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Temporary hold on new fibre on demand FTTP orders
Wednesday 14 January 2015 09:06:56 by Andrew Ferguson

We chased Openreach last week over rumours about the FTTP Fibre on Demand product ending, and we were told on Friday that a pause to the processing of new orders would be in place for a few months. Those who have existing orders in the system should still see there order progressing.

For those not aware Fibre On Demand is the option to order FTTP in areas that have FTTC, i.e. the fibre is extended directly into your home or office. Cost wise it can cost several £1,000 to install and around £150 to £200 a month for a 330 Mbps service, which means it is sits in between the FTTC products and traditional leased line services.

Based on how stretched Openreach already appears, which is evidenced by the continuing use of agency staff and fairly long install dates people are being given for FTTC it is likely that a lack of resources and ensuring that key contractual obligations for the BDUK projects in 2015 are key factors behind the temporary pause.

Comments

Posted by cyberdoyle about 1 year ago
I would just love a whole village to place an order for this product. but they won't. anyone who can afford this service is already close enough to a cabinet to get 'superfast' and they'll think thats ok for a bit. FTTP was supposed to be available from all cabs, at £30 a month to comply with the BDUK tenders. This price was increased last year, and is now out of reach of most folk especially with the install charges. Cabinets are a dead end, always were, and now the truth is coming out. superfarce.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
Supporting communities using FOD is part of every BDUK contract.
So demand is higher than expected. Original price and positioning (wholesale £38pm) needs to restored and BT do need to employ more staff on the ground.
Given the BDUK premiums are generous and the NAO identified 20% of the contract value for future proofing then more resource should not come as a surprise.
Note BDUK reported at EFRA (DEC 10th) that 'significant savings' from phase 1 were being identified, so FOD will be needed and can be supported.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
Would love to see a photo of the highlighted extract from the BDUK tenders, that says FTTP MUST be available for £30/month from every cabinet.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@Andrew - seek a definition for affordable within the state aid guidelines. Wholesale (£38per month) beats wholesale at £100 per month. I will locate refs tonight and update.
Posted by AndyCZ about 1 year ago
I've never read in any BDUK documents that "FTTP was supposed to be available from all the cabs".

The pricing of FTTPoD primarily reflects the cost of the installation. If you think the pricing is excessive, then I suggest you look at the amount of labour involved in installing FTTPoD or even a leased line.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
BDUK guidelines define "affordable" to be < £25pm for basic, and < £30-£50pm for NGA. Retail prices.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/378805/State_aid_-_Guidance_-_Mapping.pdf

But nowhere does it require FTTPoD to be available from all cabs within those affordability requirements. Just some form of NGA.

No-one (incl @VFM) has shown any indication that affordable FTTPoD is a part of the current BDUK deployment requirements or contracts.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
Oh ... and those affordability requirements exclude line rental or voice product costs.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
@VFM may well be right that the BDUK contract makes some allowance for "future-proofing", and has some budget allocated.

However, there has been no indication whatsoever of when "future" is, nor what provisions "future-proof" must allow for. There is certainly no indication that "future" means now, nor that "future-proof" means FTTPoD, affordable, or now (in any combination)
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
@wwwombat That ties in with my previous reading, but who knows I might have missed the paragraph that said FTTP must be made available as an option at £30 per month.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@wwwombat - thanks for affordable proof. Schedule 2 on off Hampshire site includes - ....2.25 The Supplier shall support extensions to the Supplier Solution by offering and supporting a Community Build and Benefit scheme. ....
FOD should by default be supported from the aggregation node, although the future proofing costs should allow for multiple tubes out to the cabinet.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@wwwombat - the relationship between Build and Benefit and Fibre on Demand is established in BT presentation on a mixed economy solution. I think you find in Lancashires market public consultations.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
Sched 3 for Hampshire - removed the solution template where you expect FoD solution to be mapped against the 2.25 req in sched 2.
I'll find it another way. The intent is clear, why would it not be there? FTTC is not end in itself.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
So not found anything saying they MUST provide FTTP for £30 from all cabs?

The future proofing and option to extend fibre at a later date has always being there.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@Andrew http://www.news-openreach.co.uk/news.aspx?newsid=52
Here it states; 'Fibre to the Premises technology – delivering ultra-fast speeds of up to 300Mbit/s – will also be deployed in certain areas and will be available on demand throughout the whole of the fibre footprint should local businesses want the ultra-fast speeds it offers.'
Must and £30 is your terminology. Affordable is more sensible, - it is not option to extend, but a commitment to permit FOD to be ordered. It will take a little more hunting but their should be enough refs in the public domain.
Posted by AndyCZ about 1 year ago
Affordable for who? It's designed for businesses, not residential users.

Compare the cost of 330/30 FTTPoD with an equivalent leased line - then you will see it's an affordable option for businesses.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
The £30 was from Cyberdoyle actually who started the complaint.

