Connected Counties

Welcome to Connected Counties

Bucks and Herts have teamed up to increase fibre broadband coverage in the two counties.

To date the programme has made Superfast broadband available to nearly 100,000 premises, and we continuing to enable more premises across the two counties.

Where and when - can I get superfast fibre?

Our Check Availability page will let you know if your premise is in the rollout plans. Just enter your details into the Postcode and Line checker and find out if the programme rollout.

FAQs - Questions & Answers

If you can't find the information you are looking for then please contact us below.

+When can I get fibre broadband?

Enter your landline number or postcode into our “Where and When” checker to find out what stage you are at on the Fibre Journey. This will give you an estimated indication of when superfast broadband may be made to your postcode. This information is updated regularly however it is not uncommon for issues to arise which may delay delivery and cause your position to remain in the same place on the Fibre Journey for longer than expected.

The process from start to finish may take around 12 months, however any timescales given through the programme are indicative and subject to change due to the complex nature of the programme and the possibility of issues arising.

+Is there a possibility that the fibre rollout to my area could be delayed?

 Unfortunately, due to the complex nature of digital infrastructure, delays can occur. We do advise that all of the timescales and information we provide are indicative and subject to change. This is due to potential technical difficulties, which can arise in a programme of this scale and complexity, such as surveying, planning, design and delivery of the network.

+What is fibre broadband?

Fibre broadband is the new generation of broadband - much faster, more reliable and uses a different technology. Whilst traditional broadband (known as ADSL) is delivered via copper telephone lines, fibre broadband uses fibre optic cable for at least some of the link between the customer and the exchange.

+What is superfast broadband?

There is no single agreed definition for Superfast Broadband. The Connected Counties programme uses the Government's definition of Superfast Broadband as being 24mbps and over, however some organisations define Superfast speeds as 30mbps and over.

+What is the Connected Counties programme?

Connected Counties is a partnership between Hertfordshire County Council, Hertfordshire's Local Enterprise Partnership, Buckinghamshire County Council, Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise and Openreach, focused upon extending fibre broadband coverage to hard-to-reach areas of the counties. Superfast broadband infrastructure means residents and businesses have access to fast and reliable upload and download speeds and can access a wide range of online services.

We successfully delivered the first stage of the programme in 2016 and are currently in the process of extending fibre broadband even further with the aim of making 34,000 more superfast connections across both counties by the end of December 2019.

The programme is currently planning for Phase 3 which will be taking place from January 2020 and will see the two counties dividing and following different approaches.

+Why can’t you tell me exactly when my specific area is going live?

This is a significant network infrastructure programme, so we are taking a phased approach to planning. The detailed planning process is managed through phases, and the current programme rollout happening now until December 2019. As our plans evolve we will update our website with the latest information.

This detailed planning process looks at the positioning of the new roadside cabinets, and identifies whether planning is required as well as how electricity can be provided to the new cabinets.

We will be extending fibre coverage beyond our current programme rollout and will update information to reflect this once further planned phases have been identified.

+When fibre broadband becomes available in my area, will my broadband simply get faster without me taking any action?

It won't happen automatically. To get fibre broadband, you'll need to place an order with an internet service provider. This is because fibre broadband uses a different technology and an engineer will need to visit your premises to install the necessary equipment.

There are several internet service providers offering fibre broadband in Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire so you can shop around and choose the package that’s best for you. If you choose not to upgrade to fibre broadband, you'll be able to continue using your existing broadband service as normal, which will continue to be provided over the existing copper network.

Prices are affordable, many customers (residential and business) can take the opportunity to review their existing contract for telephone calls at the same time which may mean you end up paying only a little more, if anything at all.

+How does the programme plan its rollout?

The Connected Counties programme is a response to market failure, where commercial providers are unable or unwilling to improve the connectivity of an area. To ensure that we include the correct areas, we conducted surveys with all major suppliers in the region, and targeted the communities not being covered be these suppliers.

