Ultrafast Broadband (FTTP) Update (22.11.21)
Options for Horsley Exchange Subscribers
Fibre To The Premises (FTTP) will soon be available to order for everyone currently on the Horsley telephone exchange. Openreach is starting to connect residents to Ultrafast Broadband in East Horsley and the first small group of houses went ‘live’ on 2 November. At that point the new service was ‘orderable’ with a wait of typically two to four weeks before the final connection can be made. The roll out will continue over the coming months, to be completed by the end of January. The majority of West Horsley is in Phase 3 which is due for completion in January 2022. As and when the service is available to residents in West Horsley, the Parish Council will send out a public notification.
Many of us have pledged to take the new Ultrafast broadband service but others who did not pledge can also benefit because FTTP will be available to everyone connected to the exchange.
FTTP will offer you faster, more reliable broadband access and clearer, high-definition phone calls with additional call features. There will be choices for broadband and phone which are dependent on what Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are offering when FTTP becomes available at your property. Some ISPs are still developing their FTTP service offerings and are expected to offer more services in the coming months.
YOUR COMMITMENT IF YOU PLEDGED A GIGABIT VOUCHER
Those people who pledged a voucher committed to take on a new FTTP broadband service that at least doubles your existing broadband speed (with a minimum of 30 Mbps for the new service). The new contract should be taken within two months of the service being available at your property and should be for at least 12 months. Also, to comply with your pledge, the service you take must be provided by Fibre To The Premises, irrespective of the speed taken. We already have Fibre To The Cabinet (FTTC). There should be no connection charge by your ISP. You should receive an email from Openreach confirming when the new service is available to be ordered.
OPTIONS FOR YOUR PROPERTY
When you look online, FTTP options will only be visible for your property AFTER they become available at your property. In their customer sales centres ISP call handlers will only be able to view the same options you can online. Those who have pledged should be informed when FTTP is available. It may take a little while for all ISPs to show what they can offer.
Based on phone and internet research by the Horsley Ultrafast Broadband Task Group, some information follows that is intended to help explain choices that may be available. However, ISP call handlers are not experts and, sometimes, have been found to provide misleading information. Products and services are also evolving quickly.
Please note that neither the Horsley Ultrafast Broadband Task Group nor the East Horsley or West Horsley Parish Councils can accept any liability for decisions you make in conjunction with your ISP based on the information we provide. Please check your options carefully before you enter any contract with an ISP for the new service.
We highlight below both SIMPLE and WIDER choices that face you. Note that a key choice concerns your phone options and, for some, whether you can keep your existing landline number and any consequences for an ISP issued email address, should you decide to change your ISP. Do check before making any change.
Please beware of scammers, a call has already been taken from someone claiming to be from BT telling him he had to order a “device” and download an app in order to secure the new fibre broadband upgrade when it goes live. You do not have to order a device or load an app to get Ultrafast broadband via FTTP. You might be informed by your ISP that FTTP is available, but we suggest that you initiate contact with your chosen ISP.
SIMPLE CHOICE for those honouring their pledge to take a contract with faster broadband:
This is the basic minimum to honour your voucher pledge to DCMS.
Broadband: You can contact your current Internet Service Provider (ISP), and others if you wish, to find out what is on offer to you. You should take out a contract for at least the minimum required uprated speed broadband service for a minimum of 12 months. Broadband packages named “Ultrafast” or “Full Fibre” should satisfy the minimum speed requirement for most homes in Horsley. If you have pledged and your ISP does not offer a faster service you would only be able to honour your pledge by changing to another ISP.
Phone: If the ISP offers an ongoing phone service, continue to take that service and check whether you can continue to use your existing analogue phone or phone system (expect this to be possible with most ISPs offering FTTP in Horsley). You may wish to upgrade to a digital phone which is capable of better sound clarity; these are called VoIP phones or digital voice phones. You may have to buy these phones; cordless and wired VoIP phones are on the market. Be aware that in the event of a power cut VoIP/digital phones (as well as your broadband) will not work unless you have battery back-up; in this circumstance a mobile phone is essential.
