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Switch to fibre

Conversation Starter


I want to switch from standard to fibre broadband but have concerns regarding the connection. I tried phoning talktalk, but due to problems communicating this slightly complex query with what I assume was an offshore call center, my doubts have not been answered.


The situation is this:

There is fibre in my area, however at present I am connected to the phone infrastructure via an aging phone line running to a telegraph pole. The phone line feeds a BT box inside the house which I use for my phone connection.

There is an old box attached to the front of the house which says Cable Tel on it - it was there when I bought the house (early 1999). I have no ide what state that cable tel box is in or what connections are in it - on the inside of my house it terminates in a tv and phone point (which are unused and therefore I no idea what state they are in).


Given the above details I am assuming there is no fibre connection direct to the house.


If I switch my broadband package to fibre will I need a connection run to my house itself?


I'm not familiar with fibre connections, how the connection is made to a house, or how an element of old wiring will affect things.


Hope you can clear this up for me.

Community Star

Forget everything to do with CableTel, they were a cable TV provider, who was taken over by another company some years ago.


Fibre offered by virtually all ISPs currently (unless you live somewhere like York where UFO is offered) is FTTC - Fibre To The Cabinet. In this case it is fibre to the new green fibre cabinet in your road or nearby and the existing copper (lets hope not alluminium) wire from there, via your pole to the house. BT do offer in some cases FTTP - Fibre To The Premesis, however you may get a hefty installation bill for digging up the street to lay this cable just for you. Mind you there have been price offers on this in the past.


Before committing yourself to anything make sure that the speed on offer by TalkTalk is acceptable to you. Whilst you can get the standard 40/10 service if you live within about 300M of the new cabinet, much more than that can see the speed fall off quite a bit.

Community Star

The Cable Tel conection will have been an, erm, cable connection! Totally redundant now, unless you were to sign up with Virgin Media which inherited all the old cable companies set up in the era you mention. You can check what the current position is with thenm in your area if you wish.


TalkTalk along with the majority of providers presently only offer, with a few exceptions, what is know as FTTC, or Fibre To The Cabinet. This is operated on a more or less monopoly basis by Openreach, the broadband is delivered to a local cabinet by superfast fibre, unfortunately the last leg to your home still comes down the old telephone network. This does mean that the speed drop off which all such lines encounter is generally a lot less, given that most people have a cabinet much closer than their local exchange, so it should provide better speed than the old ADSL alternative.


That covers the basic technical issues, have you as yet enquired of TalkTalk whether they can provide a Faster Fibre service to your home and what speeds that may provide?


EDIT: Beaten to it by Keith! But I will nevertheless leave it here as hopefully it complements his remarks.

Conversation Starter

Thanks for your replies. I assumed the Cable Tel box was totally redundant in this scenario, but included it for completeness of the picture.

I have two questions and have dug up some information which may assist.

I knew my area had fibre at the exchange, but I was uncertain if the street cabinets would have it. I used the BT broadband availablity checker (wholesale) and this screenshot indicates they do.


My router reports my current ADSL line quality as
Upstream line rate (kbit/s):   1019
Downstream line rate (kbit/s):   18863
Upstream noise safety coefficient (dB):   12.3
Downstream noise safety coefficient (dB):  3.2
Upstream interleave depth:   8
Downstream interleave depth:  64
Line standard:   ADSL2+
Upstream line attenuation (dB):  6.4
Downstream line attenuation (dB):  9.7
Upstream output power (dBm):  12.1
Downstream output power (dBm):  11.6
Channel type:  Interleaved

How can I check the speed on offer by TalkTalk?

The phone line from house to telegraph pole dates from prior to 1999 - is it of an age where it's construction might adversely fibre delivery?


I'm guessing overall my speed will improve - I just don't want to end up finding significant problems AFTER placing an order 🙂



Distance from exchange:- Direct: 302 metres, By Road: 0.4- 0.53km depending on who you ask

Community Star

The distance from the exchange is totally irrelevant with fibre. It is the distance from the fibre cabinet (see example below) that counts.


Fibre Cabinet.png

When you express an interest on the TalkTalk website, before any confirmation of order, you will be told what your estimated download speed will be.


If there is a problem with the cable from the pole, then Openreach would deal with that, but I doubt if it would be replaced "just in case".

Conversation Starter

OK many thanks.

I didn't know if the current Up/Downstream line attenuation may be may helpful as to possible performances.

I wouldn't expect the line to be changes 'just in case', I just thought giving an indication of it's age may be helpful, I'm sure cables exposed to wind and rain do have a 'life expectancy'.

Community Star

Yes they do, although the modern cables used for a long time now have a much longer life expectancy than the original two uninsulated wires that used to come from the pole. Life expectancy expired or not, they are only changed under fault conditions.


Your current ADSL sync speed of 18.8 (checker estimate 10 - 19) along with a 3dB noise margin indicates that your phone line is absolutely fine, unless of course you are having any issues you have not mentioned.


Looking at the BT table, if you chose standard fibre you will get 40/10


If you go for the boost, worst case would be around 49/18 but that's being very pessimistic and using the worst-case impacted figures.



Conversation Starter

Hi Mart, I had a problem on the line sorted a year or two which was due to corrosion of parts somewhere at the top of the pole. I've not had problems since.

That speed estimate on standard fibre sounds great (tho ofc I do know theoretical speed and actual speed will vary).


It sounds like I'm good to go. Many thanks guys