Superfast Broadband Q&A

When is superfast broadband coming to Compton & Shawford?

Would you like the opportunity to get really fast broadband?

We’ve had several questions about the availability of superfast broadband in our parish.

There are lots of sources of information on the web, but it can be difficult to understand which are relevant to us.

So we have put together this list of questions and answers to explain the situation (as we understand it).

We’d welcome comments, corrections and suggestions for clarification. Please  use the comment form below for feedback.


What is superfast broadband anyway?

Download speed of 24 Mbps or more

(source: Broadband Delivery UK, part of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 13 Nov 2014)

Other countries and other groups may have different definitions, but the UK government said its

ambition is to provide superfast broadband (speeds of 24Mbps or more) for at least 95% of UK premises and universal access to basic broadband (speeds of at least 2Mbps).

The Government is investing over £1 billion in improving broadband and mobile infrastructure to:

  • provide
    • superfast broadband coverage to 90% of the UK by 2016
    • basic broadband (2Mbps) for all by 2016
    • superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by 2017
  • explore options to get near universal superfast broadband coverage across the UK by 2018
  • create 22 ‘SuperConnected Cities’ across the UK by 2015 
  • improve mobile coverage in remote areas by 2016
Are we part of the Hampshire Superfast Broadband Project?

Yes and No

For some time, you have been able to go online and register interest with Hampshire Superfast Broadband.

You can also Register Interest with commercial providers (in Hampshire, BT Openreach and, for cable, Virgin Media)

The Hampshire Superfast Broadband project is using grants from central government, together with matched County Council funding, to bring superfast broadband to areas which the commercial suppliers would not otherwise have reached.

Some parts of our parish fall in the commercially funded zone while other parts are covered by the county’s Superfast Broadband project.

When is superfast broadband coming to Compton & Shawford?

It’s coming in stages

Properties in some parts of the parish can already get superfast broadband.

Other areas should have it available soon.

For some properties there is no set date.

Superfast coverage
Superfast coverage by wave

For more details,

  • visit HampshireSuperfastBroadband.com,
  •  click on Full Screen to expand the map,
  • you’ll see something like the image on the right
  • zoom in on our parish,
  • click on the rollout phase you wish to display.

Most parts of the parish are in

  • A commercially funded area,
  • Wave 2 (2016-18),
  • or no planned date is shown
How is superfast broadband delivered?

Over your cable TV link or FTTC

If you can get cable TV, your cable TV supplier should be able to sell you very fast internet access. Few, if any, properties in our parish can get cable TV so this will not be an option.

Otherwise, superfast broadband is delivered over your phone line using technology called FTTC – Fibre To The Cabinet.

If your broadband is supplied over your phone line,

  • BT Openreach provides the physical network
  • your contract for phone and broadband service may be with
    • Either BT (whose superfast service is BT Infinity) or
    • Another provider (there are several comparison websites which claim to help you choose a supplier)
What's FTTC?

Fibre To The Cabinet

Originally, domestic telephones were wired directly to the local exchange.

As telephone usage grew rapidly,  using individual connections became increasingly impractical. Starting after the war, in the late 1940s, roadside cabinets and pillars came into use. Domestic telephones now generally connect to the local exchange via a cabinet.

Some subscriber lines still connect directly to the exchange. BT calls these connections Exchange Only (EO) lines.

The programme to delivery superfast broadband requires an upgrade to the telephone exchange, and also the laying of fibre-optic cable from the exchange to the cabinet. Finally, the cabinet itself has to be “upgraded”, which probably means complete replacement by a new fibre-optic cabinet.

You may also see the acronym FTTP, which stands for Fibre To The Premises. This would provide much faster speeds than FTTC but is intended for businesses and unlikely to be readily available to domestic consumers in the near future or at reasonable cost.

What speed broadband might I get?

Use the BT broadband availability checker

  • If you have a BT landline, they tell us that the most accurate way is to enter your phone number here: www.dslchecker.bt.com
  • If you don’t have a BT landline, follow the link above and click on either the “Address Checker” or the “Postcode Checker” link

Note that you may not achieve the listed speeds, and that speeds may vary due to contention at different times of day.

Speeds achievable with superfast broadband reduce the further you are from the cabinet. Some properties may be too far from the cabinet to be able to get superfast broadband.

What does the availability checker output mean?

Example 1: Superfast not yet available

This means that you should be able to get normal broadband up to the speed shown. You connect to Twyford exchange Cabinet 14. Superfast broadband is not yet available.

Example 2: Exchange Only line – so no short-term prospect of getting superfast broadband.

There’s a little more information about EO lines in the Openreach FAQ

This customer can get normal broadband. No cabinet is listed so this is probably an Exchange Only line. BT has not announced how or even when it will be able to deliver superfast broadband to EO customers.

Example 3: Superfast already available

BroadbandAddressChecker-1 - superfast broadband available
This address connects to Twyford Cabinet 3, which already supports FTTC. Superfast broadband should be available. The table shows estimated speeds.
Which cabinet am I connected to and where is it?
BT cabinet
Roadside cabinet

The Availability Checker now tells you which cabinet provides your service (unless you have an Exchange Only line).

The speed you can get from superfast broadband depends very much on how close you are to the cabinet, so it’s interesting to know the distance to your cabinet (although you can’t do anything about it!).

BT does not publish the location of its cabinets, but you might find one by walking around your part of the parish, and it might have its number on it.

But undergrowth hides some cabinets, making them difficult to spot.

Hampshire Superfast Broadband publish the details and location of cabinets which have already been upgraded as part of the Superfast  Broadband programme.

Twyford Cabinet 3, which serves Otterbourne Road, Southdown and much of Compton Down does not feature on this list because its upgrade was part of the commercial rollout and not the Superfast Broadband project..

What about EO line users?

The Hampshire Superfast Broadband Update 18 August 2015 has an item about providing superfast broadband to subscribers with EO lines.

It’s likely to take longer to provide superfast broadband to EO line users than to those connected via a cabinet.

Where is my telephone exchange?

Most properties in the parish are connected to the Twyford exchange, which is very close to the boundary with Compton & Shawford. But Silkstead gets its service from the Hursley exchange.

Feed your details into the form at www.homeandwork.openreach.co.uk/when-can-i-get-fibre.aspx to see your exchange on a map.

Other sources of information


  • 6 September 2015 to include reference to the August 2015 Superfast Broadband update
  • 7 October 2016 to reflect reorganisation of BT Openreach web presence.
  • 22 November 2018 to update links.  
CSPC Superfast Broadband Update November 2018
CSPC Superfast Broadband Update November 2018
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