Fibre Broadband in Cowden – Background and Next steps


Cowden Parish Council worked with KCC and Open reach to implement Fibre to the Cowden Exchange in 2016 and through to 2018 across the Parish. This program of work enabled all properties to have access to FTTC.

This activity involved the implementation of new Fibre capable cabinets (the big green boxes) throughout the Parish with the aim to maximise the coverage of both Fibre To the Cabinet (FTTC) and in some cases Fibre to the Premises (FTTP). Those properties that could only access FTTC rely on the incumbent copper telephone lines to provide the Broadband from the Cabinet to the premises. However the passing of the Broadband through the copper telephone cables attenuates the signal so that the resulting speed that a given premises can receive is dependent on the length of the telephone line from the cabinet to the premises.  As a result of this activity additional cabinets were installed across the Parish to improve the connectivity to some areas, eg Horseshoe Green, Furnace Lane.

Next Steps

If your premises currently has FTTC then you can:

  1. Check what service is available to you today – click HERE and follow the instructions
  2. If FTTP is not available or planned then you could consider either of the following, summarised below and full Terms and Conditions available through the links provided:
    1. ‘’Community’’ funded FTTP scheme to a group of properties sharing the FTTC copper line. This can be part or all funded through a grant that each property can apply for, if the cumulative grant does not fully fund the ‘’Community’’ scheme then then the shortfall is the responsibility of the Community group. This does not require all of the group of properties to participate. Click HERE
    2. Or a dedicated FTTP service to a premises. Click HERE

Remember that the benefit of increased Internet connection speeds is also governed by the capability your equipment / Computer.

Further Help?

If you have or experience difficulties then you can always contact Cowden Parish Council.

Spring / Summer 2018

Installation complete, service available through your ISP

If you live within the Parish on or in the vicinity of Hartfield Road or Moat Lane or Smithers Lane then contact your ISP regarding availability of SFBB (Fibre)

September 2016

Implementation of phase 2 has been confirmed for two large areas within the Parish through KCC and Openreach.

KCC have advised that Properties within the vicinity of Smithers lane and  Moat lane area will have a Broad Band  improvement initiative implemented QTR 4 2017 / QTR 1 2018

June 4th, 2015

Superfarst BBand is now available to order, contact your ISP to upgrade your contract – see below for anticipated speeds, this is a real improvement for Cowden..

May 2015

You will probably have noticed the recent (End April / Start May) hive of activity around the Parish in the vicinity of the green BT cabinets. The latest work has been completed at the ‘Pound’ and the Fibre is nearing the ”Go-Live” status. Remember to check the link below to see if your ISP is able to accept orders for super-fast BB.

December 2014

Post registering Cowden Parish with KCC for the early phase of superfast Broad Band via fibre cable to the cabinets the PC was advised that Open reach were stating that completion was due by end of 2015 and KCC were stating that completion would be by the end of March 2015.

 Current status:

  • Both cabinets (Horse shoe green and the church) are in the process of upgrade with fibre cable.
  • Typically its around 8 weeks after the cabinets go in till fibre BBand is live
  •  We are a priority location so at the latest the exchange goes live by end March 2015 (assuming no hicups are experienced)
  •  To benefit it is likely that users od Cowden Echnage would need to upgrade their package or change ISP to receive superfast broadband
  • Currently there are no major problems anticipated with the installation, and work progresses to plan.
  • The Openreach superfast page syas that ” Exchange name: Cowden, Status: Coming soon – Your area will be enabled within the next six months and we’ll provide more details nearer the time. At the moment you can’t order Superfast Fibre”, please noet that you can check for the latest status by clicking here and entering your postcode

What does this mean for users of Cowden Exchange wrt Broad Band?

