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IT TOOK SEVERAL YEARS TO
BRING BROADBAND TO HORSTED KEYNES
THIS PAGE RECORDS THAT STRUGGLE AND COVERS OTHER LOCAL BROADBAND ISSUES
NOW LET'S SEE IF WE CAN BRING
AN OPTICAL FIBRE INTO THE VILLAGE!
Chris is pleased to offer help to villagers who are
having trouble setting up their Broadband connection. Please ring 791624 for
Last update January 10th 2013
GET IN THE VILLAGE?
KEEP AN EYE ON OUR
FAME AT LAST!
as THE REGISTER
features our campaign
NETWORK THEFT IN HORSTED
We have had reports of people having their Wi-Fi
connections hijacked in the village. This happens when someone logs into
your broadband connection and downloads on your account by pretending to
The only 100% certain way to stop this is to use a
wired connection to your router but if you want to use wireless you can help avoid the
problem by setting up your router properly, changing the default
passwords and altering your Wi-Fi access code key often. This is not so easy
on BT by the way as they allocate you with a passcode that is shown on a
label on your router. To alter this passcode on BT you need to go to the
control pages of your router by entering an IP address (something like
192.168.1 255 or similar). There should be instructions for your model
in the book that came with your broadband router or try looking on
BT.com. If you alter your code please remember to write down the new
passcode, or wireless key if you prefer. Forget the code and you won't
be able to attach any new equipment that you might get.
However hard you try to keep people out of your
network it is unfortunately possible for
anyone to monitor your connections and eventually work out your
wireless access code. One trick that might help is to remove the aerial from your router
(as long as it is a screw on type, don't break yours off and then blame
us). This will severely limit how far your Wi-Fi signal can travel, but
as long as there is still enough power for you to connect from the normal
place then it may stop the problem.
It really is important that you keep interlopers off
your home network as if they were to download obscene or illegal content
YOU could easily be held responsible. Many people are limited in how
much data they can transfer each month which is another good reason to
ensure that you and only you use your connection.
By the way all BT customers are allowed to share
their connection with each other making it possible to use the internet
when out and about. This is done in a way that does not use up your
allowance and also makes it clear who is downloading what. You can turn
this feature off (it's a setting on your router called BT Fon) but if
you do you are prevented from accessing the internet when out and about.
Please don't confuse the very useful Fon feature with network hijacking,
they are totally different.
We will let you know if and when we learn more.
NAMESCO - NDO,
SORRY YOU HAVE COMPLETELY LOST ME
For several years I have recommended the services of
the UK company Namesco, also known as NDO. They are based in Worcester
and offered a service that was in my humble opinion second to none.
Their customer service team were second to none, acting quickly and
efficiently whenever I had a problem. I do not receive any commission
yet I have recommended their services to several people in the Village
something that I now bitterly regret.
You will notice that I am writing in the past tense, for the following
To do anything these days you need a password: to
check your emails, to look at the state of your account or perhaps to
upload a new file to this website. Someone at
Namesco had an idea recently, "Let's make every customer alter their
password, not just once but every 6 months". So why is this such a good or bad
I have a technique with my passwords. They are all
different and based on a certain formula that I will not disclose to
you. This means that I can work out any password if I happen to forget
it so I have no need to record it or write it down anywhere. If you
don't know the formula you have very little chance of working out or
guessing my passwords. So why is it so bad to have to alter my passwords
every few months?
The answer is simple. As I cannot work out my
password I need to write it down, and write it down somewhere that I
know I can find it - that will be on my computer then. So whereas now
nobody can know my password it is now on my computer for any thieves to
find. Naturally I can't put the password behind a password protected
file as I might forget that password!
This means that not only do I have the considerable
inconvenience of having to alter my password every few months, I cannot
find it if I lose my computer!
I will also add that I am fairly computer literate,
changing the password on my email programme only takes me a few minutes.
Despite their being some "easy" diagrams on the Namesco support site I
can absolutely assure them some people have no idea. So they have to get
out an expert to help them, and this will need doing twice a year! I am
afraid many customers just ain't going to stick with it and will move
away. How utterly stupid in a time of recession. Unless I am missing
something and Namesco just don't want that sort of customer.
