KCC LogoKillearn Community Council

Killearn Broadband Group

Killearn Broadband Group was set up to identify broadband issues in the area served by the Killearn telephone exchange, and to lobby for the best possible solutions. This page is about general issues to do with Next Generation Broadband. We have a page with more specific details for people served by the Killearn exchange. Others are welcome to look too!

Next Generation Broadband is Coming

We are part way through the Scottish Government's multi-year plan to improve broadband availability in Scotland. Digital Scotland is the organisation responsible for implementing the plan. BT Openreach is the company upgrading the infrastructure in most parts of Scotland and especially in rural areas.

What is Next Generation Broadband?

Next Generation Broadband (NGB) is also known as Next Generation Access (NGA), Fibre-enabled broadband or Superfast Broadband. You may hear other names used, depending on the provider (ISP), for example BT Infinity. NGB is capable of delivering faster speeds and more capacity than the technologies it is replacing.

What are the Advantages of Next Generation Broadband?

For home users the most obvious advantage of faster speeds is that it allows several people to be online at the same time with a consistent and reliable source across multiple devices such as PCs, mobile phones, games consoles and digital TVs without screens freezing or loss of quality. For businesses there could be a significant impact by allowing you to work faster, more flexibly and more efficiently.

For some detailed examples of uses, see some national case studies via our KBG links page or our local case studies document.

How is Next Generation Broadband implemented?

With NGB you still connect to the Internet through your telephone line. Your line currently connects either to your telephone exchange or possibly to a more local cabinet (PCP). When NGB is enabled, the exchange or cabinet is connected to the rest of the world by optical fibre. It is this fibre connection which allow greater speed and capacity.

However, the speed you experience in your premises depends mainly on the length of your line. The longer the line, the lower the maximum possible speed. Expectation of the published superfast speed of 80 Mbps will lead to disappointment for most people.

Note that your line may be longer than the straight-line distance to the exchange. Some very out-of-the-way routes are possible depending on the local situation. Also, line quality has an effect – a line with poor conductors or connections is in effect a longer line.

This BT video gives more information, including some technical details and what happens if a customer subscribes to NGB.

How can I find out if and when I will be getting it?

You can find out how your phone line is connected and when you should get NGB enabled by entering your landline number or address at Digital Scotland's interactive map.

Note that, due to factors outwith their control, Digital Scotland only provide dates for NGB enablement within six-month slots.

Will it be worth paying extra for Next Generation Broadband?

Because of the wide variety of individual situations this will be very much an personal decision. In making your decision you may wish to take the following into consideration:

  • What speed do you currently get? How well does this meet your needs? You can check your current speed at the BroadbandSpeedChecker website among many others. You should check at various times of the day and week as speeds can vary considerably.
  • What is the nature of your business/household? Is the number of digital devices likely to increase in the future? Do you need to send/receive large amounts of data?
  • What speed are you likely to receive if you do subscribe? You may be able to get an estimate of this. Your modem/router may indicate the downstream attenuation (the amount of signal loss in your line).
    1. Check your downstream attenuation. Details of how are available for a wide range of modems/routers.
    2. Convert the downstream attenuation to find your effective line length.This may be longer than the physical length of your line if e.g. the line has poor connections or uses low quality conductors.
    3. Read the maximum speed you can expect from this graph (or abigger graph or our biggest graph):Download speed decreases rapidly with distance. The maximum speed of 80 Mbps is only attainable with a line length of about 200 metres or less. At one kilometre the maximum download speed is about 28 Mbps, 16 Mbps at 2 km, 9 Mbps at 3 km.
      For example, an effective line length of 1.2 kilometres (km) would give a maximum download speed of about 24 Mbps.

NGB speeds are unlikely to be significantly improved for line lengths over 3 km (if on ADSL technology) or for line lengths over 1.2 km (if on ADSL2+ technology).

The broadband packages only offer an ‘upto’ speed due to these individual aspects and whilst the connection speed may be better than present, the reality may well be short of the ‘superfast’ expectation.

What are the alternatives to NGB?

Nationally about 5% of Scotland will not benefit from the current NGB programme. This percentage is likely to be higher in rural areas because of the practical problems of improving infrastructure.

There are a number of alternative technologies which may make faster broadband possible for the 5%. There are more details in our FAQ document and via the ‘Alternatives’ section of our links page.

How can I find out more?

The Digital Scotland website gives details of the partners involved in the Digital Scotland superfast project and how this is being implemented.

Help for businesses

The Broadband Connection Scheme run by the UK Government offers small and medium sized businesses grants of up to £3000 to improve their digital infrastructure. The scheme was launched in Stirling in April 2015. Small and medium sized businesses, registered charities, social enterprises and sole traders, including home-based businesses may apply. You can check your eligibility at the Connection Vouchers website.

Latest news: The Broadband Connection Scheme is now closed. From the website: This fund is now fully committed and the Scheme is closed to new applicants.