Not all Fibre is the same. There are two main types, Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) and Fibre to the Premise (FTTP). FTTP connects an optical fibre direct to the customer's property and is capable of what is termed Hyperfast speed (generally up to 1000Mbps). FTTC only brings the optical fibre to a streetside cabinet (generally very close to the existing telephone cabinet) from which each subscriber's copper connection is linked back to the new fibre cabinet. FTTC can deliver superfast broadband download speeds (generally up to 100Mbps) for those consumers who live close to the cabinet, but can never match the speed that FTTP achieves, especially the further away the customer is from the cabinet. Customers who live more than (say) 2km from the cabinet are unlikely to achieve download speeds of greater than 1-5Mbps. B4RN, if the project gets the go-ahead, will install FTTP to each property where the customer wants it which will provide download speeds of up to 1Gbps (1000Mbps).
Great Mollington exchange was first converted to use “Superfast” broadband during 2015. This project managed by Connecting Cheshire (CC) on behalf of Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) is now into the third of four projected phases.
This exchange, and its immediate neighbours, has what is termed Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) for most lines within the parishes of Mollington, Lea-by-Backford, Backford (including Chorlton by Backford and Caughall) and the block of houses in Kinnington Way, Backford Gardens and Rosemere Drive which are actually in Great Sutton. The first two phases of the CC project involved installation of four cabinets sited nearby to the existing cabinets (Cabinet One at the junction of Station Road, Backford with the A41 Liverpool Road, Cabinet Two in Grove Road outside Grove Farm, Cabinet Three in Townfield Lane near to the junction with Well Lane and Cabinet Four outside Costco in Chester Gates Business Park.
Phase Three involved the installation of an additional cabinet (Cabinet Five) outside Backford Belles on the A41 and serves the Kinnington Way estate with far better connections than previously available, as well as some additional improvements in Backford itself and for the industrial properties between Station Road and the Canal on the A41 and has also involved the upgrading of service to properties along the Parkgate Road between Overwood Avenue and Fiddlers Lane.
In 2017 Virgin Media obtained permission to run their new fibre trunk through Lea, Mollington and Saughall to Blacon and then on to Wrexham to replace the existing trunk route through the middle of Chester (which was scheduled to be seriously impeded by the proposed Northgate development). However, Virgin have experienced serious financial issues with building their new Project Lightning network and work to connect the residents of Mollington and Saughall has now been deferred probably until at least 2020.
The government's Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review (FTIR) published on 23rd July 2018 states that the existing copper-based network should be replaced entirely with Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) by the end of 2033. The bulk of the "commercial" rollout should be completed by 2025, when it is intended that the existing analog voice network that runs entirely over copper is replaced by Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP). That will leave the more remote rural areas still to be converted. This will necessarily require continued funding by BDUK if exchange areas such as Great Mollington and its immediate neighbours are to be converted.
You may have seen stories in the local news a couple of years ago about Virgin Media’s announcement that they were intending to connect the majority of properties within a 5-mile radius of Chester to their Ultrafast network. Although work did start at one point it now seems that their plans for our area are on hold due to concerns about its financial viability and will not resume we estimate until 2020 at the earliest.
Now a new technology has been announced - wireless, which is being developed primarily by the mobile operators. This is 5G and in theory will give transmission speeds of up to 20Gbps. However, as this article explains, the handsets will not be available in the UK until 2020 and then only in major cities. Also, it must be borne in mind that buildings, especially high ones in the immediate vicinity will degrade the signal, as will internal walls as for present 4G networks.