Openreach may be seeing the start of a new competing fibre network, as Fujitsu starts a trial which will see Openreach ducts and poles used for a competitor to deliver fibre based services to homes in the Greasby area of the Wirral (Halton Crescent being the first to benefit).
The network is being designed from the ground up to offer wholesale based services, with Virgin Media and TalkTalk and will use 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) delivery, with services running initially at 100Mbps.
"BT only offers Generic Ethernet Access (GEA) on its fibre optic products at the moment, which means we cannot replicate what we provide across our cable infrastructure as everything needs to be converted into IP delivery.
Essentially everything then fights for the same bandwidth - like how your DSL broadband will slow if BT Vision needs some of it. The architecture of Fujitsu's infrastructure supports RFoG (Radio Frequency over Glass), which enables us to dedicate specific spectrum for each service.
It's ultimately a better, more flexible service for everyone having that passive open network than to try to use something that's tightly managed such as BT.
Virgin Media spokesperson
Fujitsu has a short FAQ on the PIA trial at www.fujitsu.com/uk/telecommunications/pia which will run for 6 months. Hopefully the trial will allow Fujitsu to learn how to work with Openreach and provide a showcase for what an alternative fibre network can provide.
The involvement of Virgin Media and TalkTalk is interesting as both have an interest in using a fast network to provide subscription TV services, Virgin Media with its obvious cable background, and TalkTalk will be looking to leverage the experience gained from its ownership of Tiscali TV.