The aim of the two County Councils and Openreach is to achieve the best possible broadband coverage across Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire for the resources available through planning the most technically efficient rollout. In order to ensure this, the programme is overseen by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), part of central government's Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, who conduct audits on the programme to ensure value for money on the public funds being used, and provide advice on the rollout plans.

+What are the plans for people not included in the fibre rollout?

Superfast broadband solutions have yet to be secured for some areas, either commercially or through the publicly funded plans. If your area is not currently included in the Connected Counties Programme, there are a number of alternatives that can significantly improve your current speed or provide a connection while you wait.

Better Broadband Scheme

The Government has made a commitment to provide every home and business in the UK with access to a basic broadband service, so that browsing the web and keeping in touch with families and friends is easier.

A subsidised broadband installation is now available if you cannot access an affordable broadband service with a speed of at least 2mbps. You can find more details here:


Broadband via mobile

Mobile broadband is often available in areas outside the Connected Counties Programme. It is provided through mobile telephony network and does not require a landline. The strength of the connection will depend on the strength of the signal in your area. To see the availability visit Ofcom's mobile coverage website.

Mobile broadband offers a flexible alternative that can be accessed with a number of devices, including mobile phones, mobile dongles, WiFi units and data cards. In most cases mobile dongles, which work as portable modems are USB-compatible and plug directly into the laptop, PC or device.

Connections via 3G/4G

As 3G network and the improved 4G coverage in rural areas of Bucks and Herts expands, it might often present a viable alternative as a fast home broadband solution. A connection to a mobile network might be achieved by installing an antenna on the roof or simply switching on a router in the living room, achieving speeds up to 60Mbps on the fastest 4G connections.

In areas closer to mobile masts even simpler solutions such as wireless dongles might enable residents with a reliable connection to get online.

Ofcom provide a coverage checker here https://checker.ofcom.org.uk/ and you can find the most up-to-date information on the coverage checkers on the respective mobile providers' websites.

Please note that 3G and 4G services may be affected by a number of local factors, such as building materials, tree cover and weather conditions.

When using this technology make sure to choose a tariff that will allow you comfortable browsing without exceeding capped limits, as the charges outside the allowance might be costly.

Community Fibre Partnership

Openreach have launched a campaign to make it easier for communities to pursue a co-funded solution: www.communityfibre.bt.com and there are other network providers who also might be able to help: www.connectedcounties.org/#providers Please note, that such as approach would entail considerable funds from the local community.

Project Lightning

Virgin Media is also currently conducting a major extension of their fibre network and are urging communities who want better connectivity to register their interest here: www.virginmedia.com/cablemystreet.

    +Is it possible to speed up rollout to my area?

    No, the programme is not identifying specific locations for upgrade first as this would create technical constraints which could lead to less coverage and speed uplift across Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire.

    The rollout is the most technically efficient and therefore most cost effective plan possible. If we were to change the planned rollout to prioritise a particular community, this would mean the overall costs would rise. As we have a limited budget, we would have to remove some other planned communities to cover these increased costs, and therefore we would not achieve the best Value for Money overall.

    +Why are you providing some people with 2Mbps, this isn’t superfast?

    The Government has made a commitment to provide universal access to standard broadband so we are aiming to ensure that everyone in Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire has access to a minimum of 2 Mbps broadband speeds (fast enough to watch BBC iPlayer).

    Please click here for more information on the Better Broadband scheme.

    +How do I find out what my current broadband speed is?

    You can either contact your current internet service provider and ask them, or carry out an online test yourself using the BT wholesale speed checker.

    There are also lots of websites which have a broadband speed checker service. Some suggestions are below:

    +Is there anything I can do to improve my current broadband speed?

    Yes. As a first point of call you should speak to your current internet service provider to ask if they can do anything to improve the speed you can access.


    Ofcom have introduced a new campaign called ‘Boost Your Broadband’.  Providing consumers with the information they need to engage with their providers and find out if they are getting the best package for their needs. 

    Encouraging consumers to see if they can get more from their broadband by checking what services are available in their area. 

    Also giving them the information they need to speak to their provider about the deals they could get.

