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BT FTTC could see VDSL2 in the UK
Monday 09 February 2009 09:19:34 by Andrew Ferguson

Fibre to the Cabinet looks likely to be the winner in bringing next generation access speeds to many parts of the UK. Most proposals to date have talked about using VDSL, but the latest product descriptions appear to be backing VDSL2.

VDSL2 is already used in countries like Belgium, Denmark and Finland, and while it has a maximum speed of 250Mbps, this drops to 100Mbps on a 0.5km telephone line, and 50Mbps at 1km. These high speeds on short runs of copper telephone line are what make a cabinet based deployment of VDSL2 attractive.

Openreach in 2008 suggested three main configurations for the product:

  • 20Mbps downstream, 5Mbps upstream
  • 30Mbps downstream, 10Mbps upstream
  • 40Mbps downstream, 15Mbps upstream

These three configurations are not fixed speed, i.e. they represent rate adaptive products, so people who are burdened with an unusually long run of cable from the home to the nearest street cabinet may see lower speeds.

The much more symmetric nature that is proposed will please gamers and those remotely accessing hardware in their home, e.g. Slingbox devices streaming their TV. Lets hope that speeds like this do come to fruition and that the UK can catch up with other countries that started to deploy this technology in 2007 and 2008.

Comments

Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
Loving the upstream speeds in the configurations...
Posted by Renfrew over 8 years ago
I believe that the crucial issue, should FTTC ever happen, will be contention. Where will end users be sharing bandwidth?

If the fibre from the cabinet to the exchange is highly contended, then I can't see poor local performance ever being addressed in practice because it would require pulling a new fibre for just a handful of customers. Much, I suspect, as customers of Virgin Cable are finding out nowadays.

It remains to be seen whether fibre will be the fast service that everyone is anticipating.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 8 years ago
The congestion is such that the fibre from cabinet was uncontended, and described as multiple GigE links.

If we all accept that a 40Meg connection should cost more than an 8Meg one, then there is scope for more backhaul capacity per person, but with 'free' being in the mind there is little scope for this.
Posted by Renfrew over 8 years ago
Interesting. Thank you. When you say that the fibre from the cabinet is uncontended, are you implying that there will be a dedicated connection from each end user to the exchange, just like POTS? If not, how are the fibre channels shared out between multiple end users?
Posted by Spectre_01 over 8 years ago
What does glass cost these days beyond the cost of pulling the cable down the ducts?

Hopefully when they run fibre to the cabs they will have the foresight to pull in cables that have more capacity then is required at the time and so can easily make more fibres back to the exchange available when required.
Posted by Mitchy_mitch over 8 years ago
They will only need the one fibre per cabinet. The bandwidth can be increased by changing the line card.
Posted by fox-uk over 8 years ago
The 10x Virgin's upspeed is attractive.

Is there any reason why Virgin limit to 0.5Mbit upload (on 20Mbit download) now other than to minimise use of the download capacity?

After all what goes up must come down and if it doesn't go up in the first place it's not there to come down.

Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 8 years ago
In essence it will be uncontended until you get to the exchange, or at least that is what it reads like.

In other words, if 25 * 40Mbps users, there would be 1Gbps of capacity available. What happens at the exchange is another matter, as what happens from there depends on who the provider is. i.e. using BT Wholesale and WBC or an alternate network provider who has a fibre presence to the exchange.
Posted by bezuk over 8 years ago
Superb upstream speeds on all products there but I seem to remember Virgin trialling 5 megabit upstream speeds before the "Upstream Reduction Department" that every UK ISP seems to have got their hands on it... really hope they stay at those levels though.
Posted by bezuk over 8 years ago
also, I wonder if they'll eventually do an "as fast as it will go" product similar to current ADSL/2+ offerings - although I suppose that would (re)introduce the kind of inequalities they are trying to avoid, with some people getting 150 Mbps and some 20 or less.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 8 years ago
Virgin Media I believe are waiting on completing rollout of the DOCSIS 3.0 systems before upping upstream speeds. The 5Meg may also require the final switch off of analogue cable TV channels
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
DOCSIS 3 doesn't directly impact the upstream speeds, there are tiers available right up to 10Mbit upstream on DOCSIS 2.
Posted by audioslim over 8 years ago
So, 100Mbs at 0.5 KM and 50mb at 1km,

So BT's highest product is 40Mbs ?, eh , doing just enought as usual!

