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Broadband Delivery

Little Shelford Broadband Delivery Programme

26th March 2015



*** UPDATE 6 ***
Both cabinets have now received link capacity upgrades.
25/Mar/2015: Due to the high demand for superfast broadband connections, both cabinets have now had their connection capacity doubled. This involved adding new link cables connecting the old cabinet (to which our premises are connected) to the new fibre cabinet. This means that we should now have enough connections in the cabinets to supply everyone in the village.

*** UPDATE 5 ***
14/Nov/2014: The capacity issue has been partially resolved The issue turned out to be further back in BT's network, and has been resolved such that the ADSL Checker status now shows "Available". ConnectingCambridgeshire have also recognised that Little Shelford may also run out of link capacity in the new street cabinets due to higher than expected demand, and have raised these on the BT Openreach priority list for capacity expansion.

*** UPDATE 4 ***
1. To date, there is no resolution for TalkTalk customers wishing to order a fibre/superfast broadband connection. It seems TalkTalk have no plans to offer fibre services, so it is now probably a case of switching to a new supplier (ISP). The main impact of switching to a different ISP is having a new email address. However, there are a number of 'ISP-independent' email suppliers, e.g. gmail, you can use to isolate yourself against any future ISP change.

2. The Bridge Lane fibre cabinet is full!! Such is the demand for fibre broadband, all the available connections in the Bridge Lane fibre cabinet (#15) have been used. This amply demonstrates how much the demand for fast connections is. BT have said they are going to upgrade the cabinet, i.e. add more connection capacity, and a check by a resident wanting a fibre connection shows an availability date of 14-Nov-2014. If correct, there should not be too long to wait. A query has been sent to ConnectingCambridgshire to ask if this date is correct.

On both these issues, any updates will appear here.

*** UPDATE 3 ***
13th Aug, 16:30: The issue preventing ordering of fibre/superfast broadband has been reported as solved, for all Service providers (ISPs) except TalkTalk*.

The BT ADSL Checker web site should now show the following availability status when you enter your phone number (if it has data for your line):
BT ADSL Checker Availability

Please do now try to order your fibre/superfast broadband upgrade.

Thank you for your patience whilst waiting for this issue to be resolved. If there are any further developments, this page will be updated. Please also do share your experience of the upgrade ordering and delivery (to: ls.bb.speed@gmail.com).

* The information is that the TalkTalk issue is localised and temporary, but do try placing an order anyway.

Find out how you can get superfast broadband

The Connecting Cambridgeshire programme has now provided the improved broadband infrastructure in Little Shelford to bring better connections – but it’s up to you to find the best broadband package for your needs.

In 3 quick steps:

  1. Check your current broadband contract – see if you can switch or upgrade to a fibre package
  2. Shop around for the best deal – compare packages and offers to find what’s best for you
    This web site will help: 
    http://www.superfast-openreach.co.uk/buy-it-now/ as it provides links to all the major service providers.
  3. Order your preferred broadband package. The package should provide a new router/modem that supports fibre (VDSL). For example, BT Infinity 1 & 2 provide a Home Hub 5.
** Note: Unless your current package includes fibre broadband (VDSL) support, you will need to replace/upgrade your package. You will not see any speed improvement to your current ADSL connection without an upgrade. This is because even with the fibre cabinet in the village, your current ADSL connection is still a copper cable all the way to the Trumpington Exchange. A fibre/superfast upgrade will cause your connection to be physically re-routed to the new fibre cabinet. This reconnection (at the cabinet) will happen on the advised delivery date for your connection.

ISP Package Summary

Feedback from residents have identified the following fibre broadband packages so far:



Download Speed

Usage Limit

Price per month


Infinity 1





Infinity 1





Infinity 2





Unlimited fibre



£3.75 for 6 months, then £15


Unlimited fibre Extra



£12.50 for 6 months, then £20

[Note: These are broadband service prices and do not include line rental.]

Please do inform us of any package deals, and we'll add them here.

Wednesday 30th July 2014 - First Superfast Broadband Connection Made

The first installation of BT Infinity 2 in Little Shelford happened this morning.

This is the moment the engineer made the village's first line connection through to the superfast broadband fibre cabinet:
Fiirst Line Connection to Fibre Broadband

The engineer then installed the BT Home Hub 5 to connect the broadband (Infinity 2) service. The results are very much as expected, with a download speed of up to 45Mbps (in Courtyards, so a medium distance from the cabinet). The speed vs. distance chart below provides the approximate speeds that can be expected.

