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Vectoring and cheaper installs on way for FTTC in 2013
Friday 19 April 2013 09:38:05 by Andrew Ferguson

The signs are that BT Wholesale is starting to gear up to launch a self-install FTTC product, which follows on from their supplier Openreach running their own trial open to all other major providers like Sky and TalkTalk.

The pricing from Openreach suggests that the cost of activating a FTTC service may drop, possibly into the £40 area, but given that many of the large providers almost always have an offer on installs this will make little difference to consumer cost. We suspect it may help to encourage more 12 month minimum term contracts, rather than the very common 18 month or two year ones that FTTC can attract at the retail level.

FTTC when it was launched had a maximum connection speed of 40 Mbps and this was then doubled to 80 Mbps as the frequency allocations increased for the service. The next big boost got a big nudge when Mike Galvin talked about Vectoring as launching in 2013 in the UK when discussing the state of play of the BT fibre roll-outs. Vectoring has the potential to boost speeds to over the 100 Mbps mark, with some manufactures suggesting that 100 Mbps is feasible for lines as long as 400m to 500m.

If Openreach can get 10% of customers lines running at 120 Mbps or faster which is possible these days on VDSL2, then Virgin Media will lose its major advertising element of the fastest widely available broadband in the UK.

There is an interesting discussion on pushing FTTC speeds past 80 Mbps in our fibre broadband forum section. What we find interesting is where people are electing already to experiment with their own VDSL2 modems, that finding good compatible hardware is not that easy, suggesting perhaps that the UK may not be so behind the times as some would have us believe.

Update 3pm: We chased for a statement on the issue of vectoring and received the following statement from BT, which confirms trials will take place, but leaves the question of whether or when vectoring will be deployed to post trial.

"Openreach is planning to test the capabilities of vectoring as part of a trial involving its CP customers during Summer 2013. We will provide Industry with more details on the trial over the coming weeks.‪

It’s far too early to say whether we will be deploying vectoring in our network as any decision will be dependent upon the outcome of the trial.‪ However, we believe vectoring has the potential to be a cornerstone technology of FTTC deployment in the future.

Customer feedback and the latest figures from Ofcom suggest that our fibre products are performing very well and, as you would expect, we’re continually evaluating emerging technologies aimed at further enhancing performance."

BT statement on vectoring


Posted by New_Londoner over 4 years ago
Good to see this is on the agenda, encouraging to know that there should continue to be plenty of headroom between my actual bandwidth needs and the capability of the line.

I presume those that keep pushing the "FTTC is a cul-de-sac" line will be feeling more than a little foolish!
Posted by PhilCoates over 4 years ago
God this is so frustrating to read and hear about. The cul-de-sac many are in is called BDUK. Sub 2Mbps speeds on 3g as the only option is incredibly frustrating when you read about the complaints people have about not getting their full 80Mbps from fibre.

May this year my CC may sign with BT. Nowt will happen for a least a year after that.

I may have to bite the bullet and order satellite.
Posted by mdar5 over 4 years ago
Google Maslow's "Heirachy of needs".

Basically humans always want more of anything, and once the basics needs are satisfied they want the trimmings, and once they are satisfied with this they want yet more.....

So those that have 80Mbps want 100Mbs and frankly they don't give a monkey's arrrrrrse about the problems and solutions for those with less than 2Mbps.
Posted by Dixinormous over 4 years ago
This is an improvement and will help more people reach higher speeds, however after this the next options are pair bonding, which is potentially problematic, and profile 30a, which requires line card swap outs and may require recabling and even additional cabinets as the current 30a cards have lower port density than the existing 17a cards.

FTTC is a cul-de-sac, but it's possible to demolish the end of it and go further. Just as with the demolition neither cheap nor trivial though.
Posted by themanstan over 4 years ago

Nuke from orbit and start again? ;oD
Posted by GMAN99 over 4 years ago
Just as ADSL will be around for years to come (not everyone wants the latest and greatest) I'm sure many will be on FTTC for years to come before there's any thoughts of taking cabs out
Posted by jrawle over 4 years ago
@PhilCoates I think people need to accept that if they live in a rural area, they can't expect all the facilities they would have in a town or city, e.g. large shops, leisure facilities, mainline railway station or fast broadband. People need to weigh all this up when deciding where to live.
Posted by PhilCoates over 4 years ago
@jrawle. How many times have i heard this nonsense? I live in a rural area and have done for the last 30 years - well before the internet took off.

Perhaps I should shove my mother-in-law in a home, sell the house and move into town?

