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  • The REAL Full-Fibre Broadband – Everything You Need to Know
    No matter where you live or what you do, everyone needs a Gigabit ready internet connection service today.  Having full -fibre ultrafast broadband connected directly to your premises will give you internet speed and performance around 10 times greater than all other options. But what is full -fibre broadband really In this article we’ll explain full -fibre broadband in simple terms and demonstrate why it’s so important to keep your own service up-to-date.

    Why you need full fibre broadband

      So much of our daily life depends on internet connectivity. From shopping, to smart-metres, to relaxing in front of Netflix.  The trend for remote and home working has increased since the COVID-19 pandemic and any poor performance or slow internet speeds are disruptive and frustrating. For work or play, we all need fast & reliable broadband and the best solution is full-fibre broadband. 

    What is Full Fibre Broadband… Really? 

    Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP)

    Full fibre broadband is the best way for you to get ultrafast internet connectivity into your home or office. You’ll have fibre-optic cables connected directly into your premises and it’s called FTTP (Fibre to the Premises). FTTP provides a Gigabit-ready connection that is up to 10 times faster, more reliable and can flex to accommodate increasing data demands.  
    To learn more about how full-fibre broadband works in our local area, read our related article here

    Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) 

    FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) is the older style of fibre broadband and was the pre-cursor to FTTP.  FTTC still uses copper cables to connect properties from a  hared cabinet in the street so the fibre-optic cables only go as far as an exchange outside your house. The exchange is shared with all the residents connected via that part of the network. You gain your connection through copper wires from the exchange into your premises, which significantly reduces the Internet speed and performance. To summarise, an FTTC internet connection is fibre to the shared cabinet in the street BUT the connection into the individual premises is copper. So you have fibre to a point, but it is not the true full fibre connection. FTTC copper connections are outdated and are NOT Gigabit ready. Therefore FTTC delivers an inferior broadband service compared to true full fibre to the premises (FTTP).  You may well be under the impression that you have full fibre broadband but actually have FTTC. National internet service providers often set this up without explaining the difference to customers. We encourage you to ask the question to your current provider and demand clarity! 

    Are you being mis-sold fibre as full fibre? 

    You, like many residents in the UK may believe you already have full fibre broadband. However, it often turns out to be FTTC. There is a lack of consumer education around the difference between this older version of ‘fibre’ and the real ‘full fibre’ (FTTP) broadband.  Most of the large national internet service providers use the term “full fibre” as a blanket term to describe both FTTP and fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) which is misleading. The speed and performance of an FTTC connection is far inferior compared to Gigabit ready  FTTP.

    The benefits of full fibre broadband

    It’s likely that you currently have broadband through FTTC, which means you’re not receiving a real full fibre Gigabit ready connection.  If that’s the case, you’re missing out on a range of benefits that the far better option of FTTP offers to residents and businesses alike, including: 

      • – Up to 10 times faster speeds
      • – Reliable performance
      • – Resilience to external factors like weather 
      • – Unaffected by internet usage in neighbouring properties
      • – Ability to scale up data capability and speed as needed
    Having full fibre broadband is also important as it will future-proof your home in readiness for other digital services. For example, VoIP, which will replace traditional phone lines by 2025. More and more services will become difficult to access in the coming years if you’re still stuck with an internet connection that is not Gigabit ready.  

    Don’t settle for average speed – go faster! 

    FTTC packages may be labelled with a speed BUT if you look at the small print you will find that speed is the maximum your tariff will go to and it NOT guaranteed. Usually it is the MINIMUM speed that is guaranteed and delivered. Look carefully!  This is because providers of FTTC can’t control your speed  because of the weaker and shared nature of the connection. In contrast an FTTP full fibre connection is wired directly to your premises and speeds can be controlled with precision. 