1/Aug/2014 Update: 2 BT Infinity 2 installations have now been completed, at slightly different distances from the cabinet, and are seeing speeds of 40Mbps and 74Mbps respectively. The line quality between the premise and cabinet can significantly affect speed, with the 74Mbps one having had new a cable physical installed in recent years. When we have a number of installations and corresponding speed recordings registered in the village, we'll be able to identify any anomalies.

Posted: 30th July 12:05

Following the Bridge Lane cabinet going live, the High St/Church St cabinet is also now live and accepting fibre broadband orders, e.g. BT Infinity.

For BT line rental customers, to check which cabinet you are connected to, enter your phone number into:
BT Wholesale Broadband/ADSL Checker website: https://www.btwholesale.com/includes/adsl/main.html

If your phone line (line rental) is with BT but your Internet Service Provider (ISP) is not BT, then you can still use the above checker, but you will then have to contact your ISP and not BT to order the higher-speed fibre-based connection. If your phone line is not with BT, you will need to check with your phone provider or ISP.

We would like to build an overall picture of the village's experiences, including how many have ordered a superfast fibre broadband tariff from their ISP or upgraded their current tariff, how long you waited for it to be delivered, the ease of the transition, the 'before and after' speeds, etc., so do please let us know. You can email these experiences and any questions to: ls.bb.speed@gmail.com

Little Shelford is now in the 21st century!

There will a broadband stall at the upcoming Fun Weekend, so do come along and share your experiences or ask any questions.

Posted July 24th 2014, 10:35

26th June 2014 - Two weeks to 'Go Live'

Notice was received today that both the Little Shelford fibre broadband cabinets installation work is complete, and the cabinets will go live within the next couple of weeks. This is a momentous event for the village, and one we have waited a long time for.

Watch this space for when the cabinets have gone live and can accept orders for high speed fibre broadband. The cabinets themselves will also have stickers attached when this happens (within a day or two either side).

More information can be found here: 

There are a number of businesses in the village, and information about ConnectingCambridgeshire's new Destination Digital business support scheme to help small and medium sized businesses make the most of digital technology, with free business advice and generous grants for digital products and services, can be found at www.destinationdigital.info

Posted June 26th 2014

2nd May 2014

BT Openreach were at the Bridge Lane cabinet again today, to make the copper link between the new fibre cabinet and connect up the newly laid fibre cable. The engineer there was very helpful and allowed me to take these photos...

New Fibre Cabinet Internals  Old Copper Cabinet Internals
The new fibre cabinet. It has power, but no battery backup yet. It has a capacity of 300 connections, nearly enough for the whole village itself (if everyone were to convert to superfast broadband), so with the 2nd box opposite Sycamore House, we will have enough connections for everyone.  Connecting the copper cables through to the fibre cabinet is dirty work, as evidenced by the engineer's jacket, but he also has his clean 'fibre' jacket when he comes to do the fibre connection.

On the right is the existing copper cabinet, which is half empty as it only has half the village connected through it.

The street cabinet opposite Sycamore House will have the same connection work done once work on this cabinet is complete. That cabinet however, still needs the power connection made, which will involve digging a route across High Street to pick up a power line outside no. 4. This is scheduled to happen between 7th and 9th May, and may involve temporary traffic restrictions.

The engineer said that the battery backup in the cabinets should last at least an hour, probably 2, which will be important as we still do get some power interruptions in the village. The battery backup will ensure that the fibre equipment will still run in the event of a power failure, but that doesn't mean broadband routers will still run, as they're powered from your home supply. A case for a battery backup at home? If you think that's important for you and need help with that, please do contact Simon on ls.bb.speed@gmail.com.

Posted May 2nd 2014

Faster broadband is finally coming to Little Shelford

Work started on March 19th to install the two green fibre broadband boxes that will serve the village.

The upgrade will hopefully bring faster broadband to all of Little Shelford homes starting in June. The Parish Council have campaigned for both boxes to be upgraded at the same time to avoid a digital divide in the village, and this appears to have succeeded. Faster broadband was the top priority for the village according to surveys carried out around Little Shelford’s Parish Plan.

“It looks then like the whole village should receive the fibre broadband upgrade at roughly the same time, which is great news,” said Little Shelford’s digital champion, Simon Conway-Smith.

We are hoping that both cabinets will be live well before the September Fun Weekend. With the help of our County Councillors, we are pressing ConnectingCambridgeshire to provide much more detailed schedule information so that we can know when we will 'go live'. This is important, as our local businesses especially need to plan their transition, which may involve new telecoms and IT equipment and resources for installation.

Here is a Superfast Broadband FAQ from BT Openreach, the arm of BT that is installing the fibre network.

