Is There Food?

by Daniel Woolstencroft

(Slightly) Less Than Infinity

For many, many moons I’ve been with Be Broadband. If you’re looking for excellent ADSL2+ based broadband, I’d really recommend them. But as with all things technology, there’s always bigger, better, faster, more! Enter BT Infinity, the super fast fibre optic broadband hotness that’s creeping its way around the UK.

For months I’d enthusiastically key my postcode into the BT Infinity checker to see if it was available in my area. And for months I’d get the same reply: no. And yet weirdly, my local exchange was upgraded, so why the hell couldn’t I get Infinity?

It turns out that Infinity doesn’t work like normal broadband. It’s FTTC (Fibre To The Cabinet) which basically means the fibre optic pipes have to run from your local exchange to the cabinets at the end of your road. If they don’t, you can’t get Infinity, regardless of the state of your exchange.

You can’t get Infinity, but what BT have been a bit quiet about is that you CAN get fibre optic broadband. They call it BT Broadband Option 3 With Fibre, or Faster Total Broadband, depending on which way the wind’s blowing and who you speak to. The principle is this: you can have faster broadband, they won’t call it Infinity, and you won’t get full on Infinity speeds. But it’ll be, you know, a bit quicker.

In my case, their fibre option was showing estimated download speeds of 16mb, which was twice as fast as my existing 8mb with Be. So I went for it. I cancelled my Be account, signed up with BT, and scheduled the installation. As I saw it, twice as fast was worth the upgrade.

As I write this my shiny new BT connection has been in and working for almost three weeks, has been trouble free and is providing me with speeds of 37mb. So despite not getting Infinity level speeds, not being called Infinity, and not being actively sold to homes that it’s theoretically available to, this is pretty much Infinity by any other name. Infinity Lite then, if you can get your head around that.

The moral of this story? If you think you can get Infinity, but BT’s checker says you can’t, it’s worth giving them a call. Your creaky old wiring might be capable of more than you, and they, think.