    Working with a local broadband provider 

    Working with the national internet service providers always comes with the risk of impersonal customer service. However, there are smaller providers such as Country Connect working hard to provide homes and businesses in our local communities with the very best full fibre connection.  Here at Country Connect, we build our own network in our local areas and deliver true full-fibre broadband directly to your premises with a guaranteed speeds up to 10 times better than your current FTTC connection!  We are the only company who can provide FTTP in Caerleon and Ponthir as the network is ours. Having full control of our own network, purpose-built for this area, also means:

    • – Far lower risk of outages and disruption 
    • – A personalised, local service you can depend on
    • – A connection not affected by adverse weather 
    • – No dip in performance even in high internet traffic times
    • – Guaranteed speeds with full transparency 
    • – Upload and download speeds matched to optimise performance. 
    We do not increase prices mid-contract which is something you’ll find happens regularly with most of the national internet service providers. 

    Questions to ask your current provider or when you’re shopping for your next contract 

    If you’re shopping around for full fibre broadband, there are the key questions to ask providers: 

    • – Is the fibre connection directly to my premises (FTTP), or is it FTTC?
    • – What is the minimum guaranteed speed and does it match the label!
    • – Is my speed guaranteed or my money back?
    • – Are the upload and download speeds matched? 
    • – What contention ratio will I be getting? 
    • – Is there a chance the provider will raise prices mid-contract?


    Find out more about FTTP 

    Real full-fibre broadband is delivered directly to your premises, giving you much faster speed, better performance, and far more reliability. If you’re currently settling for an FTTC connection, it’s time for a change. 

    To find out if we offer the real full fibre FTTP broadband in your street use our handy online postcode checker!  
  • What is the 2025 Big Switch Off?

    Getting Gigabit Ready for the 2025 Big Switch Off.

    You are probably wondering what is the 2025 Big Switch Off? BT Openreach plans to switch off its PSTN and ISDN networks in favour of new services starting in 2023 and fully switching off in 2025. This transition will happen gradually over the next few years as the legacy systems are phased out. This change is part of wider story of upgrading all UK communications infrastructure as driven by Government in order to make the UK Gigabit ready and future-proofed. It is the biggest change that the telecoms and communications industry has seen in 30 years and you might be wondering what action you need to take. 

    Jargon-busting! What are PSTN & ISDN Networks?

    This falls into the category of ‘things you didn’t know you needed to know’. However, it will help you to understand the forthcoming changes to the national phone system.  The UK’s telephone system is called PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network). It’s a network of analogue copper lines that has been around since 1876! Since then, it has been developed and updated but it is a very old system that isn’t fit for today’s digital needs.  Capabilities have been added to the PTSN network including the first wave of digital broadband lines in the 1980’s. These are called  ISDN (or Integrated Services Digital Network) lines.  

    Why are legacy phone systems being switched off?

    PTSN and ISDN systems are now out of date in terms of capability and are costly to run and maintain. Despite having been updated radically over the decades, these lines are still essentially the same as the original ones of the 1800s! All other fields of technology are advancing at lightning speed around us. Therefore  we need upgraded systems that can cope with the increased demand for data. Or in other words, a Gigabit ready network.

    What does the Big Switch Off mean for consumers?

    What will happen to landlines when the old BT legacy systems are switched off in 2025? Many people have already migrated to digital voice services or VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol). VoIP is a technology that allows you to make voice calls using a broadband Internet connection. This will replace the the legacy (PTSN analogue) phone lines.  Full fibre broadband is Gigabit ready and being rolled out across the country already. Customers are also being offered the option to ditch their traditional (PTSN) phone line altogether and make the move to VoIP.  Traditional phone services will continue to work for a couple of years but from 2023 they won’t be available to new or current customers. By December 2025 they will be withdrawn entirely. The switch from analogue phone lines to VoIP is coming so why wait?!  With a broadband connection it’s simple to add on VoIP services and keep your existing landline number. Here at Country Connect we offer VoIP services as a cost-effective add on to your full fibre broadband. You can read more about our VoIP packages in this blog: VoIP – Everything You Need to Know .

    What does the Big Switch Off mean for businesses?