The next complaint about Namesco is how they went
about this change. They gave most of us very little notice and naturally many
customers did not understand what it was all about anyway and ignored
the emails. This evening Namesco just turned off their emails so these
Namesco support. Guess what? Namesco support became overloaded and was
constantly engaged. Tweets abounded, journalists became interested. Those
customers who have been away - and I know of at least one
customer who has been in Portugal - came home to find that they could
not get at their emails (not even the emails telling them how to alter
their settings) and they couldn't contact Namesco support
either! This means that as I recommended Namesco the customers rang me
and wanted me to sort the whole thing out for them immediately!
Oh did I mention that it's not only emails that are
affected. I know it won't be so many customers affected but anyone with
a web site on Namesco can no longer upload files (that's FTP if you are
not technical) from more than one computer at a time. I have a large
number of web sites and upload from all over the place. I also have
different IP addresses but they seem to think that every web site owner
has a static IP. I don't as it costs me extra each month. Again I
simply rely on a secure password to stop hackers. I have this week moved my
domains away from Namesco - an expensive frustrating logistic nightmare
but I will not be told how I access my perfectly legal websites!!
Why have Namesco done all this? I wish I knew. If
they have been hacked then I might just understand, but they say not, (I
wonder?). Instead they seem to be
suggesting that this has all be done for my benefit. They talk of
industry standards. Well then they should at least have phased the
change in so that just a few customers were affected each day or week to
avoid blocking up their phone lines. Too simple perhaps.
Thanks, but no thanks Namesco. I have moved to a
different host. Oh they charged me £18 to move the address when many, no
most operators do it for free. The job involves entering three "email"
type address on a web apge. Perhaps we
now see why they did it. I wonder how this will affect Namesco profits
or if they are in line for another take over? Just as Namesco took over
21 November, may be updated.
OCTOBER 2012 -
WHY OUR VILLAGE BROADBAND IS 'GETTING SLOWER BY THE DAY'
p.s. Since writing this section
and after contacting BT we have been told that some villagers have
noticed an increase in recent speed test results, perhaps not back to
their previous levels, but certainly better than before. We think this
may be the result of some "twiddling" in the BT exchange and would
appreciate those who wrote to us complaining about speed to take another
test are let us have their latest results. R.P.
If you are fairly technical and look at the data that
is available on one of the screens on your router you may be surprised to see
that your broadband internet 'sync speed' is as high as 7,500 kbps, yet when you perform a
speed test on this site you are shown a download speed as low as 1,000 kbps or
even less. So why can you connect to the local exchange at more than 7
Meg yet only download data at 1 meg?
It's becoming a regular occurrence to find the speed
of local broadband slowing to an unusable level with YouTube videos
stuttering and stalling all over the place. This seems to happen
especially when a large number of users are on line at the same time. Wet
weekend afternoons and weekday evenings seem worst but if your check even overnight downloads
are getting slower. So why should this be happening? The answer is our
"back haul", please read on....
What many people do not realise is that this back
haul - that's the part of the internet connection between the Dane Hill
exchange building and the nearest hard wired connection to the internet
- is via two satellite type dishes that are on the side of the local
exchange building, both point towards Tunbridge Wells - at busy times both are often completely
So why does every bit of our broadband data have to
go via Tunbridge Wells? This is historically where our telephone signals
have been routed, as it was the centre of the telephone area this was an obvious place for the
internet equipment back in the old dial up modem days, and BT have not
yet upgraded the system. With modern fibre cables it really does not
matter which "point of presence" is used to connect a group of customers
such as our village to the outside world, but for now the old BT hierarchy still applies.
As there are no broadband wires going from the Dane
Hill exchange to the outside world, to keep the speed of connection at a usable level we
have to use a radio connection, and for technical reasons
BT are limited in the frequencies they are allowed to use on terrestrial
radio frequency connections in our area - Gatwick Airport being so close also limits the
frequencies available. Because of these problems the BT dishes can only carry 35M Bits of data
that's the same amount of data that a single optical fibre delivers to one home in
Lindfield! Believe it or not all 990 homes in our area share this incredibly small
70MBit bandwidth! Because everybody looks at the internet at a different mili-second
period this is just about enough for normal browsing, but when
many people are using their broadband connection to watch TV and things
like Netflix - which run all the time of course - it all gets clogged
up. This seems to be the reason why those of us who get a decent
connection speed to the exchange are unable to use their computers properly at
I wonder if it might be an idea to suggest that
customers in areas such as ours, those with a very limited broadband
backhaul, might be restricted in the use they make of their connection?
