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12km of fibre to link just 2 communities in Staffordshire
Tuesday 04 November 2014 08:37:39 by Andrew Ferguson

While the argument over what is and is not broadband has raged for over a decade the more recent arguments over what is and is not fibre broadband are the current flavour of the moment. Compared to the old ADSL services it is clear that FTTC while falling short of perfection in delivering fibre all the way to peoples homes like FTTH it is pushing the fibre closer and laying the foundations for a GPON FTTH roll-out in the future.

Staffordshire County has published a short update on progress and has highlighted two communities Marchington and Draycoitt-in-the-Clay as two recent communities to get FTTC (some 700 premises) as the result of running 12km of fibre to the cabinets. To expand on the official release we have checked and it is cabinets 1, 2 and 3 on the Marchington exchange that now have FTTC available from them after going live in October 2014. There is one very small cabinet not enabled that appears to serve several commercial buildings and a self storage facility.

"The high number of single track roads in this part of the county posed new challenges for engineers. However, by working closely with the County Council we were able to ensure engineers got to the more remote areas they needed to work in, whilst keeping disruption to local residents and motorists to an absolute minimum."

Steve Henderson, BT’s regional director for broadband partnerships

Overall the project states that it has delivered FTTC to cabinets that serve some 20,000 premises and 290,000 homes and businesses can now order a fibre based service in the County (this includes the commercial footprint). The gap funded project is looking to deliver 500 cabinets and use around 1,000 km of fibre to link these back to the handover nodes (major exchanges).

Five years of broadband speed history in Staffordshire
        (click image for larger size)

Our speed test results show the progress for the county over the last five years with a median download speed of 11.3 Mbps in October 2014 (top quartile reached 30.8 Mbps, lower quartile 4.3 Mbps). The dip in speeds September and October appear to be mainly due to a dip in the speed of Virgin Media cable services that hit a peak speed of 36.9 Mbps (we have excluded Virgin Media business and Wi-Fi hot-spots from this so that it is a DOCSIS cable versus FTTC figure) in June 2014 and have slide since then to give a median of 34.5 Mbps versus FTTC based services at 32.3 Mbps.

In terms of current coverage levels in Staffordshire we estimate the current fibre based coverage of residential households to be 75% with line lengths dropping the coverage at superfast speeds to around 67%, the county has cable coverage of 33.6%.

Comments

Posted by JNeuhoff over 2 years ago
"pushing the fibre closer and laying the foundations for a GPON FTTH roll-out in the future."

Are there any real world examples, or plans, of doing a GPON FTTH off the fibre cabinets? Will the latter become obsolete after installing the final FTTH?
Posted by PhilCoates over 2 years ago
Very interesting. I was told it was 'too expensive' to lay fibre 7km to serve about 200 homes and businesses in Staffordshire.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
Yes there are examples and is how Fibre on Demand is available. The cabinet is fed point to point fibre from aggregation node and this node can feed GPON splitters and manifolds.

Basically what happens in areas with mixture of C and P
Posted by themanstan over 2 years ago
@Phil
to use the analogy of riding a bike, sometimes 12km is far easier to cycle than 7km, topography can have a huge impact on cost, ease of build and my legs!
Posted by Gadget over 2 years ago
also crossing rivers, roads, motorways and railway lines add to cost as well as build time
Posted by PhilCoates over 2 years ago
@Stan
'The high number of single track roads in this part of the county posed new challenges for engineers'. My situation is very different. One long B-road with houses and businesses strung out along it.
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Broadband Watchers.
There are many cabs that are feed over 12km in Surrey and they are providing even Fibre on Demand and the cost has been paid by SCC with BT ,remember distance is no problem with fibre it's the blockages that pushes up the costs most Cabs have node very close to the Old Cab.
Posted by fastman over 2 years ago
blackmamba it will not be FOD it will be FTTP there is a fundamental differnence
Posted by ValueforMoney over 2 years ago
In these circumstances if that is 12Km of new duct on soft verge you might understand the subsidy c£46k each with a BT capital contribution of £23k each, but all those housing estates close to large towns only need a fraction of this cost.
5km to 6km per cab was reported as normal in Wales, but it is 1-2km everywhere else.
Can you find out whether new dig or the number of repairs needed per Km?
Posted by ValueforMoney over 2 years ago
@Blackmamba - Having cycled up Boar Hill from Dorking on a recent weekend it was good to be greeted by a cabinet near the Leith Inn near the summit of Leith Hill, top of Box Hill equally good to see. That;s a pretty 95% ish place. There should be no reason why the individual subsidy calculation should not be made public.
Posted by ValueforMoney over 2 years ago
Blackmamba - anything on future proofing, you have more than paid for it?
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Value
The Cabs that were 12K from Haslemere had fibre spurs off some only 100 mtres others up to a mile this is where the costing start to kick in the cable had a capacity of aprox 96 Cabs at Hindhead Section. Some for Surrey and (Hants not in service yet work in progress) the Cabs that are open are above the 16% take up. On the same route there is a much larger fibre cable jointing on this is complete. The crew who did this work also did work around Dorking.
Hi Fastman please look up Frensham Haslemere Wormley exchange on Openreach new exchanges.
Posted by ValueforMoney over 2 years ago
@Blackmamba - So there is no white paper describing the engineering rules as would be the norm in a national infastructire project?
When you say 16% is that of the cabinet capacity or it 80% of the first card = 44, 48 and now 66 ports? It is likely all milestone payments are modelled on 80% of the first card to recover all costs while the model fed to BDUK and Councils need 20% of a completed cabinet. The latter is supported with premiums for USC, Take UP, project mgst, fees and efficiency bonuses (LOL)?
Posted by TheEulerID over 2 years ago
@VFM

