Telecoms Uncategorized

Broadband upgrade

The Pure Fibre broadband upgrade is now complete. They’ve installed a second fibre link to London, which should improve speed and reliability of your broadband connection.

The link was ordered last October, and is now completed, having been somewhat delayed by OpenReach misunderstanding what was required, and then by Covid-19.

The second link takes a separate route to London, so the chance of both links being down at the same time is very low. And while they’re both up, bandwidth will now be twice what it was. That should mean that speeds should generally be much faster.

I’ve been getting 350Mb/s on the “average 500Mb/s” plan today, which is quite enough for my purposes.

Broadband speeds have suffered over the last few months, but are much improved now. Note that you’ll get better speeds using Ethernet (plugged in to the wall outlets), than with wi-fi. Wi-fi speeds might be reduced by interference from electrical devices, and will be reduced if the signal has to pass through solid objects like brick and plaster walls.


Fibre upgrade

Some progress on the Fibre upgrade, which should make the Internet and Phones service faster, and much more reliable.

Ducts were installed under Fifth Avenue and Derwent Way last Monday (30 March). Fibre was laid in the ducts. We’re now awaiting OpenReach engineers to connect the fibre at both ends, then make the link live. The equipment at both ends belongs to OpenReach.

It’s been quite a wait. That’s partly because OpenReach originally wanted to install a cabinet on Fifth Avenue, which would require power, and maintenance. Having that equipment in the SSC instead is a much better option in the long run.


Internet Service

A Derwenthorpe resident has been in touch with Pure Fibre asking about our levels of broadband service recently. Here is their reply.

We are sorry that you have been experiencing slower speeds than normal on the Derwenthorpe network. Unfortunately, since the Government’s closing of schools and advice for all to work from home as much as possible, in common with many other Service Providers, we have seen a consistent, unprecedented level of traffic across the Derwenthorpe network. With home schooling and home working increasingly requiring online access during the day and many more people at home at night rather than out socialising, we have seen a doubling of our normal traffic levels throughout the day. 

With the network between Derwenthorpe and London being of fixed capacity, this has put tremendous strain on the network resources, resulting in saturation of the available capacity. We have therefore had to take measures to ensure that all Derwenthorpe subscribers get as fair and reasonable access to the internet as possible during peak periods.   

We are exploring methods of increasing the capacity to Derwenthopre but this is likely to be challenging as most of the providers are operating skeleton crews offering critical support and not accepting or implementing new orders. We will however continue to engage with suppliers to see if a solution can be found. 

In recognition of the reduced service levels at this challenging time, April bills for our Lightspeed package will reflect a reduced monthly rate of £21.60 for the service.


Broadband reliability

We know the broadband has been unreliable since, well… forever. That should change soon. The problem has been that the service relies on a single fibre that runs from the estate to London. If it gets cut at any point on the route, we lose service. If they need to do maintenance at either end of the route, we lose service.

Pure Fibre are working to fix this. They have commissioned a second line to London. The line will be provided by OpenReach, and the service by SSE. Pure Fibre will remain our service provider. In normal operation, this will provide Derwenthorpe with twice the bandwidth. If either line is cut, or otherwise unavailable, then the remaining line will be able to carry all the traffic.

The line requires a short dig on Fifth Avenue/Derwent way. This is due to happen on 30 March. In fact, it will be a tunnel under the school entrance, to the edge of the estate. Fibre should be run through the tunnel, and connected at either end. Then OpenReach will need to enable the service – and that might not happen that day.

I’m a bit nervous that this dig might not happen, due to the coronavirus problem. But I’ve emphasised the importance to both JRHT, and Pure Fibre. And telecoms is recognised as essential to the nation during this crisis, so fingers crossed, we should soon have a more capable service available 365 days a year.

How reliable will it be? Well, if the first route is 98% reliable (that seems to be about the right figure), and the second route is also 98% reliable, then the combined facility should give (1 – .02 x .02) x 100 = 99.96% reliability. That should mean less than four hours downtime in a year.

We’ll keep you updated.