No, thought not! In fact there is a restriction of sorts as we are
mostly on schemes which limit the total monthly data throughput on their
line. Those with a fibre connection are usually totally unlimited of
It would cost BT a tidy sum of money to run an optical
fibre to the Dane Hill exchange, and of course even more to extend that
fibre to the rest of our area so BT seem to be waiting to get some money
from the Government before they upgrade us. Why should BT worry? We are
all forced to use their wires whoever we actually pay for our broadband.
There is no Sky, and no Virgin connections in our area, so why should BT worry?
So what can we do? Time for action from our elected representatives
methinks. I recently attended and made a contribution to a conference on
Rural Broadband at Cambridge University so would be delighted to act as
spokesman should any villager have "the ear" of someone in power!
If you look on my personal website you will see that
I offer some suggestions of ways to use the 3G mobile network to offload
some of the data when the wired connection is slow. This might be one way
to go and you are welcome to take a look at
www.philpot.me for details.
p.s. One villager has been in touch to ask why BT, or
indeed villagers themselves, should not have a connection to the
internet that uses a satellite connection to speed up the
connection. The answer I am afraid is the speed of light. Quite simply a
fixed satellite is over 22,000 miles away in space and the time taken
for a signal to go up to the satellite, then down to the earth and for
the answer to get back via the same route would take far too long for
most critical uses, and that is every piece of data on each internet page, and some internet pages have
over 100 files! It would make browsing the internet and
especially anything requiring speed such as gaming untenable. Sorry,
blame physics, not BT for that one. ;-)
Quite literally overnight and without any warning villagers found
that their internet had slowed to a crawl. Some people received an email
saying that their "Regrade order had been processed". The trouble is
nobody had ordered a regrade, and why should a regrade result in the
loss of more than 75% of the previous days speed?
Earlier this week our speed had returned to near normal but it
remains inconsistent and unreliable, sometimes dropping to a quarter of
normal. If you want to do something you can try performing a connection
reset which may sometimes help.
To reset yours you
need to unplug your router from the mains for a few minutes and repeat
several times in the day. This will "re-educate" the local exchange
about your telephone line conditions. To check your speed you can
use our special tool, located above, completely free.
This problem is all reminiscent of a couple of years ago when the
same thin g happened and your web site were forced to contact the local
press and more importantly BBC News. Normal service was quickly restored
Once again we are monitoring the situation closely. Please get in touch if you need
LET'S TRY TO GET
OPTICAL FIBRE IN THE VILLAGE!
This page records the struggle that we had getting BT
to bring broadband into our area. Now it's time to start another
campaign to get them to bring an optical fibre into Horsted Keynes. With
optical fibre broadband speed increases by several hundred percent, if
we could get BT to put fibre to our homes we could connect at 80Meg -
both ways! Even with the lower grade "Fibre to the cabinet" we could
download at 30Meg or more.
It would not be too difficult - you may be interested
to know that the fibre already reaches to the northern extreme of the
Lindfield exchange and that is just over one mile from the village
beside the Bluebell bridge at Holywell. Yes it's not far away at all.
The main problem seems to be that BT will only "fibre" exchanges with
more than 1000 properties connected, Horsted Keynes and Danehill can
only muster 980! Of course if the fibre were to be extended to the
industrial estate (presently seen as an extension of the East Grinstead
exchange) then we would be easily over the threshold.
Let's see if we can get BT to bring the fibre under
the Bluebell bridge and up the road to our village! If you live locally
and have any ideas how we can twist BT's arm do please email us. It's
Please get in touch!
FIXES OUR BROADBAND SPEED PROBLEMS
After a week of staring at blank screens Horsted
Keynes residents whose phone numbers start 790 and 791 suddenly found
their Broadband connections restored late on Wednesday afternoon. Until then
everybody in the village had experienced slow to very slow
connections to a greater or lesser extent with some not even able to even download their emails
without the session timing out.
