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West Sussex County Council signs deal with BT
Wednesday 15 May 2013 14:47:47 by Andrew Ferguson

West Sussex County Council is the latest authority to sign on the dotted line with BT for its BDUK project, The project which has a total contract value of £20 million should provide FTTC or FTTP broadband to over 44,000 premises at speeds of 24 Mbps or faster by Spring 2016.

The mainly FTTC roll-out will result in 98% of premises in the county having access to a FTTC service, or in some areas a native FTTP product. Fibre on Demand will of course be available for those in areas with FTTC (mainly businesses) willing to pay the significantly higher install fees and monthly price for the 330 Mbps Fibre on Demand service.

West Sussex is interesting as it is a county that still has three BT exchanges that do not offer any ADSL service at all, and we are expecting copper re-arrangement and the ability for an FTTC cabinet to have its backhaul running many miles to the handover node bringing fixed line broadband services to these areas.

"We are delighted to have entered into a partnership arrangement with BT that will significantly increase the county’s opportunity to grow its economy, and help all residents to enjoy the benefits of being online. West Sussex County Council is very aware of the problems that slow speeds or in some cases, no broadband at all can cause local businesses and people working and running businesses from home. This was a key rationale behind the Council’s decision to invest more than £6 million to provide more access to better, faster broadband across the county. We are now looking to BT, having won the contract, to deliver services to those areas which we know are without."

Louise Goldsmith, deputy leader for West Sussex County Council

For those that like to play guess the subsidy level, the contract is made up of £7.6m from BT, £6.26m from West Sussex County Council and £6.26m from the BDUK.

Update 3:15pm While the press release does not cover the hot topic of exchange only (EO) lines, we have spoken with the right people in BT and while they cannot confirm that all exchange lines will be covered in the 98%, a mixture of copper re-arrangement to allow installation of a fibre cabinet close to the EO cluster, or if the economics stack up a native FTTP solution. This mixture has been applied elsewhere that BT have tackled the EO situation, so it will be a case of waiting and watching for product updates over time. While the 98% also seems ambitious there is a desire to push further than this if at all possible.

For updates on the project the West Sussex County Council broadband section should update as the project starts to gear up for delivery.

Comments

Posted by bezuk over 4 years ago
Out of interest, where else has BT tackled the EO situation? Have they tackled it anywhere as part of the commercial rollout, or solely via BDUK projects?

I was under the impression that there was a lot of talk and ideas about how to fix it but very little implementation so far.
Posted by callmeleroy over 4 years ago
Cornwall has an eo trial.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
Also some work underway in North Yorks as part of the BDUK project.
Posted by JNeuhoff over 4 years ago
@bezuk: There is no such thing as an EO line problem, this all in BTs mind only. There is no reason why a FTTP on Demand couldn't be made available immediately to customers with EO lines. This crazy EO line issue simply doesn't exist in other countries to my knowledge.
Posted by Somerset over 4 years ago
@JNeuhoff - because rolling out the infrastructure, ducts, fibre, head ends etc. for FTTC enables FoD to be provided from aggregation nodes at a sensible price compared with other FTTP products. EO lines will get FTTC by network rearrangement, ie intercepting the EO cables and installing a cabinet. Then there is duct etc. for FoD.
Posted by RandomJointer over 4 years ago
@Jeurgan - e0 deployment covered BY NICC Standards.

@Kijoma - Openreach platform with choice of providers at competitive prices and customer services are going to be all over your yard shortly. I reckon you have about a year to sort your game out.
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
Good target at 98%, for a county that still had exchanges with no broadband at all!

£20 million for 44,000 properties - £454 per premise.
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
@JNeuhff
Before BT will sell FTTPoD for EO lines, they need to go through the network re-arrangement planning that will determine where an FTTC cabinet will be located, where an AN will be located, and how the fibre is routed to both.

The ongoing trials are meant to be telling them how best to go about that.

