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Fibre Only Exchange trial candidate locations released
Thursday 04 August 2011 12:29:19 by John Hunt

Openreach have announced today 4 locations as candidate exchanges for fibre only exchange (FOX) trials. These will see services offered over a fibre connection via fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) and Ethernet fibre networks rather than traditional copper based services. All of the candidate locations are rural Market 1 exchanges.

  • Orsett, Essex
  • Roydon, Essex
  • Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire
  • Sutton, Cheshire

Openreach is inviting communication provides to offer their views on the preferred site for the trial, including any reasons behind this by Friday 9th September. Five new fibre-to-the-premises trial locations are also expected to be announced in due course.

Update: 05/08/2011 - 11:18
BT have advised us that the above information was released through a draft briefing that was published by mistake and that these exchanges may not be those which are proposed for the trial.

"Due to an internal error, an earlier, draft version of this briefing was posted on our portal. This has been withdrawn and we apologise for any confusion this may have caused; We do intend, in consultation with CPs, to begin exploring the implications of a future marketplace in which more services may be delivered over fibre. As part of this process, Openreach would look to pilot the use of fibre-only delivery in one of its exchange areas over the next three to four years, and we will issue a shortlist of those exchange areas to CPs shortly - however, these may differ from those listed in this document."

BT Statement


Posted by jrawle over 6 years ago
Does it mean, if I lived in one of those areas (and Sutton Courtenay is nextdoor to the area I live in) I would be forced to abandon my ADSL 2+ service that I'm happy with, and have an expensive fibre product from BT? Would they pay my contract off? Is it subsidised? Can other companies offer FTTP in these areas? What when the trial ends?
Posted by RtcW over 6 years ago
Why Openreach keep picking rural exchanges for fibre only, FTTC and FTTP and other things while they leave cities in dark.

Note: Birmingham have only few exchanges FTTC'd/soon to be FTTC'd.
Posted by c_j_ over 6 years ago
Those are interesting questions.

Also interesting is how does this integrate with the current and future voice infrastructure.

BT quietly abandoned 21CN for voice early last year. Is there a replacement IP-backbone-centric (?) voice strategy?
Posted by ccxo over 6 years ago
These are only trial locations, Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire is near to one of the exchanges that won the race to infinity- Blewbury which i believe is also getting FTTP.

The above sites are very small in there size and are compact rural locations, would be interesting to see a trial on a larger rural exchange that is spread out.
Posted by herdwick over 6 years ago
@jrawle Anyone can do FTTP anywhere now, should they wish. As it's Openreach your current provider could opt to supply you via the fibre, no need to take a BT Retail product. How do you know it will be "expensive" ?
Posted by themanstan over 6 years ago
BT are damned if they do and damned if they don't, when it comes to fibre and rural exchanges.

"copper" will be left in place... as i understand it USO has not been amended yet such that they can remove/drop this part of the network. And unless you're in Appleford, all other villages (Culham, Drayton and Steventon) are served by other exchanges.

Blewbury is going to be FTTC/P. More of a mix and match.
Posted by jrawle over 6 years ago
If copper will remain in place, how is this a "fibre only trial"? How is it different from any other FTTP trial? To me, a testing a FOX means copper services will not be available from that exchange (at least for the duration of the trial).

@herdwick I don't currently use fibre from any provider as it's more expensive and I'm happy with ADSL 2+ for my purposes. If I were forced to give it up I wouldn't be happy.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 6 years ago
Fibre only means no copper access.

USO for phone can be met with battery backup generally.

By carrying out a trial they will be able to assess the issues, on what might be the network norm in another decade.

Product wise, no reason they can't offer cheaper 2Meg, 10Meg, 20Meg options for those that want low cost options and present these to existing BT Wholesale or LLU operators hardware
Posted by themanstan over 6 years ago
Your being a little obtuse in your thinking.
Your interpretation would mean people not wanting to take part in the trial would have no service at all. Only people wishing to take part will be connected.
And eventually you may not have a choice about copper connection. OFCOM eventually will allow BT to only operate 1 network, a fibre one, rather than 2 networks (copper and fibre). They will withdraw that service and you'll then have the option of fibre or nothing.
Posted by themanstan over 6 years ago
I stand corrected. So copper gets switched off...

Rest of previous still stands though.
Posted by aldredd over 6 years ago
Presumably, this means they're finalising the Voice Over Fibre technology - hope they release it to existing FTTP trial customers!
Posted by jrawle over 6 years ago
OK, so Sutton Courtenay has no LLU services anyway, which is probably why BT chose it. I expect it's the same in other areas. It would be harder to move to FOX in LLU exchanges as it would render many operators' services unavailable. For example, I have BE Unlimited. Would I be able to continue with the same service, same price, same lack of throttling if my exchange was FOXed?

The trial therefore won't address what happens to LLU services!
Posted by JHo1 over 6 years ago
Interesting. I can't find the 4th exchange but the first three are all VERY small, around 1,000 customers with lots of red crosses showing on Samknows (i.e. stuff all other than BT ADSL Max). But, as pointed out, that's the nature of a trial isn't it, you do it on a small group, not on the biggest exchangei nthe country. Still, maybe my exchange and line might get upgraded one day....
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
@jrawle no it won't. I don't know what the contract is in terms of LLU I assume BT have to provide the basic infrastructure (copper wires) for a certain length of time, maybe when that time is up they just wind up the copper and that is that. I think we are some way off of cutting off LLU tho
Posted by JudyB over 6 years ago
One question is exactly how they expect to implement this "trial".
When Comtel looked at providing cable in Sutton Courtenay they gave up because so many of the side roads in the village are privately owned, so the costs/logistics of running cable down enough of them were prohibitive.
Presumably it may be easier for BT because there is already copper running down the roads in question?
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
There are different ways they can deploy this, using existing ducts to get the to the street and then an aerial deploy (as is done with copper) or create a new duct to the home. I'm sure they've factored with is when they chose the exchanges :)
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 6 years ago
Also if replacing copper with fibre, then its one cable out and one new one in.
Posted by Somerset over 6 years ago
'one cable out and one new one in', surely a simplification?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 6 years ago
A simplification yes
Posted by rgenung over 6 years ago
Breathtaking! This ought to serve about 50 customers!
Posted by herdwick over 6 years ago
If BT convert an area to FTTP then that'll be the end of copper and the end of LLU.

IIRC the cost of access to an FTTP loop isn't much different to a fully unbundled copper one.
Posted by chrysalis over 6 years ago
BT continue their new alliance with rural britian.
Posted by shrimper1 over 6 years ago
The worded content of the BT statement is a total embarrassment for a major player in the UK telecomms market. It warrants the well hackneyed footie fans chant, normally to a referee or manager .............. "You don't know what yer doing! repeat ..... repeat". Cameron should call the BT top man to attend No 10, so he can give him an Alex Ferguson style "ear-hole reaming"!!
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