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BT reduce minimum FTTC speed and reveal FTTP will not replace FTTC
Thursday 25 November 2010 16:05:12 by John Hunt

Updated: 26/11/2010 09:40 - This new 5meg minimum speed is a new variant of the FTTC product, and the existing 15meg minimum will be used if appropriate for the line.

BT are to increase the distance of lines that will be able to connect to its fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) next-generation broadband so that it will service connections that can only manage 5Mbps. This new variant of the FTTC product will be in addition to the current service that has a minimum speed of 15Mbps (which is used as the minimum speed to work out if there is a fault on the line). This change will allow the company to move more lines on to the new equipment, thus making a higher rate of return on the investment. With more lines going on cabinets, this may make areas that were previously deemed unviable for receiving a cabinet (as not many lines would benefit) more appealing.

The change is good for consumers as it means those that are perhaps too far from the exchange at the moment to receive fast broadband speeds will be able to get a speed boost, although it is some way off what could be called 'next-generation' speeds.

"There are no changes to our ordering process or systems and circuits should be ordered following the standard FTTC ordering journey. If a circuit has a predicted speed between 5Mbit/s to 15Mbit/s the order should be placed requesting a 40Mbit/s downstream and 2Mbit/s upstream option. The circuits will be provided to the highest speed supported by the line."

BT Wholesale Statement

Other news out of BT today has revealed that those areas that are currently getting fibre-to-the-cabinet rollouts are unlikely to be supplanted by a full fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) solution. The company are aiming to get 25% of the country on to FTTP but does not foresee replacing the FTTC equipment in the near future. Testing in the lab has shown that BT can get up to 70Mbps through FTTC, although when translated into the real world, speeds are likely to come out a bit lower.

"The vast majority [of FTTC homes] get between 33 and 38Mbits/sec. There's no point in going back and investing, just because it's something called P instead of C. We've seen 60 to 70Mbits/sec in the labs on FTTC. Is it future proofed? Yes."

Liv Garfield (Group director of strategy, policy and portfolio), BT

Of course, with the intention to now put people who can only achieve 5Mbps on to FTTC there is likely to be some cases where deploying fibre all the way to the home in areas where FTTC is already deployed can make a huge difference.

Comments

Posted by cyberdoyle over 6 years ago
haha, don't say you weren't warned bt fanboys. I think Liv has shot herself in the foot with this one. Anyone who signs up for the race to infinity is now gonna end up in the digital slow lane of the future. Futureproofed my arse as Jim would say.
Posted by AndrueC over 6 years ago
Good decision regarding the 15Mb->5Mb change. As for FTTC not being upgraded to FTTP that seems reasonable as well. One day I'm sure it will happen but I'm guessing not this decade.
Posted by Somerset over 6 years ago
Opportunity for someone else to put something faster then?
Posted by SheepFarmer over 6 years ago
Did anybody really think BT were about to replace all their FTTC with FTTP equipment within a couple of years?

For the next few years the issue is going to be congestion rather than sync speeds. My ADSL1 line is very capable of streaming HD video, but the times when I most likely want to do this are the same times as everybody else. I can only do HD off-peak. Giving me a greater sync speed isn't going to fix this issue.

As long as ISPs compete on headline speeds and low prices I can't see this changing.
Posted by herdwick over 6 years ago
better still don't have a minimum so a long line on an FTTC cab gets the best service it can.

I wouldn't expect FTTC to be replaced "in the near future" as it would otherwise have been a rather silly investment. It is said to be a 12 year payback project (?) and it doesn't facilitate FTTP.
Posted by AndrueC over 6 years ago
>and it doesn't facilitate FTTP

Are you sure? I thought that the cabinets and new cable could be re-used for FTTP. If they can relocate cabinet electronics to areas that don't have FTTC then it seems a reasonable step.
Posted by herdwick over 6 years ago
an FTTC cab has a handful of fibres running into it, maximum 6 or 8 can't remember. That bit might help FTTH and only then if the fibre itself is the right type.