There's no point them pre-empting that planning by installing an FTTPoD line, to then discover that everything is in the wrong place, with lines heading in the wrong direction.
Posted by JNeuhoff over 4 years ago
@WWWombat: Please take a look at how it's done in other countries! Most exchanges already have fibre-optic backbones, and plenty of space for adding new equipment if needed. EO lines, just as VDSL lines from cabinets, already run through existing cable ducts. FTTP has nothing to do with VDSL, and EO lines could be replaced by fibre at a cost similar to VDSL lines.
Posted by Somerset over 4 years ago
@JNeuhoff - please list the 'cost similar' and cost of installing fibre into buildings v. FTTC. This is not replacement, it's adding.
Posted by ValueforMoney over 4 years ago
@wwwombat - where did you reference 44k premises, at an average of c200 premises per PCP, that would be £56k subsidy per cabinet/path, compared to £13k per cabinet/path in Fermanagh, Tyrone.
Posted by JNeuhoff over 4 years ago
@Somerset: Doesn't BTs FTTPoD replace the VDSL copper wire with a fibre line?
Posted by gah789 over 4 years ago
@WWWombat According to the State Aid document, 20% of premises are in Broadband White areas ~ 76,700. 90% of these will be covered by program to get to 98% target (~ 69,000 premises) so cost is ~£290 per property. This seems to be broadly typical of BDUK projects.
Posted by Somerset over 4 years ago
@JNeuhoff - I would have thought it unlikely that the copper line would be removed, and if it was, only back to the top of the pole.
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
@JNeuhoff
FTTPoD and FTTC are inextricably linked.
1) Both depend on the first layer of the fibre distribution network (up to the AN), so the topology of both has the same initial planning requirements
2) Very few subscribers on EO lines will afford or take the FTTPoD solution, so BT still have to install FTTC.

In terms of keeping the overall spend down, it makes absolute sense to not do FTTPoD on EO lines until the local FTTC plan is done.

FTTP could be done (I agree) but has proved to be too expensive, so won't ever be first choice.
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
@VFM: First paragraph of the story.
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
@VFM: I know you're tracking the cost per cabinet, but I don't think you are taking into account the "ruralness" of each county - some way to weight it using the "hockey-stick" of cost-per-premises.

Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
@gah789
Thanks.

I knew I had a figure of £300 in my head for some reason!
Posted by GMAN99 over 4 years ago
"and EO lines could be replaced by fibre at a cost similar to VDSL lines." Sorry but I do not believe that for an instant
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
The FTTC versus FTTP for EO lines, if its a small cluster e.g. 28 properties to cover, and the power costs are high too, then a FTTP might be cheaper in that circumstance.

Especially if the hamlet was close to the place the cabinet would be located.

It is not about broad brush strokes, but actually doing the sums for various solutions and keeping an eye on overall budget.
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
@andrew
Agreed - it depends very closely on the sums for the different solutions.

That's why I think nothing much appears to be happening on the surface, because BT are trying their hardest to get the cost of network re-arrangement down, in order to make use of FTTC.

The example you mention would be ideal for FTTdp, but surely it is time we started to see those small ECI boxes out there...
Posted by JNeuhoff over 4 years ago
@WWWombat: You really sound like a BT spokesman here. The costs per meter of running fibre through a duct are similar for an EO line or a line comming from a cabinet. There is no need for a cabinet when putting a fibre through an EO duct.

Posted by JNeuhoff over 4 years ago
@andrew: @andrew: I agree, doing the sums for various solutions is important. Eventually copper will have to be replaced with fibre, the total long-term costs of going the detour via cabinets and interim VDSL and then fibre later are higher than doing FTTP directly. Look at the ongoing NBN debate in Australia where this point has been frequently hightlighted.
Posted by ValueforMoney over 4 years ago
@gah789 &wwwombat -Thanks, I'll take the highest prem past number, the first cabinets for ELO were quoted by Rory Stewart MP in his HOC evidence at £30k, then copied into Cornwall. It looked statistically like an upper bound on cost for a final 10% engineering area, be it 30 or a 100 premises.
Posted by Somerset over 4 years ago
@JNeuhoff - you really don't understand the detail of network design, economics and rollout. If you did you would quote some comparison figures.

