The deployment of fibre to the remote node has been talked of before by Openreach, but the announcement of the actual locations means the trial is moving on from being just talk.
"All businesses are keener than ever to be well-connected and this ‘Fibre-to-Basement’ pilot is a welcome step forwards, especially for smaller SMEs, who are critical to London’s commercial dynamism. We hope the trials will lead to further expansion of fibre broadband across the Square Mile for residents and SMEs, complementing the Ethernet infrastructure already available to larger firms."Graham Bell, Chief Information Officer of the City of London Corporation
The locations where a VDSL2 node will be installed are for 225 homes on the Middlesex Street Estate and some 50 SMEs based in 65 London Wall in the City of London. The use of VDSL2 means maximum download speeds per copper pair will be up to 76 Mbps.
While the BT press release uses the term fibre to the basement, the more common use of FTTB is for a fibre delivered to a basement and Ethernet used to then distribute the service around a building. The use of a VDSL2 node will avoid the need to install extra wiring and assuming that a building is not too big should also mean that an upgrade to a node could offer G.FAST speeds in the future.
The City of London is unusual in that the number of businesses is higher than the number of residential households and while Ethernet and other fibre based services have been available for a long time the price of these services is generally not something the average SME wants to pay.
The coverage of superfast services at affordable prices is generally concentrated in the suburban boroughs currently, so while areas like Kingston on Thames and Fulham have class leading coverage of fibre based services, the City of London is at the bottom of the pile and Southwark is actually behind rural areas like Cornwall. The deployment FTTrN should hopefully offer a cost effective way to bring faster broadband to inner city areas and if done right by deploying in the basement of buildings will ensure short distances and thus high connection speeds.