    2.4 million UK businesses aren’t ready for the switch off and still rely on ISDN lines for their telecommunications. Here are a few steps that businesses can take to future proof their systems:
    • Ensure you have a dependable and strong internet connection, such as full fibre. If not, it’s a good time to think about upgrading.
    • Find out when your contract ends. This will give an idea of timings to plan for making the switch.
    • It’s not a wise idea to simply renew your current contract for the sake of convenience. Switching now will save time and money in the long run.
    • Avoid purchasing outdated hardware such as desk phones and phone lines as they will soon become obsolete.
    • Choose a cloud-based telephone service. This will allow the workforce to work from anywhere and provide big savings on contracts and rental of phone lines. 
    Start preparing now for the 2025 Big Switch Off to avoid negative impacts on your businesses or costly last-minute solutions! 

    Conclusion

    Take action now before the 2025 Big Switch Off. Whether you’re a consumer or a business, moving to VoIP and using full fibre broadband is the most flexible and cost-effective solution AND you will beat the rush that will come as 2025 approaches!  Contact us on 01633 530519 or
    email at [email protected]
    if you would like some help or advice from our expert team about the best solution for your home or business.  
  • VoIP – Everything You Need to Know

    Switching to VoIP

    A VoIP (Voice over IP) connection lets anyone make and receive phone calls over the internet. With the rise of broadband, VoIP is fast becoming the definitive choice of phone service for consumers and businesses alike looking for a cost-effective alternative to a traditional landline and future-proofing communications for the 2025 #BigSwitchOff.  The ‘IP’ in VoIP stands for ‘Internet Protocol’. Devices connected to the internet all have an IP address – a series of numbers that identifies any device on a network and allows them to communicate with each other on the internet. Therefore. it’s really a techie way of saying that you are making calls via the internet rather than the traditional copper lines of the past.  If you have a broadband internet connection, you can add on a VoIP phone service and make calls without the need for renting a line from a local phone service and without the need for additional wiring. So, you can simply plug in your digital VoIP handset and you’re ready to go. It’s really that simple.

    How does VoIP work? Here’s techie part!

    As a consumer, you can use VoIP like any other method of communicating over the internet. Behind the scenes, using codecs, your voice is transformed into a digital signal (data packets) and transmitted over an IP (Internet Protocol) network. These  VoIP packets can be transmitted over any VoIP-compatible network, such as your home broadband service or a  local area network (LAN) (more commonly seen in a business context).

    Our VoIP solutions for the home

    We have two options when it comes to VoIP at home:  
    1. A basic line £5 p/mth – keep your existing number and migrate to VoIP paying only for the calls that you make.
    2. An ‘all you can call’ option – £15 p/mth – keep your existing number and use up to 5000 minutes per month, including calls to 01,02,03 and even 07 UK mobiles. Also included is a physical Yealink handset and smartphone app.  
    We can port existing numbers on both options, so you have none of the hassle of a new number AND we provide either Yealink or Cisco hardware options as shown in the images below. These digital phones use your ultrafast broadband internet connection to establish connectivity and make calls and therefore replace your old analogue one. Yealink digital phone

    3 reasons to switch to VoIP

      1. Get Gigabit ready for the 2025 #BigSwitchOff       As announced in 2015, BT Openreach plans to switch off its PSTN and ISDN networks in favour of IP voice services by 2025. This transition will happen gradually over the next few years as the older systems are phased out. It is perhaps the biggest change that the telecoms industry has seen in the last 30 years and therefore VoIP is going to become essential. 2. Save money  Switching to VoIP is a far cheaper solution compared to traditional line rental. So, with a VoIP landline, you move all of your communications online. Pay for your phone service in one predictable and convenient monthly fee. Setup is simple and you can say goodbye to higher call costs and costly line rental.  3. Superior features and capabilities Unlike traditional phone services, cloud-based phone services offer powerful features such as auto attendants, call recording, custom caller ID, voicemail to email, and so much more. Plus, you have the flexibility to take calls and work from anywhere.   Take action now before the 2025 #BigSwitchOff.  Call us on 01633 530519 or email [email protected] if you would like some help or advice from our expert team about the best solution for you.