One fibre from the exchange splits to 32 houses doesn't need to follow current copper layout doesn't need a cabinet per se - passive optical devices only.
Posted by NuttyMucker over 6 years ago
How far can be 5MB be achieved where FTTC really didnt go past 1KM before tailing off."If a circuit has a predicted speed between 5Mbit/s to 15Mbit/s the order should be placed requesting a 40Mbit/s downstream and 2Mbit/s"
What if you can get more than 2MB upload. What do you order or will BT give you the option of changing to option 2 if you can achieve faster?
Posted by WalterWillcox over 6 years ago
The fundamental problem for long rural copper lines seems that there is still no universal service obligation. If you have cables that are known to have deteriorated it is vital that these be replaced either with new hopefully 0.9 mm larger diameter pairs or with fibre.
Posted by SheepFarmer over 6 years ago
Perhaps when FTTC gets down to the smaller exchanges BT might have a solution where they can put a small cabinet at the top of the poles that currently carry a junction box.
Posted by Dixinormous over 6 years ago
Meh FTTC isn't ideal but will still throw out >100Mbit/s down and >30Mbit/s up bonding two pairs, more than adequate for the foreseeable.
Posted by timmay over 6 years ago
They should call it FTTCmax.
Posted by russianmonkey over 6 years ago
Probably called FTTC2/2+
Posted by Fellwalker over 6 years ago
And the more people are using FTTC the more BT will have to throttle the peak times. I left their broadband when my 7 meg connection was regularly being cut to below 1 every evening.
Posted by ssanyal over 6 years ago
Great that they are extending reach and boosting download speeds to more people, but 5 Mbps is not enough for effective triple play or OTT applications at peak time. Perhaps a hybrid deployment where the capacity delivered to the cabinet is provided to the premises using ultra wide band radio technology (as opposed to WiMAX which has limited spectrum) could bypass usage of copper lines, and deliver sustained 30-100 Mbps throughput to the premises w/out attenuation. I understand the case of leveraging legacy copper, but didn't that horse pass a while back?
Posted by uniquename over 6 years ago
[q]Anyone who signs up for the race to infinity is now gonna end up in the digital slow lane of the future[/q]How do you arrive at that conclusion? Not everyone wants Virgin Media Cable (where available) instead - otherwise they would already have it.

Are you suggesting other companies will jump in with FTTP?
Posted by mabibby over 6 years ago
The way everyone goes on I feel like I'm missing something that is fundamentally wrong with the FTTC project.

In my opinion FTTC makes financial and technological sense. It's putting in place a platform which can provide up to 70mbit for the foreseeable and in cases completely rids us of the problem where a property can be too far from an exchange.

Yes FTTP is an excellent "ideal" solution but if you have your head screwed on, you should instantly know it's not viable. It's all too expensive and we all want to pay less than £30 for our internet.


Posted by davolente over 6 years ago
But will it make any difference to my crummy line on an 80's-built estate that has a weird covenant forbidding further excavation to install new lines and/or cable? Half a meg to 1 whole meg is what folk around these parts get, despite different ISP speed "estimates" of 2 meg; based on BT information. What hope, I ask?
Posted by MarkHampshire over 6 years ago
This was always going to happen. Forget about actual speeds. This means that people can get "up to 40Mbps" to compete with cable "up to 50Mbps". Leaving aside the fact that that isn't really competing, and that the former might be ten times slower than the latter. People won't fall for that one, will they? Er, yes, they will.

Separately, I think 30 to 40Mbps will do just fine for about ten years.
Posted by MarkHampshire over 6 years ago
"The circuits will be provided to the highest speed supported by the line."

With the option for the customer to cancel and get a refund if not happy? No, thought not.
Posted by AndrueC over 6 years ago
@MarkHamshire:And what would be the point of a cancellation? If they sign up to FTTC then presumably they don't have access to cable. In that case FTTC would be the best technology available to them.

FTTC can only ever improve on ADSL. In fact by definition it has to be a significant improvement since short exchange lines don't get FTTC.
Posted by AndrueC over 6 years ago
"BT said 'up to 40Mb'. I only get 6Mb. I'm going to cancel and go back to ADSL because I'd rather put up with 2Mb from an 'up to 24Mb' service".

Lol.
Posted by MarkHampshire over 6 years ago
Someone might have an ADSL2+ service looking for faster speeds and find that FTTC doesn't supply them. But then they're locked in a new 18 month contract. Why shouldn't they be able to cancel/void that (I mean both the FTTC *and* the PSTN line rental), get a full refund, and go for cable or wireless instead; why should people be locked into contracts when promises cannot be fulfilled?
Posted by njalondon over 6 years ago
Never say never, this seems to be expectation management. If FTTC were good enough and all that were needed, then BT wouldn't be spending excess money in some areas on FTTP, they'd opt for the cheaper FTTC. As it stands FTTC is adequate in terms of throughput for todays applications.
Posted by camieabz over 6 years ago
"Posted by AndrueC
I'd rather put up with 2Mb from an 'up to 24Mb' service."

