A village website
for residents and visitors
Broadband, mobile phones, and landlines
A village website
for residents and visitors
Updated to 19 November 2023


All of the village gets "Fibre" broadband through two Openreach cabinets. Those near the cabinets should get close to the 80 mbps maximum download speed; those further away should still get something over 50mbps.

Winster does not currently have FTTP (Fibre To The Premises), which offers higher speeds (and greater reliability). Openreach has given no date for when they might offer this - but will presumably do so at some stage as part of their national plans.

But Winster should start to enjoy FTTP before the end of 2023 (with all of those eligible, which will be most of the village, getting service by about Easter 2024) from Gigaclear. They have already installed their equipment cabinet at the top of the village, and are now working on connections to outside indivdiual properties. Before signing up, do check that you are OK with their prices after the end of the 18-month special offer period. And if you don't have a strong mobile signal (see below), see what they are suggesting you do about calling 999 when the power is off.

Winster also has broadband by radio - from a small mast on a barn near Birchover from w3z, who have a network of transmitters like this on hillsides around the region. Their broadband costs can be lower if you only need a small amout of data, but they are considerably more expensive for heavy data users.

Mobile Phones

Mobile signals in Winster are patchy. There are masts on Stanton Moor, at four lane ends in Darley Dale, and near Sheldon (and perhaps others - there is no longer a published database of mast sites). But stone walls (particularly gritstone ones) are very good at soaking up radio waves.

Higher up the hill, some people get excellent indoor coverage; on Main Street, many people struggle to get a signal. There is no one "best network" - the strongest signal depends on where your house is, and sometimes on which room of the house you are in. The best advice is to ask a neighbour.

Wifi Calling is a real boon to those without a reliable signal. This needs a compatible handset (most modern ones do offer this) - and it needs you to change settings to get your phone to use the feature. And it needs a network operator that offers Wifi Calling too. All higher-end packages should offer this, but some lower-priced and many PAYG deals do not. For PAYG try 1pmobile - a low cost operator that does support Wifi Calling.

Remember that Wifi Calling will only work as long as your router works, and that is only as long as you have electricity. In a power cut (see below), Wifi Calling won't work.

Where you don't have a strong enough mobile signal from your "normal" network, you may still be able to get through to 999 via another network, but be warned that this isn't quite as good as it sounds. While you can call them in this way, they can't call you back. So if an ambulance crew is cruising round the village unable to locate your house, hard luck - they wouldn't be able to get their control room to call you for directions if you only had service on another network.

Landline Calls

As of November 2023, Winster still has its own telephone exchange - but this will close in due course as Openreach convert all of the landlines to digital working. That is due to happen imminently.

The chance to digital working is a major worry for those without a strong enough mobile signal.

With the old analogue landlines, the exchange provided the power for your corded phone, and in a power cut, you would still be able to make and received calls (to/from 999, your electricity supplier, or anyone else) for several hours.

With the new digital landlines, voice calls will fail the moment the power goes off. And that can be because of a village-wide power cut, or because your emergency (a fire or a flood) trips off just your own supply.

Ofcom is meant to be making sure that those without a usable mobile signal get help with this  - but Ofcom have only issued "guidelines", which are very limp -  and they appear to be doing nothing to make sure they are being followed. (See here for a full writeup of the sorry saga).

When your phone/broadband supplier contacts you to tell you that your line will be converted to digital, it is very important to tell them if you don't have a good reliable phone signal from your "own" network. If the supplier offers you a battery backup unit, then take this. It will only cover you for the first hour of a power cut, but it is as good as you are going to get.

If your supplier isn't offering a backup unit, then tell them that you aren't willing to change over until they do - and contact Ofcom to tell them. (And get in touch with John Geddes - email address usually in the Village Mag).