As I understand it, the criterion used is not 20% of a cabinet, but 20% of the lines passed (although it's unclear to me is if that's a per-cabinet figure or aggregated over a number).

In any event, why the obsession with "future proofing", when it's clearly the case that if the products were overwhelmingly successful commercial funding of expansion is not an issue.
Posted by TheEulerID over 2 years ago
@VFM

In fact, there's a very good argument to say that the public funding shouldn't be used to over-provision to excess. Not that I think it's a real issue anyway.

As I understand it BDUK also has a general requirement that the installed infrastructure will be self-funding once in place and fully established (after a period) including increasing capacity.
Posted by TheEulerID over 2 years ago
@VFM try this

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/77415/BDUKFramework_Delivery_Model_Summary.pdf

"The supplier is expected to deliver a solution that is commercially sustainable, with future revenues sufficient to cover ongoing costs
and provide a profit margin, and to generate funding for reinvestment"

I'd view that part as relevant to investment to increase capacity as required.
Posted by JNeuhoff over 2 years ago
@andrew: "The cabinet is fed point to point fibre from aggregation node and this node can feed GPON splitters and manifolds."

Hence my question whether the cabinet would become obsolete once all VDSL wires are replaced by GPON fibre.
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Euler. Broadband Watchers
The way the % is worked out is total premises with a phone line extra lines are not counted Eg. Cab x. 175 d sides minus extra lines say 25=150
20% of 150= 30 clawback kicks in. This is the SCC contract I have not seen the figures so i am surmising and working backwards.
The 16% is the country average but remember the are adding cabs daily so it will rise slowly . SCC claw back is seven years I think SCC does not pay if under 15 meg. This makes SCC to advertise and get customers fitted ASAP.
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Euler Broadband Watchers.
I have found that the latter cabs fitted have two cards fitted on a 100 tie this gives a good window of 9 months before extra tie pairs need ordering. I think the extra tie cable will use the Openreach budget.
Posted by TheEulerID over 2 years ago
@JNeuhoff

The DSLAM in the cabinet might become obsolete, but not the cabinet itself. In any case, 100% FTTP is probably a long way off. Even if it was to happen, then there would clearly be an extensive transition time when networks would run in parallel.

Incidentally, some worry that GPON limits speed, but that's just the current incarnation. There are updated standards in the offing, not to mention wave division multiplezing (WDM-PON).
Posted by TheEulerID over 2 years ago
@Blackmamba

It's not so much adding extra tie cables, just that the OR engineer said that there was a limit to the space available in the PCP cabinet as they were originally meant to just take the D & E cables. Putting tie cables in means more space is required. I don't suppose it's a problem in all cabinets, but when I see some that are being worked on, they are full of spaghetti already.
Posted by Somerset over 2 years ago
Lot of reshelling happening plus new cabinets outside exchanges for EO lines.
Posted by TheEulerID over 2 years ago
One thing always puzzles me about EO lines. Given that VDSL2 is specced to work alongside ADSL, just what difference does it actually make having a new cabinet for EO lines just outside the exchange rather than installing it inside? Is this just something having to be done to conform to the letter of the ANFP rules rather than it actually making any real difference.

