Why is Broadband so slow in Norton?

Mike, a Norton resident explains: It's a good idea to register an interest in faster broadband at www.suffolk.gov.uk/broadband but the problem we have is not purely the speed of the Exchange, but the distance the majority of residents of Norton are from the two exchanges most of the village is connected to.

Norton Residents should contact Tony Estcourt, is Head of Broadband Services at BT Wholesale  at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and ask for FTTC in Norton. Here's why:

Properties in the East of the village up to around the end of Ashfield road are supplied by Elmswell exchange, whereas properties in the west, up to about the end of The Street are linked to Pakenham. At the moment, Pakenham is running ADSL2+, whereas Elmswell is still on the older ADSL and not due for upgrade til the end of May this year.

ADSL allows for theoretical speeds of up to 8Mb, whereas ADSL2+ offers up to 24MB - so good news for residents of Norton? Well, no, actually not. The further a property is from an exchange, the more the connection speed slows down, until at about 7000m from an exchange, broadband ceases to work altogether. The graph below gives an indication of the effect of the distance factor:

Mail Attachment

The closest most of Norton is to either exchange (Norton Little Green in the East, and the Stowlangtoft end of Ixworth Road in the West) is around 4000m , while the furthest residents are 6000m away.  BT will supply the exact length of a line if asked - online checkers can only give an 'as-the-crow-flies' distance, when telephone lines nearly always run alongside roads.

Looking at the graph, it's pretty obvious that although customers close to the centre of Elmswell or Pakenham will benefit greatly from the roll-out of ADSL2+, the increase in speed experienced by Norton residents will be minimal, with most properties still unable to achieve the 2Mb minimum required for streaming TV or movies.

Unless someone decides to build an exchange in Norton, the solution will only come when BT installs Fibre To The Cabinet (FTTC) capability at either exchange. This runs a fibre-optic cable from the exchange to cabinets placed alongside the telephone lines, which customers connect to via old fashioned copper cable, giving the effect of being much closer to the exchange. The bad news is that neither of our exchanges is on the recently released list of 2012 upgrades, and neither has a date for upgrade (see http://www.samknows.com/broadband/exchange/EAEMS for Elmswell and http://www.samknows.com/broadband/exchange/EAPAK for Pakenham)


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