Who is this Guide for?
Initially, all residents who contributed to the Hyde Community Broadband project.
Why are you receiving it?
The Guide is intended to answer in non-technical language the most common issues and questions that come up about upgrading to a faster broadband service.
Why is it important now?
The five new green telecom cabinets across the parish that you helped pay for will soon be going ‘live’, which means you’ll soon be able to opt for a much faster broadband service for emails, browsing and everything else you do online.
What does the Guide cover?
This Guide tries to answer some of the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about how to go about upgrading your broadband service.
Its objectives are to:
go through the steps needed to find a faster broadband package that suits you
give advice about what to do if there are any problems
explain how you can help HCP by taking speed measurements to hold our CPs or BT Openreach to account should the service not be as good as expected
While the Guide can’t deal with every individual circumstance, we hope there’s enough general information in it to help you get started. However, if there’s a particular subject area that we’ve missed, please let us know, and we will try and get an answer for you!
The Guide, plus any updates, will also be on Hyde Community Projects website
(in the FAQs section):
Please email any questions to: but please include your address and postcode!
Guide to Faster Broadband Services
Although we’ve tried to keep them to a minimum, we haven’t been able to avoid using a few common telecom acronyms and short-forms. This is what they stand for:
The new faster broadband service :
At present, your ADSL2+ broadband service has to come all the way from the Fordingbridge exchange (one of the reasons your connection speed is dreadfully slow and sometimes intermittent).
A new broadband service will be available from the FTTC roadside cabinet you’re being connected to. As the distance is much shorter, you’ll get a much better speed, PLUS the broadband technology used in the cabinet (VDSL2) is capable of very much faster speeds than ADSL2+.
Will I get FTTC broadband automatically? :
No. You will have to take out a new contract with one of approx. 150 CPs / ISPs supplying a fibre-based internet service. Your CP / ISP will provide you with new modem/router equipment that is compatible with the new service.
Will my existing broadband service be affected? :
No. If you choose not to migrate to a faster broadband service (though we can’t think why you wouldn’t want to), your existing ADSL2+ service will continue as it is now.
Will my telephone service be affected? :
Whether you migrate to a faster broadband service or not, your telephone service will be unaffected, and continue to be supplied from Fordingbridge exchange.
I have an existing contract with a CP. What do I do? :
Most people will have an existing 12, 18 or 24 month contract with a CP. This may be a contract with one supplier for both telephone and broadband services, or contracts with different CPs for broadband and telephone, or maybe even just a broadband service on its own.
Most CPs’ contracts have a penalty payment clause if you cancel your contract early. We suggest you have a look at the (unlikely to have ever been read) terms and conditions of yours to find out if this applies to you, and how much it might be.
If you take a fibre-based broadband service from your current CP to replace your existing one, it’s most unlikely an early cancellation payment would be charged.
If you want to change your CP, however, or your existing one doesn’t offer a fibre-based broadband service, you can either wait out your contract term or try haggling with your current CP for a free release.
Do I have to take out a new contract now? :
No. The new green cabinets are here to stay and there is enough spare capacity to serve every premises connected to it, so there is no need to migrate over to a fibre-based service either immediately or by any particular date.
Will there be any disruption to my service during the cabinet installation period? :
Every premise will be rewired to and through its respective new green cabinet, whether you intend to change over to a faster broadband service or not. This will help with a much quicker connection for when you do decide to migrate.
There will be a short disruption to your existing services, both broadband and telephone, when the telephone cables are being physically moved into the new cabinet. Your line should be disconnected for no more than a few minutes.
What do I do if my line stops working for longer than a few minutes during the cabinet installation period? :
Mistakes and faults sometimes happen: telephone lines can be poorly or incorrectly rewired; cables can break or be damaged.
In the unlikely event this happens, and the fault persists (still off perhaps half an hour later), it might help first to check whether there’s an engineer currently working on your cabinet, and report it to him to find out if this is where the problem might be.
The normal procedure would be for you to report the fault to your CP, which would then contact BT Openreach to investigate (though this can be difficult when your phone and email isn’t working!).
How much will a faster broadband service cost? :
It used to be the case that a fibre-based broadband service cost about £10 /month more than an ADSL2+ service, but there are always so many ‘deals’ on the market from CPs eager for your business, that this doesn’t really hold true any longer.
See ‘Which CP should I choose?’
Which CP should I choose? :
HCP can’t make any specific recommendation, but there are many websites with good advice and comparison information about the latest deals available to help you choose the best package for you. Below are the names and links to some of these sites to help with your research:
Compare The Market
What broadband speed package should I choose? :
Broadband packages are generally advertised as being available in two or three speed bands – ‘up to’ 38 Mbps, 52 Mbps and 76 Mbps. Your Broadband Champion will have given you an indication of the likely maximum speed you could get, but you should check with CPs what speeds they are able to offer you.