What's the cost of a cabinet v. FTTP in an area?
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
@JNeuhoff.
Adding a PCP and FTTC cabinet to a cluster of EO lines needs 1 fibre laying to the cabinet, and zero fibres from cabinet to the homes (which could be 20 or less, or could be 100 or more).

FTTP to the homes of EO lines requires fibre to each individual home, whether it is 1, 10 or 100 or more. This is the expensive part, and doesn't happen at all in the case where an FTTC cabinet is installed.
...cont>
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
<cont...
Ducting could be used if it exists, isn't blocked, and there is space. There's probably other considerations - BT don't like mixing E-side cables with D-side distribution, and EO will be a funny mix of this.

Conclusion - the cost will vary hugely depending on number of EO lines in a cluster.

Small clusters may well be more economic with FTTP (as @andrew says higher up), while larger clusters may be cheaper with FTTC.
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
@Somerset
I guess current economics tell us FTTC is £300 per home passed, but needs a cluster of 100-200, perhaps lower or higher, to average the cost of a cabinet.

FTTPoD is priced at £1500 per property on average.

FTTP sounds best for a cluster of less than 10-20, FTTC best for a cluster of more than 200. But inbetween?
Posted by JNeuhoff over 4 years ago
@WWWombat: You said: "Adding a PCP and FTTC cabinet to a cluster of EO lines needs 1 fibre laying to the cabinet, and zero fibres from cabinet to the homes (which could be 20 or less, or could be 100 or more)."
You just don't get it. You need multiple fibre lines to each home, I am not talking about copper VDSL! And you don't need a cabinet for a fibre line. Cabinets are only used in the UK as an interim solution because the final stretch is still VDSL copper.
Posted by Somerset over 4 years ago
@JNeuhoff - the point is the cost of installing FTTP compared with FTTC. The BT network design uses the FTTC infrastructure to install a cheaper FTTP/FoD solution compared with a new fibre service to a single property.
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
@JNeuhoff
I understand what you mean as a solution, but BT is simply not going to install FTTP on all EO lines. Some, as few as possible, but not all.

My point is that the cost of installing fibre to *any* home is expensive, whether that home is currently an EO line or has a PCP. Estimates are around £1,000 - £1,500 per home, and similar to what BT would ask to pay for FTTPoD.

This is so expensive that BT can choose a more cost-effective solution instead: install a PCP for a group of EO lines, and then install an FTTC cabinet. At £300 per home.

...cont>
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
<cont...
BT are already doing this in Cornwall.

If there are 100 homes in a cluster, all with EO lines, it would cost BT £100,000 - £150,000 to convert them to FTTP.

If BT chose to install a PCP and FTTC instead, it would cost them of the order of £30,000, in a process called "network rearrangement".

So PCP+FTTC can be around one third, or one quarter the cost of FTTP.

With savings like that, it is no wonder that BT would prefer to convert your EO line into one with a PCP, keep your copper in place, and offer you FTTC instead.

...cont>
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
<cont...
You label VDSL as interim, but the important reason that BT (like many other telcos) has chosen it is plenty fast enough for most people, and cheaper. A lot cheaper. And the lower cost applies to EO lines just as much as it applies to PCP lines.

You might not be talking about copper VDSL, but you can bet that BT most certainly are.

With an extra generation of DSL coming soon, it could be another 20-30 years before you finally *need* to get rid of the copper.
Posted by BTfanboy over 4 years ago
he's talking shit again.
"and EO lines could be replaced by fibre at a cost similar to VDSL lines." Sorry but I do not believe that for an instant
Posted by herdwick over 4 years ago
"You need multiple fibre lines to each home" more bovine scatology
Posted by JNeuhoff over 4 years ago
@WWWombat: You said: "...whether that home is currently an EO line or has a PCP. Estimates are around £1,000 - £1,500 per home, and similar to what BT would ask to pay for FTTPoD." I'd gladly pay this amount for a proper FTTP installation. My point was that BT won't even offer FTTPoD on EO lines anywhere, forcing some businesses to move elsewhere. There are plenty of users and businesses who couldn't care less about half-baked VDSL solutions (the latter not even being available for EO lines anyway), who would be willing to pay for a proper FTTP line.
Posted by Somerset over 4 years ago
@JNeuhoff - 2Mbps to 10Gbps - http://business.bt.com/broadband-and-internet/leased-lines/
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
@JNeuhoff:
And around the whole argument we go again

Did you read anything I wrote about it not being affordable?