     
  • 2750 Homes Passed
    We are one of a growing number of internet service providers in the UK who are laying their own full-fibre broadband networks and we’re super proud of this. We’re even more proud to celebrate that 2750 homes & businesses in our local area now have access to Country Connect’s ultrafast full fibre broadband network!

    What is a Full Fibre Network?

    If you want to get a bit techy, you can read more about how full fibre networks actually work here. But for most consumers it means a network of cables, using optical fibres to transmit data at the speed of light – and yes, it is as cool as it sounds because it means fast, reliable broadband with 10X speeds and huge data capacity to meet the modern day demands in a typical home (think remote working, watching Netflix, gaming.. the list goes on). Full Fibre uses fibre-to-the-premises technology (FTTP or Fibre to the Property to use the nerdy name) to connect the exchange directly to properties, ensuring a more reliable connection and ultrafast speeds. These new networks of optical fibres direct to the property are replacing the old legacy copper cables on the BT telephone network laid decades ago.

    The #BigSwitchOff 2025

    Did you know that the Government has targeted UK communications companies to switch all data (including telephone lines and even Sky TV) to gigabit-ready services by 2025?  Without this incredibly important upgrade to our national communications infrastructure we will all suffer increasingly high levels of connectivity outages and failures.  Existing connections on the old BT/Openreach networks, although they may be called ‘fibre’ are often only FTTC (or Fibre to the Cabinet) – this means that the part of the connection into your actual property is still copper, is slower and will be obsolete by 2025. It’s important to ask the question, “Is this service FFTC or is it FTTP?”  when talking to any provider about their services as FTTC is NOT gigabit ready and they are not the same thing! 

    Why a Full Fibre Network?

    At Country Connect, our qualified network engineers are trained in laying, splicing and connecting fibre-optic cables direct to customer properties.  That means the physical cables and fibres go straight from your home or business, to the Internet.  The capacity for data is superior, faster and flexible.We can control everything about that connection, from speed to reliability. It is future proof.

    2750 Homes Passed

    The Country Connect engineering team have been super busy laying our full-fibre network for almost a year now. And we are so proud to be able to announce that this week a total of 2750 homes now have available connections! You can find our network engineers all over South Wales, safely and efficiently extending the reach of our full fibre ultrafast network.  In fact, our engineers have laid 30 kilometres (that’s over 18 miles) of fibre in the past 10 months! Why not talk to us today to see if we’re in your area or use our handy online postcode checker. 
  • No Price Increases With Country Connect
    Broadband providers are set to hike prices for their customers in 2022.  We are proud to announce that here at Country Connect, there will be no price increases in 2022.

    Why Is Everyone Else Increasing Prices?

    It’s fairly normal for most subscription services to increase their pricing every year, in line with inflation.  Big companies often have colossal amounts of debt, and so their repayments climb every year.  They pass those borrowing costs on to you, the customer. You’ll find these clauses in your contract with all kinds of service providers, from broadband and telecoms, to services like Netflix.

    Current Interest Rates

    This past couple of years have been super hard for everyone.  The corona virus pandemic has had wide reaching consequences on all aspects of life.  One affect has been Interest Rates set to climb to 9% in 2022.  And that’s double the usual amount!  So that means big price increases for all kinds of services in 2022 – apart from Country Connect broadband!

    Why No Price Increases at Country Connect?

    Country Connect are a small team of experts based in South Wales.  We don’t have flashy London offices, or fancy advertising campaigns.  Our focus is on delivering super fast, reliable broadband to customers which other providers just can’t reach. We focus on our customers.  That means we do whatever we can to look after you.  Just take a look at our reviews to see what we mean!

    Join Country Connect

    Why not talk to our friendly UK staff today to see how you can join our super fast broadband network?