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Fibre to the Remote Node spotted in North Yorkshire
Monday 05 January 2015 13:09:35 by Andrew Ferguson

The BT fibre roll-outs have started to deploy Fibre to the Remote Node and the first pictures of an actual deployment have surfaced on our user forums.

The mini cabinet is cabinet 10 on the Leyburn exchange in North Yorkshire and appears to serve just five postcodes, (DL8 4PX, DL8 4PU, DL8 4SQ, DL8 5PT and DL8 5PU). The mini cabinet will offer the standard 40/2, 40/10 and 80/20 speed VDSL2 products with the speed falling off at the usual rate which means anyone with a line of less than 1.2 km to the cabinet should see speeds above 24 Mbps.

The FTTrN option will increase the variety of options to bring fibre based broadband to areas. Of course full fibre to the home would be the preferred option and while the BDUK projects are using increasing amounts of FTTP it is only being used where it is the cost effective solution to meeting target levels of superfast coverage.

The BT/council roll-outs attract a lot of criticism for the low levels of FTTH/P but Surrey with its very high coverage levels of fibre based broadband at speeds of 15 Mbps or faster is seeing limited amounts of FTTP deployed to areas which also have access to FTTC, but only for the properties that are a LONG distance from the cabinet.


Posted by SlimJ over 2 years ago
I'd hope that once Openreach break the back of installing FTTC cabs that they will then target those postcodes with long line lengths with FTTRN to bring those areas up to a more acceptable 'superfast' speed.

IMO, it would be great to see no FTTC line length longer than 1km - I'm sure this will happen given time (and money).
Posted by mikejp over 2 years ago
"anyone with a line of less than 1.2 km to the cabinet should see speeds above 24 Mbps.". Meanwhile, in the real world...................
Posted by chilting over 2 years ago
It would be very useful if BT offered FTTrN in its price listing. Me and about 20 neighbours are about 2km from our fibre cabinet but we have another cabinet, that doesn't supply us, just 600m away. Using existing ducting and poles the installation costs would certainly be affordable when spread amongst us. We have been told that our local West Sussex BDUK project wont help us for a least the next two years.
Posted by WWWombat over 2 years ago
Remember that what we know about this particular FTTRN node is that it has its own power supply, which makes it too costly for widespread deployment yet.

We've waited a long time to see this one in the wild ... but it appears that we'll need rather longer to see many more.
Posted by ValueforMoney over 2 years ago
Not even pole mounted. So 1 c44 port card supporting c19 customers.
So will be the same cost as putting a larger cab in minus a few ports costs if lucky.
If the total subsidy per cab approaches the £46k average, then you must consider push fibre to manifolds on the DP and ask customers to pay the final dop cost and connection fee for FTTP.
Furthermore you have to get in the habit of declaring the possibility of ceasing PST withing xx months, so those costs can begin be removed.
Posted by Gadget over 2 years ago
@VFM - good luck imposing PST withdraw..... I'd pay to get tickets to watch the public and official notification and consultation required by Ofcom
Posted by ValueforMoney over 2 years ago
@Gadget - VOIP (in its various form) Mobile Voice are and FTTP/ATA must create the conditions to permit some selective withdrawal.
BT's Fell End project should in theory permit that question to be asked in a comparatively non controvesial way.
Some of the £1.7bn will create conditions for more FOX's to be declared. At EFRA select committee, DEC 10th BDUK did say significant PHASE1 savings were being found. See answer to q195 in the published minutes.
Posted by Gadget over 2 years ago
@VFM - totally agree about selective withdraw, but to make the savings it needs to be total and my point is that its the total withdraw that is likely to cause user complaints, issues and time.
Posted by themanstan over 2 years ago
Have to agree with all or nothing withdrawl, as the costs of management would be higher.

Also, without OFCOM removing the requirement for copper telephones from USO, nothing to stop new occupier demanding reinstatement of line. Especially if they have no interest in broadband (sic older persons).

Posted by ValueforMoney over 2 years ago
@Gadget@Themanstan The request is overdue. BDUK could make the case on GOV programmes behalf. It lifts the ambition and provides a convenient way to review respective contibutions.
Posted by WWWombat over 2 years ago
The USO might go, but the requirement for access to emergency services will always remain.

This makes BT very conservative about change. It is hard to see a complete withdrawal of copper happening until there is *absolute* faith in the fibre replacement.

How long will it take for a "positive" attitude about fibre to raise to the level of such faith? One decade? Two? Three?

It is nice to be gung-ho about introducing fibre, until just one person dies because an ambulance didn't arrive on time. Then you look like muppets.
Posted by TheEulerID over 2 years ago

Voice over fibre surely already meets the regulatory requirements during power cuts as there's a battery in the OTN (it's an option already). This was BT's response to an OFCOM consultation.

