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Upgrading to full fibre: all you need to know

Jenny Dallas

Jenny Dallas | Customer Experience Squad Product Manager

Just been told you can upgrade to full fibre? Hooray! Get ready for life-changingly fast broadband speeds. Here’s everything you need to know about what happens next:

Quick recap

Full fibre broadband uses the latest fibre-optic technology, which is why it can go so much faster than anything you’ve had before. If you want to know more about how the tech works, read our guide: What is full fibre? And if you want to know why it’s so brilliant, read our other guide: Full fibre: Top 10 benefits.

Step 1: Say yes!

The entire UK is upgrading to full fibre over the next few years, so the sooner you say yes, the sooner you’ll join them. As long as the fibre optic cables have been installed in your street, there’s nothing stopping you. It doesn’t even matter if you’re an existing member of our flock or not - we can upgrade you either way.

An important thing to know before you start, is that it can take several weeks until the new connection is ready. In some cases, it can be even longer (this is true for every broadband provider, but not all of them will tell you). Our Broadband Eggsperts will be with you every step of the way, but it’s just something to bear in mind when you go ahead with the upgrade.

Step 2: Engineering work (outside your home)

We arrange all the work with the network owner (this will usually be Openreach), who then send out their engineers. The first thing they do is attach a small junction box (the size of a block of cheese) to the outside of your home. This box then gets connected to a fibre-optic cable from your street, either from a nearby telegraph pole or from under the ground.

Telegraph Pole connection

The engineer may need to drill temporary holes in one of your outside walls, in order to work up a ladder safely. Once they’re finished, they’ll fill the holes and leave the space nice and tidy.

Underground connection

The engineer will talk with you about how best to get the fibre-optic cable into your home. It might mean that a cable needs to go under your drive or through your garden. They’ll only do work that you agree to but, depending on where you live, they might need to get local planning permission to do it. Once the work is done, the engineer will leave the area as tidy and undisturbed as they can.

Finally, some homes don’t need a junction box and will take the cable straight into the property. The engineer will tell you if this is the case once they’ve inspected your home.

Engineering work (inside your home)

ONT Box

After the junction box has been put on the outside of your home, we’ll need to connect it to an ONT (a white box around 13cm x 11cm). This goes on an inside wall and is connected to the junction box by a cable. The engineer will need to drill a hole (or maybe holes, depending on your home’s layout) to pass this cable through. The hole will be about 12mm wide (about the size of a 1p coin).

They can’t do this without the homeowner’s permission, so if that’s not you, you’ll need to make sure you already have this. We’d recommend asking your landlord in plenty of time.

Plugging in your router

The last step is to connect your ONT box to your router. All Cuckoo customers get a complimentary router, but if you have your own which you’d rather use, that’s absolutely fine.

We’ll send you instructions on how to connect them (it’s super easy), and before your engineer leaves, they’ll check the connection on one of your devices and make sure you’re happy.

Is there anything you need to do?

We’ve mentioned some of them above, but it’s a good idea to bear the following in mind:

  • Where you’d like your ONT box to go in your home (it will need to be near a double power socket).
  • If renting, please get permission from your landlord for the engineer to drill holes and lay cables (it’s probably best to get this before you order your upgrade to full fibre).
  • If you’re having building work done in your home, please contact us first as we may need to rearrange your engineer appointment when there are no obstructions in and around your property.
  • Finally, if you live in a busy street, we’d recommend trying to block off some parking space around the telephone pole that’s nearest your home, on the day of your engineer visit. This is because, unfortunately, if they can’t park near it they may not be able to finish the work and will have to come back another day (very annoying we know, but not something we can control!).

My street hasn’t been upgraded yet

Oh rats! Well, hopefully it will happen soon. If you’re not a Cuckoo customer, keep an eye out for flyers coming through your letterbox, telling you that you can now get full fibre. If you’ve asked us to let you know, we’ll email you and send a text when it’s available!

If you’re a Cuckoo customer and are on our Fast speed, we’ll also drop you an email and text when you can upgrade (and we’ll waive the usual £60 upgrade fee too).

What happens to my current broadband when I upgrade?

If you’re a Cuckoo customer on our Fast speed, we’ll turn off your current connection when we know that your new full fibre broadband is installed and working properly, so you’ll never be without the internet.

If you’re not currently with Cuckoo, you’ll have to tell your existing provider to end the broadband connection (unfortunately we can’t do this for you). In case there are any engineering delays installing your new full fibre cables, we’d recommend keeping your old provider up to date with the installation date, to make sure they don’t cut you off before your new broadband has gone live.

Oh, and also make sure you agree your final bill and that they don’t sneak in any exit fees.

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