FAQs

What is superfast broadband, fibre broadband, FTTP and FTTC?

Superfast broadband is the next generation of broadband, providing a faster and more reliable service. Superfast broadband delivers speeds of up to 330Mbps, compared with traditional, ADSL broadband, which in Cornwall averages at around 5-6 Mbps. Superfast broadband is 'superfast' thanks to fibre-optic cable which is used to deliver the service. The UK Government have recently defined superfast broadband as speeds > 24Mbps.

With FTTP (Fibre to the Premises), the fibre-optic cable runs all the way into the premises, giving very fast speeds of up to 330Mbps.

With FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet), the fibre-optic cable runs as far as the green roadside cabinet, and your copper telephone line is then used to deliver the last leg of the service. Speeds of up to 80Mbps are possible with this service.

With FTTC, your maximum speed will depend very much on the length of your copper telephone line from the cabinet. The vast majority of lines will support a maximum  ‘superfast’ speed of > 24Mbps. You can still upgrade your service if you are further away from the cabinet and get speeds of between 2-24Mbps. Although these are not ‘superfast’ speeds by the new definition, they will provide uplift in speeds for the vast majority of premises.

The term ‘fibre broadband’, is taken to include both superfast speeds of > 24Mbps, and slower speeds that can be delivered over the network of 2-24Mbps.

Can I get fibre broadband?

Please refer to our 'Can You Connect?' page.

What about the premises that can’t get superfast broadband?

There are about 30,000 premises that cannot get 24+Mbps superfast broadband. Please see here for details of our follow-on programme.

If you can only get very slow speeds (less than 2Mbps) you could investigate alternative options including satellite broadband and mobile broadband over a 3G network.

Which areas are covered by the follow on programme?

The follow on programme will improve speeds to at least 8,600 premises of the 30,000 or so that could benefit from an upgrade. The rollout will happen from mid-2016 to 2018, and initial planning and survey work has started. We are hoping to publish the first sets of postcodes that we will be aiming to cover before the end of 2015.

Can my area be brought forward or into the follow on programme?

Unfortunately it is not possible to set any priorities for the next phase with individual business cases. With approx. 30,000 premises and 5,000 businesses that could benefit from an improvement in speed, the roll out of the programme needs to be determined by a financial / engineering model that maximises the number of premises passed. There are literally hundreds of clusters of 10-50+ premises and thousands of individual premises and virtually all areas seem to have a key business/school/social reason as to why they should be prioritised.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of satellite broadband?

If you cannot get a reliable broadband service of at least 2Mbps over your phone line, then you could consider a satellite service. This will allow you to collect emails, access web pages, submit government forms etc.

Please note that a satellite broadband connection has a number of disadvantages when compared to a usable fixed line service, whether fibre based or basic ADSL.

  • Satellite services tend to have more stringent monthly download caps
  • The inherent delay due to the distances involved mean that things like Skype calls will not provide the best experience for users
  • Some applications (like IPSEC based VPNs) may not function at the full broadband speed as a result of the timing delays, and may have greatly reduced performance.

You should seek professional advice (e.g. from your IT provider) and advice from your chosen satellite ISP to check:

  • That all the services you plan to use are compatible with a satellite connection
  • Whether any reconfiguration is required for things like your network, router and email set-up.

Carefully consider your expected use before signing a contract for a satellite service.

How do I find out about mobile broadband?

In some circumstances you may want to consider using a 3G (mobile) signal to provide you with broadband. Although this is not part of the Superfast Cornwall programme, the main mobile providers do have 3G services which at times provide coverage in areas beyond the fibre footprint. You can investigate coverage here.

Weaker signals can be boosted by using an external antenna or a directional internal antenna such as a WiBE.

What is Fibre on Demand or FTTP on Demand (FOD)?

Fibre on Demand or FTTP on Demand (FOD) will allow some businesses connected to a fibre enabled cabinet to order a direct fibre to the premises (FTTP) connection. This is a premium service that will come with a significant connection charge and is likely to require a 3 year contract. Further details can be found here www.thinkbroadband.com/news/6208-fibre-on-demand-coverage-expansion-announced-by-openreach.html.

