UK fibre broadband availability
March 26, 2014 11:45 AM   Subscribe

I'm moving flats and want to bring my fibre optic broadband service with me. The exchange is fibre-enabled, but I can't seem to find a straight answer on whether the specific flat I'm moving into is. How can I clear this up?

I currently have Sky Fibre Unlimited broadband and I'm really happy with it. I'm moving to a new flat soon and am trying to transfer my contract over, but Sky have been pretty evasive over whether or not it's definitely available there. They told me it was, but then they later said this was based mainly on the fact that the telephone exchange in the area is fibre-enabled. Well, I'm aware of that, because I'm on the same telephone exchange at my current flat. I need to know if my new flat in particular has fibre broadband available.

My understanding of fibre broadband services here is that BT runs everything, except for Virgin, and all the other ISPs with fibre broadband are actually using BT's fibre network. If that's correct, I'd just need to know whether BT has made fibre available at my address and I'd know where I stood with every ISP out there except Virgin.

I have tried the "check if fibre is available in your area" on many different ISPs' websites, including Sky. Sky says it is, and some others say it is and some say it's not. I have no idea what they're basing this on: if it's just on the fact that the telephone exchange is fibre-enabled, it's not helpful at all. I don't have a phone number for the flat (I don't think it has an active phone line right now).

Can anyone shed some light on this? I've moving pretty soon and have lost some time trying to deal with Sky, unfortunately. My flatmate and I need fast Internet so anything besides fibre or Virgin's cable network isn't an option.
posted by Put the kettle on to Technology (6 answers total)
As well as the exchange, you also need the cabinet to be fibre enabled. Try putting the address in here to check:
posted by JonB at 11:58 AM on March 26, 2014

Response by poster: OK, it's not showing FTTC when I enter my postcode. Wow, I can't believe Sky have been telling me this whole time that fibre is available at that address, ugh. Guess I'll have to go with Virgin then.
posted by Put the kettle on at 12:15 PM on March 26, 2014

Actually that site doesn't list fttc for my old postcode that definitely did have it available. Try this one which will show you the cabinet number and if it's included in a deployment phase. It gets it right for my old postcode which has fiber and new one that doesn't.
posted by JonB at 2:51 PM on March 26, 2014

Response by poster: Hmm.. It says there's a 69% chance it's connected to a cabinet that's part of a deployment, a 2% chance that it's connected to a different cabinet that's also part of a deployment, and a 27% chance it's connected directly to the exchange. Not really sure what to think from that.
posted by Put the kettle on at 4:39 PM on March 26, 2014

Maybe that's why the confusion - until the order is placed, or without the existing phone number, they won't know for sure from bt which cabinet its on. Seems like all options will have fibre though. Is there any reason you can't place the order with sky on the basis it will fibre? Ofcom rules say they have to give you indicative speed range up front and you can leave without penalty if substantially less.
posted by JonB at 11:03 PM on March 26, 2014

Response by poster: Just to follow up on this: it seemed unlikely Sky was going to be able to offer fibre, so I went ahead and arranged an installation with Virgin. Sky later contacted me to tell me my address wasn't eligible for fibre after all, as I had suspected. I'm still not sure why they had told me two conflicting things, but Virgin has worked out fine in the meantime.
posted by Put the kettle on at 10:40 AM on April 27, 2014

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