While there has been news of slower than expected roll-out for Openreach Fibre to the Premises projects, the Fibre to the Cabinet solution appears to be progressing well, particularly down in Cornwall. Some nine communities are looking at getting the superfast service at least three months ahead of schedule according to Comms Dealer.
The current timeline means that by March 2012, some 90,000 Cornish homes and businesses will have access to the superfast network installed by Openreach and available through a range of broadband providers. The total number of homes in Cornwall being around the 220,000 mark. The FTTC and FTTP products are not expected to provide total coverage, and this has been the case since the announcement of the Superfast Cornwall initiative, with expectations that up to 20% will receive a broadband upgrade through wireless, satellite or other technology.
The areas looking to get the service earlier than expected are Liskeard, Callington, Launceston, Dobwalls, Bude, Kilkhampton, Marhamchurch (near Widemouth Bay), Drakewalls (near Gunnislake) and North Hill (near Coads Green) with service expected to be active by the end of December 2011.
"We are working hard to make faster broadband available to as many homes and businesses in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly as quickly as possible. As the engineering and survey work progressed we found it was possible to start in these exchange areas earlier than expected. It's a great Christmas present for the homes and businesses in these communities! Superfast Cornwall is an excellent example to other parts of the UK of the private and public sectors working together to achieve great results. Over the coming months this first major phase of the roll-out will make superfast broadband available to a further 700 Cornish homes and businesses each day."Jon Reynolds, BT's South West regional director
In terms of numbers apparently the project will involve some 130,000 kilometres of fibre, upgrades in 100 telephone exchanges and 500 new green street cabinets. Also the recent news of the Access Network Frequency Plan being changed to allow the VDSL2 17a profile to be used rather than the current 8c profile, means that rather than some 7 MHz being available on the copper elements, this will expand to 17 MHz. The result being maximum downstream speeds will rise from 40 Mbps to 80 Mbps, the changes will involve trials in the first three months of 2012, followed by a product launch later in 2012.
While a fibre to the cabinet architecture is not perfect, it will remove a large section of copper wiring for those able to receive the product and thus vastly improve their broadband speeds and for businesses bring the option of vastly improved upload speeds. On our forums we see many people wondering about upgrading due to the online speed estimates returning what seem to be low figures, this is mainly because Openreach has chosen to provide conservative estimates that often work on worst case assumptions, to date the vast majority of people are connecting at well over the estimate, whereas with ADSL and ADSL2+ products the opposite was often the case.