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Derry City first to have FTTC available from all BT cabinets
Tuesday 18 October 2011 17:30:20 by Andrew Ferguson

Derry in Northern Ireland has the distinction of being the first city in the UK and Ireland to have all of its BT street cabinets upgraded to offer a FTTC service from Openreach. The roll-out completion as detailed on the BBC website means some 40,000 homes and businesses will have the option of upgrading to a faster broadband service.

There will be a small number of homes and businesses unable to get the service, one reason being that every telephone exchange has lines that are so short they do not connect to a cabinet - though in these cases ADSL2+ performance should be good, or these people may alternatively have the choice of a cable broadband service. It should be pointed out that where people are receiving estimates on potential speeds from a FTTC service, these are invariably conservative and should almost always be significantly faster than any current ADSL or ADSL2+ based product.

A quick check on maps.thinkbroadband.com shows that already there are people experiencing improved broadband services, and that people are also buying the faster up to 100 Mbps cable broadband service from Virgin Media that is available to some 30,000 homes in the area.

For residents of Derry and other parts of the UK where cabinets are being upgraded, the product switch is not automatic. The reason for this is the products are generally more expensive than standard products but thankfully they are still cheaper than broadband cost from a few years ago. The Openreach FTTC product carries a headline figure of up to 40 Mbps, with at least 10% managing speeds of 36 Mbps, and further upgrades are planned to push the downstream to 80 Mbps and upstream to 20 Mbps for those close enough to the green street cabinet.

BT's presence in Derry is a high profile affair as the BT Group is a Premier Partner in the Derry / Londonderry UK City of Culture 2013, but do not be misled into believing FTTC is only available via the BT Infinity products. The product is available through a number of other providers which do sell the FTTC service (if you work for a broadband provider and your launched product is missing from our list, please do get in touch).

For those who are still waiting on the FTTC services to come to their part of the UK, you should be aware that enabling all the cabinets in an area is rare, generally around 40% to 80% of cabinets on an exchange get upgraded, with the decisions being largely based on economics and the vagaries of getting planning permission in some parts of towns and cities.

Comments

Posted by orly2 over 5 years ago
I know you have no control over others, but can you ensure you actually give the city it's correct name on this site?
Posted by NuttyMucker over 5 years ago
I agree with Orly or at least have Londonderry/Derry
Posted by cyberdoyle over 5 years ago
Everyone connected to Derry exchange will then enter the stats as having a 'superfast' connection, when in fact those outside the cabinet reach will be no better off. Also they will never get the chance of true next generation access as once the cabinets are in they won't get upgraded to ftth. They are better off going with virgin cable if they can get it.
Posted by orly2 over 5 years ago
I'm fairly sure most, if not all, the cabinets in my town are done. Indeed they've even installed several brand new ones.

And I've yet to find a phone number that doesn't have FTTC capability (sample of about 20 numbers in random locations around the town)
Posted by orly2 over 5 years ago
Despite being not a particularly big place, it gets the advantage of 3 exchanges for coverage cyberdoyle
Posted by New_Londoner over 5 years ago
@CD
With FTTC going to 80Mbps/20Mbps next year and lots of issues being raised at present regarding congestion on cable, not everyone will agree with your rather pessimistic diagnosis.

You need to ask what the bill would have been to get FTTH instead and who would have paid it? Holding out for the "perfect" solution is only worthwhile if there is a realistic chance of getting it, otherwise its a moot point.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 5 years ago
@new_londoner
I don't mind cities having FTTC, I just object to the marketing which implies everyone on a FTTC exchange will get 'up to' 40 or 80 when it is obvious they won't. Many will be stuck on adsl from the exchange, many will be so far from the cabinet they don't stand a chance of getting anything decent, and the congestion on the cables will soon be replicated worse than ever on the phone lines once the ones close to the cabinets start watching all their tv through it.
Posted by Somerset over 5 years ago
'congestion on the cables will soon be replicated worse than ever on the phone lines once the ones close to the cabinets start watching all their tv through it'

Please explain in more detail. Which cables?
Posted by GMAN99 over 5 years ago
Sigh.. more twoddle.. congestion on the phone lines... is that the same as leaves and snow on train lines?
Posted by orly2 over 5 years ago
If each cabinet can take 288 lines...if you assume each gets 40Mbit (which they don't) and all download to the max 24/7 (which they don't) you need about 10Gbit going to the cabinet if my calculations are right to have a reasonably low "congestion"
Posted by darren_mccoy over 5 years ago
I live about half a mile from a fibre enabled cabinet. I would love to be able to pay for my own fibre connection across a couple of fields to the cabinet. Problem solved. It takes my phone line over 5Km to get back to that cabinet :( so it looks like i'll never be getting upgraded, I'll move house before i get a satellite connection.