When will people realise that the majority of the rural population are not second-home owning plutocrats?
Posted by Discus over 4 years ago
The area I used to live in in Leeds was certainly not rural, but sub 2meg speeds were the norm :(
Posted by AndrueC over 4 years ago
I live in a rural town and have a 69Mb/s connection - coming up to the first anniversary.
Posted by pcoventry76 over 4 years ago
I've just been through a very rural area. Can't get a phone signal but they have cabs popping up.

All BT need to do is give us 120mbps and let us use it for more than 5 mins and they have every single up on VM they could have!
Posted by pcoventry76 over 4 years ago

so in my case living in a town makes me worse off than living in a rural area!
Posted by csimon over 4 years ago

That's exactly the kind of attitude that was being pointed out! You think it's easy for someone to find, say, £200,000 to move if they want faster/reliable broadband? Do you think there are people who would prefer to move from their own home in order to get faster/reliable broadband?
Posted by csimon over 4 years ago
And do you think everyone actually has a choice where they live?
Posted by PhilCoates over 4 years ago
'I live in a rural town and have a 69Mb/s connection - coming up to the first anniversary.

I think the vital word in that sentence is 'town'.

I live in a 'Hamlet' of 10 houses only 200 yrds from a B-road linking 2 rural towns. No BB via copper.
Posted by zhango over 4 years ago
I live in a village with no hope of fibre but I have a very reliable 3 Meg download speed and I'm genuinely pleased with it. We're not all complaining!
Posted by jrawle over 4 years ago
People complain they can't/won't move to get better broadband, but expect government or commercial companies to pay large sums to ensure they can get it. I'll say it again, you take your choice and weigh things up. You can access most essential sites (govt, savings, etc.) via dial-up. Broadband is a luxury, just as living in a peaceful, rural area is.
Posted by audioslim over 4 years ago
I live in the city where I've got FTTC.... I've also got depravation and drug addicts roaming free....

Swings and roundabouts I'm afraid!
Posted by jrawle over 4 years ago
I live in a town with great FTTC and cable, but am sick of the snobs who constantly call it a dump and think they are too good to live here, preferring the villages around the periphery. But then they complain about not having good broadband speeds! They all chose to live where they do, and it's much cheaper to live in the town if they wanted to move. I don't see why my taxes should pay for them to have faster BB - it's bad enough they use our facilities but don't pay tax to the town council.
Posted by PhilCoates over 4 years ago
I don't expect the government or commercial companies to do any such thing....but in case you haven't noticed, they have decided to do it anyway.

My taxes help to maintain your streets, drains, sewers, bin men, roads etc just as yours may help to maintain my binmen - we don't get any of the others.

I am not sure where you get the idea that only those who pay council tax to your town council have a right to use the 'facilities' of your town.

Are you actually living in the UK or some post-apocalyptic survivalist outpost somewhere?
Posted by undecidedadrian over 4 years ago
Actually the sewers are maintained by the water firms not tax payers and if you don't have a sewer connection you won't be paying for sewerage charges,

And the roads are an intersting example as in fact it costs a whole lot more per person to maintain the roads in rural areas than in does in towns.
Council tax in London is a lot lower due to the fact that they don't need to maintain any rural services.
Posted by PhilCoates over 4 years ago

I am sure you are right. Would you like to swap my road for yours? Mine is currently <1 lane wide and riddled with potholes. No maintainence for the last 10 years.
Posted by jrawle over 4 years ago
The precept on my council tax for the town council is much higher than in the surrounding villages. People from the villages drive in to use the arts centre or leisure centre that are funded by the town council. A new housing estate is being built and much of it will be across the border in a neighbouring parish, with many people calling for the border to be re-drawn, so this is a genuine local political issue not something I have made up.
Posted by csimon over 4 years ago

You're an reverse snob with all sorts of prejudices and preconceived ideas! Who on earth suggested that towns are a dump and the rural places are idyllic and peaceful and beautful and people who live there are extremely rich and do so by choice, therefore it has to be paid for by lack of broadband??
Posted by undecidedadrian over 4 years ago

Yes please I will happily swap your road as currently our road has collapsed due to no maintenece at all and 50 years of sub surface faults are being exposed.

Also due to no maintenece for 50 years on the power grid we are having blackouts randomly every couple of weeks.

