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How does the infrastructure work?

Learn more about cabinets, exchanges and the physical broadband network.

Openreach Fibre Broadband Big Build Animation

BT have produced a video that explains how the infrastructure of fibre broadband works:

Read a transcript of the Big Build video (pdf, 119kb) (opens in a new window).

How broadband is delivered

Fibre to the cabinet

The fibre connection goes from the telephone exchange to the green cabinet on the street.

The connection from the cabinet to the premises is along the existing copper lines. The length of these copper lines has a direct impact on the speeds you can access.

This method is how superfast broadband speeds have been made available to the majority of properties in Dorset.

Fibre to the premises

Fibre connections are run directly to the premises. This option delivers much faster speeds, as no copper lines are involved.

However, this method is far more expensive because it requires much more extensive building work.

Read more on our Fibre to the premises (FTTP) page.

Exchange only (EO) lines

Some properties that are very close by or much further away from the local exchange building may be connected directly via copper lines with no cabinet in between.

In many areas Superfast Dorset has carried out work to build new cabinets and re-route copper wires through it so that those on EO lines can access the fibre network.

Wireless broadband

Wireless broadband does not come down your phone line, but through the air. This means you could save money by cancelling your existing land line telephone contract if you wish.

Wireless broadband can offer faster speeds and better data packages than satellite broadband. It is not currently available across the whole of Dorset, you will need to check with your chosen supplier if they can offer you a service.

Satellite broadband

Any property that can see the southern sky can get a satellite broadband connection. This will require a dish on or near your property and can deliver speeds up to approximately 20Mbps. Weather conditions should not affect your service.

The cost for a satellite connection varies depending on your choice, much like a mobile phone contract, but a basic package could cost approximately £25 per month.

Satellite connections are not suitable for time critical activity such as online gaming, but are fine for most internet use. Also, most satellite providers will allow you to swap over to fibre broadband if it becomes available with no cancellation charge.


For more information about getting better broadband without fibre see our Alternative Solutions web page.


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