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Archive for February, 2024

Bellingham Broadband or Not? Questions…

We recently noted an incoming email offering 1Gbps fibre broadband in our area (Bellingham, Northumberland, UK) from a company called WeFibre – and would we like to apply for the grant to make this possible? We duly filled in the government form – and went back to the company who were (grant-inclusive ) offering 1Gbps in both directions – for £20 per month – 18 month contract. How could we lose…

Typical modem/router

Well, for starters – the 1Gbps turned out to be advertised as minimum 500Mbps, later clarified (not in writing) to be nearer 900Mbps. At this point I don’t know which figure to believe as the guy from WeFibre seemed to think I would not know the difference between WiFi speeds and incoming fibre speeds. For reference, standard old 2.4Ghz WiFi in no way could achieve 1Gbps or anywhere remotely near it – but anyone wanting such speeds is likely to be using a router with WiFi6 – a recent standard or at the very least, a 5Ghz option and/or hardwired Ethernet.. I always go hardwired for TV and my PC.

But that wasn’t the worst of it, I said I might not be around in a couple of weeks, could they install before then? No. So then I said that a good time would be August (2024) bearing in mind I’m writing this early February – erm, probably not. On further enquiry, after all that, they could not guarantee IF or WHEN they’d be doing installations on our side of the bridge in Bellingham.

So what was the point of wasting my time with a non-existant service? Cowboys. If anyone in Bellingham goes with this company – don’t say you weren’t warned. I’ve been through all this kind of bull with a company in Spain (Habland – who recently became Excom) and eventually kicked them into touch – while slagging them off as widely as humanly possible for the trouble they caused me. I’m happy to repeat that with any company who insists on trying it on and wasting my time. If others did the same we’d all suffer a lot less cowboy nonsense.

Meanwhile I guess we’ll have to wait for a genuine company to come along. Remember the name – WeFibre. Timewasters.

I’d personally rather the telecoms companies concentrated on improving the 4G+ (and perhaps making possible 5G) mobile service between Bellingham and Hexham and then along the equally badly-serviced A69 motorway from Hexham to Newcastle. From experience in Southern Spain, I can say that given a decent 4G+ LTE signal, it is possible, with a 4G router like the TP-Link MR600 (v2 or v3) router and a SIM, to get decent, not very expensive broadband (depending on getting unlimited or near unlimited monthly data – difficult but possible in both Spain and the UK). In Bellingham, 4G+ signals are not that clever and routers tend to be less sensitive than modern phones.

There it is – my broadband experiences in Bellingham, UK. Previously when living in nearby Wark, I ended up with reliable, semi-decent-at-the-time (80Mbps down, 20Mbps up) broadband from Vodaphone (not mobile). I should say however that it took several months of fighting with incompetent staff (all of which unnecessarily cost Vodaphone several routers + compensation) to get there. No idea why it isn’t blogged in here. I recall several conversations with me blaming the telegraph pole and Voda ignoring me – it turned out eventually that the box under the pole was absolutely sopping wet and the wires only JUST holding together. After the OpenReach fellow was finished – perfection.

Meanwhile we’ve un-filled the grant form – a shame the governement chose not to allow freeform feedback.

Meanwhile, back in Spain in a town-edge area the telecoms companies could not be bothered to wire up, we’re happy with €20-a-month decent 4G+ based broadband until Starlink prices drop even further from the current €40 + €10 monthly equipment rental (no installation charge). That episode IS well documented here.