Fast Broadband Access for Bramley & Sherfield On Loddon

Bramley Broadband Update: 18th August 2013

The ‘Race to Infinity’ website has been taken down by BT so I’ve removed references to the links used below.
Those of you within Bramley who have seen our new green cabinets appearing should realise that we are quite close to going live with FTTC finally.
The following link is useful to give you an indication of what/where and when BT will rollout the FTTC (and in some cases, FTTP).
http://www.superfast-openreach.co.uk/where-and-when/

BT has launched its ‘Race to Infinity’ initiative to provide a better, faster, improved service to smaller communities, which show support to improve communications.  Residents and businesses are being urged to register their ‘vote’ on the bespoke BT website for the “Turgis Green” exchange that serves Bramley, Sherfield On Loddon and the surrounding areas.  By entering your postcode and telephone number you can add your support to the race to infinity for our area.  The top five will have their exchanges upgraded.  A minimum of 1000 votes and votes need to be registered before 31st December 2010.  http://www.racetoinfinity.bt.com/
Bramley and the surrounding areas currently have 404 votes (15.58%) out of 2593 lines (as of 11th December at 16:51)
The league table can be seen here http://racetoinfinityandbeyond.veadas.net/league (and you should see our current status below).

This has many benefits for our communities.  Including: Improved business communications, better school facilities and streaming web content for everybody.

Please add your vote now! All votes must be made by the 31st December !!

 Remember, we need a 1000 votes before we are even considered. At the moment, 64% of our area will rank us number 5, so we really need over 1282 votes to get into the top five. That shouldn’t be too hard for our area, so pass on the message to your neighbours. We have a great opportunity to make a difference to our broadband, let’s make the most of it.

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14 Comments

  1. Hey,

    Any update on this? How’s the campaign going? With Sky I’m paying £17.99 per month just so I can send emails and my partner can get her fix of Facebook. Video… … … is a … … … painful … … … experience and online gaming (previously a keen pastime of mine prior to moving to Bramley) is a non-starter. Had I been on an enabled exchange, Sky would have charged me around £10 / month for a 10Mb connection. We currently pay near twice this for 0.25% of this speed. Fair?

    Really keen to know where we are on this, thanks!

    Matt
    Apple Dene

    • I’m just about to switch to IdNet (works out cheaper because they will also handle my line rental, telephone calls and give me the best speed that they can (with no throttling or shaping). The best speeds I’ve had with Pipex over the last 6-7 years was 2.8meg but that drops over time down to around 1.3Meg (due to weather usually) and if I have them reset the exchange it goes back up to 2.8meg until it rains again…
      But Pipex got really bad after they were bought out by Tiscali/TalkTalk.

      Our exchange (Turgis Green) is not going to be updated to 21CN anytime soon (if at all because BT are focussing elsewhere) so for the moment we are stuck with 20CN. All providers on Turgis Green have to use BT’s equipment at the exchange, and the problems don’t start until you then get out of the exchange an into your providers Network. Sky are bad because they have a contention rate problem, which in English means that they have far too many subscribers stuffed into their system which at times cannot cope with demand. Sky are also believed to Throttle and Shape traffic (so at certain times of the day they will restrict what little bandwidth you had to artificially slow you down).

      As for the future?

      Our best bet is to keep pressurising Basingstoke and Deanne Borough Council. They have a survey on their website which every resident using Turgis Green exchange needs to fill out and complete.
      Also, our local Borough Councilor Cllr. Ranil Jayawardena who lives in Bramley himself is very proactive in trying to get better broadband to our village. He has also been running a petition which it wouldn’t help to sign.

      What it will take though is getting every single broadband user on Turgis Green to complain and to keep complaining…
      The more noise we make, the quicker action might be taken.
      If we just sit back and wait, we shall more than likely haveg to wait until Chineham has been upgraded before they work they way out into the sticks and upgrade our exchange. That is harder than it appears, since last time, only 400 people out of 2500 actually could be bothered to sign up to the BT Race for Infinity challange. Had we gotten above the 90+%, we might already have been well on the way to having FTTC installed within Bramley and be sat on 20-40meg connections by now…

      We need to get the word out to make as much noise as possibile.
      I’ll be pushing more campaigns in The View Magazine over the coming months (http://theviewmagazine.co.uk)

      Pass the word around… make some noise….