Slim
Posted by sunindra over 8 years ago
I live in Woodford Green, I am about 1.7km ( straight line ) from my exchange. I can see lots of VM cabinets but no BT ones. Can a BT spokesman enlighten us please.
Posted by njalondon over 8 years ago
Here's an upfated list of exchanges to be enabled by mid 2010

http://www.openreach.co.uk/orpg/products/nga/downloads/FTTC_%20pot_exchs.pdf
Posted by djay over 8 years ago
http://www.openreach.co.uk/orpg/products/nga/downloads/FTTC_%20pot_exchs.pdf

Nice to see Cumbria getting sod all help as per usual not one exchange listed and we have one of the lowest average speeds of brodband.

Also we have no cable supplier, well we have Smallworld comunications but there nothing short of a disgrace overpriced and bad peering (thus/daemon backbone).

Guess i am stuck with terrible crc ridden inet for many more years to come thanks again bt you really do put the con in British telecon.
Posted by AndrueC over 8 years ago
@djay:It's still more than any other company has done for you I expect. There are some parts of Cumbria with very good BB but-funnily enough-they are places like Carlisle.

Sorry to say but if you live in a sparsely populated area you have to accept that services might suffer.
Posted by AndrueC over 8 years ago
@Sunindara:I don't think you'll get anyone from BT making an official statement here.

I'd be surprised if there weren't any boxes closer to you than that. I work in a small village in Oxfordshire (less than 100 houses) and it has two cabinets to my knowledge.
Posted by rian over 8 years ago
When will it start? It doesn't mention anything?
Posted by djay over 8 years ago
Posted by AndrueC about 1 hour ago
@djay:It's still more than any other company has done for you I expect. There are some parts of Cumbria with very good BB but-funnily enough-they are places like Carlisle.

Sorry to say but if you live in a sparsely populated area you have to accept that services might suffer.


I live in Carlise myself but still have a 3.6km line with 53db attenuation.
Lucky if you live close to the city center i don't myself.
Posted by Somerset over 8 years ago
All the exchanges on the list have large numbers of customers. Are we seeing roll out being only cost effective where a cabinet has a large number of connections?
Posted by rogan8 over 8 years ago
There is little point anyone getting in huff just yet, the 1st two trial areas are not even up and running yet. Its very,very early days yet for Next Gen Access
Posted by kev445 over 8 years ago
I would be very, very surprised if those uploads go ahead; that could seriously harm their leased line products.
Posted by JimGardener over 8 years ago
I was googling around about this the other week and cam accross a BT powerpoint presentation from BT to partners on the FTTC trial - I think it had a standard upload of 2meg not these figures
Posted by JimGardener over 8 years ago
dissapointed about the lack of Brentwood on the roll out plan given 1. it's large population on the fringe of London 2. one of BTs biggest bases is there 3. the local MP is now Chair of the Conservatives who may or may not win the next election - not that that should make a difference of course
Posted by saboo1690 over 8 years ago
i see the new fttc roll out.but as every other time there is a roll out n.ireland is not in it.i have a very good line about 1.5kms long.i am with o2 and get 16mbps up and 1.3mbps down.i think its about time we were kept up tp speed with the rest of the uk.
Posted by lep17 over 8 years ago
Hi I live in N.Ireland I am in a BB not spot . I posted last year on here about FTTC which was been rolled out in our area . I asked the BT who were working down the road from me what they were doing and they said that they were doing the ground work for FTTC . They completed there work bar installing the new cab's and I do belive the fibre is just there . They never went any further with it . I ask a BT planner and he didnt seem to be able to give me an answer I got a feeling maybe that it had something to do with the open market maybe offcom related I am not sure .



Posted by herdwick over 8 years ago
Openreach were proposing a base 2M upstream with options for more. They also said "Within each of the Peak downstream rates specified above, we would seek to offer a
minimum, or ‘Assured’ rate, of service that the end user can also anticipate." and the trial proposal was for an assured rate 50% of peak.