I would love this site to do a feature on funding your own fibre connection.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 5 years ago
we're doing a funding your own solution Darren. its all on our site at www.b4rn.org.uk.
There is only Rutland managed to get their own cabinets and run fibre from them. You can't run fibre from BT cabinets, and they won't be upgraded so Liv Garfield says. Once you get infinity you are stuck on it for infinity.
Posted by johnct over 5 years ago
Its now the city of culture City !! )
Posted by GMAN99 over 5 years ago
There are no "plans" to upgrade the cabinets no, not at the moment. When there is demand for more speed I'm sure things will change, just like they have before... "dial-up" - "ISDN" - "ADSL" - "ADSL2" - "FTTC"

Posted by Somerset over 5 years ago
b4rn funding is not there yet! Surely anyone can do a Rutland?

No reason to not expect BT cabinets to be upgraded when there is demand for increased speed, but currently it's not wanted by the majority. Currently for most downloading HD video would be the fastest application.

Hampleton is a good example of a community paying for improved speed.
Posted by GMAN99 over 5 years ago
b4 is only just about to move into the funding stage, from reading it doesn't appear there's as much interest as was hoped which is a shame (if true) I can't see digging starting anytime soon. Hope I'm wrong though
Posted by themanstan over 5 years ago
Interesting to see the usual shallow commentary even though this is a situation where the two largest ISPs have actually done a very good job. VM expanded their footprint (which is a rarity) and BT have all cabinets active (which is something they should do for any given exchange that is upgraded, but don't).
Posted by themanstan over 5 years ago
CD, I can't see any applications that are going to need more than 50-70Mbps for quite a bit. When they come along then investment will come to upgrade FTTC to FTTP. 10 years on from 2 Mbps BB the most demanding internet requirement at the moment is HD streaming which needs ~8 MBps. But who is to say that a new protocol won't come along that allows faster speeds, much like has happened with DOCSIS.
Posted by Somerset over 5 years ago
BT Openreach is not an ISP...
Posted by themanstan over 5 years ago
@Somerset
True in the sense that they don't sell internet access to the end user, but they do wholesale internet access. The digital economy act still hasn't clearly defined what an ISP is exactly... which has made universities nervous, as technically they might be considered such and the obligations could be very expensive...
Posted by Somerset over 5 years ago
Speedtest thinks Lancaster University Campus Network is an ISP.
Posted by New_Londoner over 5 years ago
@CD
FOr information, "congestion on the cable" applies to the Virgin architecture not to FTTC. WIth FTTC you have a dedicated line from the cabinet to the property, with cable you share the coax with X00 others.
Posted by AndrueC over 5 years ago
@Somerset:It says the same thing for our corporate WAN. Or does when I work from home and have to use the VPN. Ironically from our tiny satellite office it doesn't because we have a direct link for external traffic. Muwahahahaha.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 5 years ago
@NL I know that. but the congestion remains when all the copper feeds get into the system at the cabinet or the exchange. ISPs are gonna have to buy more from wholesale to cope with the customers demands near the cabs. everyone else will stay slow, and probably get even slower as ISPs struggle to cope. A real digital divide is looming.
Posted by Somerset over 5 years ago
cd - same can occur with fibre feeds. Why will everyone else stay slow as ISPs buy more bandwidth?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
@cyberdoyle people have been trying to explain that to you for months, that giving people faster access to the network is only part of the puzzle.

To date FTTC and 50 and 100Meg cable products are coping.

VM customers appear to contend on 200Mbps links if data from modems is correct. FTTC has multiple Gbps links to the exchange available.
Posted by herdwick over 5 years ago
"but the congestion remains when all the copper feeds get into the system at the cabinet or the exchange." - you can have as much congestion as you want. Openreach's GEA product provides 20Mbits/s CIR per FTTC circuit to the handover point and CPs can contend after that to whatever level is commercially sensible.

B4RN plans to provide 2Mbits/s per circuit to the internet IIRC ?
Posted by GMAN99 over 5 years ago
@cd,

Copper has nothing to do with it. When you give more bandwidth to more people you need more bandwidth in the core to be able to meet demand that is networking 101. It doesn't matter whether the tail end if copper or fibre you still need to cater for the bandwidth in the core, so I'm not sure what your point is or what a digital divide has to do with your argument?
Posted by AndrueC over 5 years ago
@cd:..and as I've noted before. Upgrading the local loop is more /likely/ to cause contention. If the core network provision is struggling to handle the current 'up to 24Mb' services then giving everyone 100Mb is clearly going to be a problem.

There's a solution to it but it involves spending more money. More than five times as much probably since the average on copper is a lot less than 24Mb/s.
Posted by AndrueC over 5 years ago
(cont'd) for sure the core provision can be upgraded. Technically it's no great shakes. The problem is the accountants and I think by now we all now where ISPs stand when it comes to spending money.
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