    • IdNet won’t promise to deliver anything better than what you already have but do promise to do it “better” if that makes sense…
      Their customer support however are much better at working with you to make sure that everything in your house is connected as should be to give you the best connection speed possible.
      (i.e. it’s amazing how many people don’t have filters on every single phone device in the house or have outdated wiring).

      It’s always best to find what connection speeds are available in your neighbours houses just to make sure you are around average.
      I’m about 5 houses away from the village hall and 2.3 meg is a good average speed for the houses along here. One of the houses was getting just half a meg (500 k !!!!) and it turned out that they had forgotten to put a microfilter on a spare phone which was dragging down the phone line.

      Another trick is to make sure you are connected to the right BT socket (there is usually a test socket within the BT faceplate that is much better to connect to, and then connect your phones to that).
      I’ll try and put some information in a future magazine on how best to connect up your ADSL modem for maximum benefit.

      Games wise, I’m a Battlefield player (on the PC when work permits and the wife isn’t watching etc etc) and have no problems with lag/latency and my two boys are COD players on the XBox and they have no problems either.
      Sky is notiriously bad for lag/latency especially at peak times…
      An advantage of IdNet is that they don’t tweak their network at peak times.
      The only problem with IdNet is that they are tied to using the BT equipment in the exchange at Turgis Green. If somehow we stuck another 500 houses on the echange it might impact performance, or if every 2600 user logged on at the same time we notice performance issues, and in that case, there isn’t much IdNet (or any other provider) could do about that… Until our exchange goes 21CN or Fibre, we are at the mercy of BT no matter who we use as our ISP.

      B&D can push for it because “in theory” they can offer to subsidise the roll-out in a number of ways (without necesary handing them a pile of cash). For example, ISP’s will be able to apply for a portion of the BBC Licence fee in the near future to help with the roll out of better broadband.
      I’m not sure exactly how much influence they have, but again, as much noise as possible from as many sources as possible can’t be bad !!

      Chris

      • I’m sure there’s all sorts of things I could be doing, but 25KBps is a far cry from the 250+ I had suggested. I’ll have a chat to IDNET closer the time. 2.3Mb is way better than I was quoted from Sky. I’m at the end of Cooper’s Lane. I’d like to think that a 10 minute walk wouldn’t make that much difference!

  2. Thanks for the reply. Didn’t now about Sky, thanks for updating. Amazing how they don’t communicate that in their sales spiel! Will be changing come August (tied into a contract). Can IDNET really offer 8MB con speeds in Bramley? Typed in our number and that was one of the options. Twice what I’m paying, but collossal improvement in bandwidth!

    I saw the BT Infinity campaign on the village notice board. I would have noticed sooner had their been a petition and info in the Bramley Arms! It wasn’t particularly well advertised, certainly not at a “campaign” level anyway. A real shame. We logged our interest on the BT site, but wasn’t surprised at the result.

    Does Basingstoke & Deane have any influence on the choice/roll-out at all? All I’ve seen is that councillors are in “discrete” NDA neetings with BT and that’s it.

    I’d suggest offering the email address of the councillors involved within the next View if pester power will actually work. Perhaps even a breakdown of what we can currently get, what “up-to XMb/s” really means etc.

    Thanks again.

  3. I live in Bramley, and have had nothing but problems with my Sky connect package. The connection keeps dropping and my line speed has dropped below 512K ! Does anyone else have these problems? I have a BT engineer visiting for a 2nd time this weekend. I wish they would upgrade the exchange.

    • The problem with Sky is also partly due to bad contention ratio… i.e. they have too many people connected to the same pipe…
      In Bramley we are limted to around 500k to 2.5k depending on how close to Sherfied-On-Loddon you are…
      Best ISP’s for this village appear to be PlusNet (owned by BT), IdNet
      Avoid TalkTalk/Tiscali/Pipex, AOL, BT, Sky
      Our exchange is not LLU’d, so we all have to use BT equipment to the exchange, and then from the exchange to the nearest ISP access point when we then jump into that ISP’s network.

