When and Where

If you are in a light orange area then there is a mixed picture when it comes to superfast broadband coverage in your postcode.  More than half of the premises in a light orange post code are expected to be served commercially. Superfast broadband may already be available or a telecoms provider may have plans to do so by 2019.

There are a number of network providers in the county – you can find out more about these on the Telecoms Providers page.  The County Council is unable to publish information on where each telecoms provider serves or has plans to serve.  However, you can find out more about how to check availability by going to the Get Connected page or simply use the 'Useful Links' to the right of this page – these provide links to a range of post code checkers from fibre suppliers in the county.

If superfast broadband is available and you would like to upgrade you will need to contact your internet service provider or shop around for the best deal. For more information on how to do this please go to the Get Connected page.

Solutions for premises in a light orange postcode which are not part of commercial coverage or planned commercial coverage, are being sought through Stage 3 of the Superfast Northamptonshire project. Please visit the Progress Overview page for more information on Stage 3.

Good news! It is likely that superfast broadband services are already available to you. However, getting superfast broadband is not automatic. You need to contact your internet service provider to ask about taking up a superfast fibre broadband service. Please go to the Get Connected page for more information.

Alternatively you can go online to comparison sites such as ‘Uswitch’ or Cable.co.uk to find out which internet service providers are offering fibre broadband in your area and what deals they may have.

Once you find a package or broadband service that meets your requirements then contact the service provider directly to place your order.

Please note that if you are already tied into a broadband contract, some providers may charge a cancellation fee if the minimum period of the contract term has not yet expired.​

If you are in a light green area then it is likely that the green cabinet which serves you has been upgraded to fibre but the extent of any speed improvement will be dependent on the distance between your property and the cabinet which serves it; this means that you need to make further checks about the likely speed of service available to you – you can do this using BT’s Wholesale ADSL Availability Checker. This provides more accurate information if you use your telephone number rather than the address checker option but either would do. You may find our guide to the BT ADSL Checker of help.

To upgrade you need to contact your internet service provider. For more information please go to the Get Connected page.  Alternatively, go online to a comparison website such as Uswitchor Cable.co.uk to compare deals available. If you are unable to take up a fibre service, your broadband will continue to be provided over the existing copper network (ADSL).

Areas which remain unable to access a fibre broadband service following a particular network upgrade will remain within scope of the Superfast Northamptonshire project and solutions will continue to be pursued by the County Council through the next stages of the project. Please see the Progress Overview page for more information

You may wonder why not all areas served by a fibre cabinet will benefit equally from a particular upgrade. To find out more please refer to the FAQ section on the 'Network Build and Technologies' and on the 'Building the Network' page.

This means that you are likely to be served in 2017 as a result of the Superfast Northamptonshire project. This is as part of Stage 2 of the project with BT.

When timescales for paricular localities within the Dark Blue area become clearer, details will also be added to the 'coming soon' list on the Roll Out Schedule as and when phases are confirmed.

Please note that plans may be subject to change and the most detailed information on deployment is available on the Roll Out Schedule page.

The When and Where map is a postcode representation of coverage and not every premise within a postcode may be served by the same network structure. You can use BT's ADSL Wholesale Availability Checker to find out which structure you are served by and then view the Roll Out Schedule. Speed availability may vary where premises are served by Fibre to the Cabinet technology.  

Any localities which do not benefit form this phase of the network upgrade will remain within scope of the project. The County Council will continue to pursue solutions through the project and forthcoming initiatives.

This means that you are likely to be within Superfast Northamptonshire Stage 3 plans with Gigaclear to benefit from ultrafast broadband.  The When and Where map will be updated to show phasing of plans once this is known.  Gigaclear's pure fibre network build will commence in 2017 and complete in December 2018.

Please use Gigaclear's postcode checker to find out if you are in our plans with Gigaclear and to register an interest. 

Areas shown in light blue on the map are where there are no commercial plans to deliver superfast broadband and where, at this point in time, solutions supported by public investment have not yet been secured.  These areas are the focus for Stage 3 of the project which is now underway and involves a number of measures. Find out more on the Progress Overview page.

Some premises now in the light blue area may have previously been shown on the When and Where map in a different colour.  This is because some premises may be served by a cabinet which has been upgraded to fibre but premises may be too far away to benefit from that particular solution (See the Network Build and Technologies FAQ for more information).  We do not know at the outset which premises may be affected but we update the When and Where map as soon as clearer information is available.  

