Tuesday 11 August 2015

"Fibre" in Coldingham village is just a tick in the box for Digital Scotland

UPDATE 27th April 2017 : Latest Progress

UPDATE 7th September 2015:
It looks as though St Abbs will be getting its own fibre cabinet, located somewhere centrally within the village.  Recently updated data, shows that 2 cabinets are being connected to the Coldingham exchange, one of which is to be located within St Abbs.  What this means to you if you live in St Abbs is that you are very likely to be able to receive 'superfast' broadband speeds when the service goes live (current target December 2015).  Still no word on any other cabinets to serve the more remote parts of Coldingham.

Residents of Coldingham village in the Scottish Borders, have been left in the digital slow lane for the last 9 years, with only an old 8Mbps ADSL service installed in 2006.  However, in recent months, excitement has been growing at the prospect of a "fibre" service being offered as the village made it onto the rollout schedule of Digital Scotland, the public/private funded initiative to provide superfast broadband within mainland Scotland.  As the work starts to gain visible traction within the village, a poster appeared next to the existing telephone exchange declaring that there was an intention to install a "fibre" cabinet right outside.

This is an exciting development, but let's not get too excited just yet!  As I explained in my last blog post on this subject, the broadband speed you will get is still dependent on your distance to this magic new cabinet, and the planned cabinet is located right outside the existing exchange!  Why?  Because it's easy and cheap for BT to put it there.  Furthermore, neither BT nor Digital Scotland can tell me of any plans to install other cabinets elsewhere in the village, and in particular, in St Abbs, and Whitfield whose residents already receive terrible broadband speeds from the Coldingham exchange.

What this means in reality is this:  If you don't already receive the full speed 8Mbps service today, then there is very little chance you will achieve superfast speeds (24Mbps+) even with the new "fibre" cabinet.  I know of several "village centre" residents who don't.
You can see from the graphic above, that at the point where ADSL speeds (the service we receive today) start to drop off, VDSL2 (the service BT is installing) is already well below superfast speeds. 

 This is hugely disappointing and implies that BT and Digital Scotland are enabling Coldingham so that they can put a tick in the box against the village, rather than actually enable residents and businesses outside the immediate centre to get superfast broadband.  What Digital Scotland need to do, is to use the GBP17.8m they received in clawback payments to fund additional cabinets, remote nodes or even full FTTP (Fibre direct to each house) in more outlying areas of the village footprint and help increase the percentage of properties covered by real superfast broadband! 

 Let me know in the comments below if you already get the full 8128Kbps sync speed from the Coldingham exchange.  Don't know how to check? Ask me how!