(Note that if the EO line cabinet was installed some distance from the exchange, it would be a different issue).
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
5metres can make a big difference with cross talk
Posted by TheEulerID over 2 years ago
@andrew

I'd find it difficult to believe 5m is the critical issue given I've seen tie cables longer than that. It was looked at I see, but that talked about up to 200m extra length, so that clearly makes sense. However, I can't imagine that it's anything like that length in a village exchange which are much smaller. I was just wondering if there's a more fundamental issue.

http://www.ofcom.org.uk/static/archive/ra/topics/interference/documents/kevinfoster.pdf
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Euler
By shifting the FTTC from the exchange it moves the ports to an equal access then when all customers are removed over time the exchange can be decommissioned with all on CN21
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
Not 5m as in length of cable, but physical bundle separation and distance from LLU providers kit. Cross talk as in radiated RF.
Posted by herdwick over 2 years ago
The EO cabs outside the exchange are to avoid a couple of hundred metres or more of internal wiring as I understand it. When I looked into the issue of Exchange based VDSL the internal wiring lengths were a surprise to me as a layman.

They've done one near me and the cab is 70m from the exchange without accounting for internal issues.
Posted by herdwick over 2 years ago
FTTC cabs play no direct role in GPON as far as I can see, PTP 1G ethernet fibres come into the cab to feed the DSLAM, there's no space for anything else. The GPON magic seems to happen down holes and up poles.

I would see the cabs becoming obsolete, as powered roadside electronics logically ought to disappear. 60km long range GPON from a few exchanges must be the long term future.
Posted by JNeuhoff over 2 years ago
@andrew: So if there is a pole with 40 wires leading to the nearby premises, with a mixtures of ADSL2 and VDSL, wouldn't that cause severe crosstalk issues? As it is with this old wire technology, the wires already act as bad transmitters.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
@JNeuhoff Hence why three different power masks are used for VDSL2 to avoid issues with with ADSL/ADSL2+ services.

Another power mask I believe was considered for in exchange deployment, but impact on VDSL2 speeds/range if I recall meant Openreach opted for cabinet outside building deployment.

Also some exchanges are tight on space, so adding Openreach DSLAM, alongside BT Wholesale, TalkTalk, Sky, C&W may have been a tight fit or added to the costs.
Posted by ValueforMoney over 2 years ago
@Euler - 20% of costs identified by NAO were for future poofing - £300m+ but absolutely nothing how waht this might be.
Posted by ValueforMoney over 2 years ago
@eule @ Blackmamba - so 100% of the costs is allocated to the 1 or 2 cards because 20% is just that, so as cards >2 are added BT picks up only the per port cost, where as in the commercial deployment a proportion of all the costs are added to the per port cost. Cute.
Posted by TheEulerID over 2 years ago
@vfm
Firstly, it's incorrect to assume that all the costs for the initial build are covered by BDUK money. BDUK is a gap-funding model, so in all cases (depending on location) a proportion of the basic costs are borne by BT. Secondly, at the 20% penetration point clawback starts, so BT don't just have to pay for the new line cards, they will have to pay back some of the subsidy.

I've no idea what you mean in the last sentence, as in the commercial roll-out, BT paid all the costs.
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Value Broadband Watchers
As the costs are class as confindential untill the end of the contract but if you think BT would not pay twice for a port on a FTTC.
Posted by TheEulerID over 2 years ago
@Blackmamba