Your broadband speed is largely determined by the length of BT Openreach’s telephone line between your premises and your green cabinet. As any CP would have to use this line to supply you a service, be a bit wary of any promises of being able to deliver you a much faster service than all the others!
There is no advantage in taking a faster speed band package than your line can manage, i.e. if your line can support a speed of 30-40 Mbps, signing up for a 76 Mbps service will not improve on this – though you’re likely to be charged a bit more for it.
What speeds do I need?:
BT Openreach advise that unless you are gaming or running a data intensive business from home, around 8-10Mbps per person online at the same time will meet most needs.
BBC recommended download speeds for iPlayer:
Standard Definition - 1.5 Mbps
High Definition (HD) - 3.0 Mbps
Netflix recommended download speeds for streaming TV services:
Standard Definition - 3 Mbps
High Definition (HD) - 5 Mbps
Ultra High Definition - 25 Mbps
Skype (needs two way and balanced speeds)
Voice calls - 0.1 Mbps download / 0.1 Mbps upload
Video calls - 0.5 Mbps download / 0.5 Mbps upload
Video calls (HD) - 1.5 Mbps download / 1.5 Mbps upload
What data usage package should I choose? :
It’s likely that your data usage will increase considerably when you are able to access the very many services that your existing snail-paced broadband connection struggles to cope with – like watching standard definition iPlayer!
There is no such thing as average data usage, but the following statistics are a guide:
GB / month
Web-browsing + email up to 10
Web-browsing + TV and radio catch-up 10 - 30
Web-browsing + catch-up + downloads 40 - 80
All of above + gaming 40 - 200
Many/most broadband packages are now advertised with ‘unlimited data usage’ (though completely over-the-top usage, such as downloading films in High Definition all day long, is generally frowned on), so data usage shouldn’t really be an issue.
However, if you’re considering a capped data package, websites like BroadbandNow can help you work out your current and likely future data usage:
With a faster broadband speed, what other services can I get? :
Several CPs offer broadband packages bundled with online TV, Sports channels and film streaming.
You may also want to add one of several types of inclusive telephone call-package deals, ranging from free evening-weekend calls to free anytime, or add a VoIP or Skype service.
For more information about VoIP and Skype, below are links to a couple of sites to help with your research:
Is any new equipment needed in my house? :
Your CP should provide you with a new modem/router capable of receiving / transmitting your faster broadband signal. Along with a new design of NTE faceplate, which will replace your existing ‘master’ telephone faceplate, this will be fitted by your CP, or they may subcontract the work to BT Openreach (or one of their subcontractors). Your CP will arrange an engineer’s visit to your house to do this.
A note of caution:
The latest design of NTE faceplate only provides a broadband signal at this outlet, and not at any telephone extension faceplates you may have in your house (which may be your current arrangement). This means that your new modem/router will have to be plugged into the NTE.
Your modem/router will likely come with about a metre lead to connect to the NTE and perhaps a two metre lead to connect to a power supply. If having your modem/router connected to the NTE does not suit you, there are ways round it, but will involve running a (Cat5e Ethernet Network Extension) cable to where you want it. These are readily available at many high street / trade electrical outlets or online.
It is worth checking with your CP to see if their engineer will do this work for you during the installation visit, or you may be prefer to get an electrician qualified in telecoms to do it.
Do I need an engineer to fit the equipment?:
BT Openreach advise that you should ask your CP for a ‘Managed Install’ when upgrading to a faster broadband service. With a Managed Install an engineer will visit your house to replace the NTE faceplate, connect and test your modem/router and ensure that your broadband and phone services are working correctly. There may a charge of up to about £40 for this, but many CPs offer it for free.
There are easy to follow guides on YouTube, such as My Mate Vince, if you want to change the NTE faceplate yourself, and most modem/routers have instructions to help you with their set-up and profiling. However, your CP will likely charge for a service visit if you do decide to DIY and you can’t get it working!
Will the CP make sure everything is working after they’ve done the installation? :
Yes. But don’t let the engineer leave until you’re entirely happy that any internet enabled devices, such as your Smart TV, computer, smartphone, games console, media player, fridge (and more!) are ‘talking’ to your new router, either over a WiFi or cable connection, and any passwords needed are registered and working.
If you have an alarm system connected to your telephone line, we suggest that you advise your monitoring service about the changeover and ask them to check the connection afterwards.
Also, make sure the engineer explains and shows you any changes as to how things now work!
Can HCP help if I my service is underperforming? :
Your first port of call for any service issues is your CP, but HCP would like know about them as well. We have an agreement with BT Openreach that if we have evidence, say, of a pattern of consistently underperforming connections in a part of the local network, they will go in and investigate.