I grew up in a small village and the services in our commuter town is way worse than where my parents are still living.
Posted by jrawle over 4 years ago
I didn't say towns are a dump. I said people repeatedly say my town (Didcot, for the record) is a dump. It has a bad reputation locally which is not deserved. In this part of south east England, most villages are full of wealthy people, that's a fact. And they do drive into town for most things they need, and they do moan about broadband. As audioslim said, it's swings and roundabouts. Don't moan about broadband when you've chosen to live somewhere for other reasons you consider beneficial.
Posted by jrawle over 4 years ago
Actually, I shouldn't (and didn't originally) say villagers are wealthy. They are averagely well off, but have chosen to live there. They could choose to live in a town. I could live in a village, but I want to be able to walk to the station or the shops, and to have decent broadband and leisure facilities. I don't complain about living on a housing estate and not surrounded by fields because it's my choice. They shouldn't complain about broadband because it's their choice.
Posted by New_Londoner over 4 years ago
... meanwhile, back on topic .... :)
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
Technology advances for copper will *always* place the advantage in the denser crowded cities, because the economics determine that the financial investment works best with a dense crowd of people.

The smallest villages and hamlets need a solution that works at a small scale, with a long fibre backhaul - something like FTTdp might suit, perhaps.

On the other hand, once you've got the long backhaul there, it might prove more economic to just FTTH instead.
Posted by timmay over 4 years ago
Would be nice if they'd enable the cabinet I connect to ... March 2014 is still the predicted data and I'm not at all rural!
Posted by chrysalis over 4 years ago
That linked zdnet article is embarassing to the UK, BT boasting about using nearly 100 year old copper, USA already announced vectoring last year and mos tother ocuntries going FTTP. I think the business case for FTTP has been weakened in this country by BT having illusions about what their copper can do and that they simply refuse to fix faults unless they very severe, this artifically lowers the maintenance cost of their copper. That guy who was down to a 6mbit sync on FTTC said his line would have passed openreach tests in that faulty state.
Posted by New_Londoner over 4 years ago
You might want to read up a bit more, many reports rank the UK ahead of the US, eg the Network Readiness report this week.
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
Embarrassing to the UK? Only if you drool over the tech, and forget to check the charges.

I get an 80/20 package in the UK, with a 250GB allowance, incl phone, and all calls for £34.50

If I move to the right house in Oz, the best that NBN can give me is a 100/40 package. For a similar allowance, it looks like I'd be charged around Aus$110-120 (£73-£80) including phone but not call charges.

If I went a step down for the 50/20 package, charges look to be around Aus$100, or £67.

Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago

Same speed, same allowance, double the cost!

Oz will get a great future-proof network with NBN, but the prices are beyond mere embarrassment.

The business case for FTTP in this country is weakened by the fact that FTTC gives everything we need (*) - there is no need yet to write off the copper simply because the other tech appears more droolworthy.

(*) - For 80-90% of the country. We *do* need to do something better for the other 10% though.
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago

And the sad part for the Aussie's is that I'll have been using my 80/20 connection (and paying half the money) for a decade before the NBN reaches its current target (93%).
Posted by GMAN99 over 4 years ago
Most other countries going FTTP, don't you just love sweeping statements :)

We have better than most. FTTC to serve needs now and the future, and FTTP for those that want it in the next month or so. Looks good to me
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
I was thinking more about my costs: £35pm vs £70pm in Australia.

At that rate, I'm saving £400 per year.

I'll probably have access to 100Mbps within the year.

And in 4-5 years, I can save enough to pay for my own FTTPoD connection, and still get it before half of Oz gets connected to anything at all.

Jam tomorrow, jam the day after, yet still jam today. Can't complain!
Posted by huntyz over 4 years ago
I live in a village in cornwall and get 68mb/s from fttc, 8mb from hspa+ on mobile.
Posted by mikejp over 4 years ago
As far as I know, 'Vectoring' is not the complete panacea that is suggested. I understand it does not improve the degredation of line length and prevents LLU?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
Correct mile but vdsl2 can go faster than 80meg and crosstalk is more of an issue with it. So vectoring can offer a boost.

On llu only digital region and a few other places, so vectoring may not be deployed there.

Still profile 30 that could be used too
Posted by mikejp over 4 years ago
"On llu only digital region and a few other places, so vectoring may not be deployed there." - can you amplify that? LLU is widespread?
Posted by mikejp over 4 years ago
Supplementary - is vectoring done at exchange or PCP?
Posted by ryant704 over 4 years ago
It will be done at the PCP
Posted by ratty2012 over 4 years ago
It will also have to be done at the customer end as well as the PCP, so both the cabinet and the customer will have to have upgraded equipment.
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
It seems that most of the customer equipment can be upgraded in-situ (new firmware) to support the statistical measurement work they will need to do.

