Openreach UK Trial New Broadband Availability Checker UPDATED

Openreach (BT) appears to have recently introduced an additional broadband availability checker on its website, designed to provide visitors with more details on the current and future coverage of their ADSL, FTTC and FTTP services. But it also gives you data on your UK ISP’s estimated speeds through their network.

Right now, if you try to visit Openreach’s regular website and browse their public pages in the normal way, you’ll often be directed to the same bland and generally uninformative coverage checker as before. The best it can do is match your address to the availability of either”up to 80Mbps” (FTTC) or “up to 1 Gbit/s” (FTTP), which amounts to a simplistic result that does not take actual line speeds into account.

The operator’s “where and when” page takes it a step further and gives you a deployment map, with build locations, for FTTP. But that’s all pretty limited, though you can often get more detail on existing connection performance using BT Wholesale’s separate ‘coverage checker’, although this won’t reflect future network deployments.

However, during a recent conversation about the future availability of the network with Openreach, one of our readers (Phil) received the address (URL) of a seemingly new checker that we had never seen before – https://www.openreach.com/fibre-checker. Until recently, this URL returned the same generic checker mentioned earlier, but now it returns something different and a bit more useful.

Visitors who enter their postcode and then select their address will now receive a summary of the services available for their specific location, along with the dates of any future releases of new technologies (e.g. FTTP). In addition to this, Openreach has included an estimated line speed range prediction, which may be useful for those only served by older ADSL (“Broadband Standard“) and FTTC (“Ultra-fast fiber broadband“) services.

On the other hand, the speed data doesn’t seem to use the exact same actual numbers as BT Wholesale, as Openreach gives a range that – in some of our tests – seemed too optimistic for some copper-based lines. The fact that “standard broadband” is also listed as “up to” 24 Mbps in common ADSL and FTTC areas, regardless of line quality, may also be confusing.

Digging a little deeper, we found that the same checker could also be found under the “Superfast Fiber Broadband” page, where it appears to have been added within the last few weeks or months. But we don’t know why they only use it on a checker for an old connection category, especially considering its higher quality than the usual connection. We have emailed Openreach and hope to hear back soon.

UPDATE 5:36 p.m.

Openreach has confirmed that the new verifier is currently being tested, hence why it has not yet replaced the old one. We don’t know how long this trial will last, but they’ll let us know once it’s fully operational.

A spokesperson for Openreach told ISPreview.co.uk:

“In response to consumer feedback, we have developed a new Full Fiber Checker which we are currently testing on a number of pages on our website to ensure it provides a better experience before rolling it out to a wider audience. “

Virginia C. Taylor