As we all know by now, BT installed a fibre cabinet in the centre of the village some years back, but whether or not you can receive fibre broadband depends how close you are to the cabinet and whether you connect to it at all. If you are over a mile away, or have a Burrowbridge number, you are out of luck. The moderately good news has been that there is a wireless alternative from Rural Broadband Southwest providing about 12mbps instead of the paltry 1 to 2 that many of us struggled on before. This network continues to expand, and in particular there is now a relay on Currymoor Pumping Station to help those along the Tone who did not previously have line of sight to the pole on Windmill Hill.

Because of the way cheapskate way that BT has implemented their fibre deployment, many of those who do connect to the cabinet in the village either cannot receive fibre, or can do so only at low speeds. I would not normally endorse the reporting of the Daily Mail, but this link gives a pretty good summary of just how inept BT has been.

The government push to extend broadband throughout the UK has been implemented in two phases, with each phase being independently sub-contracted to specific providers in different parts of the country. Our area is managed by Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS), and for the first phase they used BT as their provider. For the second phase, they opted for Gigaclear which should be very good news, since their practice is to lay full fibre right to each home, so the exchange distance problem is eliminated and ultrafast speeds are available to all. Gigaclear have a Herculean task ahead of them, but they have already started laying fibre in 16 Somerset villages. These locations seem to be fairly randomly distributed, and I believe that they are prioritised by need, as indicated by the amount of interest shown locally. You can register interest by going to their website and filling out a form. This puts you under no obligation, but may help raise the status of Stoke in their scheduling.

Gigaclear will almost certainly be more expensive than BT, but the market is changing all the time, and they will need to price themselves to maximise take-up. The current options will remain, and may even become cheaper. At the very least, more competition in this area, dominated up till now by an exploitative near-monopoly can only be good.