 What can we expect? 

The technology BT will be using to bring superfast broadband to the community is called FTTC, or Fibre to the Cabinet. Our Little Shelford cabinets are located on Bridge Lane (just down towards the two bridges from the Whittlesford Road/Church Street junction) and on the corner of Church St and High St, opposite the Sycamore House restaurant. From these cabinets, the current metal (copper/aluminium) cables will still connect our premises.

The Cambridgeshire programme's target is for 90% of premises to achieve the Superfast speed of 24Mbps or higher, and 98% with 2Mbps or higher. The remaining 2% will require individual solutions. Little Shelford should comfortably be in or very close to the Superfast bracket with most properties being within 1Km of the street cabinet.

In more detail, BT estimate that the speeds a household will achieve after the fibre deployment will be according to the following table...

Distance from House to cabinet (metres) Estimated connection speed Cumulative %'age of premises at this distance
100m 100 Mbps 5%
200m 65 Mbps 20%
300m 45 Mbps 30%
400m 42 Mbps 45%
500m 38 Mbps 60%
600m 35 Mbps 70%
700m 32 Mbps 75%
800m 28 Mbps 80%
900m 25 Mbps 85%
1000m 24 Mbps 90%
1250m 17 Mbps 95%
1500m 15 Mbps 98%

In chart form, and comparing FTTC (VDSL2) against the current (ADSL2/2+ service)...

FTTC vs ADSL2 Speeds

This is however also dependent on the quality of the metal cables to our houses, and knowing what many are like, I would not expect us to quite achieve these speeds.

To find out which of the 2 BT street cabinets you are connected to, go to https://www.btwholesale.com/includes/adsl/main.html and enter your phone number. You will be either box number 15 or 19. Box no. 15 is the one on Bridge Lane, and box no. 19 is the one opposite the Sycamore House restaurant.

There is more information and the current offerings for various ISPs at http://www.thinkbroadband.com/guide/fibre-broadband.html

 What about the future. What's next (after FTTC)? 

Firstly, the increased speeds that will be delivered by FTTC will meet most peoples needs, so there will be no need to look further.

The logical progression from FTTC is FTTP, i.e. extend the fibre connection to the end-point, our premises. Once the FTTC deployment for Little Shelford is complete, we will be able to individually order a full fibre (FTTP) connection from our ISPs (providing they offer it - if not, a consideration for switching ?). FTTP however will not be a cost-free option as a new fibre cable will need to be laid from the street cabinet (or a nearer junction/distribution point, if one exists). The benefit of course will be even faster speeds, and increased reliability, simply as the metal cable, the principal bottleneck, will have been removed.

There may be options for groups of neighbouring properties to collectively order fibre connections to reduce the per-household up-front cost, but that is assuming ISPs are that coordinated. Experience shows....!

 Some Additional Resource Information

What is fibre broadband? FTTC and FTTP explained. This page describes Fibre to the Cabinet and Fibre to the Premises and provides videos from BT Openreach on both technologies.

Superfast broadband in the UK. This page provides the latest on superfast broadband in the UK. There is a table that shows all the contracts that have been signed so far with links for more information.

Benchmarking of the contracts signed so far. A comparison of the Cambridgeshire project with other counties. Very few authorities have provided superfast broadband targets (preferring to talk of the proportion of premises with access to fibre broadband instead). Some confuse the issue by stating the percentage for fibre broadband and add "the majority of which will have access to superfast speeds". As you will see, Cambridgeshire comes out very well from the benchmarking, partly due to Cambridgeshire County Council making a bigger contribution than other authorities (as a proportion of BDUK funding) and the fact that the demand registration total was so high.

Why you need superfast broadband. There are seven expressed benefits, and these will be developed with case studies over the coming months. Once superfast broadband services arrive, these will be developed into specific "How superfast broadband transformed my life/our lives" and "How superfast broadband transformed my business" case studies.

Chart of BT FTTC speeds against distance from the street cabinet. This is the table provided above. It pulls together a number of technical sources (as well as information from early BT Infinity customers) to provide an accurate assessment of realistic speeds achieved for BT's FTTC service. The page also explains about VDSL2 profiles and the enhancements that are likely to be deployed over the coming years to increase FTTC speeds further.

Useful videos related to superfast broadband. A set of videos produced by local authorities and others related to superfast broadband. For example, Lincolnshire County Council has produced a video aimed at explaining the benefits of broadband. 


Simon Conway-Smith,
26 Jun 2014, 10:24
Simon Conway-Smith,
1 Aug 2014, 03:19
Simon Conway-Smith,
26 Jun 2014, 10:23