Astons ultrafast broadband frequently asked questions

This page will contain more questions as they are asked.

Question: Do you have any input on the location of the holes drilled in walls / location of any hardware?

Answer:Yes through discussion with the engineer when s/he comes to install your fibre service.

Question: The wall-mounted box inside the house was much bigger than expected.

Answer: The usual Openreach external grey fibre junction box measures 15cm x 13cm. The internal connection box or 'ONT' is 9cm x 9cm x 2.5cm compared to the old copper master socket which is 8.5cm x 8.5cm x 4.5cm so not a great deal of difference.

Question: Is it actually worth signing-up? 

Answer: Yes it is. Required Internet speeds are increasing all the time and there will be no more speed increases over copper wires. By moving to fibre you get faster speeds, more capacity and are future proofing your internet connection to keep up with advances in technology. Fibre is also the fastest and most reliable way to connect to the internet as there are fewer failure points and it is not susceptible to interference & degradation like copper cables can be.

Question: Do you actually notice any difference?

Answer: Yes, depending on which service you sign up for. Web page loads are snappier, there is no buffering with streaming services and due to greatly increased capacity more people in your household can download / stream movies / play online games / work from home with online video meetings etc. simultaneously without issues or noticeable slowdown. Many residents have said that their speeds are much improved with FTTP.

Question: I signed-up for the voucher, but didn't fully understand my obligation to then sign-up to an ISP / new service

Answer: Applying for a voucher included a commitment to move to a full-fibre broadband contract that may well be enforced by Openreach or Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).   The voucher is a promise from the Government to make a payment to Openreach for installing Fibre to the Premises for those homes that apply.  In return, the government asks that those homes make use of the new service by taking out a full-fibre broadband service. In most cases ISPs have fibre 'Ultrafast' packages at a similar cost to their existing copper 'Superfast' packages so most people should be able to upgrade without any additional cost.

Question: What happens if I ignore the emails about having to sign-up?

Answer: Applying for a voucher included a commitment that may well be enforced by Openreach or Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Question: Will they come after me to recoup the cost of the voucher if I don't?

Answer: We don’t yet know if any voucher applicants have not fulfilled their commitments and any subsequent action by Openreach or DCMS.

Question: What are the next steps once you're contacted by Openreach saying that FTTP is now available in your area?

Answer: Select your Internet Service Provider (ISP) (eg BT, Sky, Vodafone, Andrews & Arnold, Zen etc), choose a full fibre package on their website and contract the ISP to deliver. 

Question: What will happen to my landline?

Answer: UK Government policy is to cease all landline services provided through copper cables in 2025. Discuss your situation with your ISP and choose their option that suits you best.

Question: Does a full-fibre broadband contract cost a lot more than standard broadband?

Answer: This depends on what you currently pay, and the contract that you opt for with your ISP. Some people have found the cost to be less, the same, or only marginally more, especially if you are currently paying for a landline service through your ISP as well as broadband. 

Question: Will I have to change my internet service provider (ISP)?

Answer: Not necessarily. There are many ISPs that provide FTTP and the number is growing all the time. See answer below for a list of current FTTP providers.  

Question: How will FTTP be installed? Will it be very disruptive?

Answer: Openreach have told us that the existing routes to premises will be used for the fibre.  This will be done using existing underground ducts to premises and the overhead cable routes from poles to premises.  This web page describes what happens on FTTP installation day.

Question: Do I keep my existing phone line?

Answer: FTTP does not need a normal phone line so keeping a landline is optional. The current copper wire PSTN phone service is due to be retired in 2025 so there is a push towards voice over IP services (VOIP) and this is included with some service providers but others charge an additional fee for the service.

Question: What is VOIP?

Answer: VOIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol which is a technology that allows the telephone service to be delivered over your internet connection rather than via a copper cable. The technology has improved vastly over the past few years, and VOIP calls are now usually crystal-clear negating the need for a separate phone line.