ULTRAFAST BROADBAND CHECKER

What to check for when you use the BT Openreach DSL Checker

Education Series: Ultrafast Broadband Checker

The OptaNet Education Series covers the most commonly asked questions. In this post we provide all the information you need to know about the BT DSL Checker and what to look out for with regards to ultrafast broadband.

What is ultrafast broadband?

Before you go checking available products, it’s a good idea to understand what ultrafast broadband is and how it differs from other products.

Ultrafast broadband is a new product range, with the infrastructure to deliver it provided by Openreach. Instead of superfast broadband that delivers download speeds up to 80Mbps, with ultrafast you get up to 330Mbps. There are two products to look out for – Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) and G.fast. FTTP is a fibre connection directly into your premises and G.fast uses fibre to the cabinet and then your existing phone line into your premises. Both can be installed very quickly and cost only a fraction more than superfast. It’s the natural upgrade for businesses.

G.fast Broadband Check

G.fast uses your existing phone line to provide download speeds up to 330Mbps.

When you use the DSL Checker, if G.fast is available to you, it will show something similar to the image below. You’ll notice two G.fast rows, one of them showing with ‘clean’ and the other showing as ‘impacted.’ In a nutshell, the clean element refers to the performance you could expect if there are no issues on the line. As the footer on the DSL checker mentions –

G.fast Ranges A and B, the term “Clean” relates to a line which is free from any wiring issues (e.g. Bridge Taps) and/or Copper line conditions, and the term “Impacted” relates to a line which may have wiring issues (e.g. Bridge Taps) and/or Copper line conditions.

It’s also important to check further to the right, and that is shows as ‘available.’ The tool does a reasonable job of keeping people up to date with future rollout information, and so if it shows ‘planned’, G.fast isn’t available just yet. We have also seen this showing as ‘planned’, and then change to ‘not available’, so don’t treat this as a guarantee.

Finally, right at the bottom of the full table (not shown here) you’ll need to check whether you are on Market A Exchange or Market B Exchange. Most locations are Market B, but if you are Market A, your service will cost a little more.

FTTP Broadband Check

Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) is a fibre connection directly into your building.

Not to be confused with FTTP on Demand (see later), FTTP is shown on its own line in the DSL Checker Tool. In the same way as G.fast you will see the downstream and upstream rate (download and upload). We have not seen any results other than 330Mb down and 50Mbs up. It’s always best to check information in the footer too. Here you’ll see if you are classes as Market A or Market B (see G.fast above) and any notes relating to the service, such as this –

Our records show the following FTTP network service information for these premises:- Single Dwelling Unit Residential UG Feed with no anticipated issues.

It’s also important to check that FTTP is actually available. You can see this information further to the right. You may see Stage 1 or Stage 2 in this section. Stage 1 relates to the external works, such as where the Customer Slice Point (CSP) will be on the building. Stage 2 is the internal works required, such as bringing the fibre into the building, where it will terminate and the equipment required.

Stage 2 is the internal works required, such as bringing the fibre into the building, where it will terminate and the equipment required.

FTTP on Demand (FTTPoD)

Most people think FTTP and FTTPoD are the same thing. They are, and they aren’t.

Instead of FTTP you’ll often see FTTPoD listed. FTTPoD is where you are able to request (or demand) that Openreach come out and install FTTP to your premises. As easy as this may sound, there could be many complications and costs involved. Firstly, Openreach will need to visit the site and work out how to get the fibre to your building. There’s a cost to this survey. Then they will list the works required and associate a cost to them. You can then either pay them, or not. If it’s a tricky installation with construction costs, you could be looking at thousands of pounds. Once FTTP is installed, you can then order the FTTP product and the DSL checker will update to what you can see from the images above.