I know the details of the costs are confidential. (Among other things, BT will be bound by supplier contracts which will undoubtedly forbid public disclosure of pricing). However, it's the principle that is the question. Which is that BDUK public money is being used to pay for part of the invoiced costs of the installation (including relevant manpower) and not the entire cost and that this is also tied in with milestones.
As I understand it from the NAO report, excessive expenditure to reach a milestone is a supplier risk.
Posted by ValueforMoney over 2 years ago
@TheEulerID
IN theory, but your ignoring the myth upon which the £100k cabinet was borne and used to inflate costs into the milestone payments. NAO identfies a Total average cost of £84k per cabinet, take out 23% operational costs and 23% self certified BT contribution leaving the average subsidy of £46k or a milestone payment of £170-£200 a premise passed.
The assertion in the last sentence, based on the subsidy paid is that all costs apart from the extra cards are absorded in deploying the first 1 to 2 cards.
Posted by Gadget over 2 years ago
@VFM how are the exchange and/or backhaul to parent exchange costs accounted for in that calculation?
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Euler. Broadband Watchers
I have seen Openreach Crews working on BDUK contracts willing to do work for the other Contract but that is compleley a NO NO in materials and staffing even if it would have saved money of course there must be situation where this does get overlooked or staff use their initiative.
Posted by ValueforMoney over 2 years ago
@Gadget - most HOP should be in commercial programme and optics should permit glass through local exchange.
£15k subsidy in NI was circ £5k for the box, £5k to install and tie cables, and £5k contributuon to connect to HOP
30-40 cabs connect to hops or should do.
Many fibre spines should be in place from the £1bn upgrades for connecting schools.
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Value
Just returned from a Cab with Power £2500 for the power feed but the fibre was cheap.
Posted by ValueforMoney over 2 years ago
@Blackmamba - £2.5k for power! For rural I have seen projects where the cap on power is £800-£1,000 after which it better to push fibre out onto DPs. Connection costs thereafter is higher but you create conditions for better outcome.
Cannot imagine how Openreach senior managers can support this imposition of a long term cost.
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Value
This Cab required a power feed and the regs in this area required a large cable thus thickness from the transformer then it was terminated on a smaller cable close to the Cab. The trench had to be back filled with sand then topped with Tarmac. This Cab will have fibre on demand I think next week the fibre is terminated in Haslemere 10 miles but the spur is aprox 100 yards from Main Road. This is being paid for by SCC/BT I do not know the D side distribution total.
Posted by fastman over 2 years ago
VFM you schools network comment is ridulous for number of reasons -- school networks are a point to point leased line that are specific to the site the are connected to and go back into a point of presence and they will come from the nearest exchnage supplort that speed of caopability -- they are completely seperate to NGA fibre -- its just massives misinformation -- i met a community who had been advised there was fibre to a school so all they need was to buy a fibre box and dig a hole and connect it the the netwrok -- (self styled telecomms consultant who gave then the bright wheeze)
Posted by ValueforMoney over 2 years ago
fastman2 - Sevice is based on a point to point circuit but the existence of the fibre bundle along that path is not.
Neither is the construction costs needed to ready that path, which should not need to be done a second time. A duct repair should only need to be done once and these account for 80% of the cost allegedly.
Posted by ValueforMoney over 2 years ago
@blackmamba - it is the decision to spend that amount on power and a cabinet versus the aletrnative of running fibre deeper onto the poles and final DP.
Posted by fastman over 2 years ago
VFM schools networks are nothing to do with NGA fibre backbone the are not the same fibre !!!!!
Posted by fastman over 2 years ago
you cannot use school fibre for NGA network that will not be openreach NGFA fibre it will have been provisioned by openreach (assumig it was openreach) for a specific service provider
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Value.
I would have paid for the Cab and power because to provide fibre to the DP,s would be very expensive in time and money.
I agree with you if the Customers close to the Cab can be sold fibre to their homes this will be determined by the location and the provision costs.
Posted by ValueforMoney over 2 years ago
Fastman - your ignoring the construction and repairs costs. Your also avoiding over paying for power while pushing fibre out to the DP would be more economic solution and more future proof in some cases.
Posted by fastman over 2 years ago
Value thee are seperate networks and not the same -- the schools network is a seperate network and nothing to to with NGA fibre for Broadband
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Value.
Just checked Cab with new power today just jointed price £500 and cable trench filled with tarmac just two holes to fill and tidy site.
Posted by ValueforMoney over 2 years ago
@Blackmmaba that's what I would expect.
If in a community of 100 dispersed persons, then should the cost of cab, the power, the tie cables exceed X then there ought to have been a switch to pushing fibres to the DPs.
Fastman - Have two examples where schools fibre with a little rework are supporting a slu povider. Yes it is a different network but the path and fibres can be re-used.
Posted by fastman over 2 years ago
schools network is bespoke and would be really concerned that a decicated shools link funded by the LEA is being used by an SLU (would be really worried what impact the ability fo the school to do its day work as all its bandwith will be taken by the SLU - so to repeat you cannot use School Fibre for NGA
Posted by fastman over 2 years ago
hope the LEA which is funding the schools connectivity know thet fibre will be shared with the SLU --

Posted by fastman over 2 years ago
SLU also only unsing a fibre backhual so not the same as NGA Fibre
Posted by fastman over 2 years ago
not all fibre is the same fibre
Posted by ValueforMoney over 2 years ago
@Fastman they do, and the fibre is not same but part of the bundle and thus a new connection terminated on another port. That's how its been explained.
Posted by ValueforMoney over 2 years ago
@Fastman the issue of using private circuits to solve what is a distance problem or attentauation problem does need addressing. Schools do not need private circuits for the most part. They do need high throughput best efforts capacity.
There should be plenty of opportunity to re-purpose some of this capability to keep the rural rollout down. The clearing of ducts and the surveys done to compete the £1bn schools programme should contribute a reduction in the survey and ECC on those routes.
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