How Does the Fibre Optic Internet System Work
There are three ways in which the internet may be connected to the user over
the telephone line.
1. A few years ago, the only method was to use a dial-up
modem, which connected by using the voice circuit of the telephone line to send
data over the line by musical notes. This tied up the line so that voice
calls could not be made at the same time and it was VERY slow.
2. Faster internet was then made possible by using a system
called 'Asymetric Digital Subscriber Line' (ADSL). This uses musical
tones, but at a very much higher pitch than a dial up modem, and allows much
greater speed of data transmission. It can also be superimposed on a line
so that normal telephone use can carry on at the same time. The musical
notes used are way beyond the range of human hearing. The problem is
that the tones used are so high in pitch, that the telephone line saps away the
signal to the extent that after a few miles of wire they are hardly usable and
the internet connection becomes slow.
3. Villages like ours, which are a few miles from the
telephone exchange in Cockermouth cannot get as fast a connection as those
customers in the town by using the basic ADSL connection. This this is overcome by placing a special street cabinet
in the village. In Tallentire it is on the corner at the Cockermouth
end of the village. In Dovenby it is on the corner opposite the M-Sport
entrance. In Bridekirk it is on the grass verge in the centre of the
What the box does is to move the exchange internet equipment closer to the
A new fibre street cabinet is installed near to the conventional street
cabinet, and this new street cabinet is connected to the BT exchange with a
fibre-optic cable which allows a high speed data connection back to the
Cockermouth telephone exchange.
The broadband equipment previously housed in the exchange (known as the
Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexer or DSLAM), is now located in the new
street cabinet. In effect, the BT exchange has moved to the street cabinet and
the signal loss along the copper cable between the exchange and the conventional
street cabinet has been avoided.
It still makes use of the copper wires between the street cabinet and the
house. However, the distances involved are much shorter than the original copper
cabling all the way back to the Cockermouth BT exchange. As a result, very
significant speed improvements are achieved. Even in the town, the
cabinets are being placed in the streets to give fast internet speeds.
So, that's how it works. Every user should be able to achieve an
internet speed up to 20 times or more faster than their old ADSL speed.
The equipment is owned and maintained by BT, but they rent the use of it to
other suppliers such as Sky, Plusnet, TalkTalk and various others. BT
market their fast internet service as 'BT Infinity', though other suppliers may
refer to it slightly differently. It is often referred to as 'Fibre Optic
Internet', though some may say that this is not strictly correct because the
fibre optic cable does not lead straight to the house. Another technology
called 'Fibre to the Premises' (FTTP) which does connect extremely fast is available
in some places. At present this is mainly used by commercial premises.
has recently been announced by OFCOM that they wish to see Fibre to the Premises
being greatly extended to residential users systems in the fairly near
future. This will probably result in internet speeds of 1 gigabit per
second (1024 megabits per second) instead of the current approx 50 megabits per
second of current 'fibre' connections.
It would seem that FTTP has recently become
available in some areas connected to the Cockermouth area telephone fibre
Hopefully the provision of this FTTP system will
become the standard in the way that it is becoming in many European countries,
though observations in other countries show that this is being achieved by overhead fibre optic
cabling instead of the predominant, but more expensive, underground
cabling used in the UK, at least as far a pole near to the house or commercial
You will need to order the fast internet connection from your supplier.
It will not happen automatically.