The County Council's target is to see superfast broadband available countywide.  This ambitious target continues to be a key driver for the performance of the Superfast Northamptonshire project and good progress is being made.  Dependencies are explained on the Background and Targets page.  The measures now being progressed for Stage 3 will determine the next wave of plans – news will be reported on the Progress Overview page.  The ability of the telecoms market to  deliver, as well as the availability of public sector funding are key considerations.

Please visit the Self help - What else can I do? section of the FAQs for some alternative options to consider if you would like to try and secure a superfast broadband solution more quickly.  You may wish to contact the project team at bigidea@northamptonshire.gov.uk to find out more about plans in your area before pursuing alternatives.

This means you are expected to be served commercially i.e. one or more telecoms network providers are already providing services or will be extending their networks so services can be provided to you but without the need for any public funding. There are a number of network providers which are active in the county (please refer to the Telecoms Providers web page).

You may already be able to take up superfast broadband (it is not automatic so please contact your internet service provider to ask about an upgrade or go to the Get Connected page for more information.  You can also use online comparison sites such as 'Uswitch' or 'Cable.co.uk' to compare deals available. Alternatively, the commercial plans may not yet have come forward but are expected to be delivered in the period up to mid 2019. Keep checking availability.

The information available to the County Council does not enable us to create a When and Where map which is accurate at an individual premise level. Postcode areas are the lowest level at which we can show how superfast broadband plans are expected to come forward; this involves interpreting complex information available to us from a number of sources. Basically this means that within any postcode area not all premises may be in the same position – we refer to 'parts of' to take account of this.

Postcodes can vary significantly in geographical size and can be quite large in rural areas. Speed availability as a result of a Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) solution for example is affected by the distance that a premise is located from its serving cabinet, so not all premises in the same postcode area will have the same experience. Communities over 1.2km or so away from their serving cabinet will begin to see a decline in the speeds that can be achieved. Please see the FAQ about the Network Build and Technologies.

The extent of the expected fibre footprint is larger than the area where superfast broadband (speeds above 24Mbps) is expected to be available. The information available to the County Council at the pre-planning stage does not enable us to estimate the extent of superfast broadband coverage within the overall fibre footprint.  This is because until planning and survey work has been completed, the technology solution for a particular area is not confirmed.  We update the When and Where map as further information becomes available.

Also, whilst premises may be located in the same postcode area, they are not always connected by the same broadband network infrastructure e.g. premises in a single postcode may be served from different green roadside cabinets or more than one network supplier may operate a network in a postcode area. As such, it is expected that some premises within a particular postcode may get access to superfast services within different timescales to other premises in the same postcode. .

The When and Where map shows the best interpretation of the many layers of information available to the County Council to help viewers get a better idea about when plans in an area are expected to come forward but experiences may differ for specific premises. This is why the When and Where map refers to 'parts of' areas.

The When and Where map can be used in conjunction with the Roll Out Schedule and telecoms providers postcode checker sites to find out more about plans.  Please refer to the 'Useful Links' provided on most pages of this website which click through to BT, Virgin Media, Gigaclear, Thinkbroadband and other such sites for checking coverage availability and plans.

​The main plans secured by the County Council through the Superfast Northamptonshire project to date are being delivered by BT. BT were asked to model and plan a network which would deliver the most efficient and economically engineered solution to provide the greatest coverage of superfast broadband in the county. Setting geographical priorities has been largely avoided by the County Council as this could have a detrimental impact on costs – our aim is to ensure that public sector funding has the greatest impact for as many local people and businesses as possible and as soon as possible. Basing plans on the most economically engineered solution means that some of the more difficult to serve and remote areas are likely to be programmed later in the timescales for the project. This is because the network will continue to be extended outwards to reach further. Also, any advances in technology over the lifetime of the project could help deliver better solutions to those harder to reach areas.

BT’s fibre roll out is also determined by the location and geography of its existing copper network and cabinet structures already in place. This is because one of the technologies which BT deploys is Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) (see FAQ on the Network Build and Technologies). Those areas which will benefit most from FTTC will be those located closest to their serving cabinet.

