be deployed within the current funding and in compliance with the guidelines of the Broadband Delivery UK national scheme.  The selection of areas for upgrade is purely driven by the need to reach as many properties as possible within the limited programme funding.

 

Fibre broadband is the new generation of broadband - much faster, more reliable and it uses a different technology. Whilst most traditional broadband (known as ADSL) is delivered via copper telephone lines, fibre broadband commonly uses fibre optic cable as part of the link between the customer and the exchange.

Fibre broadband can be delivered in two ways: fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) and fibre to the premises (FTTP).

FTTC uses fibre-optic cables throughout the network right up to the street cabinet. It then uses existing copper wires to connect the cabinet to homes and businesses. FTTC provides wholesale download speeds up to 80Mbps and upload speeds up to 20Mbps, which are then offered as different service packages by retail Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

FTTP means fibre-optic cables run from the exchange right to the door of each house or business. It provides wholesale download speeds up to 330Mbps and upload speeds up to 30Mbps, again offered as different service packages by ISPs.


 

Superfast broadband is being rolled out across Cumbria between 2013 and mid 2019. Enter your postcode or landline telephone number into the Openreach postcode checkerto see if you can get it yet. This will also tell you which telephone exchange area you fall within.

If you’re one of the premises in Cumbria that can connect now, contact an Internet Service Provider of your choice  to place an order. There are many suppliers on the market who offer fibre broadband, so it may be useful to use a price comparison site to find the best deal for you.  Office of Communications (OfCom) recommends a number on their website.

Please note that not all of one area will go live on the same day so it's worth checking the website regularly as information is constantly updated.

We’re planning the rollout, working closely with our partners and participating organisations, taking into account many factors including local demographics and geography, planning requirements, the existing engineering infrastructure and the availability of suitable technologies to provide a service.

It’s not possible with a programme of this size to plan every area at the same time so some areas will be enabled before others. We fully understand people's frustration and the huge importance of superfast broadband so we'll update our information regularly as plans evolve.

Once you've checked your line to confirm superfast broadband is available, it's much the same as ordering normal broadband. There are many different Internet Service Providers (ISPs) offering the service, so you can shop around and choose the best deal for you.

There are many suppliers on the market who offer fibre broadband, so it may be useful to use a price comparison site to find the best deal for you.  Office of Communications (OfCom) recommends a number on their website.

You should also remember that if you are currently tied into a contract with your current supplier, then they may charge you to be released from it.  Your current supplier is likely to move you to a fibre contract without a charge.

If you want to move suppliers and are tied into a contract, you could consider asking your new supplier if they will pay your release fee – they may say no, so you need to consider your options carefully as to which is the best deal for you.

If the Openreach checker says that you can receive fibre and you’re having problems ordering it, then please get in touch with us and we’ll look into it for you info@connectingcumbria.gov.uk

We cannot get involved in individual contract queries, these should always be directed to your service provider in the first instance.

 

The Broadband Delivery UK Broadband Delivery Framework can be viewed here.

We are keen to ensure that broadband service providers are aware of the location of the newly built infrastructure and how to get access to it. Service providers can register with BT Openreach via the website (www.openreach.co.ukthis external link will open in a new window) to get this information.

This can be due to one or more different factors:

1. Your line may be connected to a roadside cabinet that has not yet been upgraded to superfast broadband.  As we progress through the rollout more and more cabinets will be upgraded.

2. You may be served by what is known as an 'exchange only' line that is connected directly to the telephone exchange without an intervening green roadside cabinet. Please see the relevant question about exchange only lines.

 

3. You may be on a line that is too far away from the green cabinet  to support a superfast broadband connection.

 

4. Demand may be high in your area and your cabinet may be full.  We work with Openreach to ensure that fibre is made available in as many areas as possible and if your cabinet is full, we will be reviewing with Openreach the options to possibly increase the capacity.

 

5. Your cabinet may be undergoing further engineering works known as Live to Live (L2L). During the roll out of fibre broadband, Openreach sometimes find the even when a cabinet is upgraded to fibre broadband, some properties that are served by the cabinet are too far away to receive improved speeds. To enable these customers to receive faster speeds, Connecting Cumbria deploy a secondary cabinet closer to these properties. In order to benefit from this, customers need to have their service moved from the original cabinet to the new one.  This process is known as a Live to Live (L2L) move.

For this to happen, Openreach need to close the cabinet to new orders, so that engineers can carry out the necessary movement work.  Once all of the moving customers have been attached to the new cabinet, the cabinet will once again be open to take customer orders.