All the time BT denied that anything was wrong, and certainly
denied they were fixing anything, but at 4 p.m. on Wednesday the internet
was suddenly working a lot faster than it had been for a whole week.
Whilst it was faulty even at quiet times most villagers were not able to view videos or download
software updates while the problems persisted, while for others even
emails were not readable. Those who contacted
their Internet Service Providers were given a variety of excuses
ranging from local issues "that would be fixed in a few minutes", to server errors in America! Only two ISPs
offered to escalate the issue to BT Wholesale who are responsible for
the internet lines around here. BT Wholesale replied...
|"The lead case (which was this website)
was send to the complex
fault team and they have mentioned that for this particular
circuit VP is not over utilised and running at around 60 %.
Speed test shows throughput rate is 2.5Meg which is acceptable
throughput rate. Common fault is considered only when there are
more than 10 circuits affected on the same card or the NCIF. Team
has also confirmed that this is not a common fault and all the
faults need to be investigated individually." [We have
kept the English and spelling exactly as received!]
Despite our actual speed being 48k and not 2.5Meg
and despite more than 15 residents complaining translated that means something
like "There is nothing wrong". It was only after
HorstedKeynes.Com contacted the Mid Sussex Times and BBCtv that things started to move with the result reported above.
We will naturally keep a close eye on the speed of
and report here any further problems. We would encourage local residents to
regularly check their internet speed by using the BT Speedtester. It does not
matter which ISP you use (AOL, NamesCo, PlusNet, BT, etc., etc) ALL
connections travel down the same BT wires and you can use the BT tester
At the same time we would greatly appreciate it if
you would also check your speed using the above less official tester
which gives a better indication of speed fluctuations - this was the main
problem experienced until recently in Horsted Keynes. After checking your speed a quick email to your
webmasters "webmaster at horstedkeynes dot com" would be greatly
We have shown that in the modern world large
companies such as BT will not accept the obvious and try to give any
sort of excuse when their system fail.
Fortunately when a community pulls together we can
get things fixed for everybody's benefit.
Try broadband speed
Above is our last recorded village speed test taken on a busy Friday
We can try to get your Broadband speed up to a similar level.
Please email us for details.
Three mobile internet signal has gone back up!
Many village residents use Three mobile broadband for
back up internet connection and when out and about. Last November (on the
12th to be precise) the signal that had until then provided a perfectly
reliable service dropped to nothing! In May 2010 we happened to test the
service (after the leaves were firmly established on the trees) and were
astounded to find levels back to the same as they were last year!
All was fine! We updated the village web site and enjoyed
our mobile connection. Then in mid-July the signals reverted to what they
were like in the winter - nowt!
Looking on the Ofcom web site we found that Three had
dramatically increased the power output on the nearest mast (in Lindfield)
but we think the reliability returned mainly because the system automatically
defaulted to the more reliable Orange network when all else fails. That's
what happened for a few months but it's now back as it was!
We will try to give a full report as soon as we are able.
Until then if you have a dusty old Three Mobile Broadband dongle you might
like to dust it off and try using it again.
The OLD map - most people
in the village could connect quite easily.
The November 2009 map shows much
better coverage, but it's totally wrong.
Three coverage map from
One day it will be accurate!
July 2010 and the signal "improves" on paper. But is it rubbish on the
Three have changing the style of their map so it's not too clear, but the
above old map shows that areas of Horsted Keynes WERE in the reception area
last month. Three say we have NEVER had a service around here despite our
previously connecting at 2Meg. The newer map showed much better coverage,
trouble is nobody in the village could connect! The latest version shows a
lower signal than before but we can connect! Out of the area signals have
dropped dramatically and most people who used to see three bars now see just
one. There simply MUST be something wrong around here!
The following was how it was until last week when Three "upgraded" the
service in our area.
Result Of "Three" Mobile Broadband Tests in This Area
It CAN be done - Despite being outside their published
area the above speed test shows the result of our test of our broadband
speed in the RH17 7 Horsted Keynes area using a Three mobile broadband
dongle. Oh yes
we were also using our unique broadband booster device. No photo as it has been
shown as it has been suggested that we might patent the design. The retail price would be well
under £20. Anyone got £10,000 and want to be a "Dragon"?
We have been conducting some tests of the new mobile
broadband services in the Horsted Keynes area. Some of you may not know that
all the major mobile phone companies now offer a service which gives a
connection at broadband speeds but using their wireless networks instead of
telephone wires. The advantages of an always on mobile connection when out
and about are obvious, but if your broadband connection is important to you
having one of their "dongles" to use at home if your main service goes down
can be a real help. Fortunately a properly set up mobile broadband modem can
be shared between home computers just as regular broadband can so you only
need a single connection for all of your home computers to connect.
So what are our conclusions? The Three network would seem
to offer the best chance of reliable service in many parts of the village.
We regually connect at 2.5Meg which is very respectable although the
connection is rather more heavily "contended" (shared with other users) than
regular broadband. This connection speed is plenty good enough for normal
browsing and email but can be a bit slow if downloading large files. For
example the videos on the BBC News web site are easily watchable without
break-ups but we wouldn't download a programme file unless it was urgent.
Fortunately most people don't need to download large files immediately so
can wait for their main service to be restored. We recommend your turning
off any file or TV sharing software as this uses your connection even when
not actually showing a video. The average speed seems to have gone up
If you live in the higher parts of the village, that's
the Green, Lewes Road, Hamsland etc then you should be able to connect quite
easily. As usual those in the "posh" houses down in the dip near the church
may have more difficulty. If you can't connect then we have a couple of
tricks up our sleeves that may help you including our own design of
"Broadband Booster" which is a string and sealing wax prototype at present!
Mobile broadband can cost as little as £10 a month for
one Gig of data which is plenty for most peoples' normal usage. You can also
take their one month short term contract which represents excellent value.
The dongles themselves can now be obtained for less than £30 or even free.
If you would like more info please do get in touch. If
you wish we can bring round a "test rig" that will show your likely
reception strength before you buy.
(Written in 2010 when Haywards
Heath did not have ultra fast broadband but still relevant today)
VILLAGE PLAN - A TECHNICAL COMMENTARY FROM THE
[Certainly a personal comment - separate from
the rest of this web site which tries to be impartial]
I notice from the village plan that among the sensible
suggestions are one or two unwarranted complaints, one is "Broadband
speeds are too slow" and another is "Mobile phone reception is inadequate".
Now as a "webmaster" I may not be able to comment on many
things about the village plan, and probably wouldn't want to anyway as my
family have lived here for more than 40 years and we love the village as it
is now. I know that the Green is beautiful and should remain unaltered, but
know little of new roads, litter bins or stoollball, but as an experienced
electronics engineer I do think that on such technical issues my thoughts
may be relevant.
Are present village broadband speeds too slow, and what
does "too slow" mean anyway?
If we compare our connection speeds with say Haywards
Heath then you may be interested to know that in the village we can
have as fast a connection as many "townies"! Yes in Haywards Heath some
people can connect at a full 8 or 9 Megs but many get just over 4 - that is
splendid - but right on the edge of Horsted Keynes our connection
speed is 7.4 Megs!
B.T. may not do many things right but a year or so ago
they installed what I will call a "broadband amplifier" in the green cabinet
opposite the Post Office. Wires radiate from there to most parts of the
village. There are fewer of these central amplifiers in towns as the
infrastructure is more spread out and less centralised. In Horsted
Keynes many of the telephone wires already "pointed" towards the central
cabinet so it was rather easy to put an amplifier in there which helped most
people. As all broadband signals go down the same B.T. lines it matters not
a jot if you are with B.T. A.O.L. or any other ISP, all can connect
at the same speed - if your ISP will let you. And that's the point, if.
