Fibre Broadband

Most of the parish can now get super-fast or ultra-fast fibre broadband.

The green telecoms cabinet close to the Devil’s Backbone bridge in Avonwick is ‘South Brent 5’, the all-important link between Avonwick and the new fibre broadband network being rolled out across much of the South Hams. Over the hill in North Huish, Openreach have installed small green boxes to various telegraph poles: these are ‘local nodes’ that do a similar job on a smaller scale.

There are two types of ‘fibre’ broadband: fibre-optic broadband based on copper wires between your home and the cabinet (or node) is called ‘FTTC’ and has a nominal transmission rate (speed) af at least 24 Megabits per second; ‘full fibre’ broadband supplied over a fibre optic cable brought all the way to your house is ‘FTTP’ and should give speeds of at least 100 Megabits per second.

Will my broadband get faster automatically?

No: you will need to switch from the ADSL to a fibre broadband contract or fron FTTC to FTTP to use the faster broadband. Your current broadband supplier may offer to upgrade you, but you should check your options to find a deal that is right for you.

Will this benefit everyone?

It won’t affect the whole parish: the South Brent 5 cabinet covers Avonwick and part of North Huish, but only those houses who are on the South Brent exchange with dialling code 01364.

Many subscribers on the Gara Bridge exchange can also get super-fast and ultra-fast broadband, thanks to new fibre cables and junction boxes that were brought into the centre of North Huish in early 2017.

Not every supplier covers all the parish: for example, Wildanet supply FTTP in Avonwick but Openreach do not (yet – it’s due to offer it by the end of 2026), whilst in North Huish you can get fibre from Openreach but not Wildanet. Openreach provide the underlying service for customer-facing companies including BT, with the full list of companies who may supply broadband here.

Wherever you live, your maximum broadband speed on FTTC will still depend on the length of cable between you and the distribution point – that’s the South Brent/Gara Bridge exchanges for ordinary broadband and the South Brent 5 cabinet or the miniature ‘local nodes’ in North Huish for superfast broadband – and the condition of those cables. If you are connected to the superfast fibre cabinet or node with a chain of rusty paperclips, or you are at the far reaches of the network (about a mile from the cabinet is usually the limit), you probably won’t benefit from the superfast speeds.

Switching to FTTP removes the speed constraint of the local copper cables.

Is this connected to better wireless broadband or 4G?

In short, no. The wireless part of broadband is down to the router/wireless transmitter in your home (the box you plug into your telephone socket, such as a ‘Home Hub’ from BT), and fibre broadband won’t directly affect that part of the system. 4G – superfast mobile broadband – is related to mobile telephone signals, which are entirely separate.

Do I need a six-figure phone number?

It doesn’t matter if your telephone number is five or six digits long, and you should not need to change your telephone number to get faster broadband.

Digital phone lines using fibre broadband

It is important to note that true fibre FTTP connections no longer come with a traditional phone line. If you switch to full-fibre broadband, you will need to move your phone number to a digital phone service that runs over your broadband connection: BT call it “Digital Voice”, Wildanet call it “Phoneline+”, other providers may call it anything they like, but it’s VOBB or VOIP (Voice Over BroadBand or Voice Over Internet Protocol).

You can also ‘port’ your number to a separate VOIP provider and detach your phone number from your broadband service – but beware that doing so can cause your broadband service to be terminated.

If you want this to work in a power cut, you will need to install a back-up battery to power your Internet connection if the mains electricity has failed.

Where can I find out the latest information?

Here is a link to the latest information about the provision of fibre broadband to the area.