Uncertainty over fibre broadband upgrade

So the fibre broadband installation in Kintore is well underway. Poor broadband connections have long been one of the hottest topics on Kintore.org.uk and our associated Kintore Facebook page.

But, if you thought that this website and the Facebook page would be filled with people rejoicing, you would be wrong.

high-speed broadband for Kintore

For those lucky people who have now got ‘superfast’ broadband installed, the reports seem generally positive, if a little muted. As one contributor commented of her new broadband: “Not as fast as advertised but better than normal BB”. Another reports that web pages don’t actually seem to load much quicker.

There is also considerable uncertainty about who will get access to fibre broadband and when.

Like ourselves, many people are finding that the OpenReach website says Kintore is now accepting orders. But, then when we go to the BT website and enter our phone number we get the message: “BT Infinity isn't currently available to you”. No suggestion of when, or whether it will be available, just ‘not available’.

I then follow the link to Digital Scotland and their postcode checker says:
“This postcode is within the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband intervention area. This means that we aim to improve broadband in your area.”

The uncertainty is heightened by comments on the Kintore Facebook page that some properties are directly connected to the exchange and ‘may never get fibre broadband’.

The issue here is that fibre broadband works by providing an optical fibre link between the exchange and the distribution boxes that you see in town. From the distribution box, the broadband signal goes by the existing copper wire to your house. As long as the copper wire is not lengthy, you will not loose too much of the fibre speed.

But what of the houses, like ours, that are connected directly to the exchange? Well, although there are comments on the Kintore Facebook page, there seems to be no official word.

  • There is a technology called FTTP, or fibre to the premises. Will that be an option?
  • Or will distribution boxes be installed in the areas where there are direct connections?
  • Or will we just be forgotten and left to languish in copper wire 20th century broadband?

No matter what technology your broadband uses there are signs that the Kintore exchange is still having problems coping with the demand.

Our own broadband has recently been delivering speeds of 5MB to 7MB – not bad for copper wire technology.

But the worrying signs are that, at certain peak times, we find our speeds drop drastically.

On two occasions last week BT Wholesale’s speed checker struggled to record speeds of 0.00MB and 0.07MB for periods of more than three hours. Effectively, during these slow speed times, we have no service and any broadband activity has to be carried out courtesy of a personal hotspot on a mobile phone.

Clearly the 21st century has not yet reached Kintore’s broadband service. Hopefully, it will some day very soon.
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