Superfast fibre broadband questions and answers

To help answer your questions about superfast fibre broadband in Spaldwick, here are answers to some of the most asked questions.

For those interested in more information, links to Mark Heath’s Increase Broadband Speed website are provided. If you would like to talk about superfast fibre broadband, please do get in touch by emailing

What is fibre broadband?

Fibre broadband represents the next generation of broadband to deliver much greater speeds and better reliability than conventional broadband. Speeds up to 80 Mbps (download) and up to 20 Mbps (upload) are offered. Conventional broadband services were launched in Spaldwick over 10 years ago, and typically deliver download speeds between 0.5 Mbps to 5 Mbps to residents.

For Spaldwick, and similar villages that are situated a significant distance from the BT exchange, conventional broadband is simply not fast enough to cope with today’s use of the Internet for many people. Superfast fibre broadband could not have arrived at a better time.

New fibre cabinet in Spaldwick

With fibre broadband, the broadband equipment previously housed in the BT exchange is located in a new fibre street cabinet. The photo on the left shows Spaldwick’s fibre broadband street cabinet, which is located next to the Spaldwick service station.

In effect, the BT exchange has been relocated much closer to residents, avoiding the signal loss along copper cables back to the exchange associated with conventional broadband. As a result, significant speed improvements are achieved.

For more information about fibre broadband, please visit:

What is Fibre Broadband?

Why should I opt for fibre broadband?

Quite simply, fibre broadband will significantly improve your broadband speeds, and will be more reliable. This means that you’ll be able to do a lot more with the Internet, more quickly and with less frustration!

Many Spaldwick residents have suffered a number of problems associated with low speeds, including the inability to watch BBC iPlayer or Netflix, or stream YouTube videos. Such issues are a thing of the past with fibre broadband.

Within just four weeks of fibre broadband arriving in Spaldwick, 40% of households had subscribed to fibre broadband services! Most households in Spaldwick now subscribe to superfast broadband services.

Reasons for superfast broadband

For all villagers, fibre broadband will substantially increase speeds. This will mean that typical Internet activities, such as browsing, will be super-responsive. There will be dramatic improvements when watching videos, with no more annoying buffering with services such as iPlayer, YouTube and Netflix.

For many families within Spaldwick, rapid take-up of Internet devices owned by family members, including tablets, notebooks, games consoles and mobile phones, has created demand for Internet access that conventional broadband simply cannot meet. With fibre broadband, all devices in the home will happily be able to access the Internet at the same time and without issue.

Over the coming months and years, the limitations of conventional broadband will become even more severe, increasingly preventing villagers from accessing some Internet services. For example, the Internet is becoming a key means of distributing TV and video content, including ultra high definition (so-called ‘4k’) material (which requires download speeds in excess of 15 Mbps).

For more information, visit:

Why You Need Superfast Broadband?

New! We have had great feedback from villagers who have already migrated to superfast broadband. You can read their feedback by clicking on the following link:

Feedback from Spaldwick villagers on superfast broadband

What speeds would I get?

Everyone in Spaldwick should be able to get significantly higher download and upload speeds than they do now with conventional broadband. For one villager, download speed increased from 0.5 Mbps to 70 Mbps!

Exact speeds will depend on a number of factors, including the specific service that you choose, your distance from the new fibre street cabinet (next to the Spaldwick service station) and the quality of the telephone cable between the street cabinet and your property.

In general, you will receive the greatest speeds when you live relatively close to the fibre cabinet, as shown in the figure below, although everyone will benefit with significantly higher speeds.

FTTC speed versus istance

The maximum download connection speed possible from fibre broadband is currently 80 Mbps, while the upload connection speed can be up to 20 Mbps. Generally, properties within a few hundred metres of the fibre cabinet should achieve speeds close to the maximum possible.  Properties at the far side of Spaldwick should still experience significantly improved speeds compared with conventional broadband. Please note that speeds may be lower than estimated in the chart above due to the presence of crosstalk interference and line issues.

For more information, visit:

 Chart of BT Fibre Broadband Speed Against Distance From the Cabinet

BT offers an online checker, which can provide you with a rough estimate of speed:

Visit the BT Broadband Availability Checker

There generally is a great deal of variability in the BT checker results. You’ll only be able to accurately gauge speeds when the service is connected, and speeds may change over time (although they will always be much higher than conventional broadband).

There will be a number of enhancements in the future that will further improve the speeds possible with fibre broadband, taking download speeds to 100 Mbps and above. Over time, our fibre cabinet will be upgraded with new features to improve performance.

Do I automatically get fibre broadband?

At present, there is no automatic migration from conventional broadband to fibre broadband, so you have to take proactive action to benefit from fibre broadband services.

