Back in March I mentioned that BT were planning on running fibre optic trials in my area (Walnut Tree, Milton Keynes). Details were fairly thin on the ground but I tried to post here whenever I heard anything new. Since May there hadn’t been much news until I stumbled across this broadband availability checker. It’s not one that I’ve seen on any other website and the only links I’ve seen to it are on forums. I entered my phone number and to my surprise I was informed that my number was enabled for fibre to the premises (FTTP).

Now that I was enabled, I just had to find an ISP that was involved in the trial. Easy! Well, not really. It seems like none of the major ISPs even know about it. Two names that kept coming up on forums were Plusnet and Zen. I e-mailed both but only Plusnet replied. They told me I had to swap my ADSL to them before I could be put on the trial. However, they couldn’t promise me that if I did switch I would definitely be put on the trial. After speaking with a rather rude representative on the phone I decided they didn’t seem like a company I’d like to deal with.

A few weeks passed by with not much more information until I saw this post on the Thinkbroadband forum by the company Vivaciti saying they were on the trial and to e-mail them if you were interested and in the enabled area. So I did and I got a very helpful reply with this information…

If and when you are accepted by BT for the FTTP trial, they will do a site survey to see if the house is suitable (you are not on the 12th floor of a tower block) then they will arrange for an installation date. We will supply you with a suitable router to use but the router remain our property at this stage.
We have no control over the service that is put in as part of the trial, so can not specify the 100/15 40/10 etc (although my understanding is they want the 100MB (sic) rolled out first)

During this time there is no cost to you for installation or rental/usage of the service.
The trial is due to finish at the end of December although we think this will be extended, but either way at the end of the trial you have a couple of choices, you can either cease the service at no cost or liability or once prices are released you can agree to stay on the service although at that point there would be a 12 month contract imposed on the service.

So as you can see, it was a bit of a no brainer. No cost, no commitment and no contract! I let them know I was more than happy to join the trial and after a few more e-mails I had a installation date for when BT would come and physically connect us to the fibre network.

I’ll save the installation details for the next post.