Following the broadband money

The BT (Bovey Tracey) broadband mystery

with 9 comments

A lonely cabinet waits in vain for its fibre friend outside a Devon business park. Picture from Google Streetview.

A lonely cabinet waits in vain for its fibre friend outside a Devon business park. Picture from Google Streetview.

A reader has objected to some elements of the previous story and asked for an explanation of how the figures were derived, particularly with respect to the Devon postcode mentioned.

This is the explanation.

If you simply put the postcode in (SamKnows) you are told FTTC is available on the exchange, which is true, but not the whole story. Bovey Tracey exchange, or at least parts of it, are or will be enabled, which means Sam doesn’t really Know the crucially important fine detail.

BT doesn’t commit to enable all cabinets on an exchange, and the evidence suggests that while some decisions are undoubtedly made for good engineering reasons, the overall impact of not enabling cabinets sits heaviest on business areas.

Using Google Maps it’s easy enough to find some businesses in the business park and get their phone numbers – putting these into the BT broadband checker shows FTTC is not available locally in the park.

Waveguide Solutions – 01626 835255 – FTTC is not yet available in your area

RB Engineering – 01626 835951 -FTTC is not yet available in your area

Country Bus – 01626 833664 – FTTC is not yet available in your area

Intertruck – 01626 834688 – FTTC is not yet available in your area

Some parts of the Bovey Tracey exchange area have been enabled – the nearby residential area appears to be enabled – but the cabinet that appears to serve only that end of the business park hasn’t.

Looking on Connecting Devon & Somerset’s website, it’s difficult to elicit anything. Its interactive map explains almost nothing other than that Bovey Tracey is partly enabled commercially and that part of it will be enabled with public funds. However, the final coverage map tells a different story if you are prepared to analyse it. There is a small but definable hole in coverage which corresponds to the business park.

To answer one of the other points – the information is scanned from the maps provided by councils, so any gaps are where no commercial builder has declared an interest and where public subsidy is not planned either.

The maps typically show a combination of commercial footprint, which includes Virgin Media, and publicly subsidised footprint. In Devon’s case, the map depicts the expected coverage once their programme is finished, so any holes in coverage are what is left once BT, Virgin, AN Other and the public investments are completed.


Written by Br0kenTeleph0n3

2014/01/22 at 23:18

9 Responses

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  1. And don’t just think this is happening in “remote” areas – no FTTC service in the centre of either Richmond Upon Thames (TW9) or Kingston Upon Thames (KT1) for businesses either!


    2014/01/23 at 07:54

  2. Openreach site says:
    Exchange Name: BOVEY TRACEY
    Status: Coming Soon
    Forecast date: March 2014


    2014/01/23 at 09:15

    • Somerset, thank you for giving the people of Bovey Tracey that glimmer of hope! I’m sure they are now dancing in the street knowing BT FTTC will soon be arriving in town! I wonder if they are aware only a fraction of them will actually be able to access the much publicised headline speeds and a significant number will be left disappointed?

      Despite the hype, I would advise businesses in Bovey Tracey not to hold their breath too long waiting for fibre broadband if BT’s treatment of businesses connected to the Hardwicke exchange (GL2 4QT to the south of Gloucester) is anything to go by.

      This exchange was enabled for FTTC over 15 months ago. The A38 runs north/south just to the east of the exchange. Cabinets serving a large housing estates on the west side of the A38 are enabled for VDSL. However on the east side of the A38, on the former RAF Quedgeley site, is a large business park. Most are SMBs who would benefit greatly from VDSL (providing they are close to a cabinet of course!).

      They are still waiting for VDSL broadband…

      The last thing BT wants is to give businesses VDSL! Those savvy enough will ditch their land lines and go to a VOIP service. BT wants to preserve their copper cash cow.


      2014/01/23 at 19:08

  3. Has anyone discovered how the percentages were calculated as I can’t see how you find out the number of business premises in a particular postcode?


    2014/01/24 at 12:29

  4. What wonderful research methods the web provides!

    Long live Arpanet and Tim Berners-Lee!

    If only BT were as far-sighted strategically… But where quarterly reports and bottom lines only benefit shareholders, we can’t expect any better, can we?

    Sabine Kurjo McNeill

    2014/01/25 at 10:43

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