However, the actual process of vectoring - removal of crosstalk - in both up- and down-stream will be done in the FTTC cabinet co-located with the PCP
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
@mikejp - it is SLU that is affected by vectoring, not LLU. It only affects places where other operator's have their own FTTC cabinet.

It is one reason why the focus appears to be on wholesale bitstreams, rather than SLU.
Posted by ryant704 over 4 years ago
WWWombat it affects LLU not SLU.

At least according to Wikipedia and a few other sources... I also thought it affected LLU.
Posted by ratty2012 over 4 years ago
Indeed it does effect LLU, I don't think WWWombat has read up on Vectoring as he has posted a few errors regarding Vectoring.
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
Ah - sly innuendo. Far better than facts!

As a telco developer (sadly, only software) I have both read about vectoring *and* have a fair understanding of what it is trying to say. Both the technical parts and the economic parts.

But I'm not beyond mistakes I write software. Of course I make mistakes.

So what are the errors?
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago

Vectoring needs the FTTC cabinet to perform the process on *all* lines, or it doesn't work effectively. Therefore the problem comes when there are two separate FTTC cabinets.

You don't get 2 separate FTTC cabinets in LLU. You only get it in sub-loop unbundling.

Therefore SLU is affected if we want vectoring instead.

LLU (eg Sky ADSL2+ kit in the exchange) isn't affected.
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
It isn't impossible that 2 cabinets can exchange vectoring data, but it is less likely - especially cross-vendor.
Posted by Teasy1000 over 4 years ago
I'm about 20 meters from my cabinet and my telephone exchange is being upgraded for fibre. Yet I'd be surprised if I'm not stuck on 4MB/s for the next several years at least. Since Openreach have classified my cabinet as "not financially viable".. :(
Posted by Apilar over 4 years ago
@WWWombat No errors. You're bang on.
Posted by chrysalis over 4 years ago
WWWombat uk wins on cost and coverage no argument there, but that to me isnt the key, but rather how behind we are with tech rollout and how BT boasting about not using latest technology.
Posted by chrysalis over 4 years ago
also remember the lines only need to be made vector friendly, they dont necessarily have to be vector enabled. Apparently existing CPE is already vector friendly compatible.
Posted by themanstan over 4 years ago
I would have thought that CPE doesn't need to be compatible. The Vectoring gear modulates the signal at the cab so that the noise on the line is "cancelled out" leaving a cleaner signal for the CPE to interpret.
Posted by herdwick over 4 years ago
I would imagine when Openreach wrote in the SIN that vectoring capable CPE was required they did it for a reason.

"Just one non-vectoring compliant CPE operating in a vectored cable can create cross talk, which drastically reduces gains on vectored lines"

"For downstream FEXT cancellation, error samples are reported from the receiver in the CPE to the Vectoring Control Entity in the DSLAM via a dedicated signaling channel on each line"

etc ad nauseam - see Google or
Posted by ratty2012 over 4 years ago
@herdwick Thank you for posting that link to that pdf, that is the one I've been trying to find for the last day or two.

The reason I've been searching is because it does clarify that even though the modems will have a firmware update, this will not make them Vectoring compatible, but instead make them Vectoring friendly, which in the case of the HG612 would mean that it would be in friendly mode only (So no speed benefit).
Posted by themanstan over 4 years ago

That makes sense, a feedback loop for the vectoring to dynamically adjust.

Then the only question would be efficiency between vectoring kit, i.e. ECI to ECI being more efficient than ECI to Huawei or any other make...
Posted by stoatwblr over 4 years ago
WRT using 100 year old copper, that isn't a bad thing AS LONG AS IT IS MAINTAINED. Paper insulated cable has better characteristics for BB use than plastic - but as soon as it gets wet all bets are off.

Unfortunately this is exactly what's happened in large chunks of the BT network - and BT have claimed to Ofcom that they have no paper-insulated cable left in service, which implies that there's nothing older than 40 years old in place (This is a lie, of course, but some proof that BT have been fibbing to Ofcom would be useful)
Posted by chrysalis over 4 years ago
Andrew can you ask BT if they using M41 or V41 for ECI cabinets? the latter supports vectoring whilst the former doesnt.
Posted by roughbeast over 4 years ago
I wouldn't be surprised if VM were also looking at vectoring, but as a means to making their connections more symmetrical; trading downstream for upstream channels whilst still being able to maintain or increase down speeds beyond their current 120Mb. Vectoring increases potential for higher speed in coax too, so VM would have room to do that trade off. In VM's case there is scope for vectoring between node and cabinet and cabinet and home.
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