     The campaign can help constituents find out if they could:


    ·                 upgrade to a faster service with their current provider;

    ·                 get a better deal for their current package;

    ·                 switch to a new deal with a different provider; or 

    ·                 stick with their current deal.


    Dedicated website (www.BoostYourBroadband.com)

    +I live in a BT exchange area which covers areas outside Bucks/Herts. How does this affect me?

    Cross-border cabs have been identified. You should contact your local programme to find out if they have more information.

    +Can I get the 2Mbps upgrade now? Why must I wait?

    Please click here for details of the Better Broadband Scheme to find out more details about the upgrade.

    +A new green fibre cabinet has been put up in my community. Why is it taking so long for it to go live?

    The ‘standing’ of a new fibre cabinet can often be very early in the whole cycle of works which needs to happen to plan and build a new fibre network and get it ready for service. The whole build cycle can take on average around 12 months for a Fibre to the Cabinet solution.

    +What broadband technologies are being used?

    Plans with BT are largely based on Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) technology, with Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) also being deployed in some localities.

    FTTC brings fibre out from the telephone exchange and closer to the premise via the installation of a new fibre cabinet supporting download speeds of up to 80Mbps for those located closest to it. Many premises served by FTTC will be able to access superfast broadband services. For those that don’t benefit from a cabinet upgrade, it is expected that solutions will continue to be sought.

    Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) is much more costly to deliver because it involves laying new fibre all the way from the telephone exchange to a premise, which means more civil engineering works, but it can support much higher speeds. Some internet service providers offer up to 1000Mbps (1 Gigabit) services over FTTP. Other telecoms providers as well as BT use and specialise in these and other types of technology.

    More basic services can be provided by wireless and satellite broadband when other technologies are not available.

    +I am a retail Internet Service Provider and want to sell fibre broadband, what do I do?

    We are keen to ensure that broadband service providers are aware of the location of the newly built infrastructure and how to get access to it. Service providers can contact BT Openreach via the website (www.openreach.co.uk) to get this information.

    +BT has won the contracts – does that mean I have to use them as my internet service provider?

    BT was awarded the contract, however Openreach are the organisation delivering the infrastructure for the Connected Counties Broadband Programme. Once the infrastructure has been delivered and you are able to order a service, you can choose from the existing Internet Service Providers in your area.

    There are a range of Service Providers that can be viewed on our website at www.connectedcounties.org/#providers

    Please note that there are currently less suppliers that provide Fibre to the Premises than Fibre to the Cabinet. Please see Openreach's website for a list of FTTP suppliers.

    +I know that there is fibre in the road/verge outside my house. Why can't BT use that to provide me with superfast broadband?

    In many cases it may be the result of a core fibre spine. This is similar to a motorway style scenario, where you can only get on and off a motorway at certain junctions. It is equally not possible to link into the fibre network just anywhere. Fibre networks may also be owned and run by different telecoms providers.

    +Data Disclaimer

    The Connected Counties programme status information provided by the Postcode and Line Checker and all other pages on the website is subject to change as the project progresses.

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    Connected Counties Programme Update


    The Connected Counties Programme has made Superfast Broadband available to nearly 20,000 premises within the current contract. The team are working hard to keep up this good work despite delays affecting some delivery. We remain committed to delivering next generation access as soon as possible.

    Completion of work across the extension programme for contract 2 roll-out is currently scheduled until the end of 2019. You can check the current position of your address in the Where & When checker at www.connectedcounties.org/#where-when on our website.

    The aim of the Connected Counties programme is to achieve the best possible long-term broadband coverage across the two counties with the resources available at the same time as guaranteeing value for money. This is done through planning the most technically efficient rollout and ensuring that public funds are only be spent in areas where there is no existing or planned fibre service delivery by any commercial supplier. It also takes into account many factors including the existing engineering infrastructure; local geography, planning requirements, and the availability of suitable technologies to provide a service.

    Have a question about Broadband provision in your area? Why not try our FAQs page and if that doesn't answer your query please email us at  info@connectedcounties.org and a member of the team will aim to respond to you within 10 working days.

    *Last Updated: February 2018*

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