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(This page updated 4 February 2016 but see Latest news - Cabinets 3 and 6 now live)

The Internet is increasingly important.  Many urban areas have had "superfast broadband" (SFBB) Internet connections for a while. Many rural areas did not, but things are changing.

UK telephones with number starting 01509 89 are served by BT's Woodhouse Eaves telephone exchange. This is situated down a drive beside the Bulls Head car park entrance on Main Street. The exchange makes a "landline" telephone service available to all, or nearly all, properties in the parishes of Woodhouse and Swithland. It also serves some properties in Newtown Linford and Ulverscroft parishes. The telephone lines can carry the well established  ADSL "up to 8 Mpbs" broadband, but the actual speed received depends on distance (by telephone wire) from the exchange, dropping to about 0.5 Mbps in some cases. (Mbps is a measure of broadband speed.)

The County Council are seeking to get super-fast broadband (SFBB)  - 24 mbps minimum - widely available. Under a contract agreed between the Council and BT's "Open Reach" division a technology called "fibre to the cabinet" (FTTC) is being implemented in the exchange area. As the name implies, this is based on BT street cabinets and it is the distance by wire from a cabinet that determines the available speed. So cabinet locations are important and we have pages related to the area served by each of them:

  • Cabinet 1 coverage  deals with the area served by BT Cabinet 1. This is near the Woodhouse Eaves allotments and is now supplemented by cabinet 1a at the top of Rawlins Close to provide FTTC. However, the number of FTTC lines catered for initially proved inadequate. Installation of additional equipment is awaited.
  • Cabinet 2 coverage relates to "Old" Woodhouse. The cabinet is near St Mary in the Elms Church and opposite the Community Hall. It is now supplemented by cabinet 2a to provide FTTC.
  • Cabinet 3 coverage is pending. The cabinet is at the Brand Hill/ Brand Lane junction. We understand that this will now be upgraded to provide FTTC directly, but see also Cabinet 6 coverage.
  • Cabinet 4 coverage describes an area in the centre and to the north of Woodhouse Eaves with telephone lines previously running straight to the exchange. New cabinet 4 now intercepts some of these to provide an FTTC service.
  • Cabinet 5 coverage describes two areas which also had telephone lines running straight to the exchange but are now intercepted by a new cabinet to provide an FTTC service.
  • Cabinet 6 coverage describes anticipated coverage from a new cabinet to be installed in Swithland village.

This map provides an overview:

Cabinet locations and main cable routes from them

Remaining concerns

Apart from uncertainty as to availability dates for those waiting the following need attention:

  1. True SFBB speeds are not available to all those who can get FTTC - see the coverage maps. It is understood that technical improvements will alleviate this situation in time.
  2. Some premises served by cabinet 1 are beyond the reach of FTTC. It seems likely that funding will be available to help with installing satellite based broadband in such cases but it will still be comparatively very expensive and is inferior in other ways to FTTC. In some cases broadband via a mobile phone network is possible - at a price.

So how do I get SFBB?

Your broadband service will not be automatically upgraded when FTTC becomes available at 'your' cabinet.  You will have to sign up (through any ISP) for it. A new modem will be needed.

What about my service now?

Evidence indicates that the poor state of some BT wiring (and possible exchange equipment) is a factor in poor service delivery and outages to some premises now, though there are other factors. Those suffering need to complain to their ISP.

More information

Some history

The pages linked here are now of limited value except as a record: