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Virgin Media expanding into Papworth Everard
Thursday 21 August 2014 10:36:20 by Andrew Ferguson

Papworth Everard that sits astride the old Roman road of Ermine Street in Cambridgeshire has Virgin Media and its contractors installing network expansion in the area. The rumour mill is that this is a FTTP deployment, but any attempted to clarify this from Virgin Media in the last few days have been unsuccessful, with no great desire to confirm whether this is traditional DOCSIS 3 fibre/coax hybrid network roll-out or a full Fibre to the Home.

Virgin Media embarking on a FTTH roll-out in an area is clearly big news and exciting as it would mean that all of the biggest four broadband providers are now embarked on a FTTH route, though with the first million FTTH homes still some way off.The Virgin Media community forums has the most active discussion on the roll-out, and some pictures of what has been put into the ground so far. The difficulty in spotting whether its normal cable roll-out of FTTP is that for cable broadband fibre is deployed to the area, with smaller sub cabinets handling the splitting of the coax between the various households, and ducting installed for the coax could just as easily be used for fibre too.

Hopefully once the roll-out has progressed some more things will become clearer, in the meantime one can understand Virgin Media being coy, as the speculation means more publicity. DOCSIS 3 is capable of much higher speeds than what is sold currently and some other Liberty Global providers in other countries already sell services that make Virgin Media look slow.

Looking at the much larger picture, one wonders whether the Labour and current coalition was too soft on the larger providers and should have pushed them more and offered encouragement to push their commercial roll-outs further, meaning the state-aid funded roll-outs needed to cover a smaller footprint. Our take is that all the BDUK funding has done so far is accelerate what would have happened over a longer period if the commercial market had been left alone, i.e. Openreach would have expanded its FTTC services footprint, but not at the rate the broadband campaigners were crying for.


Posted by Dixinormous over 2 years ago
Parts are HFC and parts are FTTP - it's a bit of both.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
So you are saying some homes will get fibre direct and some will get coax? A strange mix to do.
Posted by adslmax over 2 years ago
Dixinormous is not correct as Virgin Media is no longer do coax. They are doing fibre direct to the house from now on.
Posted by Dixinormous over 2 years ago
Dixinormous is correct - he sources information properly rather than pulling it from his imagination and presenting it as fact.

Gets really boring correcting your misinformation after the 3 millionth time, makes me feel virtuous though.
Posted by ellebsa over 2 years ago
It's RFoG
Posted by aquinn1987 over 2 years ago
All new builds are having FTTP. The ducting to the customers house are just little tubes not like the T's used on the old network.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago

If that is the case why did VM not trumpet the creation of a 100,000 strong FTTP footprint in East London recently?
Posted by aquinn1987 over 2 years ago
It is not fttp like BT are rolling out they are still using standard TV boxes and vm hub. The fibre is covered to coax at the customers property.
Posted by Dixinormous over 2 years ago
All new builds aren't FTTP. There are trials of RFoG and GPON being done, but the rest of Papworth and most if not all of East London are HFC.

The costs of those battery backups aren't nice.
Posted by aquinn1987 over 2 years ago
Hence why they are not providing telephone services at the moment on the new build.

So do you think the drop wire is going to be coax or fibre from the cab to drop box?

Everyone I know on the Papworth project has told me that RFoG is being implemented with fibre being installed all the way to the customers premesis and having a fibre to coax node in the drop box. e.g.
Posted by Derek_S over 2 years ago
If Virgin wants to trial a high speed service and use it for publicity, I would imagine Papworth would be a good place to do it. Papworth UBR has been ther main router for the whole of Huntingdonshire since cable broadband started around fifteen years ago. I would imagine it's got a pretty good connection to the backbone.
Posted by fenlandbroadband over 2 years ago
It may be a coincidence, but the mapping is showing "FTTH" as part of the reference number for some of these roadworks.
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