When the cabinet is again taking orders you will need to make contact with your Service Provider and ask to have a fibre service provided.  We’re working hard to upgrade as many premises as possible to superfast broadband, and where fibre optic cannot be made available we’re aiming to develop solutions to bring faster broadband using alternative technologies by mid 2019

 

Exchange Only (EO) lines are connected directly to the local telephone exchange rather than passing through a green cabinet that can be upgraded with a superfast broadband connection.   These lines are generally very close to the telephone exchange or very remote from it.   There are cases where some EO lines may be fibre enabled, for example where an additional cabinet is built close to the exchange.  Note that not all EO lines will be on the fibre footprint anyway (outside of the rollout plans), and in those cases alternative technologies such as wireless or satellite may be required to provide an uplift in speed.  Our Big Build film also explains.

Fibre broadband is not an automatic upgrade.  The fibre network is being delivered in addition to the copper one already in place.  As there are two different networks to choose from, you need to place an order with  an Internet Service Provider (ISP) of your choice and request fibre broadband.

An engineer will visit your roadside green cabinet to carry out the move from copper to fibre broadband, but in most instances they will not need to enter your house.

In some cases, for instance if your fibre service is provided via Fibre to the Premise (FTTP), an engineer may need to enter your house to upgrade you.  Your service provider will confirm this when you place your order. There are many suppliers on the market who offer fibre broadband, so it may be useful to use a price comparison site to find the best deal for you.  Office of Communications (OfCom) recommends a number on their website.

If you choose not to upgrade to fibre broadband, then your existing broadband service will continue to work as normal.

As there are many suppliers on the market, prices for fibre broadband change regularly as suppliers compete with each other for your business. 

 

It may be useful to use a price comparison site to find the best deal for you.  Office of Communications (OfCom) recommends a number on their website.

You should also remember that if you are currently tied into a contract with your current supplier, then they may charge you to be released from it.  Your current supplier is likely to move you to a fibre contract without a charge.

If you want to move suppliers and are tied into a contract, you could consider asking your new supplier if they will pay your release fee – they may say no, so you need to consider your options carefully as to which is the best deal for you.



The time taken to install fibre broadband varies among Internet Service Providers, and the service that you are buying (FTTC or FTTP).  An FTTC service  typically  takes about two weeks from the time you place your order, to it being available to use.  In busy times such as Christmas, this may be longer.   In most instances your service provider will post a new router directly to you and once you have received confirmation that your service is ready, you simply plug the router into your telephone socket. The router will run through a series of ‘handshakes’ with the exchange and will then be ready for you to connect your devices to it.

 

You should always use the passwords provided with your router to help keep your network secure.

 

Do remember that the device that you use on your network may also affect the speeds that you receive.  If you are using an older device, then it may not be able to cope with the network speed, so you may still find that you experience slow speeds.

 

An FTTP order may take a little longer to complete as the service is provided from the exchange directly into your premise or home.  Your service provider will confirm delivery timescales when you place your order.

The exact speeds you'll be able to get will depend on how your own premises are connected.  There are two main ways in which fibre optic can be used to bring you fibre broadband:

Fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) and fibre to the premises (FTTP).

FTTC uses fibre-optic cables throughout the network right up to the street cabinet. It then uses copper wires to connect the cabinet to homes and businesses. FTTC provides wholesale download speeds up to 80Mbps and upload speeds up to 20Mbps.

FTTP means fibre-optic cables run right to the door of each house or business. It provides wholesale download speeds up to 330Mbps and upload speeds up to 30Mbps.

The exact speed you get also depends on a number of additional factors like the length of your line from the telephone exchange or green roadside cabinet, the line quality and the equipment and internal wiring within your premise. The internet service provider package you select may also affect the speed available. Connecting Cumbria is working to ensure that everyone gets as fast a speed as possible given their geographical location.

When placing your order with your service provider you should ask for the guaranteed minimum and maximum speed that they offer as part of the service.  Once installed, you should regularly run speed tests on your broadband line to confirm that your speed falls within that minimum and maximum range.  If it falls below the minimum speed on a regular basis you may be able to ask for a refund from your service provider if they have not met the contract obligations.  You should check the service contract for details.

OfCom recommends using a broadband speed checker.

Under OfCom’s code of conduct, Openreach must release information to all service providers as the same time, so that they are operating with equivalence.  This means that every provider is told the information at the same time, so that no provider has any advantage over its competitors. 

Also, engineering plans and delivery timescales do depend on factors such as planning applications, the provision of electricity to the new roadside cabinets and even the good old British weather. 

Phase 1 of the programme was funded by Cumbria County Council, European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) and BT.

Phase 2 of the programme is being funded by the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) and BT.

Connecting Cumbria has no involvement with Openreach’s commercial network and we do not have access to any information regarding this network.  If your cabinet is in a commercial area, please contact Openreach directly.

You can email us at connecting.cumbria@cumbria.gov.uk or you can visit us on twitter @Connect_Cumbria and send us a tweet or a direct message (DM).

You can also write to us at:

Connecting Cumbria

Cumbria County Council

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