Currently Openreach have enabled the following exchanges in Cornwall for FOD: Redruth, St Agnes, Falmouth, Penryn, Bodmin, Bude, Camborne, Devoran, Hayle, Helston, Launceston, Liskeard, Newquay, Par, Penzance, St Austell, Stenalees, Truro, Threewaters and Veryan. In time, further exchanges are expected, but we do not yet have the timescale for these.

FOD is a very new product that is available from Openreach to service providers. At present only BT Business are choosing to make this available to end users, but we are expecting further ISPs to offer this service in time. 

When fibre broadband becomes available will my broadband connection speed get faster automatically?

No, fibre broadband will not just automatically switch on. To get fibre broadband in Cornwall, you'll need to first check your line (upper right side of this page) and then place an order with your chosen Internet Service Provider (ISP) – please see our 'Can You Connect' page.

There are several ISPs offering fibre broadband in Cornwall so you can shop around and choose the package that is best for you. Prices start from just £10.00 a month.

How fast is fibre broadband?

The exact fibre broadband speeds available to your premises will depend on where you live/work and how this premises is connected.

Fibre optic broadband can be delivered in two ways:

  • Fibre to the cabinet: The fibre optic cabling runs from the telephone exchange to a local cabinet, the green boxes which you may have noticed by the side of the road. Copper wires are then used to run between the cabinet and your premises. This combination of fibre optic and copper can deliver speeds of up to 80Mbps for downloads.
  • Fibre to the premises: At the cutting edge of superfast broadband technology, this is when fibre optic cable runs directly from the exchange right into your premises. Fibre to premises can deliver download speeds of up to 330Mbps.

The exact speed of your fibre broadband also depends on a number of additional factors: the length of your line from the telephone exchange or green cabinet, the line quality and the equipment and internal wiring within your premises. Superfast Cornwall is working to ensure that everyone gets as fast a speed as possible given their geographical location.

What are Mbps?

Mbps (or Mb/s) stands for Megabits per second, the way in which internet speeds are measured. One bit means one piece of basic information, and one Megabit is a million pieces of information. So, for fibre broadband customers in Cornwall, going from less than 2 Mbps to up to 330 Mbps, that's quite a leap, one which will transform the way they use the internet forever!

What is cloud computing?

Cloud computing is when software and data are no longer hosted on your computer, but remotely at a data centre, which means you can access the 'cloud' wherever and whenever you need it, and from any internet enabled device (laptops, tablets, phones etc.) Fibre broadband will allow more businesses and homes in Cornwall to take advantage of cloud computing, bringing cost and time-saving benefits, plus greater flexibility when it comes to how, when and where you access the internet.

You're probably using cloud computing already, without even realising it, through things like email accounts, Facebook, You Tube and Google Maps. Some cloud computing services are free and some are available as a pay-as you-go option.

For businesses in particular, cloud computing offers a lower cost solution, keeping technology-based capital expenditure down. Users can access the most sophisticated software and applications without having to purchase them outright.

There are a range of cloud computing services available, here are just a few examples:

  • Amazon EC2 - virtual IT
  • Google App Engine - application hosting
  • Google Apps - software as a service
  • Apple MobileMe - network storage

Other business specific applications, like CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems, are available from a number of suppliers.

What is a virtual private network (VPN)?

A virtual private network (VPN) is a computer network that enables remote offices or individual employees to get secure access to their organisation's network. This network uses encryption and other security mechanisms to ensure only authorised users can access the network and that data cannot be intercepted.

Companies and organisations use a VPN to communicate confidentiality over the internet, sending text, voice, video or other data to remote workers, offices or partners around the globe. Fibre broadband in Cornwall means businesses can utilise a VPN, enabling greater flexibility, including home working, which can bring many benefits, in terms of productivity, cost savings and work-life balance.

How can I meet connectivity needs over and above speeds delivered by fibre broadband

Many of the telecoms providers offer dedicated fibre leased line services to premises that need more than the connectivity delivered by fibre broadband in Cornwall.

Fourteen of the 100 exchanges in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are 'points of handover', exchanges where a number of providers will be able to deliver competitively priced links through to internet exchanges outside of Cornwall.

  • ERDF
  • Convergence
  • BT
  • Cornwall Development Company
  • Cornwall Council
  • The Council of the Isles of Scilly
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