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Fibre optic broadband in rural areas: Lyddington
Wednesday 14 April 2010 08:08:55 by Sebastien Lahtinen

Rutland Telecom has today launched a high speed broadband service in the village of Lyddington in Leicestershire. Village residents and businesses will expect to receive broadband speeds of up to 40Mbps, with average speeds reaching 25Mbps, putting the rural village at the centre of Broadband Britain, with services comparable to, if not sometimes better than, those in the centre of London and other cities.

The service is delivered using VDSL2 equipment from Zhone Technologies which are housed inside a street cabinet, similar to those BT is erecting in many urban areas at the moment. This cabinet, acting as a 'mini telephone exchange' is then connected to the BT cabinet in a process known as 'sub-loop unbundling' with Rutland Telecom being responsible for the backhaul from the cabinet all the way to the Internet.

Speaking to BBC News this morning, residents were delighted with the service even though they had to put in up to £3,000 in investment, although they would expect to be paid back over time. Rutland Telecom representative indicated that this model was feasible in many areas where 40-50 households were willing to take up a broadband service.

"As a local IT company we were constantly getting enquiries about high-speed broadband and decided to see how this could be provided. We found that [..]  we could utilize parts of BT's existing infrastructure and supply next generation broadband services via community funded projects. Rutland Telecom is now delighted to have developed the first UK Fibre to the Cabinet broadband offering in a rural location bringing a unique service to an otherwise technologically-impoverished community.

The 'digital divide' has become one of the major social and business issues of our time. Investing in high speed broadband could be the key to stimulating rural economies everywhere so people can remain in the countryside to live and work."

Dr David Lewis, Managing Director, Rutland Telecom

In total, the village raised £37,000 which enabled the company to bring high speed broadband to an area that would otherwise have waited for many years to see the benefits of next generation broadband. They will be paid a 10% gross return for three years after which their investment will be fully refunded.

Rutland Telecom cabinet next to BT cabinet Rutland Telecom VDSL2 DSLAM inside roadside cabinet
Rutland Telecom FTTC VDSL2 Cabinet with sub-loop unbundling in Lyddington (click to enlarge)

Comments

Posted by mikeblogs over 6 years ago
Two questions, how are they delivering 1Gig to the cabinet, not through BT Duct, so were they forced to lay their own? I assume this accounted for most of the £45k cost, although I note from a previous presentation £23k of this went to BT on ESS charges.

The copper is still being powered by BT, so they are still paying MPF fees to BT? Is this correct.

This is a fantastic effort and deserves all the plaudits possible.
Posted by mikeblogs over 6 years ago
The BT directors comments about sharing their facilities must be the most laughable ever.

Just antidote we need to DEBILL, and Tory preferences for cheaper cider over delivering Broadband.
Posted by seb (Favicon staff member) over 6 years ago
@mikeblogs - there's a BT media converter at the bottom so I think it's a BT provided fibre which does seem a bit odd in a way. I also note there's a wireless access point in the cabinet (although possibly for demo).

To be fair to Tories, this is proof that private companies can make it work (although the investment does mean it might still need some subsidy in some areas where the residents can't fund it).
Posted by mikeblogs over 6 years ago
It would interesting to know if this was a Openreach GEA circuit, or a WBC managaed backhaul.

Am I correct that they are still paying MPF fees to keep the copper powered?

It makes a very nifty local exchange replacement/bypass programme, just need a some lever to mass migrate everyone.
Posted by izools over 6 years ago
I wonder, is the Acer Aspire One netbook a standard feature in all FTTC cabs or just those put up by Rutland :P
Posted by Dixinormous over 6 years ago
Good to see a group doing it themselves rather than wringing their hands, whining about how hard done by they are and waiting for tax payers to pay for it for them. All the respect in the world to them.
Posted by Gamerwillz over 6 years ago
Great to see they have done it. Hopefully they're deploying fast broadband to more rural areas across the UK.
Posted by Groovehound over 6 years ago
Posted by mikeblogs about 4 hours ago
The BT directors comments about sharing their facilities must be the most laughable ever.

Damn right - "local monopoly developing, which is never good for consumers." What about national monopolies? What a cheek!
Posted by chanmaster over 6 years ago
will all FTTC engineers be required to wear tweed uniforms? i'm worried that this does not satisfy health and safety concerns as suitable protective headgear has not been provided
Posted by mishminx over 6 years ago
Excellent result! Saves the Government bringing in Polish companies to do the work our welfare chasing businesses are just a little shy of.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
quote"In total, the village raised £37,000 which enabled the company to bring high speed broadband to an area that would otherwise have waited for many years to see the benefits of next generation broadband. They will be paid a 10% gross return for three years after which their investment will be fully refunded."

