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More FTTH for Oxfordshire in Upper Heyford
Monday 07 April 2014 10:24:56 by Andrew Ferguson

It seems that maybe the idea that fast broadband is another tick box in the house buying process is starting to enter the property developers field of vision. Upper Heyford which was an old nuclear airbase is being redeveloped as a private estate (over 1,100 plots) and had an open house event over the 5th and 6th April for those wanting to spend over £350,000 on an old officers residence.

ISPreview mentioned the FTTH aspect of the area on Friday, and as we are keen to cover any FTTH news it is worth covering now. GTC announced it had the contract as the sole utility provider for Upper Heyford back in February, i.e. they will be installing and operating gas, electric and FTTH networks. There is little information on how this will operate, i.e. will there be a single retail provider, or a wholesale product the FTTH product page suggests home owners may have a choice of multiple providers, but to date the big name providers have been reluctant to join similar schemes. For a property developer on a private estate, by providing new properties with fibre built-in they can also insist on no satellite dishes, since via Fibre Integrated Reception Service (FIRS) the utility operator can feed Sky to properties, though in many residential flats with communal reception systems the extra fees for the system are often unpopular.

The Heyford Park development is not likely to be one full of your average modern shoe box property since it promises as part of the management services things like gardeners, handymen (and women we presume), concierge and more.

Openreach already offers FIRS but this was limited to the 10,000 home FTTH deployment at Ebbsfleet, which as a development has just been relaunched as a garden city after a few years of stop go development on the site.

Update 8th April Some time after we published this story GTC published news of a link up with Sky.


Posted by flipdee over 3 years ago
I wonder has anyone considered the migrant population in the FIRS configuration? I personally see a lot of new dishes popping up pointing at 13.0°E which I assume a standard FIRS setup from BT/Big Utility won't accomodate?
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
Likewise I imagine it won't cater for FreeSat as an option either.

Still, the question of whether the system offers wholesale access at all, and whether that garners any support from retail ISPs, is a big one. It'll be worth watching as time goes on, and more developers include options like this.
Posted by Dixinormous over 3 years ago
Did Ebbsfleet Valley have 10,000 properties built there? Understood plans to be 6,250 initially and only a few hundred have actually been built.
Posted by flipdee over 3 years ago
I believe FIRS will be ok with FreeSat, it's basically a satellite distribution system.
You can create your own using reasonably well priced equipment.
It's basically a bigger and better "communal" satellite/tv system but not limited to a single building.
Posted by flipdee over 3 years ago
It would be sky's wet dream, kind of like, self install adsl/fttc, every home pre-connected, even more £££ signs lighting up everywhere.
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
Ta. Looks generic then, especially as the Freesat logog is plastered over this brochure:
Posted by flipdee over 3 years ago
Yeh, Although generic as much as you have to choose which actual satellites you are distributing.
So if you don't want to watch 28.2 Astra (SKY UK/Freesat etc.. service) you still would need your own satellite dish!
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