April 13, 2014 | Posted in: Residential, Superfast Broadband

Fibre is here

It’s almost here! You may have noticed the fibre cabinets appearing in a street near you, finally dragging Cambridgeshire into the 21st Century.

Cambridgeshire will receive a Fibre-To-The-Cabinet service, with copper cabling to your home or business. This will mean speeds of around 80Mb (depending on which package you choose). New build areas in the future may be lucky enough to have fibre all the way to the house, which will give speeds of an eye-popping 300Mb!

There’s a few things you should be aware of though, with the impending arrival of superfast broadband, and how installation may not be as straight forward as you think.

Depending on the package that you opt for with your service provider, you can either install a new modem yourself or an engineer will visit you if you want faster speeds.

Here’s the bad news though – your new fibre optic hub will need to be plugged in directly to your Master Socket. This is the main phone point into your property. This means that you can no longer run your router off extension wiring any more – it must be plugged into the Master Socket. That could cause an issue as you also need two nearby power sockets for the router and often master sockets are inconveniently placed near the front door – which is not ideal if you want to gain optimum speed by plugging your PC or games console directly into the router.

Only BT can move the Master Socket, as it belongs to them, and I suspect they won’t do that for free. However, to get round this, the engineer can run, as part of the “connection fee”, a length of cable that BT call a “data extension kit”. BT will provide up to 30m of this extension cabling in place of your old extension wiring, allowing you to have your hub elsewhere and not by the front door.

If you are installing yourself, you should fit filters to the Master Socket to reduce interference. If an engineer is visiting, they will fit a special faceplate to the Master Socket to help you get the fastest speed.

Installation will normally take an engineer around three hours and you will need to be there while the engineer’s there (to provide access and cups of tea). In return, they will also help set up your PC.

Here’s some things you can you before installation:

1. Your new hub should arrive 2 days before the engineer calls round – consider where you would like this to go and the location of your Master Socket. Are there two power points nearby?

2. Do you want the new hub to be located away from the Master Socket on your existing extension wiring, in which case you will need a Data Extension Kit from the engineer. Consider the route this cabling should take and ensure that you move any furniture, as the engineer will not do this for you (health and safety and all that!). They won’t run any cabling under carpets either, but will instead tack it neatly across the top of skirting boards.

If you have any issues after installation with your wiring or fibre optic connections, then be aware that BT are only responsible for  the service from the exchange up to and including the Master Socket. If you have a fault, then you’ll have to pay £129.99 for a visit from BT if the engineer finds that the problem is with:

  • Your main socket, due to damage you’ve caused
  • Your home wiring beyond the main socket (for example, your phone extensions). This includes damage you’ve caused
  • The way you’ve connected up your equipment
  • Interference from something else in your home, like your phone, alarm system, or TV.
  • The fault is with the BT Home Hub and it’s not in warranty (Hub remains in warranty if you are in a long-term contract)

In which case, give me a bell as I’m much more cost effective and highly experienced with both BT and Virgin Media systems!

For more information about superfast broadband and when you can expect to go live, check out the Connecting Cambridgeshire website


Now, if only we could do something about the pitiful mobile 3G signal round here too, then I would be a very happy bunny indeed.