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European Commission introduces broadband funding guidelines
Friday 18 September 2009 15:29:34 by John Hunt

The European Commission has set out guidelines for state funding of broadband projects within the 27 countries of the European Union to try and help foster a coherent and consistent practice. Over 40 individual decisions have been made over state aid for broadband in member states, and the guidelines draw off these to create a guide to explain how public funds can be used to help deployment of both normal broadband networks, and next generation access (NGA) networks (such as fibre to the home), in areas where operators are not investing.

"The Guidelines offer Member States and public authorities a comprehensive and transparent tool to ensure that their plans for state funding of broadband are compliant with the EU's state aid rules. The Guidelines will therefore facilitate the widespread roll out of high speed and very high speed broadband networks, enhancing European competitiveness and helping to build a knowledge-based society in Europe."

Neelie Kroes, Competition Commissioner

One key point covered in the guide is that any funding provided must be used to create an open-access network. That means that it must be available for all network operators to be able to provide and sell broadband services on. This may have some unforeseen repercussions. The so called "Carter Tax"- a 50p levy on all telephone lines suggested by the Digital Britain Report was designed to help fund broadband access in rural areas. One way to do this is by the deployment of mobile broadband based technology to mobile phone masts to provide a service in keeping with broadband speeds. This may however be hard to provide in an "open-access" model as sharing of the radio network would require a lot of work.

Another solution that we imagine BT are hoping will come out trumps is Broadband Enabling Technology, a pilot of which was extended by Openreach earlier this week. The technology enables broadband on lines up to 12km away and with speeds up to 2Mbps (if two lines are available). This would be easier to fit in the "open-access" model, although it does require special equipment at both ends which may limit full-unbundling.

A further interesting requirement of open-access when applied to NGA networks is that providers have to offer both access to the dark fibre as well as bitstream access (equivalent of an IPStream type product that most UK non-LLU providers use) and sub-loop unbundling if being deployed as FTTC.

The full guideline document is available here (PDF).

Comments

Posted by cyberdoyle over 7 years ago
If funding is given to BT to patch up the obsolete copper it is a total disgrace. Rural areas are already on DACS, there is no spare copper to bond, and people shouldn't have to pay for two or even three phone lines to get a pathetic couple of meg if they are lucky. It will cost £6 a metre to deploy copper to implement BET, and less than a quid to deploy fibre for proper access, the costs for laying it will be similar. If BT are gonna get the funding for next gen they must do it right and not a patch up job
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
The areas in question for BET are not going to get fibre optic outside certain people's wildly overblown imaginations.

Neither does their complete lack of knowledge of commercial grade fibre stop them making utter and repeated fools of themselves.

What will get deployed depends on the extent of government funding avaliable, no more and no less and no whining by the ignorant and the silly can change that.
Posted by Somerset over 7 years ago
£1/metre to install fibre? In your dreams.
Posted by Somerset over 7 years ago
Including installation under or over ground?
Posted by GMAN99 over 7 years ago
lol, haven't I see this argument elsewhere?
Posted by jumpmum over 7 years ago
Reading the document, the state aid can only subsidise the difference between dense area and rural area. Mandating Dark fible may prevent rollouts. Normally you would plan 24-28 customer sites to a 30 way splitter, if you have to sell dark fibre at near cost your risk goes way up. If you only get 12-14 customers per splitter you are way under positive return again. contd
Posted by jumpmum over 7 years ago
If you have 24-30 customers in a close area, say a Hamlet, 6km from Exchange to splitter = 6000 *£10 (min realistic cost) £60k. + average 200m from splitter to house = 30*200*£10 = £60k, + terminal 30*£50=£1500 plus portion of exchange kit say £13500 total £135000 over 30 customers = £4500 per customer. contd
Posted by jumpmum over 7 years ago
If you spread the Exchange cost over more splitters by putting further away, say another 6k the cost goes up further. But this fibre may have been provided (I believe some exchanges are still copper fed) still need some cost for it though, say only £20k. Still more than any commercial would want to risk unless guaranteed all 24-30 customers. and state aid looks huge.
Posted by jumpmum over 7 years ago
Each 30 Customer PON would give guaranteed 30Mb + burst for what others aren't using. (1G PON) still not enough for what some on here seem to be looking for to cover their streaming of HDTV over BB. (you could do broadcast over a different frequency).
Posted by cyberdoyle over 7 years ago
somerset,£6 a metre for copper cable, £1 a metre for armoured fibre. some fibre is 40p a meter. cost of laying similar for both. Dawn, where is your price for 'commercial fibre' please? Jumpmum, thanks for those prices, they make sense. Another way of providing access would be to just get the fibre into the hamlet, and let a community JFDI group install the rest? like we are trying to do here? so the community picks up the extra cost but then owns the kit and the ROI?
Posted by wirelesspacman over 7 years ago
The copper-fibre price comparison only works for multi-pair copper cable I'm afraid. The vast majority of copper cable in a normal access network would have a low pair-count and would be on a par with the price of fibre.
Posted by wirelesspacman over 7 years ago
Also, do not accept the argument about mandating dark fibre preventing rollout. As long as the fibre deployed is "proper" fibre-to-the-home and not that PON stuff, then mandating dark fibre would merely increase the take up of "homes passed". This can only be a good thing (as long as the price you can charge for the dark fibre is reasonable of course!).
Posted by Somerset over 7 years ago
cyberdoyle - where are you laying this cable? Most places have a network of roads. What does it cost to dig up pavements?
Posted by wirelesspacman over 7 years ago
I think his argument is that you would have to dig up the roads (or whatever) to lay additional copper cable for BET and if so, then why not put in fibre and be done with it.
Posted by mikeblogs over 7 years ago
Any meaningful commitment to Open should lead to a discussion on the separation of the data transport + access from the services being run on the data infrastructure.

I mention it as I cannot see how we get the data transport we need (throughput, loss and delay) without this separation. The need to protect legacy services seems to shape even how ofcom think, as per its ALA contribution.

Posted by mikeblogs over 7 years ago
This openess is a bit odd when the EU Telcoms package, going to a conciliation process has no commitment to neutrality, just a customer protection measure in the form of traffic management measures being referenced in the small print.
Posted by mikeblogs over 7 years ago
I might start taking this call for openness a bit more seriously when BT SIN for VLANs, GEA and WBC contain detailed performance data for loss and delay characteristics at various load .
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
Well, yea, unlike the Telecoms package where certain industries have fairly openly bought votes, this is actually a reasonable take.
Posted by mikeblogs over 7 years ago
Agree it's progress, and it provides a means to get more transparency of how these components work when loaded. Should not be too difficult to get this data in an appendix in the SIN and in NICC documentation.

That last comment is a bit of a tease, could you expand? Are you referring to EU INternet Foundation, with Malcolm Harbour as raconteur for the universal service element?
Posted by mikeblogs over 7 years ago
Is this what you were referring too? http://www.iptegrity.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=410&Itemid=9
Posted by cyberdoyle over 7 years ago
Hi Somerset. we are laying our fibre on private land. We don't touch roads, rivers or railways. Yet.
You don't have to dig up pavements, you can burrow under them if needs be. BT could do this job a lot cheaper than us because they already have ducts, poles and wayleaves. It is only a case of replacing the copper cables they have to the homes with fibre, and upgrading equipment to something which is easier to maintain and 1000% more efficient. Rather than patching up obsolete equipment etc bla bla...
Posted by herdwick over 7 years ago
Amusing that a document about public investment in broadband appears when the headlines are full of the c word - Cuts !

"It is only a case of replacing the copper cables they have to the homes with fibre" - only a ten minute job then ?
Posted by Somerset over 7 years ago
cyberdoyle - what's do you reckon cost/home would be for BT to replace copper with fibre?

Your system works where it works!
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
Cyberdoyle - Most wayleaves valid for copper would not be valid for fibre, and would need re-negociation (and payment all over again).
Posted by jumpmum over 7 years ago
wirelesspacman; Technology would have to be PON, direct fibre would blow the economics on power and cooling cost alone. Each Fibre takes about 30w, a 1000 customer exchange would need 30kw + 25-30kw cooling. With a PON this is 1/30th, ie 1kw +1kw vent (which can be fresh air). Some rural sites appear to be wooden buildings, so 30kw is a bonfire.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
jumpmum - Except in the next 18 months or so new tech is expected to solve this. Again, rushing is /bad/.
Posted by jumpmum over 7 years ago
Dawn; It will not reduce the power for direct fibre, It may reduce the power for PON or increase the customers per PON. For those interested old (US) cost research puts it about $1300 per customer for Equipment only, no fibre. http://www.broadlight.com/docs/pdfs/wp-gpon-vs-bpon-cost-comparison.pdf
Posted by kmendum over 7 years ago
BT distribution duct from the pole to the green cabinet is usually 50mm bore and pulling additional cable through is difficult. From the green cab towards the exchange or some other distribution point the duct is normally 90mm bore and installing fibre cable may be difficult because the duct is normally pretty full. Upgrading this part of the network is every external planner's nightmare. cont'd...
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
jumpmum - Given I know IRL the university team working to commercalise the technology in question...
Posted by kmendum over 7 years ago
External fibre may be £1 per m but that is perhaps 8 core. More realistic is £3 per m for 48 core cable. Allow up to 8 times that to install the cable into ductwork, and the same again to install duct into something soft or easy like a footway or verge. Splicing all the cores onto something else doubles all those costs - splicing is expensive! Copper cable costs far less to joint, mainly because it is much quicker, and when you need a lot of joints copper wins hands down.
Posted by kmendum over 7 years ago
contd... Same old story: Accountants 1, Technologists 0. Until there is a critical mass or a killer app bringing in loads of margin, which sadly excludes CONSUMER ADSL.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 7 years ago
Herdwick, the idea is if they have to replace all the copper because of shortage of free lines when removing dacs to bond two lines, then why not use fibre instead. To me it is a no brainer. Why lay out for new copper to patch something old, when you can spend similar to build next gen connectivity? If they had kept up with the infrastructure instead of deploying the dacs for years they may have been in with a chance.
Posted by Somerset over 7 years ago
cyberdoyle - are you considering this where the shortage of copper is to the cabinet or cabinet to pole etc?
Posted by Somerset over 7 years ago
cyberdoyle - what would be on the end of the fibre? Presumably this can only happen when there is an established Openreach product.
Posted by wirelesspacman over 7 years ago
@jumpmum: 30W per fibre?????? Where on earth did you get that from?

@kmendum: £3 per metre for 48 core? Don't think so! 8 times that to install in duct = £24 per metre. Again - don't think so! Splicing at £48 "per metre" come on!!!!!!!!!! Spicing is NOT expensive, especially when considered on a "per metre" basis!

@ cyberdoyle: agreed, it is a no brainer.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
Cyberdoyle - They usually don't "remove" DACS these days, they simply install new hardware. DACS2 hardware supports ADSL.

/That/ is the no-brainer, compared to digging.
Posted by jumpmum over 7 years ago
Wirelesspacman; Power budgets from vendor spec to light fibre for up to 10km.
Splicing machines are expensive so time/money constraint also skilled job or bad splice leads to optical loss so not as easy as solder or krone push.
Posted by ElBobbo over 7 years ago
I don't know where you're getting these vendor specs, but good fibre is as good as 0.2dB/km and the latest fibre that I know of is down to 0.14dB/km.
Also, per meter cost for blown fibre in volume _last year_ was $0.33, the drop tube $0.52 per meter, the cost of the splice $1.61. Fibre does not cost significant amounts, it is the civil engineering that requires the investment.
Posted by wirelesspacman over 7 years ago
I'm with you ElBobbo.

Also, trained technicians can do splices very quickly. Oh, and bad soldering or bad krone pushes also lead to problems!
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
pacman - Sure, but the equipment is both expensive, and you have issues which increase with the number of splice points far quicker than joints in copper.
Posted by Dixinormous over 7 years ago
It should be noted that Dawn_Falcon is even more anti-fibre to the home than BT are and appears to consider himself an expert in telecomms, applications programming, physical layer fibre optics and indeed physics so check what he says.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 7 years ago
I think it is a fair comment that Dixinormous made, and there is no need to resort to name calling Dawn. Nobody has been provoked on this forum more than me, and I haven't stooped to that level. For shame. If BT were pro fibre they would have done it by now. and they wouldn't be considering BET.
The fact that the incumbent telco is cadging the gov funding to patch up the copper with more copper kills your argument dead.
Posted by Somerset over 7 years ago
cyberdoyle - FTTC has started. The cost of FTTH is huge, could BT fund it unless they got money back from customers?

What would most people do with 50M today?
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
Cyberdoyle - No, his claim that I said something I did not and would not is not "fair". That you think so says a lot about you.

You are evidently of very little understanding, as it's repeatedly been pointed out that these are very, very long runs - 10-12km of fibre for a single line ain't happening. It's BET or nothing for those lines, and your clear support for nothing is noted.

Somerset - right. (And FTTH on any scale needs government funding...)
Posted by ElBobbo over 7 years ago
If they're going to lay down copper, why not lay fibre instead? With good fibre - 0.2dB/km or less - you could easily do 30-50km.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
Because there's no product to service them, laying fibre of that lenght requires expensive repeaters, and in many cases this is dealing not with no copper but with very long copper runs.

Also, there's absolutely no guarantee that BT would be allowed to offer the service, they'd need to clear it via Ofcom, which can take a year or more.

This is basic stuff.
Posted by ElBobbo over 7 years ago
Basic stuff is knowing that you don't need repeaters for mere 12k runs of fibre.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
So you claim. And this is true of situations where you're running fibre straight and in high power situations.
Posted by Somerset over 7 years ago
ElBobbo - what are you connecting to this fibre? What's the current product?
Posted by ElBobbo over 7 years ago
What are you connecting to the fibre? PTP, GPON, what does it matter? Even if you're not going to upgrade the backhaul at the same time, 2mbit capped on fibre for now is a whole load better than 2mbit maybe/sometimes over copper until/or if they ever pay out to upgrade to fibre.
They've got to install brand new equipment and a new line for BET anyway. ONT equipment has come way down in price now that companies such as Verizon and SENKO are buying in bulk - the triplexer used to be 50% of the cost of an outdoor ONT and now it's less than 20%.
Posted by ElBobbo over 7 years ago
What I don't understand is, if you're paying out the money to dig up the land and put down conduit anyway, what the **** are you doing putting copper down? This is an atrocious waste of taxpayer money.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
Yes, of course it matters what you plug it into.

And no, 2MBit capped on fibre, because of the costs, is going to require a charge to the user several times higher than that for a standard product.

The equipment for BET is not radically different from that for a normal DSLAM, whereas fibre gear has different power requirements, etc - this costs.

And BET is on a very small scale..you're not going to be ordering in anything like the quantity needed to get deacent discounts!
Posted by ElBobbo over 7 years ago
The figure is between £1,000 and £3,000 per line for BET? You've got to be fucking kidding if you don't think you can fibre it up for less.
Fibre gear does not require more power at the exchange, and discounts due to global demand mean that the suppliers have massively reduced their equipment costs _UNLIKE_ BET equipment.
Posted by ElBobbo over 7 years ago
Oh, and then when they want to pay extra for a 100Mbit line, you don't have to touch the equipment aside from increasing the backhaul from the exchange.
Posted by Somerset over 7 years ago
The complexity of installing 12km of fibre without a product on the end is probably why, today, BET is a solution.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
Oh yea, ElBobbit? Great, get a quote for the fibre gear, given the power requirements and environmental conditions inside BT exchanges. PROVE IT.

(And once more, the prices are lower for mass ordering, and we're talking a small volume)

Somerset - That too. Again, they'd need any product for it to be approved before they could offer it...long and expensive for a niche product, whereas RDSLAM's are offering a varient on an existing service.
Posted by ElBobbo over 7 years ago
What, like Zyxel UK's OLT-1308H (20km)?
Motorola's AXS2200?
Enablence's MAGNM L-6104 (20km)?
ColorChip's Meteor II or Meteor III (25km+)?
(Here's a tip, look for GPON class B products)

Most BPON/GPON products have been released with a 28dB loss budget, that works out to around 22km with a 32 way split. 28dB is the most common loss budget in the IEEE 802.3 GEPON standard.
Interestingly, there are some extended reach PONs that will do 100km+ with a 256 way split :
http://www.opticsinfobase.org/oe/viewmedia.cfm?uri=oe-16-16-12096&seq=0
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
Yea, cripple the future of the network by forcing us into using PON. Sigh. (There is such a thing as barking up the wrong tree, and PON is not even in the right forest)

More, you haven't addressed the price, product or other objections.
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