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Openreach announce trial date for brownfield FTTH trials
Thursday 01 October 2009 18:52:52 by John Hunt

Opeanreach have announced the start of FTTP/FTTH (fibre-to-the-premesis/home) trials which are to begin on two brownfield sites in January 2010. One location was already announced- Highams Park in London, and the other is to be Bradwell Abbey in Milton Keynes. The trial will be open to all wholesale providers which should help expand the users choice of service provider. Users could expect to see speeds up to 100 meg downstream and 10 meg upstream, reportedly the fastest in the UK.

"This trial is crucial for informing our plans to consider deploying FTTP alongside FTTC. Our FTTP deployment in Ebbsfleet has allowed us to learn a great deal about rolling out fibre directly to homes in greenfield areas and we believe that the technology has huge potential for brownfield areas too. We've worked closely with communications providers and regional development authorities in selecting these sites for the FTTP brownfield trial, and I'd like to encourage as many communications providers as possible to get involved in the trial."

David Campbell, (Managing Director of Next Generation Access) Openreach

This not the first rollout of FTTP in the UK as BT have previously deployed to the greenfield housing development in Ebbsfleet Valley, however it is the first to a brownfield site. This is an area which is already covered by access to copper services. Bradwell Abbey has featured in BT trials before. Back in 2004, the area received a technical evaluation of long reach broadband which enabled BT to evaluate how different technologies would work. If many lines are of a long length, then this would make it an excellent candidate for providing faster services.

Highams Park is also an area listed as to receive fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) services so this may provide an evaluation to BT of how the two products could co-exist and of customer demand for each.


Posted by The_Engineer over 8 years ago
At last we have a trial in Milton Keynes. Pity it wasn't off Wolverton ATE :-(. MK is a bit of a black hole for BB useability and definitly needs FTTH in many homes.
Posted by ElBobbo over 8 years ago
Great news. I'd like to know more details.
Posted by kamelion over 8 years ago
don't complain you had a trial of aluminium phone wires

Some people are never happy :p
Posted by timmay over 8 years ago
Is this GPON or point-to-point fibre?
Posted by ElBobbo over 8 years ago
According to Openreach it's GPON -
Posted by bezuk over 8 years ago
I'd be interested to know if they have a strategy for getting the fibre into large blocks of flats - such blocks are typically excluded from VM cable even in heavily cabled areas so some infrastructure competition would be nice.

I can't think of an easy way of doing it though so it wouldn't surprise me if we were left out.
Posted by wirelesspacman over 8 years ago
BT would have to be dragged kicking and screaming into deploying point-to-point fibre since that could be easily unbundled, whereas GPON is not.
Posted by Somerset over 8 years ago
BT FTTH can be used by any ISP.
Posted by njalondon over 8 years ago
Actually next generatioin pon wil reuse the GPON fibre infrastructure, it'll likely utilise WDM so that it could be possible for each user to have their own wavelength allocated. It would be possible to virtually unbundle that wavelength.
Posted by themanstan over 8 years ago
@Bezuk, FTTB is the most common form of fibre on the continent. BT would have to be seriously defective not to be able to supply to blocks of flats... they are the most cost efficient form of FTTP!
Posted by Somerset over 8 years ago
Isn't landlords permission and planning the installation the difficult bit with flats?
Posted by scousetechie over 8 years ago
BT always seem to go for the easy trials. Come down to some of the villages in Dorset and find out what the real world is all about.
Posted by themanstan over 8 years ago
@somerset, not really as all they would do is have a "cabinet" in or near the property with all the gear and the same copper wire delivering the broadband, unlike cable which means more holes in the walls. Landlors will love it as it is a selling point for the property for leaseholders/lettors.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Somerset - Yes. It's a mess, legally, and really needs to be cleaned up. Landlords can't object to "necessary works" by gas or electric companies, and in this day and age shouldn't be able to object to broadband works.

scousetechie - They use the same test locations for the same reason companies allways do: known market, with measuring equipment in place.
Posted by Somerset over 8 years ago
themanstan - we are talking about FTTP which involves installing fibre up through the building.
Posted by ElBobbo over 8 years ago
New bendable fibre is certainly a boon to Verizon when it comes to installation and deployment, but arranging any kind of work to be done on a shared building is fraught with problems.
Posted by themanstan over 8 years ago
Um... yes Somerset. But, the point is that FTTC will fulfil the delivery of high speed broadband to the awkward squad landlords in FTTH areas. They wont have any say in this install in FTTH rollouts. If you're insisting that a FTTH rollout be only FTTH, then yes people in flats are screwed.
Posted by Somerset over 8 years ago
I insist nothing...
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
Remember FTTB - fibre to the building. Glass to the basement then from there fast/gigabit ethernet over CAT6 or even VDSL to the individual units. This is pretty common in Russia and Eastern Europe, along with Japan. It can make a lot of sense.
Posted by EnglishRob over 8 years ago
"Users could expect to see speeds up to 100 meg downstream and 10 meg upstream, reportedly the fastest in the UK."

Hang on, isn't Virgin trialling 200 meg downstream?

(god knows what the upstream is on Virgin 200 Meg).
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Sure Dixi, but again building owners in the UK typically disallow that kind of work (sigh).
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
Then they're idiots. In the information age being able to offer a high quality internet service in your building would be a value increaser and at negligible cost.
Posted by Somerset over 8 years ago
Agree, but it's probably the complexity of installing into an existing building for initially a few residents that puts them off.
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
so when will openreach provide 10meg downstream? to my area that is, as right now they only provide 6mbit.
Posted by colinbarrett over 8 years ago
As someone who has to endure the experience of being connected to the Bradwell Abbey, Milton Keynes, exchange almost since the day broadband became available at my home, I have to say that I honestly think that the proverbial pigs will fly before we see the kind of speeds being mooted in the report. Call me cynical, but........

Posted by lemonsfield over 7 years ago
I'm connected to Bradwell Abbey but out on the limits currently getting around 1.5 meg downstream. I took part in the 2004 trials and had fibre to my home - it was great and will be looking to get it again. I assume that the fibre is actually still there and that they just need put some sort of terminator device on the end to make it usable again? During the trial I seem to remember getting 10-12 meg downstream but hope that was just the limitations of the trial and that will be improved upon. Roll on January...
Posted by StephenJH over 7 years ago
Does anyone know what areas in MK are involved in the trial? Living in Kents Hill, I like many others are on the outer limits to the Bradwell Abbey exchange and therefore have some of the lowest connection speeds. I have BT Business Broadband and would love to know if the trial/rollout is going to happen here and when. I keep looking out for Open Reach Vans, but as of yet no sign around these parts. There doesn't seem to be much information on this or how I could become a trialist.
Posted by ernestlai over 7 years ago
Living with my parents in Loughton, also looking for the FTTH trial. No idea how to sign up, no idea where to find information... all you can find it BT Infinity which is FTTC. Anyone with more info?
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