It's not BT that sets the regulatory standards for this of course. Also, given that mobile phones are ubiquitous these days, then it's surely less of an issue (albeit that depends on the mobile infrastructure having UPS).
Posted by WWWombat over 2 years ago
I'm well aware. I've designed products with these kind of requirements in mind.

Having batteries to theoretically meet a requirement is one thing - and a necessary thing to start deployment.

Having absolute faith in those batteries post-deployment is a thing that only comes with time (and statistical monitoring of failure rates).

The difference is from practical experience + time.

Likewise with the fibre + splice nodes being dug into the ground. Theoretically, they're fine. In practice, we won't get faith until things have been deployed a while.
Posted by WWWombat over 2 years ago
Likewise with the installation practices. Theoretically, they're fine too, but are they causing any early in-service failures? Again, faith in the practices only comes from practical experience and monitoring over time.

As failure rate depends on both component and installation work, the absolute faith of the entire network is only gained some time after monitoring all the installations over time.

I don't ever see the copper being pulled out as part of the fibre deployment, as it is the obvious fallback if the fibre installation proves problematic.
Posted by TheEulerID over 2 years ago

Given the number of households that have only DECT phones, we already have a lot of properties whose phone services dependent on mains power. Also, the great majority of households have mobiles too, which provides an independent backup.

Possibly the biggest issue would be those that have emergency alarm systems reliant on the phone network.

As far as pulling copper out goes, then it's often going to be more trouble than its worth, but eventually the deterioration will set in. Also, would we really want copper/fibre overbuilds in new build areas?
Posted by Croft12 over 2 years ago
Given where we are with battery options - re the bt link - and indeed the rapid drop in price of both UPS I'm not sure why we still have the exchange battery requirement at all..
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Broadband Watchers.
There are many exchanges in the Surrey Area on the new Openreach list that states FTTP that I feel will be offered the service which are very close to the exchanges and to the fibre nodes on the new Cabs (FTTC). There are many locations where the fibre cables are tied to the overhead poles waiting for termination and the erection of the overhead fibre I do not know what type of Equiptment will be fitted on the end.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
@Blackmamba - while the lists show a mix of P and C the dominant technology always is C. In terms of live native FTTP Surrey is at around 2.6% of households for availability. Also do not confuse Fibre on Demand with native FTTP.

Posted by WWWombat over 2 years ago
I take on board everything you are saying - they are the "normal" consideration behind a swap from copper to fibre.

But the requirement to access emergency services is taken, by BT, to be whole orders of magnitude more important than any "ordinary" consideration.

The wired phone is seen as the connection of last resort that simply *has* to be able to work.

There's a world of difference between the statement "we designed this product to do X" and "we designed this product to do X, and have 30 years of statistics to show that it has done X and more".
Posted by WWWombat over 2 years ago
The first needs you to take a certain amount on trust, even if you see the design. The second is a lot more convincing.

BT don't just want to see how reliable things are - they want to see how robust too - how things behave under ongoing fault conditions.

Everyone has seen a Microsoft BSOD. What is the telephone exchange equivalent?

When the exchange crashes, it automatically restarts. But calls survive the restart - and you wouldn't notice that it had happened.

But it is only from long practical experience that you get to see how things behave under fault conditions.
Posted by WWWombat over 2 years ago
For example, I once worked on a large PABX development, where all the new features were on digital circuits - DASS2, DPNSS and ISDN - and digital display phones.

But in system test, we still had to prove that the box worked with old magneto-driven field phones - which might give you an idea of some of the premises it was sold to. Connectivity of absolute last resort!
Posted by WWWombat over 2 years ago
For example,

Here is a mode of FTTP failure that seems to have lost phone service too.

Inherent fault in the design? A fault in the local installation? Regional or national implications?

BT will want to understand how often this happens, and how degraded operation becomes under these (and other) circumstances.
Posted by WWWombat over 2 years ago
It seems the thread in that link is a perfect example of what I mean.

In theory, the place ought to be just fine. But it just isn't - and seems to be an issue that could lie anywhere between the neighbourhood and the head-end.

In that case, you wouldn't want to have decommissioned copper, because you might have sensitive households which just need the fallback.

How long do you give it? The more conservative you are, the more you take account of what one house (as yet unidentified) might require, the longer you give it.
Posted by CaptainW over 2 years ago
OK, so in my case, my cabinet has been removed from the rollout due to location and local property owners won't respond to OR to allow further work. Could the telephony still cme via one cabinet ie the existing AND the fibre from another cabinet using FTTrN to our distribution pole? Ironically, as seems to happen often, the enabled cabinet is closer to our property.
Posted by alexdow over 2 years ago
If the existing copper is literally "pulled out" say for its scrap value, would this not impose a risk on the fibre structure sharing the same main (ancient) ducting?
Posted by runner_bean about 1 year ago
FTTrN mini-cabinets have now started appearing in deepest East Sussex, presumably as part of the 'Go eSussex' broadband project. But I thought that this technology was still experimental?
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