Broadband connections and internet speed
Warnford Parish has a history of problems with broadband access. The purpose of this page is to inform anyone needing to know of the current status of connections to the outside world and how to go about getting a better service if the one you get is poor. This page was last updated in October 2016. Further information about possible community funded upgrade was posted as a News item in November 2017 and can be found here.
If you have any questions about this issue please contact Derek Chapman.
1) All broadband services in the area come down copper telephone cables from West Meon exchange. The broadband speed you get is dependent on the length of these cables (the further from the exchange, the slower the connection) and also on the quality – poor connections in junction boxes can slow the connection and make it intermittent.
2) Until recently there was no choice as to the technology you could purchase – although a number of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) (BT, Talktalk etc) offered service in the area, they were all offering the same technology, based on copper cables from West Meon onward into the network. However there was considerable variation in performance between providers. Reported speeds vary between less than 1 about 10 Mbit/s.
3) You can find out what speed you are getting by running one of the many speed testers on the Internet. A link to the one BT uses is below.
4) BT has now installed “fibre” service in the area under the Government’s “Superfast Broadband Programme”. BT has installed “Fibre to Cabinet” technology – so the fibre optic cable doesn’t come to your house, it goes into the nearest telephone distribution cabinet.
5) All Warnford phone numbers are connected to West Meon Exchange - Cabinet #1. That cabinet now has fibre connected, so in principle any phone number in Warnford can have “fibre” service, but the speed drops off with distance from the cabinet, because BT are still using their old copper cables to carry the signal to subscribers from West Meon to Warnford.
6) BT charges extra for this service and brands it “BT Infinity” where the expected speed is more than about 15 Mbit/second.
7) If the expected speed is below 15 Mbit/s you can still purchase the enhanced service, but it’s called “BT Faster Broadband” – you have to be persistent and find the right page on the BT website, or it will keep telling you that you can’t have BT Infinity
8) You can buy the “fibre” connection through other ISPs as well, although in fact the connection is provided by BT. The advantage of BT is that there is only one company to argue with if you don’t get the performance you expected.
9) So in effect anyone in Warnford can have “fibre” (although in fact there is no fibre nearer than West Meon) – it’s just a question of what speed you get for your money. If you are getting 10Mbit/s or more with your existing connection, it’s probably not worth bothering with “fibre”.
10) If you are down at 5 Mbit/s or less you could think about paying the £6 per month extra for “fibre” – experience so far is that it will give you a big increase in consistency as well as in download and upload speed. However, it does depend where you are – if you are on the end of a long line in an outlying farm, it may not give you much benefit,
11) The second link below will tell you what cabinet you are connected to, which services are available and what speed to expect (I have added a clip of the output you will see, with an explanation of what the various figures mean).
12) Some people in the area have had poor performance combined with frequent dropouts (the internet connection stops working for a few seconds or minutes). This can be extremely frustrating. It is usually caused by problems either with BT’s copper connections to the exchange or your house telephone wiring or both. Problems with the continuity of Broadband service are still continuing, with some people experiencing hours and days with no service. This is affecting West Meon as well as Warnford. BT is now said to be co-ordinating their investigations. Some of the people affected have created an informal group to pressurise BT. If you are having this kind of problem please get in touch, as more pressure can be applied the more people join forces.
BT’s speed tester:
BT’s connection checker
When you open up the connection checker and enter your phone number, this is what you will see: