Single Order Generic Ethernet Access (SoGEA) broadband is a relatively new entrant in the UK broadband market.
It’s designed to provide internet access through existing copper phone line infrastructure but customers do not need to rely on an active phone line for it to work. As the UK begins its permanent pivot away from the traditional PSTN network
Firstly, what is the PSTN switch off?
All customers currently using the old analogue public switched telephone network (PSTN), whether for a physical home phone line or fibre-to-the-cabinet broadband connection through a provider on the BT Openreach network, will be switched to digital.
This move began some years ago, with Openreach planning to stop the PSTN service entirely by the end of 2025. At this time, it is expected that every phone line in the UK will be digital, with all calls carried over IP (internet Protocol) rather than the traditional copper-based PSTN network.
What is the difference between SoGEA and Fibre to the Cabinet broadband?
Both a SoGEA and Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) broadband connection will, for the most part, use the same infrastructure to deliver your broadband connection.
Both rely on a mix of fibre cables (which run from the exchange to the green streetside cabinets) and copper cables, which run from the cabinets to your home.
So what is the difference?
The key difference between SoGEA and traditional FTTC broadband is the need for a phone line. FTTC broadband delivers its connection over the existing copper telephone lines from Openreach (i.e., they are part of the PSTN network), meaning customers need to have an active phone line.
SoGEA, on the other hand, uses these same copper cables, but is capable of delivering your connection without the need for the phone service part of the line. This can help make SoGEA a more streamlined and cost-effective solution, as it removes the need to pay for phone line rental
Are the speeds I can get with SoGEA the same as standard broadband (ADSL) and FTTC?
The reliability and speed of your connection with SoGEA will be comparable to FTTC broadband. This is because both use the same physical infrastructure for the final delivery of your internet connection.
Similar to FTTC broadband, the speeds you’ll be able to achieve with a SoGEA connection will largely depend on the quality of the existing copper telephone lines and the distance you live from the cabinet. Generally, SoGEA offers speeds similar to FTTC since both use the same underlying infrastructure.
Typical speeds with SoGEA broadband range as follows:-
Download speeds can range from as low as 10Mbps (about the same as a standard ADSL connection) to up to 80Mbps, speeds which are at the upper-end with FTTC broadband.
Again, similar to both an ADSL and FTTC connection, upload speeds with SoGEA will range between 1Mbps to 20Mbps.
Remember, these speeds can be influenced by various factors, including:
The distance you live from the cabinet
The further your home is from the nearest street cabinet the lower the speeds you’ll likely experience. This is because the signal degrades over the length of the copper line.
Quality of the line
The condition and quality of the copper telephone line can also play a significant role in the speeds you can achieve. Also, as BT Openreach begins to focus more on upgrading its infrastructure to full fibre, less and less upgrades and repairs are being carried out on copper telephone lines, so the quality of your line could be negatively affected.
Like any broadband service, network congestion during peak times can influence the actual speeds you’ll be able to achieve over WiFi.
Your chosen service provider
Different broadband providers may offer different speed packages for SoGEA broadband, so it’s advisable to check with individual service providers for the most accurate and up-to-date information.
Which broadband providers currently offer SoGEA?
At the moment, the only large broadband provider we can find that offers a SoGEA connection is Plusnet – a company owned by BT and renowned for its stellar customer service.
Other providers such as Zen Internet also offer a SoGEA connection, but these appear to be aimed at businesses, rather than individuals and households.
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