      There are no scheduled updates for our exchange for a long time yet…
      Could be at least a couple of years before we get upgraded. We might have to wait for Chineham to get upgraded first before us…
      There are only about 2500 of us on that exchange, so unless we ALL make noise at the same time, they aren’t going to listen.

      • Just checked the BT Infinity hub – “Tadley” is down as Dec 2011. Does Tadley share the same excgange as us? Couldn’t see Turgis Green.

        The BT site claims my house can get 0.75-2.5Mb connection, with an estimated 1Mb average. My con is nothing like as good as that atm. Will check PlusNet.

        • Plusnet will give the same report (speedwise) because they all get the data from BT…
          The main difference with PlusNet is better support, no traffic shaping, better contention ratio (less users connected to the same bit of pipe at their end)…

          Unfortunately we are on Turgis Green, which is most definitely not part of Tadley… Our closest (main exchange) is Chineham…
          The daft thing is, Virgin/NTL have a massive big fat fibre connection going up the A33 just a few hundred yards away from Turgis Green… It’s so close, Turgis Green can smell the bytes go whizzing past).

          Out best bet is if B&D council manage to grab some of the funding that has been made available via the BBC Licence fee “bleed off”.
          We need to keep on at our Parish Council and our Local Councilors to keep reminding B&D council that we are still here…

          What works in our favour are the business parks within Bramley, and luckily one of our councilors (Ranil Jayawardena) is extremley proactive in trying to get better Broadband access to Bramley.
          If you have any ideas, or just want to make a noise, grab his contact details from the parish or B&D website… (He was recently running a petition but I’m not sure if that is still going).

  4. Hey Chris,

    You’re lucky if you get close to 512! At best I can claim about 440K. Trying to watch anything online, movie trailers, BBC etc is 3 seconds of images, 30 secs of buffering, 3 secs of images etc.

    It’s the most disappointing internet connection I’ve ever had the misfortune of having. We’re on Sky too. The best they could offer me last year when we set it all up was the 512 link down a traditional line. You can game on 512, I used to about 6 years ago. I tried some online gaming and got disconnected from the servers every minute or so. It’s a complete swindle at the £17ish I’m paying for it. Less is more should be the Sky strapline!

    Sky is apparently renowned for artificially limiting connection speeds too.

    Fortunately I’m out of contract now and can shop around. Bramley was poised to have BT Infinity connection in September, but I’ve not seen any BT vans or any of the roads being dug up…

    As soon as anyone can offer me a better service I’ll switch. All in all Sky has become an incredibly expensive “luxury”.

  5. Hello All,

    I’ve been with BT Broadband for many years and kept getting about 350kbps and occasionally up to 750kbps. Then, after many calls to Customer Services and several engineer visits, I managed to get them to check the route that my cable took from Turgis Green. It went all over the place before reaching me. Once it was re-routed, I immediately got 2.5Mps and now get 1.94Mps consistently. Sky couldn’t even connect me. Maybe we just have to keep on shouting to get a faster connection, but even without Infinity, no-one should accept less than 1.5Mbs on BT Broadband, even here in Bramley.

    • That’s interesting to hear… I’m looking into swapping over to PlusNet, I wonder if they’ll be willing to do a route check before the install. I’m lucky if I get a 400kbps con.

  6. Hello All,

    I’ve been with BT Broadband for many years and kept getting about 350kbps and occasionally up to 750kbps. Then, after many calls to Customer Services and several engineer visits, I managed to get them to check the route that my cable took from Turgis Green. It went all over the place before reaching me. Once it was re-routed, I immediately got 2.5Mps and now get 1.94Mps consistently. Sky couldn’t even connect me. Maybe we just have to keep on shouting to get a faster connection, but even without Infinity, no-one should accept less than 1.5Mbs on BT Broadband, even here in Bramley.

  7. Hi

    I notice this has all gone quiet again. Any more updates/ promises for future improvements/changes? And any ideas on timings?

    Also how many of us have signed up to the we want faster broadband site?

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