Proof silly 50p's are not needed for rural areas, if the community really want broadband.
Proof BT and other big organisations dont care about small areas.
Posted by chrysalis over 6 years ago
"comparable to cities" is misleading, FTTC commerical rollout seems to be focuing on outer city suburban areas and small towns, city centre exchanges are not all been accepted.
Posted by bb4chudleigh over 6 years ago
Well done Rutland.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 6 years ago
well done Rutland, the first fibre to the community in the final third. A great day for the rurals, JFDI fibre. Love IT.
Posted by seb (Favicon staff member) over 6 years ago
@chrysalis: Fair point.. I don't get FTTC yet but it's the process of rolling out more than what's available everywhere today.. after all it's just one village too at the moment.
Posted by Somerset over 6 years ago
Will they be providing a TV channel over this - Rutland Weekend Television?
Posted by themanstan over 6 years ago
BT don't care about low return areas. BT Openreach rollout is based on economics.
10 million homes for a £1.5B spend is £150 per home (urban). RTs cost per property is ~£800-900 (rural). So it is simple financials that drive their rollout.
Posted by junipurr over 6 years ago
Well done :)

@mikeblogs: Backhaul looks from the photos to be a 100M BT WES (not 1Gbps as you mention) - the 1G WES circuits are delievered to the end-user equipment optically (1000base-LX or 1000base-SX) rather than copper/RJ-45. I buy a moderate amount of them ;)
Posted by junipurr over 6 years ago
@Somerset: You could quite comfortably carry a couple of TV channels across that backhaul if they were sub 5Mbps each and multicast in an MPEG transport stream. Depends how the end user CPE is configured though and whether or not the customer sessions are PPPoE or simple bridged IP.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
quote"Will they be providing a TV channel over this - Rutland Weekend Television?"

If they did it would probably be high def as its 40Mb unlike BT Vision LOL.

Talk about a bitter BT fanboy, i bet you live in a rural area also and are just jealous LOL
Posted by Somerset over 6 years ago
CB - you have missed my attempt at a humourous comment! Google RWT.

Seriously - if this works in Lyddington, why not everywhere else?
Posted by Raspyyeti over 6 years ago
what would have been to cost to the locals if the local exchange had been a market 2 or 3 exchange?
what would have been to cost to the locals if it was a full fiber service roll-out via water/gas/sewer network?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
quote"CB - you have missed my attempt at a humourous comment! Google RWT.

Seriously - if this works in Lyddington, why not everywhere else? "

Sorry missed the Eric Idle connection for a moment, i appologise.

Oh and i agree if a scheme like this works, there is no reason it can not be done elsewhere. No silly 50p's needed :) Another Mr Brown thing we can scrap :)
Posted by ElBobbo over 6 years ago
This is not "fibre optic" any more than my ADSL2+ is fibre optic or a dial up connection is fibre optic. Until the last mile/meter/inch is fibre, you're still going to be limited by that tiny little bit of copper in all sorts of ways.
Posted by mikeblogs over 6 years ago
Junipurr, thanks for your insight.

Would it not be more sensible for Openreach/ BTW to offer a managed bandwidth solution to these folk and invite other self financing communities to play.

The notion of a building a dedicated fibre(2 fibres) connection to London as implied seems wasteful and expensive.
Posted by junipurr over 6 years ago
@ElBobbo: It would be trivial for Rutland to start delivering FTTH services from that cabinet. The Zhone MALC is not just a DSLAM but a multiservice access platform that will do ADSL/VDSL/GPON/ISDN/E1/etc. Pop in a GPON card and that will instantly support 64 subscribers on a passive optical network with 2.5G downstream and 1.25G upstream shared between them.
Posted by junipurr over 6 years ago
@mikeblogs: I can't comment on the Rutland network (as I have no knowledge of it!) but the backhaul circuit will certainly terminate somewhere in the region. There is a distance limitation on BT WES circuits of 25Km so likely this will plug into either a large regional service provider/telco layer 2 MPLS network or BT's own 21CN Wholesale Ethernet at the nearest enabled exchange.
Posted by junipurr over 6 years ago
(continued from above..) That will then haul traffic to a nominated exit point (e.g. Telehouse) for internet provision. Adding extra circuits to the network is pretty simple as long as the chosen MPLS provider has a node within around 25km as the target location.
Posted by mikeblogs over 6 years ago
Junipurr, - thanks again - I check on a WES + WBC, I now need to understand the nature of the MPF, some it seems is just copper, no power(no tie cable?) and some with a tie cable I assume to support PSTN.

Gosh, at a micro level, particularly on the unpowered lines, apart from the interconnect it is a not a telephony system at all in engineering and thus legal terms.
Posted by chrysalis over 6 years ago
themanstan its not that simple, as I said already and seb accepted that there is high density inner city areas been skipped, in fact BT have agreed to relay the copper at great expense in my inner city area yet say FTTC is not viable (cheaper), there seems to be a conflicting product which FTTC would kill off in inner city areas (leased lines/SDSL?)
Posted by wirelesspacman over 6 years ago
@ mikeblogs - the tie cable is the bit that links the BT cabinet with the Rutland cabinet
Posted by donewalking over 6 years ago
I live in a rural area in Looe, cornwall. I wonder ir we will ever get more than 4Mbps (upto)Lets keep our fingers, toes, arms & legs crossed.
Well done Rutland Telecom
Posted by chris6273 over 6 years ago
For those who are wanting to know how the connection to 'London' works...

The cabinet is connected to the exchange via a pair of fibre optical cables. (They probably lease a 1Gbps line/circuit from BT). Then its converted by that little box which the fibres plug into and then that converts it over to gigabit ethernet carried by a (probably) CAT6 cable into the Zhone MALC platform which has 2 VDSL2 cards plugged into it. Then it goes over to the Frames which the telephone lines are plugged into :)

I think thats everything
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