Broadband Briefing 1

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Broadband Briefing 1

From Ian Thompson

I have tried to write this brief without using more jargon than needed.  However some jargon is unavoidable when talking about broadband, so for the large number of people that do not speak computer I have written a brief explanation at the end of this briefing to help you understand the jargon.


 What is Broadband?

Broadband is a high bandwidth connection to the Internet and is recognised as a necessity for everyone.  Bandwidth defines how much data can be sent over a broadband connection.  It is measured in the number of pieces of information that can be sent each second.


Why is Wardington’s Broadband slow?

Broadband speeds are much slower in rural areas mainly due to two factors.

  1. The further you are from a telephone exchange the slower your line speed will be. Customers need to be within 4 kilometers (km) of the exchange to get a speed of 2mb/sec or more and have difficulty getting any broadband if they are over 5 km from their exchange.  These distances are the length of the copper cable between the exchange (Cropedy) and you.
  2. It is more cost effective to supply good speeds in areas with high population densities where companies can get a quicker return on their investments.

Parts of Wardington are close enough to our exchange to get reasonable speeds, while other are not.  For example, the theoretical maximum speed to my house is 500kb (½ mb) and in practice I am lucky to get much more than 100kb.


What is being done about our slow connections?

The government has been given the green light by the European Union to roll out £530m in broadband funding, intended to bring superfast broadband to 90% of homes, and a minimum speed of 2Mbps elsewhere.  The government is determined to achieve these targets by 2015.  Oxfordshire County Council have been given £13.86 million to improve broadband across the county by 2015 and my appointment as Broadband Champion is part of this work.

Some villages are considering getting grant money to use alternative routes to get good broadband speed.  We should be wary of adopting this route as one spent the village will be unable to get further grants to get really fast access.  We will probably be better off pushing for a fiber optic connection to the village, but it is too early to make any decisions.  What we need to establish is there is massive interest in getting good broadband connections.


Wardington Needs Your Help

Our chances of getting our broadband improved are dependent on the demand the Council knows about.  It is therefore very important that as many people as possible go to and complete the survey marked ‘Demand better broadband’. This survey closes on December 31st, so please complete it now.

If you run a business please complete both the residential and business surveys.

If you do not have access to the Internet, ask a friend or neighbour if they can help you to complete a survey.


Jargon Explained

The most common terms you will hear quoted are bits, bytes, kilobytes (kb) and megabytes (mb).

Bit – A bit is a single piece of electronic information.

Byte – Eight bits are needed to form a character on your computer.  These eight bits are called a byte.

kb – A kilobyte is roughly 1000 pieces of information.  (It is really 1024 bits).

mb – A megabyte is roughly 1000 kb.  (It is really 1024 bytes).

About the Author:

Resident of Upper Wardington and responsible for the development of this website.


  1. Andrew Steven 21/12/2012 at 10:34 am - Reply

    There is much you can do to improve your broadband speed for very little cost and effort. To ensure that your broadband is operating as fast as it possibly can, do the following:

    Make sure your router (the box with the flashing lights provided by your broadband supplier) is plugged in to your master socket. This is the single most important factor. Plugging it into an extension socket will kill the signal. The master socket can be identified by it being slightly larger than others and being split horizontally.
    Buy an iplate, sometimes known as a broadband accelerator. You can get one for £3.50 inc delivery from here: This device connects to your master socket and filters out all extraneous interference.

    Finally, if you’re feeling brave and are inclined to DIY, replace the wiring from where the BT line connects to your house to your master socket with some high-quality, exterior-grade bell wire which can be bought online.

    My experience of doing all of the above was an increase in speed from sub-1mb/sec to 3.5mb/sec.

    You will see from previous comments on this website that I now have a dish-based alternative to broadband giving 10mb/sec upload and download which I would recommend for any home-based business or anyone who uses BBC iPlayer!

    Finally, in order to be totally correct, broadband speed is measured in “megabits”, not “megabytes”. Hence speeds are written as mb/sec not Mb/sec… A megabit is approximately 0.125 Megabytes,

  2. Phill mason 21/12/2012 at 6:24 pm - Reply

    The link for the survey does not work

  3. Andrew Steven 21/12/2012 at 7:03 pm - Reply

    Thanks Phill. I’ve updated the link in the main post.

  4. Greg Peters 28/12/2012 at 3:27 am - Reply

    Currently in Alpine Southern Highlands NSW Australia.
    I would love to know what Open Reach were up to when they lay cables from Cropredy to just beyond Williamscot a year or so ago.

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