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Cabinet vs Exchange connected telephone lines - all the same?

Grateful if someone from the Onlincolnshire team could explain if there is a difference between cabinet and direct exchange connected telephone lines in terms of the BDUK upgrades.

In other words, if my property has a telephone line connected to the exchange rather than a local cabinet, will I benefit from the BDUK upgrades?

Thanks, Ben
I've read somewhere on either or that some areas across the UK that have already been upgraded using the BDUK funding have left out exchange only lines which doesn't seem fair.

Whether this will apply within the upgraded areas served by the OnLincolnshire project I'm not sure on. Great topic Ben.

On a side note: it's nice to see that someone at OnLincolnshire approved your new topic without waiting a day or two for a response to be put together before allowing it for public view which on many previous new topics has been the trend. Forums flow much better this way rather than wait wait wait :)
Hi Matthew, yes the approval mechanism is frustrating, but probably necessary to protect against spam bots, etc.

Regarding the original question, it is true that when you search for "EO Lines BDUK" in Google you find all sorts of views on the subject.

(EO Lines, Exchange Only Lines)

A comment from the Onlincolnshire team would be very welcome :)
Good morning Ben,

Thanks for taking the time to write to us.

In answer to your question, the primary technology being deployed on this project is Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC or VDSL technology as it is otherwise known). Effectively and in simple terms, this moves the electronics closer to the end user and reduces the length of copper in the end user's infrastructure, thus theoretically increasing speeds.

Where you are connected directly to the Exchange, this option doesn't generallyapply, but we are looking at options where we install additional cabinets/electronics to take away the direct to exchange scenario. Each EO line is being looked at to try to establish the best way of enhancing speeds to the end user and when we have completed a detailed survey, immediately prior to deployment, we will have a much clearer view of what we can do.

Please do keep in touch and we will gladly update you as we progress.

Steve Brookes
Lincolnshire Broadband Programme Manager
So to summarise, there is no way of knowing if and how we will benefit from the BDUK upgrades until BT complete "a detailed survey, immediately prior to deployment" (H2 2015 according to the current plans).

If the EO lines aren't replaced with fibre or re-routed/connected to an existing or new cabinet, then this means residents like myself will miss out on BDUK upgrades completely.

I really wish our goverment has insisted on an upgrade policy that would result in ubiquitous improvements.

Living so close to the exchange and direct connection to it dont you already get good speeds as unlike others theres only really you on the line ? what speeds do you get now ?
Hi Tim,

The exchange is 4-5km away (Witham on the Hill). I suspect we are connected directly to the exchange because we are part of a cluster of properties on the outskirts of the village and probably existed long before the village cabinet was installed.

I don't have a BT DSL Broadband service. If I did I'd get 0.5mbps-1mbps. It is such poor quality it isn't worth wasting the money. I believe I'll have to use my mobile phone until such time as we can roll out a fibre service as a community -

Regards, Ben
Hi Ben

You can use the BT Line Checker to find out whether or not your line is directly connected to the exchange.

The link is :

Check the second line of the displayed page. It will look something like this:

"Telephone Number XXXXXXXXXX on Exchange XXXXXX is served by Cabinet X"

If the 'served by Cabinet X' part is missing, you have an Exchange Only Line, and - like me - are waiting - and hoping - for some good news.


Hi Mike,

Regrettably I wasn't asking the question hypothetically. I'd checked before asking the original question. Thank you though.

Hopefully this tip will help someone else. That said, finding out you are on a EO line is bad news... so perhaps best kept quiet :)
One of the exchanges currently being upgraded as part of the Onlincolnshire project is EMDNGTN in Donington.

Walked past the exchange the other day and by the looks of it, Openreach have just built a normal non-fibre cabinet just outside of the exchange. I wonder if they're then going to place a fibre cabinet next to that? Great news for those on the EO lines of Donington if that is what happens.

Will keep you guys posted.
Any news? Thanks....
Good Afternoon Howard

Would you like to email us with your details so we can check this for you? Some EO lines are included in the rollout and some are not, just like with cabinets. You can contact us directly at

Kind regards
Thanks Naomi. Just emailed Steve with my details...fingers crossed!
I have to say that while I find the response time and info provided by On Lincolnshire on this subject to be fantastic and the staff are really helpful and proactive I feel very disappointed by both BT, On Lincolnshire and the Govt BDUK initiative.

I have seen no end of advertising of the BDUK, BT and On Lincolnshire telling us how when FTTC comes to our area it will transform the way we work / live. And while there have been the usual caveats on subject to roll out to your area I had seen nothing at all about EO lines until my village got enabled.

Worse than that after a bout of unemployment when I dumped Internet Access and my fixed line I first checked availability with On Lincolnshire and was told yes I would get it (same as BT Checker now says if you do an address search) when I got employment and got home broadband again and checked I found out I am EO and can't get FTTC.

I am now working from home doing IT across a very poor and unreliable ADSL line which connects at 2mbps but routinely speed-tests at less than 1Mb and often drops to an almost un-measurable speed until I do a BT Wholesale diagnostic when it miraculously returns to service!

I feel that the whole BT BDUK and On Lincolnshire initiatives have been very misleading by not making the presence and meaning of EO lines clear up front.

Unless you go searching for this info or until you find you can't get FTTC and are being missed out you won't find any prominent info about this problem. No one warns you that "Not all properties in an area will be able to get FTTC once its available".

In the mean time I am left guessing and hoping that at some unspecified time in the future (could be next week or it might be at the end of the BDUK rollout) I may get lucky and finally get a new cabinet and FTTC.

VERY disappointing.
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