Fibre broadband arrives in Myddle & Harmer Hill – a case history
This article has been contributed by a guest blogger, Colin Ruck, any views expressed are his own.
At last it has arrived. As one resident said “It is like winning the Lottery”. In both villages we have struggled to join the internet revolution with speeds of less than 1Mbps. Yes that is really slow!!! We waited a long time for superfast* broadband to arrive in Myddle and Harmer Hill with all the inevitable trials and tribulations.
[* Superfast broadband is defined as a connection capable of 24mbps download speed]
The Connecting Shropshire web site informed us to expect fibre broadband by the end of August 2014. We had the new Huawei fibre cabinets in place in both villages. We were getting excited. Needless to say it did not arrive on time. What was going on?
Suddenly the sticker on the cabinet saying that fibre broadband had arrived went up in Harmer Hill. They were connected but not Myddle. Both villages are on the Bomere Heath exchange but on different cabinets. What had happened? Oh the frustration!
Letters were sent to Connecting Shropshire, our MP and the divisional chief of BT.
Back came the replies. Myddle, Cabinet 5 on the Bomere Exchange, could not easily be connected with fibre as there were several blockages in the ducting between us and Bomere Heath, a distance of some 7 Km of ducts, including one that would need the road digging up and replacement ducting installed. For those who don’t know, Openreach engineers blow the glass fibre along the existing ducts using compressed air. Any sort of blockage understandably creates havoc with this method of deployment.
Myddle would have to wait. Christmas came and went and the New Year arrived. In February we saw men and machines digging around the new green box, the power supply was connected. It must be getting closer.
Every day a few of us hopefuls were logging into the Connecting Shropshire web site and waiting to see the words we all wanted to see when we put our postcode into the checker (see: http://connectingshropshire.co.uk/when-and-where/), that our cabinet was now connected and we could order superfast broadband connection.
At the end of February the message changed. We were on. Get on the phone quickly and order a package. The first connections in Myddle were made on 3rd March 2015.
This is where your experiences will differ in accordance to where you live. To our surprise TalkTalk do not provide a fibre broadband package for this exchange. Curious but true!! Sky provide a service to the area and also PlusNet (part of BT). BT provide two packages with differing pricing structures:
- Infinity 1 is the cheaper and slower 40 mbps downstream and 10mbps upstream
- Infinity 2 is the more expensive 80mbps downstream 20mbps upstream
Yes theoretically we can get these speeds and we were struggling on less than 1mbps! In practice the speed may vary during the day but I consistently receive speeds of between 50mbps and 20mbps.
There are other providers but you will need to do your own research!
A BT package was duly ordered. A date was fixed 10 days from the call for an engineer to visit the house and the new router was ordered. The new router arrived, 2 days to go, Wednesday 4th March 2015. The engineer arrived as promised and we were connected!!! His test readings gave 60mbps downstream and 15mbps upload!!! Line length to the cabinet has an impact on the final speed you can get in your home. If we lived closer to the cabinet and lines went directly to the cabinet the speeds would be nearer the 80/20 we were hoping for. Never mind anything is better than less than 1mbps! Now to start using the fibre broadband to its full potential.
Firstly make sure your wireless connections are adequate throughout the area you are likely to use the service. For example it is no good having superfast to your router if you then expect a wireless signal to give you fast internet speeds when you are too far away from the router. One solution is to purchase some of the Homeplug equipment that extends your internet into other rooms by making use of your copper wire in the household electricity circuit to carry the signal. It works well and saves you having to lay new cables to carry the internet signals.
Next start exploring what you can do with the fast speed you now have. Skype works as it should. You can talk to the family as if they are in the room with you. Computer updates download in seconds, images go to and come from others in seconds instead on ages. Emails are there in a jiffy. BBC iPlayer and catch up TV works on the fly with no buffering, watch films on Netflix or Amazon Fire. YouTube just works and of course browsing the web is now a joy. The list goes on.
Before I finish, I want to add my heartfelt thanks to the people at Shropshire Council who made a bold decision to pump money into the infra-structure project, £8million so far plus £8 million from BT and another £8million from BDUK. The majority of Shropshire residents will not be held back by slow broadband ever again.
Suffice it to say I agree with what was said at the start, getting hooked up to superfast broadband is “Like winning the Lottery”.
Myddle and Broughton