Until you understand something about affordability - both to widespread consumers (not you individually) and to BT themselves - then we are doomed to go around this circle time after time.
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
By the way, you are right about users and businesses who don't care less about the half-baked VDSL solutions.

More exactly, most don't care what the technology is at all.

All they care about is that they can afford it, and that it goes fast enough.
Posted by JNeuhoff over 4 years ago
@WWWombat: I give up, you don't get it. Existing cable ducts are not magically different for EO lines and can be used for fibre installs at similar costs per metre. I have seen it done in other countries!
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
You're right - cable ducts for EO lines (if they exist) are no different from cable ducts for PCP-based lines (if they exist). None that matter here, anyway.

Where FTTP is unaffordable (which is pretty much everywhere), it is equally unaffordable on both EO and PCP lines.

Where FTTP is unaffordable, the next-best option, right now, is FTTC.

Lines with a PCP are lucky as they, mostly, have an affordable solution with FTTC instead.

EO lines, as they stand, don't have that option - so FTTP remains the only, yet unaffordable, option.
...cont>
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
<cont...
FoD (aimed at a few) is only affordable when deployed alongside a solution for the masses (ie FTTC). The FoD economics don't apply to EO without FTTC being there too.

Figures for other countries don't apply here.

In Sweden, for example, cost to fibre houses is 180% that of apartments. They have 51% flats, 49% houses.

Here we are 83% houses, so have to accept the higher costs, making it immediately less affordable.

In Europe, only Ireland and Norway have fewer flats than we do.

Affordability. It is *that* simple.
...cont>
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
<cont...
Why is FTTP unaffordable?

When deploying fibre, the vast majority of the cost comes from the final 100 metres, into the home, as this is the non-shared portion.

FTTC solutions need spend no money on that portion of the network, as existing copper is reused.

FoD spends some money on that portion - but only a few people order it, from nearby (near the cabinet), and they pay £1,000+ themselves.

FTTP spends a large chunk of its budget on that portion, but gets no significant install charge from the customer. That's what stops it being affordable.
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
Look at it another way.

BT were desperate to roll out fibre (mostly FTTC) using its own money to 67% of the country.

They are desperate to get the gap funding to continue the same rollout to 90%.

If it were just as cheap, as you suggest, to rollout FTTP to EO lines as it is to roll VDSL2 to PCP lines, don't you think they'd have done it already?

If it cost the same amount, why wouldn't they be just as desperate to include the 10% on EO lines?

Perhaps, just perhaps, it isn't that straightforward.
Posted by callmeleroy over 4 years ago
EO lines is one of the hottest topics on this site. An update on when we are likely to see mass eo solutions rolled out by BT/OR would be a great post.
Posted by JNeuhoff over 4 years ago
@WWWombat: You said: "BT were desperate to roll out fibre (mostly FTTC) using its own money to 67% of the country. They are desperate to get the gap funding to continue the same rollout to 90%."

This is a joke, isn't it? An incumbent telecom company desperate to roll out fibre? You really believe that?

@callmeleroy: Agreed. It's a mystery why EO lines are such a problem in the UK. Would be interesting to hear from BT why they believe it can't be done.
Posted by Somerset over 4 years ago
Who says EO lines can't be done?

In Devon and Somerset, leading the way:

Implementation order of preference:

FTTC – cost effective and more straightforward as it make good use of the existing access network while still achieving good speeds

FTTC (network rearrangement) – a solution to exchange only lines which avoids the more challenging FTTP

FTTP – more expensive and complex as new physical access is required. Can be several times the cost off FTTC. BT models to gain maximum benefit.

Reasonable to assume this applies to the rest of the UK, and North East Essex.
Posted by Somerset over 4 years ago
Remember there are EO lines close to an exchange going to a distribution point, EO lines far from an exchange going to a DP and EO lines going directly into a building.
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
@JNeuhoff
BT have wanted to put in fibre since the 80's, but have been denied by the government in favour of all the local cable companies (who merged and became Virgin)

But try commenting on the matter of affordability. It is the central issue, but it is the one that you consistently fail to comment on.
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
@Somerset
It's a good summary of the use of each solution.