Due to the rural locations of many outlying properties, often in isolation, the superfast broadband is delivered to the cabintes by fibre optic cable. From here on we will rely on the existing infrastructure, overhead or underground cables – in some cases both. The Broad Band signal will be attenuated through the existing telephone lines, so as an example a property 2Km (in telephone cable route NOT by line of sight) from the green cabinet could receive broadband at a speed of  approx 15Meg, currently expected minimum speed is 1 Meg but can receive between 3 to 6 Meg based on line quality.The signal is atenuated significantly with distance and it is an non-linear relationship, dropping off quickly with distance. If your are say 4km (in telephone cable route NOT by line of sight) cable away from the exchange the estimated speed is around 2 to 3 meg, it could be higher depending on line quality. Note that If it is less than 2 meg then this becomes part of the infill phase within 2015 which provides typically (due to topography of topography) an alternative solution which in the case of Cowden is likely to be be a subsidised satellite system for Broad Band. Note that around 1 meg is required to stream video at curent bandwith and densities. This is  huge benefit for our community

June 2014

Some promissing news. An indicative date for fibre optic cable to the Cowden exchange has been published, 2014 is cited, click here. And the BT open reach site also lists the Cowden exchange within plans for Future Exchanges to be upgraded – more details here, just type in your post code Keep registering demand for this service here.

September 2013

BT has won the contarct to roll out superfast Broadband in Kent. The objective is to have 95% of homes receiving broadband at gretaer than 2MB by 2015, see KCCplans – click here. However, there are currently NO PLANS to upgrade the Cowden exchange – based on little or no demand. An upgrade to the echange could see speeds well in excess of 2MB for all in the Parish and certainly a lot higher than this for the majority. To register interest in having Cowden exchange upgraded click here and then enter your post code and fill in the ”expression iof interest’ to hhow suppliers there’s a demand in your area – you can access the form by clicking here. Lets get Cowden faster Broadband.

Joe Midleton advised in Jan 2013 that he had submitted a proposal on behalf of SDC  to get superfast broadband to Cowden, Leigh, Hever, Penshurst and Chiddingstone to DEFRA. SDC anticipate that they will get a response from DEFRA in late February along with what this actualy will mean for Cowden. Please note that it is not clear what , if any benefit, willl be available to Cowden, this is dependent on the conditons of any approvals to the submitted proposal.

SDC has been informed by DEFRA that their Expression of Interest has been approved and SDC have been invited to submit a full application. If SDC submit the full application and meet all the conditions set out by DEFRA then SDC should get access to the funding.This will be quite a lengthy process as this is a very large project and we will be compiling a working group to progress the application over the coming months. We have no specific deadline however DEFRA recommend we submit it within the next 6 months.

So if we want this ffor COWDEN then please go to and vote online then this would be very useful in gettin COWDEN upgraded. Vote to get better BB now

Broadband for residents have identified that the quality of Broadband varies considerably within the Parish, affecting residents and businesses. Register your interest in this matter by contacting the Clerk.

The broadband speed that Cowden obtains is limited by the technology that the telecoms providers install within  the local exchange. The decision regarding the technology and hence capability is a commercial one with income from users dictating if this is a financially sound venture. However there is also a government initiative, as well as district council initiative to improve broadband speeds within Rural Areas, Cowden falls into this Kent County Council category.

Whilst speeds close to either the exchange and / or distribution junction box (Butterwell Hill) should be receiving speeds up to and around 5 MHz this drops off quiet significantly the further you move away – speeds on the periphery of the parish dropping below 1Mhz at times.

In addition to speed comes bandwidth, basically the exchange has a capacity and the more people that are using broadband at the same time so, at a given amount, the speed will reduce. This has a knock on effect for everyone.

DEFRA have recently confirmed their commitment to rural broadband and an activity is being coordinated through Kent County Council to help rural communities obtain a better service. The Rural Community Broadband Fund (RCBF) has been launched in England with confirmed funding of £20m and is now open to Expressions of Interest. The RCBF is delivered as part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE). The RCBF is jointly funded by Defra and Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK). However, we do need to demonstrate a community need and in addition to completing the survey (see below) it is paramount that your interest is also registered through this KCC link   Click Here Cowden Parish Council is exploring the opportunity to participate in these grant schemes, the much publicised Iwade success is one such example of a local community benefitting from these types of initiatives.

Please contact the Clerk if you would like Cowden Parish Council to explore the possibility of an improved broadband service (faster access) via email and / or complete the survey that you can access here and return to the Clerk by post or email.

The Clerks contact details are on the site home page.