Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is 21CN?
21CN (21st Century Network) is a UK wide communication network upgrade project currently being rolled out by BT. Zen is involved in the broadband element of the project to deliver ADSL2+ to customers.
The ADSL2+ element of 21CN offers faster broadband speeds compared to the standard ADSL broadband service. Increased broadband speeds as a result of ADSL2+ technology will facilitate faster data, Internet and video services.
What is Zen doing with respect to BT's 21CN project, ADSL2+ or faster broadband services?
Zen is introducing new faster "up to 16Mbps" broadband services. We have significantly upgraded our own network to connect with BT's new 21st Century Network (21CN) using ADSL2+ broadband technology to introduce these faster services.
How fast will these new broadband services be?
The new broadband services will provide download speeds of "up to 16Mbps" and upload speeds of "up to 1Mbps". The speed you can expect to receive will depend on the following factors:
- The distance you are from the local BT exchange
- The quality of wiring from the BT exchange to your premises
- The internal wiring within your premises and interference with any other electrical equipment within your premises
Customers less than 3km from the local BT exchange will see the biggest improvement in broadband speeds. Customers further than 4km from their nearest BT exchange are likely to see no change from the speeds they currently achieve on "up to 7Mbps" products. In our trials so far, the fastest download speed recorded was just over 21Mbps. (It is estimated that the average download speed will increase by 35%.)
Are faster broadband services available from Zen?
Yes, since October 2009 we have been offering download speeds of "up to 16Mbps" and upload speeds of "up to 1Mbps".
New customers that are connected to a BT 21st Century Network (21CN) enabled exchange will be moved onto to the "up to 16Mbps" broadband service straightaway. Today over 69% of UK homes and businesses are connected to 21CN enabled BT exchanges. BT aim to extend this to 80% by the end of 2011, depending on customer demand. We anticipate the project to upgrade the rest of the UK will continue in the following years.
If customers are not on a 21CN enabled exchange their broadband speed will be "up to 7Mpbs". Once their exchange is 21CN enabled the process to migrate them onto the "up to 16Mbps" broadband services can begin.
How can I find out if Zen's faster broadband will be available to my home or business?
Our Web based broadband speed checker will be updated with information about the availability of our new faster broadband services. Customers can only move over when their local BT exchange has been upgraded as part of BT's 21CN rollout.
Will the new "up to 16Mbps" broadband services cost more?
No. Zen will not be charging any more for the new faster broadband services or charging existing customers to change over to the new faster broadband services.
I want to become a new customer of Zen today, will I get the new faster broadband service?
New customers will be offered "up to 16Mbps" broadband services providing that their BT exchange has been enabled. If the new broadband services are not available in their area, they will be provided with our current "up to 7Mbps" broadband services. When an exchange is enabled customer’s can request to upgrade their service to “up to 16Mbps” by applying through our Customer Portal.
I am an existing customer, what will happen to my current broadband service?
Zen is currently in the process of moving all existing customers over to the new network, subject to them being on a 21CN BT enabled exchange. Moving existing customers onto the new network requires a physical process to be carried out by BT engineers. Zen is managing this process and will provide notification in advance of moving your service onto the network. Once your service has been moved you will then be given the opportunity to regrade to our "up to 16Mbps" broadband service.
If "up to 16Mbps" broadband services are not available in your area, you will remain with your current broadband service until your local BT exchange has been upgraded as part of the 21CN project.
Will you need to dig up the road, install a new line or visit my premises to install the faster broadband services?
No. When customers are moved to the new service, the physical move will be inside the BT exchange, to new ADSL2+ equipment. This will cause a short service disruption during the change over period.
What will happen when my current broadband service is upgraded to the new broadband service, will my service be interrupted?
Zen will contact you well in advance of your move to the new faster broadband service. We are adopting a two-stage process to make sure that the moves are successful and your service is interrupted for only a short period of time. We will not need to visit your premises, run in a new line or dig up the road, and there is no requirement to alter any existing wiring.
Step One - Within the local BT exchange, your line will be disconnected from the current broadband equipment and re-connected to the new faster ADSL2+ equipment. While you are being connected to the new equipment there will be a short interruption to your broadband service. After completion of Step One there will be no increase in the speed of your service, this stage is to connect your service to the new network.
Step Two – It will now be possible for you to complete the regrade to the "up to 16Mbps" broadband service. This is a simple online process that you can activate at any time and will not interrupt your broadband service. We have opted for the two stage process to provide flexibility and control to our customers.
When will my existing broadband service be moved to Zen's new faster service?
We will provide detailed information to each customer individually well in advance of the planned moves. Currently we are moving existing customers at a rate of approximately 4000 per month.
You can only be moved onto the faster services once your BT exchange has been 21CN enabled. If "up to 16Mbps" broadband services are not available in your area, you will remain with your current broadband service until your local BT exchange has been upgraded as part of the 21CN project.
Today over 69% of UK homes and businesses are connected to BT exchanges which have been upgraded to 21CN. This should increase to 80% by the end of 2011. We anticipate that the rest of the UK will continue to be upgraded over the following years.
What if BT has no confirmed date for the 21CN upgrade of my local BT exchange?
BT has recently announced details of planned 21CN local exchange upgrades up to the end of 2011. Once we have further details of BT’s exchange enablement plans we will make further announcements.
Are usage allowance limits different with the new "up to 16Mbps" services from Zen?
No, whether you are on an “up to 7Mbps” or “up to 16Mbps” version of the same product, the usage will be the same.
I am happy with my current service from Zen and do not want to change to the new service?
We think there are clear benefits of moving to the new service. You will have a service with faster broadband speeds for the same price as your current service. However our two stage regrade process allows you to move to the new network but to retain your existing service.
Do I need to change my existing router or upgrade the software on my PC?
We recommend that customers take this opportunity to consider a new router. The performance of your router on an ADSL2+ service will depend on the age of the device and the firmware installed.
Your existing router, PC and software will continue to work. However some older routers will be limited to maximum speeds of 7Mbps. Therefore to take full benefit from the new "up to 16Mbps" service you may have to check your router to ensure it facilitates the faster speeds (i.e. is ADSL2+ compatible).