The fact they're implementing in that order is interesting too - a reflection of bang-per-buck, or of the extra planning work needed?
Posted by kijoma over 4 years ago
@RandomJointer

thanks for the comment "@Kijoma - Openreach platform with choice of providers at competitive prices and customer services are going to be all over your yard shortly. I reckon you have about a year to sort your game out. "

so you are saying, a multinational company with massive profits has been given £M100's of tax payers money to put in the service they refused to do commercially.. well i can see why you gloat so much, I would be so proud too if i worked for BT.. well done on gaining benefits.. the rest of us will work for a living.
Posted by JNeuhoff over 4 years ago
@kijoma: It's not wrong that the goverment puts in public funding to network infrastructure projects, but in this case it all goes into a single private monopoly company which will then fully control and own it, which is wrong IMHO.
Posted by Somerset over 4 years ago
@JNeuhoff - what would be your proposal to answer your concerns?
Posted by otester over 4 years ago
@kijoma

Maybe they would if the government didn't hold them back/tax/rape them.
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
@JNeuhoff
Nothing on affordability, then?

Here's more for you...
Swisscom reckon 85% of the CAPEX cost of FTTP is in getting the fibre 150m from the final manhole into the property. That country's housing is 58% flats, so it is a cheaper option than here.

Since 2006, they've had an FTTC solution like ours.

From 2013, they are going for an FTTS (S=Street) option that looks very like the network arrangement needed for FTTdp and V.Fast. Final copper distance of 200m, and speed targets up to 400Mbps.
Posted by JNeuhoff over 4 years ago
@WWWombat: The total cost of a fibre optic infrastructure (FTTH/P) in the UK tends to vary between £15bn and £30bn depending on differences in regulation, methodology, coverage/speed targets and technology mix.

To see this in proper perspective: In 2000, the goverment raised £22.5 billion from 3G auctions. This was 10 times more per megahertz than the TV companies were charging at the time for national broadcasting and could have financed a nationwide FTTP. Or, instead of wasting £32bn on on HS2 high-speed rail network from Manchester to London, a proper FTTP would have been more useful.

Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
@JNeuhoff
So where is BT going to get the £15-30bn needed for FTTP? They can only manage to raise £2.5bn from investors (for commercial) plus another £1-1.5bn for their share of the BDUK projects.

For investors, giving that £4bn-ish is barely worthwhile, given a 5 year rollout and 12-15 year payback.

With £10-25bn shortfall, how do they make that affordable without charging more? Charge everyone £1500 and ensure near-zero takeup? Get more subsidies from the government (that's your suggestion, but also your bugbear)? And still take 10-20 years?
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
So, from the investor's perspective, they're only just willing to spend £2.5bn to commercially cover 67%, or 19 million lines.

That averages £130 per home passed.

Even the BDUK-subsidised part is probably running at less than £300 per home.

There's a huge gap of missing money to get that up to the £1000-£1500 per home passed for FTTP.

In the case of HS2, the argument is that there is no suitable alternative.

In the case of FTTP, there *is* a suitable alternative - FTTC is enough for huge swathes of properties.
Posted by callmeleroy over 4 years ago
I'm not sure if it's an alternative but more an interim step between and before FTTP is eventually rolled out fully - from the cab to the homes connected to it.
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
@callmeleroy
FTTP is undoubtedly the end game here, but it is expensive to do in a single bite.

I only say that FTTC is a suitable alternative because almost no-one needs gigabit speeds now, but lots need speeds in the 20-100Mbps region. Almost no-one will pay an extra £30-50pm now, but lots will pay an extra £5-10pm. No-one wants to wait 10-20 years, but will almost accept 3-5 years.

It is only interim, indeed. We will need to jump another step in the next 10-20 years too - either direct to fibre, or via another partial-copper solution.
Posted by callmeleroy over 4 years ago
Shame they didn't put wifi into cabinets - I'm about 40ft from one but EO
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