We hope something like this won’t arise, but it’s a very useful agreement to have in place. However, what’s needed first is speed test data that we hope you will agree to capture for us. We can then start building a picture of where things may not be working as well as they could and give this to BT Openreach as evidence.
So please help us to help you by carrying out some speed measurement tests!
– see Connection speed tests for HCP.
Connection speed tests for HCP :
HCP are keen to know how well the faster broadband services perform over time across the parish to check that they are in line with the speed estimates given by BT Openreach. HCP would very much appreciate your help by recording your speed measurements and sending them to us.
You may already be doing this using one of the many speed-checkers available on the internet, but for comparative purposes, we would prefer it if everyone could use the same checker, and suggest BT Wholesale Speed Test: Instructions on how to carry out a test are given on the BT Broadband Performance Test page.
Perhaps the most important requirement for these tests is to try and use the Ethernet cable supplied with your modem/router to connect to your computer, rather than over a ‘wireless’ / WiFi link. Depending on circumstances, WiFi connections can slow down broadband speeds from a little to a lot.
If it’s just too inconvenient for you to have your computer connected directly to the modem/router to carry out these speed tests, we would ask that you do it at least once! If you could record a cable-connection speed, followed as soon as possible by a WiFi-connection speed in the place where you normally use your computer, and send us both results, we can then adjust the rest of the speed readings you send us accordingly.
How many speed tests does HCP want? :
At the end of the Guide we’ve included three ‘Speed Test measurements’ sheets with suggested days and times to carry out tests. These aren’t hard and fast times of day or days of the week, but their spread would allow us to build up a picture of how well our new cabinets and local distribution networks are performing under peak load and off-peak conditions.
Before you change over to a fibre-based broadband service, we’d like you first to run speed tests of your current ADSL service to see how fast it is (and for you to have a record of what it was like before you migrated across to faster broadband!)
Then we’d like you to run speed tests after installation of your new fibre-based broadband service. This is to check that you are getting download/upload speeds in the range advised to you by your CP. Your CP should also give a minimum guaranteed speed, and the tests will also show whether this is consistently being delivered. If not, your first recourse is to complain to your CP, but HCP would also like to know about it, so we can compare your speeds with other connections in your area to see if they are having the same sort of problem.
As more and more premises take a faster broadband service, there’s a possibility that some could start interfering with each other. This phenomenon, known as ‘crosstalk’, results in the affected connections losing speed. So, HCP would also like you to run speed tests after about three months to see if your part of the network is being impacted in any way. The more premises carrying out speed tests, the more clearly any pattern of drop-off in performance will show up.
For the very keen, repeat the tests every couple of weeks, and for as long as you like! (it can get a bit addictive). This is one situation where the more data that’s recorded and available, the better picture both you and we will have about how well the network performs over time.
Who do I send the speed test measurement to, and when? :
Please send HCP your measurements when you have completed a section. The ‘Speed Test measurements’ sheets are included at the end of the Guide for you to download. (double click on the image to open the document and save to your ‘desktop’ or somewhere you can find it again!)
Here are the forms. Please fill in the sheets as you carry out the tests and, when each section is complete, email them back to us at:
We will monitor across every area that we get speed test results back from and collate the data at DP level (that’s the Distribution Pole your house is connected to). From this we’ll be able to identify any problem areas in the network and can ask Openreach to investigate.
Changing over to a faster broadband service - A Guide for Residents
Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (broadband internet access) v.2+
(the current broadband technology used in Fordingbridge telephone exchange)
Communication Provider or Internet Services Provider
(seller of telephone and/or broadband services to business and the general public; a CP or ISP most commonly rents ‘capacity’ on the BT Openreach network to provide services)
Fibre to the Cabinet
(an optic fibre transmits the broadband data between the ‘Head End’ exchange (Ringwood) and the five new roadside cabinets; between the cabinet and each premise, the broadband data is carried over the existing telephone cable network)
Megabits per second
(the rate at which data is moved about, and used to measure download speeds; a Megabit is about a tenth of a Megabyte, used to measure the size of files etc)
Network Termination Equipment/Network Terminating Point
(the ‘master’ telephone socket in a house which an incoming telephone line is connected to; it has a built in filter to separate broadband and telephone signals; the latest design is NTE5C)
Very high bit rate Digital Subscriber Line generation 2
(the broadband technology installed in the new green roadside cabinets; capable of sending broadband data up to four times faster than ADSL2+)
Voice over Internet Protocol
(a way of making telephone calls over an internet connection)
also known as Wireless Networking
(a wireless transmitter in a modem/router receives information from the internet via a broadband connection and converts the information into a radio signal; computers (and many other types of device) receive the radio signal via a wireless adapter; the process works in reverse, with devices sending information back to the wireless transmitter)