To do this, you should be able to order fibre broadband as an upgrade to your existing broadband service. While this may seem the easiest option, it may not be the cheapest or best.

Alternatively, you have the option of changing provider, particularly if you are keen to benefit from the attractive fibre broadband offers available.

Is there any benefit in waiting?

No. While fibre broadband is an exciting new development for rural Cambridgeshire, fibre broadband has been available in urban areas of the UK for several years. It is a well proven technology.

With the widespread availability of affordable fibre broadband tariffs, there’s not really any justification for waiting for significant price declines.

Many villagers already pay a significant amount of money for a restrictive super-slow broadband service. By shopping around, fibre broadband customers may find that they are actually paying less for their broadband and telephone services than their neighbours using conventional broadband!

Is fibre broadband expensive?

Absolutely not. Some providers, such as BT, charge a small premium for fibre broadband services. However, prices will not be substantially higher than those you currently pay. If you are happy to shop around, you could potentially pay less than you pay now. For example, some villagers have been migrating from BT’s Unlimited Broadband package to Plusnet’s fibre broadband package, which is cheaper. Plusnet is actually owned by BT!

TalkTalk currently offers its totally unlimited SimplyBroadband fibre package for £11.75 per month (for the first six months), increasing to £13.50 per month thereafter. This is cheaper than many unlimited conventional broadband packages on the market.

In Spaldwick, BT, Plusnet and TalkTalk are currently proving popular.

Can you recommend the best fibre broadband service?

There is no one service that is best for everyone, as there are several factors to take into account when choosing between services and providers. We recommend that you don’t waste your time with online price comparison sites (which tend to be very superficial) and decide on the most important aspects to you.

You don’t need to stay with your existing supplier (unless you are under contract for a period with them), and you certainly do not need to order fibre broadband from BT. Please note that you can now order fibre broadband services from Sky, which is offering competitive deals for its subscribers. Before, Spaldwick was deemed to be outside its network area for conventional broadband.

Please bear in mind that fibre broadband from all providers is based on exactly the same technology, so try not to be swayed by fancy lifestyle marketing and branding. An expensive conventional broadband service is not going to be able to deliver higher speeds than an affordable fibre broadband service.

To help you decide, please visit:

Which Fibre ISP?

If you’d like any help or advice about choosing the best service, please get in contact by emailing

Should I opt for ‘self install’?

Some ISPs now offer a ‘self install’ option for fibre broadband. Previously, an engineer was required to install a new fibre broadband modem and faceplate filter in all homes ordering fibre broadband.

We would strongly recommend that you opt for an installation by an Openreach (or contractor) engineer. This is because the engineer will install a faceplate filter to eliminate the possibility of extension wiring in your home degrading the broadband signal (and significantly reducing speeds). If you feel confidence in installing a faceplate filter yourself, you may prefer to opt for a ‘self install’ option.

For more information, please visit:

Fibre Broadband Self Install and the Risks to Broadband Speeds Without a Faceplate Filter

What’s involved in a fibre broadband installation?

When you have ordered fibre broadband, your ISP will inform you what day to expect the engineer. Depending on your ISP and/or service offered, you will be provided with a new modem (which the engineer may bring with him) or a new modem router. If you are only provided with a new modem, this should connect to your existing router.

You should normally be given a time window in which the engineer should arrive. The installation process is very quick. The engineer will first visit the street cabinet (to make changes there) and then visit your home to complete the installation. In your home, the engineer will install a filtered faceplate at your master socket, install the modem and test your fibre broadband connection. Then you should be ready to enjoy high Internet speeds!

New! Please do check before the engineer departs that the normal phone line works. One careless engineer did not reinstate the phone service for one villager when working at the street cabinet so he was without phone service for several days. If you have any installation issues, please do let us know by emailing

Here is a video of a fibre broadband installation taken by Mark Heath:

[vimeo id=”82215255″]

For more information on fibre broadband installations, please visit:

What’s Involved in A Fibre Broadband Customer Installation?

Please note that equipment in the fibre street cabinet will be continuously monitoring the quality of your line and can make (usually) small adjustments to speeds to maintain reliability. Your engineer may tell you that speeds will fluctuate significantly during the first ten days of service. This is actually not the case and may indicate a problem with your broadband connection and/or your WiFi connection. If you experience any issues, please do let us know by emailing

What can I do if I have speed problems after migrating to superfast broadband?

WiFiSome villagers have reported erratic and slow speeds after migrating to superfast broadband. On investigation, these have been found to be caused by WiFi set up issues, many of which are easy to resolve.

To help you optimise your own WiFi network, Mark Heath has written a special guide. View it by clicking on the following link:

WiFi Optimisation – a guide to optimise your WiFi network

Do you have any more questions?

If you have any more questions about superfast broadband, please do get in touch by emailing