Anything changed on this ?
Posted by utis over 8 years ago
Wondering what end pricing would be and if any ISPs ar doing their calculations to provide end-user products on these? Enta with IPv6 and Multicast, 20mbit upload.. perfect! :)
Posted by utis over 8 years ago
ok, at least 15mbit. But how are those exchanges choosen? Are they particularly congested thus they will get new multiple 10gigabit equipment or smth?
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
sunindra - Many BT cabinets are set back from the road / in fairly unoticable places, they've been arround for some time, whereas NTL placed them in the open.

Bear in mind, people, with 21CN you don't need to link to every exchange. Yes, it just became a lot more attractive in combination with VDSL didn't it...
Posted by Somerset over 8 years ago
Are all the exchanges on the list above in VM areas?
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
the question is whats the typical expected speed on a 2km line given thats nearer to the average length of a line than the ones quoted. Although granted on VDSL average length of lines will be significantly reduced so my question is somewhat invalidated. :)
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
to andrew
"If we all accept that a 40Meg connection should cost more than an 8Meg one", it should indeed cost more but with current pricing the public arent used to been charged for burst so will be hard to educate people to make them pay more for speed.
Posted by c_j_ over 8 years ago
"with 21CN you don't need to link to every exchange"

Care to expand on that?
Posted by Somerset over 8 years ago
Maybe he means that the fibre does not have to go back to the usual local exchange.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 8 years ago
BT data to date suggests 90% of D side's are 1km or less in length, so not sure where a figure of 2km comes from.

85,000 BT street cabinets in the UK.
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
well are peeps starting to love 21CN now it includes FTTC and VDSL???
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
c_j_ - 21CN isn't LLU. You have the option of putting equipment into exchanges, then linking to 20 nodes through the country. This still gets you into the network much closer to the customers that at present.

There's also the option to treat it like the current BT network, but that relies on BT backhaul and so on.
Posted by sunindra over 8 years ago
Has anyone seen a BT cabinet, it would give me an idea as to what to look for. There are no telegraph poles where I live and the telephone wires are buried in the road.
Posted by yobrenoops over 8 years ago
I have a cab literally right outside my house so I think my line length is on the order of 30m or so (if you include U/G to the pole). And with my exchange on the pilot list for mid 2010 and working for Openreach and being close to the NGA development means I should get this sometime next year.
Bonus!!
Posted by indigobananajam over 8 years ago
I also live in cumbria, and the only cabinet i have seen is at the other side of the village, it must be over 1km away. Although i'm not placing my bets on getting VDSL2 anytime soon.

sunidra - it should look something like this, although it may be smaller:
http://www.kaba.co.uk/img/products/15/l_bt_cabinet_tauntonweb.jpg
Posted by njalondon over 8 years ago
http://www.openreach.co.uk/orpg/products/nga/downloads/DEA%20Product%20Proposal%20Issue%203.pdf also fund this whilst digging around in the openreach site
Posted by 2doorsbob over 8 years ago
Does anyone know how much aliminium would affect the performance. my line is around 500 to 800 metres from the green box..
Posted by sunindra over 8 years ago
I have still been unable to locate the BT cabinets. The VM ones are everywhere, any suggestions ?
Posted by RufusGreenbaum over 8 years ago
Much quicker rollout could be achieved with Wireless from the Cabinet or the Exchange.

There are 5,500 telephone Exchanges in the UK, so the quickest to rollout would be wireless from the Exchange.

After that could come Wireless from the Cabinet, where fibre can give multi-gigabit speeds from the Exchange to the cabinet.

Alvarion have equipment for Wireless from the Exchange. In 2005 I was told that they were running trials with BT.

Anyone have later information ?

.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Um, given the wires are allready connected from the cabinet/exchange, that makes no sense Rufus.
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
"In 2005 I was told that they were running trials with BT." I think the answer is they dumped it for the cheaper wires... And they wanted to make much more money by selling mobilephone BB...
Posted by drteeth over 8 years ago
I shudder to think what the laughably low download limits will be.
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