The arrival of Gfast in Churchtown.

The other day I was trawling through my usual daily news feeds and came across this:- 

For a little background, openreach give a description of what Gfast is here:-

There was mention of the street cabinets that are served off the Churchtown exchange (where I live). In recent weeks I have noticed many cabinets being fitted with an extension, but hadn’t really figured what they were for. The extension is fitted to the main cabinet, not the associated cabinet that supports the broadband connections.

So I now need to do some rapid research since I’m not really familiar with the technology. It claims a huge increase in speed, but it’s *very* dependent on how far from the cabinet you are. And the further away you get, the less the benefit. Almost to the point that beyond a certain distance, the benefits aren’t really that great. I suspect I may fall into this category.

Anyway, my current provider, Zen, who I’ve no desire to move away from, apparently support it, so it’s time to give them a call to see what the options / benefits are.

What I do find surprising is that I’ve registered my interest for faster broadband on many official sites on the basis I’d get advanced warning when the time came. And I’ve received nothing. Only now by chance do I read I can get it.

As I find out more, I’ll add to this post.


Update 3rd January 2019. Well, Zen have been in touch, and the information I’ve been given is not what I was expecting. It looks like I could indeed benefit from an increase on download speed, possibly up from 60MB/s to 120MB/s. But the downside is that my upload speed would drop from 20MB/s to 5MB’s. For me that’s not acceptable. Given the amount of data we need to push into ‘the cloud’ these days, I”d bee looking to increase the speed, not drop it. So, it’s a no from me…..

More on FTTC in Churchtown Southport

Is it really that long since I posted something? Abject failure on my part! 4 out of 10, could do better is something I recall from my junior school report days. Seems things haven’t changed. Maybe a New Year Resolution? No, sod that.

Just a quick update on the posts from earlier this year about “Something is coming”.

In short, at least for me, it’s still coming, and as ever, it’s delayed again. As far as I can tell only one of the highlighted cabinets is now offering fibre broadband. P12 (Roe Lane). While two other cabinets have been installed, according to the BT availability checker, even after three months they’re still not accepting orders.

What I have found, is a site that (finally) appears to show the plans for fibre across Merseyside. Ok, I acknowledge Merseyside doesn’t actually exist, and I abhor its very name, but if you are looking for details on what’s available, or what’s planned in any area from Liverpool up to and including Southport, the Merseyside Connected website is a very good place to start. Consult out their Postcode Checker. Sadly, my postcode was “Planned” for 2014. Given the activity around the cabinet in May, I kind of assumed that target was very achievable. In fact more than likely would be easily beaten. Wrong.

Some weeks ago, the planned date changed to “First half 2015”. Being the eternal pessimist, and given their (BT OpenReach) track record, that’s late June 2015. Another 6 month delay. Over the last couple of weeks, it’s now stating “End of March 2015”. So who knows? I think I’m destined for several more months at snails pace. Time will tell.

What I find strange is that I pay top dollar for a “premium service” from one of the better suppliers. With line rental, and 10MB/s download I shell out nearly £75 a month. Sure, it just works, I’ve absolutely no issue with Zen, in comparison to other so called “service” providers they are a class apart. But when FTTC becomes available it’s likely my bill will reduce by around 25 to 30 quid a month. So cheaper for a faster service. How the hell does that work?

Anyhow, for now, signing off.

Yours truly in the slow lane….

Something is coming….

As most of you are probably all too painfully aware, I was more than a little miffed when BT decided to pass us by a couple of years back in the roll out of Fibre to the Cabinet (FTCC). I even wrote about it here.

Since then, despite letters to the council, BT themselves, and numerous phone calls to anyone I thought may be able to help, the situation has remained the same. Watching others hurtle past in the fast lane with all their flashy sports cars, while I dawdled along in the slow lane in the equivalent of a Morris Minor. And before you start, I happen to quite like Morris Minors. There was no sign of any positive news, other than the government statement that it had asked BT to improve their efforts to bring the nation up to speed, and that it should all more or less happen by the end of 2015. That was until now.

A few days ago, a trusted colleague, who is aware of my plight, called me while I was abroad with work. He told me he’d seen a couple of BT OpenReach vans down his road, and more importantly, they had a large roll of fibre with them. Being of inquisitive nature, he asked what they were up to, and in short, got told there was a “push” on to get the remainder of the area cabled up for fibre. Needless to say, at this point I got rather excited. I asked if he could enquire about my now famous cabinet 39, and if that was on the list, but their job sheet for the day didn’t have it on. Either way, it was a very positive sign. A couple of days later, another sighting at a different location, but still in the (local) area.

The cabinets in our area that thus far have not been enabled, don’t have (not surprisingly) the extra fibre cabinet located next to or close to the existing one. My thoughts were that if the fibre was being laid to the existing cabinets and “capped off”, and there genuinely was a push on to get FTTC deployed in full, I should soon start to see the fitters deploying the new cabinets sooner rather than later.

Fast forward, to my run this morning. What do I see as I turn the corner and run past “PCP 39”?


Joy! A few meters from the existing cabinet, markings as to where a new cabinet is to be installed. As to when? I’ve no idea, but it’s clear to me something is now very much happening. Flushed with this news, I decided to have a look around at some of the other cabinets in the area in need of fibre.

People of Roe Lane / Hesketh Drive (P12), you’re in luck.


And for those in Bankfield Lane (P4) you too.


Not forgetting the souls of Ferryside Lane and surrounding areas (P36)


And the happy people of Moss Lane (P37)


I’m afraid I didn’t have time to travel up to Banks and near the Riverside, so if your line hangs off P34, P38 or P43, I can’t tell you the latest.

But the bad news, P33 (Elswick Rd) and P40 (Merepark Drive) don’t (as yet) show any signs of progress.