Kirsten Oswald – 2015 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Kirsten Oswald on 2015-10-27.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what work his Department has commissioned to identify the profile of customers with exchange-only lines on the telecom network that are incompatible with fibre to the cabinet broadband technology.

Mr Edward Vaizey

The vast majority of phone lines across the UK connect to the nearest telephone exchange via a street cabinet, which can be upgraded to deliver fibre broadband. Estimates are not available of the number of premises served by exchange only lines which connect directly to the local exchange rather than via one of BT’s street cabinets. There are a variety of reasons why exchange only lines are created. For example, for rural exchanges serving few premises where there was no need for cabinets, or for urban exchanges where it may have been a more cost-effective. Exchange only lines present a greater engineering challenge to deliver fibre broadband than those connected via street cabinets but technical solutions are available. One solution is to rearrange the existing network, lay new cables to reroute lines to new cabinets. This technique was developed as part of the BDUK Superfast Broadband Programme, and the number of exchange only lines is reducing all the time as roll out under the programme continues.