The UK is behind countries such as France in the roll-out of fibre optic cable to the premises (FTTP). In a consultation process with communications providers Openreach is laying out its proposals for a GPON based fibre deployment to Greenfield sites, followed perhaps by Brownfield sites. Indications are that a trial product may be launched in 2008.
Ebbsfleet is the new build estate at the forefront of this, with it being treated as a testbed for any future roll-out. Initially the fibres installed will provide Internet and broadcast TV content with a basic 10Mbps downstream and 2Mbps upstream Internet service. While no pricing indications have been announced by Openreach, the companies taking part in the consultation are calling for pricing roughly in-line with existing xDSL product pricing. Similar pricing is important due to Greenfield sites having no existing copper infrastructure to offer existing ADSL/ADSL2+ services. Higher speeds will be possible with calls by interested parties for 40Mbps downstream and 20Mbps upstream for residential, and for business use, support for speeds up to 1Gbps.
For those who currently live or have a business a long way from their telephone exchange the news that the GPON system should be able to manage a distance of 16km in the initial product roll-out, with extensions to 60km and 100km at later dates is welcome. One would expect in cases of areas that need fibre runs much longer than average that a higher install fee may be charged, but for businesses this one off cost may prove a worthwhile investment.