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Local fibre service from H20 for £699 a month
Wednesday 20 February 2008 18:05:30 by Andrew Ferguson

H2O Networks recently hit the news with plans for a roll-out of a true fibre-to-the-home service in a number of UK towns. A press release today gives detail of a dark fibre service that can be purchased from the company.

H2O Networks will install a dark fibre from £699 per month in a local area as a point-to-point connection. This means that it links two sites together over an passive optical fibre--It does not include Internet access. This may sound expensive but when you consider that you could use this fibre for bandwidths of up to 1Gbps (or possibly multiples of 10Gbps depending on the quality of the fibre and your budget), its utility becomes clearer.

"Dark fibre is a much overlooked, but totally viable solution to solve the UK’s bandwidth needs [...] BT set the bandwidth tariff about 30 years ago and not only is it hugely expensive, it is also extremely restrictive. No-one could have predicted the current levels of demand for bandwidth, so the future lies with dark fibre."

Elfed Thomas (Managing Director), H2O Networks

The main difference with dark fibre is that the hardware you connect to each end of the link is entirely up to you. This gives you the flexibility of running an IP network, storage networks or video transmission. Potentially the fibre can be linked to another network with onward links to the Internet, so for example an Internet Service Provider could provide true fibre optic speeds all the way to individual premises making 100Mbps and faster Internet connectivity a real possibility particularly in blocks of flats.

The baseline figure of £699 a month is for a maximum of 1.5 km of dark fibre. Quotes for longer distances can be obtained from H20 Networks. One potential use for this is serving areas where the existing copper local loop lengths are very long which result in slower speeds. By using the sewer network to provide a cheaper solution for connecting a street cabinet in a broadband not-spot area, it becomes possible to offer faster services to the community.


Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
I soooo hope this comes to my area £699 sounds alot but for my business it would be a god send. So much for the doubters that said previously it couldnt be done (cant wait to read the oh but its blah blah defences from them) :D All hail H2O networks :)
Oh and thankyou Andrew for the news and keeping us up to date with the service.
Posted by KarlAustin over 9 years ago
£699p/m for 1.5km DF is actually expensive in some areas. Don't forget, that all you're getting, is access to a single strand of fibre, nothing else, nothing to light it with, no onwards bandwidth to the net etc.
Posted by AndrueC over 9 years ago
@CARPETBURN:I don't think many people said it couldn't be done. What the doubters (like me) said was that it would be expensive.

I have always maintained that BT can provide anyone in the country with a 100Mb symetrical connection - they just have to be prepared to write a big cheque.

In this case £699 a month for nothing is expensive. That price doesn't include any kind of network provision.
Posted by AndrueC over 9 years ago
One question I have - does this help outlying villages? How many of them are connected to the main sewerage system?
Posted by martinsaunders over 9 years ago
If I were looking at a rolling out some small LLU networks in the H20 areas, I'd be very interested in this..
Posted by martinsaunders over 9 years ago
Oh, I wonder if that £699 a month includes the rates/tax the government makes you pay for lighting dark fibre?
Posted by KarlAustin over 9 years ago
Probably not, because that falls to the person who lights it, I'd imagine there are a great many people not paying them to be honest.
Posted by martinsaunders over 9 years ago
Like any tax I guess, not a good idea to get on the wrong side of the Revenue though!

I suspect once you take into account rates, this doesn't look quite so appealing...
Posted by cskla over 9 years ago
I e-mailed them to request a quote just last week for a point-point connection, we currently have LES 10 with BT, about 8k p/a. Anyway, I got a response saying "sorry but we don't feel it's financially worth for us doing" (at least along those lines), it's two sites 5km apart, based in SE London.
If that's not worth doing, what is? 100 lines less than 1.5km?! Maybe they don't operate in the area, but don't be too optimistic about it.
Posted by kendal01 over 9 years ago
cskla, the les 10 has been discontinued now and you should have had a discounted upgrade path letter from BT months ago. Obviously you've missed the boat with it! pricing on a fees100 is just over 8k p/a. you should talk to your account manager
Posted by Somerset over 9 years ago
What's the tax for lighting fibre?

Is like a window tax?
Posted by herdwick over 9 years ago
"What's the tax for lighting fibre?" - a lighted fibre is assessed under business rates as an asset with a rateable value and hence an annual business rate charge. It's about £300 per year per km or more.
Posted by Somerset over 9 years ago
But the fibre is an asset of H2O. Why should the rental not include it?
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