Decisions on priorities for extending coverage further into areas in the county which still require a solution will be informed on a number of levels, including value for money and the availability of suitable technical solutions. Business will continue to be a key priority for further coverage and demand hot spots will be promoted to the telecoms market to encourage commercial interest and/or inform tender responses under future public procurements.

Plans as currently envisaged, and as shown on the When and Where map, may be subject to change throughout the lifetime of the project – the need for change is always a risk until physical delivery of the network has been completed. This is because there are always 'unknowns' which may affect the timescales, cost or technical solution and which ultimately could mean elements of the plans have to change – this means they could come forward earlier or be delivered later than envisaged. Some of the reasons for this are set out below:

  • The plans of private sector telecoms providers may change over time; this could be an extension of their investment or a withdrawal of plans in the event that factors affecting commercial viability change. The County Council has no influence over commercial telecoms plans.
  • Subsidised roll out plans being delivered with BT and Gigaclear are first developed based on initial 'desk top' modeling work. This draws on best known information about the area and existing networks but without the benefit of physical on site surveys in the first instance. This is a pre-planning phase. In order to test whether these expected plans are viable and are deliverable within the envisaged timescales, further planning and on-site survey work needs to be undertaken. Examples of issues which have the potential to affect plans include incidences such as the discovery of blocked or collapsed ducts, difficulties securing wayleaves (permission to access private land or property), having to cross major roads, rivers or railways or very high costs to connect a power or backhaul supply which could challenge value for money of a proposed solution. Similar principles may also apply to other providers as their plans come forward.
  • Another potential reason why plans may change is that the network build to serve any particular locality is being managed as part of a much wider programme of civil engineering works for the Superfast Northamptonshire project and this involves rolling out fibre in different parts of the county at one time.  Resources are managed to ensure the programme as a whole remains on track which can sometimes mean that the timescales to serve a particular locality within that programme may have to change.

The When and Where map illustrates how plans for superfast broadband in the county are expected to come forward. It is based on the best information available to the County Council at any point in time and from a number of sources; this information is interpreted in map form at a postcode level (it is not accurate at premise level). As information available to the Council changes over time, so may its representation on the map.

Whilst the County Council has a clear programme of works there is always the risk that 'unknowns' could affect how and when plans come forward. This means expected timescales for a particular locality can change - this is expected given the nature and scale of the civil engineering build programme.

For example, plans could be delayed due to the discovery of insufficient duct space, blocked or collapsed ducts, securing 'wayleaves', approvals to work on the highway, having to cross major barriers like motorways or rivers, planning considerations, the availability of power, backhaul etc.. There is always a risk that plans may change at any point during the network build. This is why timescales reported are only indicative until such time much closer to a completion date that more certainty can be provided.

The County Council does not hold information on when commercial plans are due to go live.

The County Council will continue to keep updating information as it becomes available to us and as the roll out plans evolve. We are also trying to continue to improve how we present the information we do have to the general public. Information is also provided through our Twitter feed (@SFastNorthants) and the project newsletters which are available on the Publications page.

​The Intervention Area map or State Aid classification map identifies areas in the county where public funds can be invested to enable 'next generation' superfast and basic broadband technology to be delivered to support faster broadband services – these are shown as 'White' areas on the Intervention Area map which corresponds to the State aid classification.  The White areas are locations where there are no foreseeable commercial plans and clearance has been secured to enable public funding (State aid) to be invested.

To set the Intervention Area for a particular public investment, the Council has to follow due process and secure Government clearance for State aid. Commercial plans on the Intervention Area map are shown as Black or Grey and are determined in consultation with the wider telecoms market and stakeholders.

The When and Where map simply shows the best interpretation of existing and planned superfast and fibre coverage based on information available to the County Council, whether these are commercial plans or those being enabled through public investment. It is updated on a regular basis to show the latest progress. It is not accurate at premise level.

The County Council wants to provide information as soon as possible on the roll out of plans in the county and how these are changing and coming forward.  It is a more simple task to update the Roll Out Schedule on the website and this is undertaken regularly as new information is known.  Maintaining and updating the When and Where map is more complex and takes a little more time.  This can mean on occasion that the information on the Roll Out Schedule differs from the When and Where map, pending the next map update when the two data sets will align again.  When and Where map updates will normally occur on a quarterly basis.

© 2015 Superfast Northamptonshire