So what do the village plan proponents expect or want? If
they expect a 50 Meg optical fibre broadband signal then they won't get it
for many, many years. If that is what they want now then they should
consider moving on - to Milton Keynes perhaps, where a very few lucky
souls do indeed get this speed connection.;-) The rest of us can get a
perfectly adequate 4Meg or more connection right now, and it will get a bit
quicker in a year or so when the Dane Hill exchange is upgraded and
unbundled allowing other ISPs to put their equipment into that green
I visited a village home yesterday where they were
downloading at a mind numbing 15K. "Useless this village broadband", they
said. It took me 5 minutes to move a single wire and bring their speed up to
4 Meg - and their speed will get faster when the exchange "learns" of their
improved connection. So please don't blame the village infrastructure before
checking what is happening
inside your home. We have a proper carefully installed broadband
system from a professional ISP which costs us a shade over £15 for 100 Gig
each month, perhaps a couple of pounds more than the cheapos, but as I said
above it gives us a more than adequate speed all controlled from Worcester
in the UK, not India! In most cases you could connect at this speed too! If
you went for the cheapest supplier when you moved up to broadband
from dial up then what can you expect? What happens when your broadband goes
wrong? You shout down the phone to India who fob you off and are no help.
That's what you pay for which is fine, but please don't blame the village
infrastructure! What I suppose I am saying is that if broadband is as
important to you as it is to us then invest in a proper system, properly
installed supplied by a professional ISP. Don't get the cheapest plan from a
The strong broadband signals are in most cases there if
you want to use them, but if you still have the same cheapo box that came
free from your ISP several years ago and especially if you still have
filters all over your home instead of a single master socket fitted then you
are not getting the connection speeds that you are able. There is also an
exciting new product called an iPlate. This is screwed to your existing main
telephone socket and it does... nothing! Nothing immediately that is,
but if you check your connection about a week or so later you will find that
in many cases you are getting an extra 1Meg per second speed! It does not
work in all cases, and in new homes with new telephone wiring it is probably a waste of time, but in
older houses that have a number of telephone sockets installed by D.I.Y. thr
iPlate does seem to be very
worthwhile. We have them in stock in the village and can install them for
you by the way (advert over).
Let me add that yes there are certainly a few homes
around the village which get an appalling broadband signal, often because
they had aluminium wires put in when they had a second line installed to
work their burglar alarm or oil tank meter. A few, perhaps 4 or 5 homes can only get the basic
minimum 512K connection, and two that we know of can get no broadband at
all. However exactly the same thing is true of Haywards Heath. In fact it is
worse over there as many of the new developments are located a long way from
a telephone exchange so whole roads get poor speeds rather than just odd
houses in our village.
Can I add a final comment - and this one really annoys
me! One of the other complaints contained in the village plan is that
there is "inadequate mobile phone reception". Fair enough, it's
dreadful in most areas, even on the Green
there is almost no signals to speak of. But err just a minute. What happened
Orange tried to put up a local mast that would
have given us all perfect local indoor mobile phone and mobile broadband
reception in Horsted Keynes? Instant objections and fears of cancer, nose
bleeds, childhood deformities, spontaneous cattle abortions, in fact any ill
informed opinions the objectors could find when Googling the internet.
Even though the Orange mast was going to be located less
than a quarter of a mile from and right opposite our bedroom window (in fact
we were one of the nearest houses to the proposed mast) I firmly
supported the application! You see because of the way mobile phones work
it would in fact have
reduced the radiation received by most villagers! The application was of
course quickly thrown out by the planners so the nearest masts are still
located in Lindfield and Haywards Heath and we struggle to make contact when
out. (If you'd like to see more of our comments do please click the
technical explanation )
How on earth, less than a year later, can the same
villagers who objected to a local mast complain of "inadequate mobile phone
reception". You quite simply can't have it both ways! Where should the
transmitters be sited then? "Not in my back yard" comes to mind!
p.s. Did you know that all four mobile phone companies
literally flood the village with signals every year? For the three days of
the South of England show they put in large mobile transmitters on a hill
overlooking the Ardingly showground and the signals reach over to Horsted
Keynes. That's why your signal level suddenly leapt up to five bars last
June! The phone companies do this quite legally on a temporary "show"
licence from Ofcom. If there hadn't been the objections last year we could
now have had this strength service right here every day! Along with
strong mobile phone signals comes 7.2Meg mobile broadband, which would have
been great for those homes that can't get a decent broadband service, and
would have provided a fast back-up service for the rest of us. Oh well!