Given the name of the venture, should we call it "Up to Infinity"? :)

It sounds like better news for rural areas and slow/not spots if indeed they get a look-in. I can't help but wonder if this was on the table all along, but BT wanted to trial the product in the more affluent areas first (it seemed that way in some cases).

Get ready for Markets 1, 2 & 3 fibre, with costs rising as you get closer to farmers and trees.
Posted by nmg196 over 6 years ago
Only cyberdoyle could make this very postive post about MORE people receiving much faster broadband sound like a negative thing.
Posted by WalterWillcox over 6 years ago
Although I'm sure that those able to obtain FTTC at reasonably faster speeds will welcome it, the need for symmetric speeds for businesses might hopefully accelerate FTTP deployments in some areas.
Posted by krazykizza over 6 years ago
As a heavy user of 150GB/month I would be very happy of 33-38mbit/s of bandwidth. I honestly don't see myself needing more than this, let alone 60mbit/s. Would be nice to have it for burst purposes to get things down quicker.
Posted by doowles over 6 years ago
Great they can get 70mbit in a lab but what about real life?

And fiber can do gigabit.

BT yet again protecting their monopoly by doing the slowest possible thing so people can be milked for money.

I've also still not heard how they are going to connect 25% to FTTP. Where are the plans and "go live" dates?
Posted by Somerset over 6 years ago
What monopoly does BT have?
Posted by chrysalis over 6 years ago
FTTC is adequate, thats all it is. 70mbit capability is not future proof tho. This is proof that BT cannot see past 2-3 years tho.
Somerset. so they dont have a monopoly in market 1 areas and on openreach?
Posted by Somerset over 6 years ago
They only have a monopopy, ie only provider, where Talktalk etc. have not knocked on enough doors.

Isn't it cost that prevents FTTP everywhere?
Posted by FTTH over 6 years ago
BT have one big asset.
Copper Wires, they will milk it as long as they can.

They will do all they can to ensure it stays that way so don't expect FTTP unless they get pushed.

It's all with the politicians.


FTTP will open up Gigabit speeds in the short term and be a future proof network... (Japan has just pushed 69 Tb/s down a single fibre).
The potential is fantastic...

But the Operators know that they can squeeze money from the customers now without any investment, so why invest?
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
No surprises at all with this. FTTP WILL replace FTTC eventually but only when FTTC can't cut it anymore, which is way off.
Posted by MarkHampshire over 6 years ago
"The vast majority [of FTTC homes] get between 33 and 38Mbits/sec. There's no point in going back and investing"

"BT are to increase the distance of lines that will be able to connect to (FTTC) so that it will service connections that can only manage 5Mbps"

LOL :-)
Posted by otester over 6 years ago
Yet again, why are people blaming the private sector... their hands are tied by regulation.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 6 years ago
"BT are to increase the distance of lines that will be able to connect to (FTTC) so that it will service connections that can only manage 5Mbps" yes MarkH, that is the key -
and as I said earlier, 'futureproof my arse'.
Somerset the monopoly is openreach. They own all the copper.All the fibre. All the ducts, poles and wayleaves all over the country. Apart from the bits virgin have done in cities over the same footprint.
chris
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
chrysalis, no FTTC is not future proof but why would 70mb only last us 2-3yrs? 20 & 50Mb has been available for years from Virgin, not much take up.
Posted by Somerset over 6 years ago
cd - C&W have fibre, VM have fibre in areas they don't cover for home services, there is fibre along all railway lines.

