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Fibre broadband - latest information
With thanks to Parish Councillor Jon Aldington (23 April 2021):
BT Openreach are in the process of finalising the work to deliver full fibre broadband to Chillenden. All properties in the village, plus Copmans Hall and Mill Cottage, are included. Full fibre offers a reliable service and speeds of up to 900Mbps.
The service is due to go live in early to mid-May, although it may take another week or two before the service appears 'on the system' and orders can be placed. I am in touch with KCC and will get a definite date if I can.
Openreach provide the fibres and infrastructure, but the service must be ordered through Internet Service Providers. At present, Openreach's full fibre broadband can be ordered through BT, Sky, EE, Zen and several other providers. It cannot currently be ordered through TalkTalk, Vodafone or Virgin Media. Some of the smaller providers offer it and some do not. It is best to check with individual providers to confirm.
If your existing provider is listed above you should be able to contact them and upgrade to full fibre broadband once it has gone live. In some cases, you can upgrade even if you are part way through a fixed-term contract. Different providers offer different speeds and pricing, so it may be worth comparing options before ordering the upgrade.
Full fibre broadband offers speeds from 35Mbps up to 900Mbps. It's tempting to order a 900Mbps package, but do bear in mind that even 35Mbps is a lot more than the 5Mbps or 8Mbps that is typical in Chillenden today. For smaller households and typical use, a 35Mbps package is more than enough speed for fast web browsing and gaming, Skype or Zoom calls, and reliable streaming of films and television in high-definition. For heavy users and large households, 100Mbps is usually plenty. Some providers will allow you to order a lower speed package then upgrade quickly if you find it's not enough - check before you order.
The terminology around broadband can be very confusing - don't order the wrong thing! You are looking for "Full fibre" or "Fibre to the premise" (FTTP) broadband. The term "ultrafast" is also used. Providers use the term "fibre broadband" for fibre to the cabinet. This uses a fibre connection to a green cabinet, but the connection to your home still uses slow and interference-prone copper wires.
Enter your postcode and phone number into your preferred provider's website. Speeds of 35Mbps or greater in Chillenden are definitely full fibre. If you are offered estimated or typical broadband speeds of less than 20Mbps (or 20Mb), this is not full fibre. The availability of full fibre broadband is probably not on your supplier's system yet, or the supplier may not offer it.
If in doubt, call your provider to discuss and confirm the situation, but make sure you make it very clear that you want to order full fibre (FTTP) broadband. Be aware that suppliers probably have no idea that FTTP broadband is coming to Chillenden until it appears on their system (Openreach do not warn them in advance). Sadly, I have heard stories of pushy salespeople saying "oh no, this is fibre broadband" and uninformed customers buying the wrong thing on a 24 month contract, then struggling to get out of it.
I am happy to be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.
Jon Aldington has informed us of delay due to an issue between KCC and Openreach. The message from KCC was as follows:
"Openreach have been progressing the build in Chillenden as you well know.
They have recently notified us of increased costs linked to the engineering of the build and the project has been put on hold pending our further investigation. The reason for this is the costs have gone above our threshold and therefore we need to review and agree the way forward.
I cannot provide a specific timescale for decision as of yet but rest assured we are investigating and trying to find a resolution as quickly as possible."
So it looks like there will be a bit of a delay whilst they sort this out.