A Community Network for Bowes Park and Bounds Green
In the depth of winter last year I saw five phone company engineers removing heavy, greasy black cables the thickness of my arm from under the pavement. They came back later to lay a replacement cable the size of a hosepipe. Then, during the spring the pavements around the entrance of Bounds Green tube was ripped up to allow for the installation of a new green "BT" cabinet.
In May a new cabinet was installed near Springfield Tavern. The roadworks in the background is unrelated.
Here's the background to my unusual obsession with roadworks. If I want to watch a programme with my children after the 9pm watershed then BBC iPlayer is the place to find appropriate content. What often happens is that we get to watch 10 minutes of David Attenborough after which the image gets choppy and is followed by a message "Insufficient bandwidth to stream this programme." (Children have no patience. They don't appreciate the wonder of getting TV on demand; it's always been part of their lives and they just expect it to work.) So when I saw the activity by the phone company my thoughts were: "This has got to be it; at last, we're getting faster internet!' I called up my internet provider and was told yes, the faster FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) internet will be ready in June.
7 More days to go…but I don't believe it!
Muswell Hill was the lucky guinea pig for what has been branded by BT as "BT infinity". The trial was a success and soon TV adverts were wowing every viewer in the UK with the promise of a super-fast service. There was a problem for most who wanted to order it: it was not available. The expensive and time consuming task of laying the new cables was just cranking into gear. For the last two years I've eagerly re-visited Samknows to find out when our telephone exchange Bowes Park (official abbreviation "LNBPK") with get faster internet. Every six months the date kept on getting pushed later. Samknows currently lists Bowes Park exchange's status for FTTC's as: "Available in some areas" Well it ain't yet in mine.
To see the actual speed internet users in the area are getting you can view this map. Yes, some of us are getting speeds that will support reliable TV streaming. Most of these are Virgin customers. Virgin has its own cabling network and has provided stonking fast internet to swathes of London for many years. The rest of us (BT/Plusnet/TalkTalk/Sky etc) all use the same wires provided by BT with only a small percentage on the faster FTTC link to Bowes Park exchange.
When can we be sure of the whole of Bowes Park exchange area getting FTTC? I don't know. BT's target is to make FTTC available to two thirds of UK households by the end of 2014. I'm hoping that with the increasing number of new street cabinets currently being installed on our streets, it's going to be some time this year.
Bowes Park Exchange is on Lordship Lane directly opposite Wood Green Crown Court. This is where most of BowesAndBound's residents phone cables originate.
What are the signs that you have or may soon have faster internet?
First you'll see the standard waist high green phone cabinet on your street get replaced by a shoulder high behemoth. If it's humming and there's hot air coming out the vents, it's operational. To check, call up your internet provider and ask "When is the up to 40 Mbps internet going to be available?" The correct term is FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) but don't expect them to know that. And don't get fobbed off with offers of an "upgrade" to up to 16 Mbps internet. That inferior technology often offers little or no improvement over conventional broadband.
So why would you want the up to 40 Mbps internet?
If the extent of your internet useage is checking emails and reading the news online then there's no point in upgrading your connection. I'm hoping that once I upgrade to 40 mpbs internet Youtube videos will begin playing instantly and I'll also be able to upload large 1 GB files to customers in minutes, not hours.
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