WIDER CHOICE for those wanting to take advantage of additional services or possibilities:
Broadband: Choose whatever speed broadband service you wish (subject to doubling your current speed) from an ISP that offers such a service. This may be your current or a new ISP. If you have pledged and your ISP does not offer a faster service you would only be able to honour your pledge by changing to another ISP. Most of the popular ISPs are offering their lowest cost ultrafast packages in the 100 to 150 Mbps range. The fastest speed on offer is 900 Mbps.
Phone options: Current UK telephony is analogue, using either cordless handsets or wired phones. The government plans to make all phone calls digital by the end of 2025 and FTTP is part of this change. FTTP is excellent for digital voice phones; these are capable of a wider frequency range and better clarity than analogue phones. Digital voice phones use Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). VoIP phones can be either wired into a hub or an ethernet socket; they can also be cordless DECT VoIP handsets which communicate via a base station in the same way as analogue cordless handsets.
Subject to the service offering from your chosen Internet Service Provider (ISP), the following options MAY be available for your phone line as follows:
1. Opt to cancel landline. Many people do not use their landline and may be able to reduce costs by cancelling their landline service. Some ISPs offer this option.
2. Opt for VoIP/digital voice. Some ISPs will offer this option and will either leave you to source your VoIP phones or offer their own proprietary phones (e.g. BT’s Alexa enabled handsets). There are various makes of both wired VoIP phones and cordless VoIP handsets. If you choose only digital voice for your phones:
a) You will need a VoIP phone or phone system.
b) Copper wiring and phones could become redundant.
c) Some ISPs supply hubs/routers with a built in VoIP base station to connect with their cordless handsets. Otherwise, a base station can usually be plugged into the hub or an ethernet socket.
d) Those with security or medical/personal alarms should check that their alarm provider offers compatibility with VoIP and the cost to you, if any, for any changes.
e) You should ensure that you are able to call the emergency services, e.g. using a mobile phone if you have VoIP. 999 calls will not be possible if broadband is down, nor during a power cut (unless you have suitable battery back-up).
3. Opt to continue using your existing analogue phone wiring and or phones by connecting to a socket on the FTTP enabled hub. If there is no suitable socket on the hub, plug the base station or wired phone into a separate Analogue Telephone Adapter or other device connected to your home hub. You can then continue to use your current phones. Check this with your chosen ISP.
4. Opt to have both VoIP and analogue by opting for VoIP and having VoIP phones as above and connecting your current analogue phone(s) as above. You will not be able to transfer calls between VoIP and analogue phones.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Some of the most frequently asked questions about ultrafast broadband are answered below:
How do I check my current broadband speed?
You can gain an idea of this by using a website such as www.speedtest.net on a computer/laptop wired to your hub. Alternatively, you can use an app such as Speedtest by Ookla on a mobile phone held near your WiFi access point (usually your hub).
How do I get FTTP and what happens?
You will place an order for FTTP with an ISP who will usually send you an FTTP capable hub/router. The ISP will contract with Openreach to install FTTP in your home. Openreach will run a fibre-optic cable from a telegraph pole or sub-surface footway box (usually following the same route as the existing copper cable) to a small box it will fix on the outside of your property. The fibre cable will then be taken into your home to end in an Optical Network Termination (ONT) box inside the house. The ONT is a little larger than a BT master socket. You will need to provide a mains electricity socket to power it. Openreach will connect your hub/router to the ONT with an ethernet cable and then test to see that it is working. Further information is provided in the link below.
How do I access the Internet when I have FTTP?
The fibre coming into your home connects to an FTTP enabled hub/router. Most FTTP hubs include a WiFi Access Point in the same way as your current hub. The internet is simply accessed as before via ethernet cabling or WiFi, or a mixture of both. There is no need to change your household WiFi system or ethernet cabling to access the Internet.
What if I want to keep my phone number and the ISP says I cannot?
You could try a different ISP. Alternatively, you may be able to transfer the line and number to another Communications Provider for a telephone only service and buy an FTTP broadband only service from another ISP.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ONLINE
A VoIP guide
Voice over IP – everything you need to know about converting to VoIP, installing VoIP and using VoIP
DECT [cordless phones] – everything you need to know at a glance
Openreach link to providers of FTTP:
The End of Analogue Phone Lines:
Don’t forget to sign up to the West Horsley Parish Mailing list to ensure you are up to date on all further Village information and FTTP Road Matters.