Clearly someone has to own BT ducts and poles, how else could it work?
Posted by MarkHampshire over 6 years ago
I think 30Mpbs+ will be fine for about ten years. Futureproof it is not, but then, they can always complete the circuit by removing the drop wire/last bit of the connection and putting in fibre instead (and then presumably moving the VDSL modems back into the exchange)
Posted by MarkHampshire over 6 years ago
I was just pointing out that the reason the vast majority get 30Mbps+ is because of the way they have gone about this, by only enabling "short" lines. So the former is a factor of the latter. 5Mbps will suffice for most people today, but is only (IMO) just broadband. What I was alluding to is: yep, no point changing FTTC to P now for the 30Mbps users - correct. How about investing in, er, everywhere else that isn't getting 30Mbps.
Posted by MarkHampshire over 6 years ago
For the people currently getting e.g. 1Mbps on ADSL, FTTC might now represent a step up to 5Mbps. Which is a fivefold improvement and makes sense. What concerns me is that I've spent ages trying to find anywhere within about 20 miles with decent connectivity to rent office space with either FTTC or cable since both give some near-guarantee of usable broadband versus naff old DSL. Now, with the relaxation, my list of options narrows to just cable.
Posted by MarkHampshire over 6 years ago
... hence the user should be able to reject this and indeed any broadband connection which doesn't perform to the initial estimate and get a 100% refund. Won't get my office costs back if I then have to move to get decent broadband, but would mean I don't end up paying say £150 line + £50 broadband for one month + £400 cease fee for the broadband which isn't up to scratch and another £300 for the PSTN line I didn't want anyway.
Posted by damien001 over 6 years ago
@MarkHampshire - I don't see what your problem is with the fact that people who would only get 5 Mb can now get FTTC, just don't move to an area that can onlky get 5Mb.

Posted by damien001 over 6 years ago
When I was looking for premises it was often in the material I was sent, if not I asked and they found out by contacting the current/previous tenant or other people with internet in the building
Posted by damien001 over 6 years ago
Also when pushed you can often get an agreement that unless the net access perform to a certain standard you can quit with no cost to yourself. I don't this often as I work in IT and often setting up net connections.

Just don't be lazy do your research and ask the right questions
Posted by damien001 over 6 years ago
Also cable in this area of Plymouth strugles, even virgin admits that
Posted by Somerset over 6 years ago
Why does cable struggle?
Posted by damien001 over 6 years ago
we get given different storries, ranging from lack of capacity in the area. Very high student %, to cable faults/blocked ducts to faults on the cabinets ect ectthe area affect is amout mile 1 1/2 by 3/4 of a mile
Posted by kijoma over 6 years ago
"Separately, I think 30 to 40Mbps will do just fine for about ten years. "

that comment is funny, ~10 years ago people were impressed with home highway (ISDN) at 64kbps!

5Mbps VDSL will be as flaky as 512kbps ADSL, well done Openreach :p

I'll stick with my 50 Mbps connection, no telephone lines, no satellites and no FTTC or FTTP :)
Posted by opticalgirl over 6 years ago
Does anybody know whether the folk on the 5-15Mbps product will be paying the same as the folk on the 15-40Mbps product?
Posted by AndrueC over 6 years ago
@kijoma:Not quite. People thought HH was better than a modem (which it was of course - even has some advantages over xDSL where latency is critical) but few people were seriously excited about it.

I think 30 to 40Mb will be fine for the rest of the decade. I don't think it'll be seriously inadequate even by then. It's enough to supply four or five HD feeds with decent encoders. Obviously not BluRay quality but up to broadcast quality standards if done properly.
Posted by AndrueC over 6 years ago
(cont'd) unless of course you've discovered some other bandwidth intensive service recently? I've been waiting for such a beast for a long time now :)
Posted by RufusGreenbaum over 6 years ago
How about:
Wireless from the Cabinet ?
Wireless from the Exchange ?

There are systems that provide high speed Wireless coverage up to at least 5km from the exchange ( Alvarion + others )

Why not Wireless from the local cabinet ?


.
Posted by _TRIaXOR_ over 6 years ago
quote 'We've seen 60 to 70Mbits/sec in the labs on FTTC. Is it future proofed? Yes.'

Didn't a certain Bill Gates say '640K ought to be enough for anybody', now look at our machines, 4-8GB RAM in the average PC, FTTC isnt the way forward FTTP/H is..

IMHO if BT can't handle it, then move aside and let another company do it..
Posted by New_Londoner over 6 years ago
@_TRIaXOR_ quote "IMHO if BT can't handle it, then move aside and let another company do it.."

The problem with your comment is that there is not a queue of people wanting to invest serious money. There are of course LOTS of people theorising about why FTTP is the only viable option, sadly none of those seem keen to put their money where their mouth is to any serious extent.

I'd far rather (and do) have 40mbps now than wait for FTTP which I don't currently need and am unlikely to be offered anytime soon anyway.
Posted by Somerset over 6 years ago
What's the latest on H2O digging in Bournemouth and Dundee?
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
"IMHO if BT can't handle it, then move aside and let another company do it.. " Its an Open market they don't need to move aside, other telcos are welcome
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
And they can "handle it" and have been providing fibre to premises for businesses for years
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
Labelling anything in the tech space "future proof" is foolhardy though, this person should have known better, obviously in sales and not tech
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