The FTTP mention in that Openreach item is actually about native FTTP and FoD, which people often confuse with FoD, a native FTTP product is http://www.thinkbroadband.com/isp/bt/package/1480.html

The FoD bit says all areas, but gives no price.

Would love to crucify BT or any other provider over stuff, but doing it when easy to disprove is like crying wolf.

This is a temporary delay on new orders, NOT a permanent withdrawal of the product.

Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@Andy Cz - Affordable as per state aid definition £30-£50 retail.
@andrew - Will find and post over the weekend. UNderstand the temporary hold but the underlying capability to order and provision is part of the requirement.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
Does the affordable state aid definition apply to the FoD element?

I know the monthly cost started at £38+VAT and then rose to £99+VAT, which in terms of business use is affordable for people who want 40 Mbps committed rate with burst to 330 Mbps.

If a BDUK contract or tender was awarded with the £38+VAT written in, then breach of contract and say hello to BT in the courts one presumes.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@andrew Should LA or BDUK wish they can force FOD at c£38pm (wholesale) (affordable as defined) with that Community requirement - in my opinion - but it may not yet be a prioity at this moment. I am certain it would appear in schedule 3 of Hants if was published. I will dig out more firm references collected off the web.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@andrew http://www.superfastnorthyorkshire.com/faqs under what is Broadband it includes ..From Spring 2013, anyone in an FTTC-enabled area will be able to upgrade to FTTP “on demand” – this is when the final copper link between the cabinet and the home or business is replaced with fibre.
No need to jump at BT, just relate as much truth as can be found.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
NOTE: Not me complaining that the price has increased, but @Cyberdoyle who said "£30 a month to comply with the BDUK tenders"

I know all about the projects mentioning FoD, but do not recall any guarantees on the install cost or monthly fees at the time.
Posted by AndyCZ about 1 year ago
@ ValueforMoney - BT wouldn't have tendered for the contracts if it was written that they must supply a service at a substantial loss.
Posted by cooperfarncombe about 1 year ago
The debate above is interesting. I think that the money for future-proofing should be used to provide the resource for FoD, but given the history of the way BT have made knee-jerk reactions to competition and requests for future-proofing, my view on why this will not happen follows.

In the days when BT denied the need for any form of widespread fibre broadband their standard response to those that disagreed was, “anyone is able to have a fibre connection if they want it”. They of course were referring to their leased line products.
Posted by cooperfarncombe about 1 year ago
Then along came Virgin’s “fibre” broadband and BT were forced to compete - hence the FTTC product designed with limited capacity to compete in the Virgin areas.

When Government money appeared, BT had no FTTC design that was suitable for rural locations, where demand was likely to be higher in the absence of Virgin. In addition, the local authorities were requesting a product that was future-proof.
Posted by cooperfarncombe about 1 year ago
So true to form, the BT marketing people said, “anyone will be able to have a fibre connection if they want it and it would be known as FoD”. In the absence of any contractual service level agreement for the provision of FoD, this means that all BT have to do to meet the contracts is to state on their wholesale database that FoD is available. This “FTTPoD Available” appears for 47% of the premises in the intervention area in Surrey, but not such a high percentage for the BT commercial areas. What does this tell us?
Posted by cooperfarncombe about 1 year ago
This is an old trick. Promise something to get the contract; redefine and put up the price to limit the market; and then, since it is too difficult for technical and resource reasons to meet demand, scrap the product. Time will tell whether the last stage in this saga will happen, but we do seem to be at the second to last stage.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
@VFM
Thanks - that is the sort of language I was expecting.

Are you sure that "offering & supporting a community build & benefit scheme" maps to FTTPoD per consumer, affordable?

To me it sounds like the use case would have FTTPoD as a common back haul to a village (ie community) hub, which then spreads access via some other method: SLU copper, fibre, WiFi, wimax.

That kind of backhaul would support community self-build schemes, and I imagine would be the sort of scheme envisaged by county councils.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
Agree that FTTC isn't the end in itself, and that extra fibre should be included for future provision, whether that is extra capacity at the cabinet, or further RN or DP cabinets, or GPON, or deeper community projects & self-builds.

I just don't think that we should perceive the current FoD product, at the current price points, per individual consumer, as the only way for BT to meet its contractual obligations. That would be too shortsighted.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
But even then, the back haul for a self-build community digital pump wouldn't be forced to use the FTTPoD product. Such a communal effort could readily choose from the various business leased-line products too.

All that would be needed for that is some way to order a fibre-based solution that is readily to hand. Isn't that all the LA's are requiring?

How does B4RN handle backhaul?
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@AndyCZ - MPF -87.48/12 = 7.29. Fibre access at wholesale of £38pm where the state has made substantial premiums for future proofing - 20% of contract value. My objection to the re-positioning was the notion that fibre access was a premium product and for business only.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@wwwombat - some flexibility needed but FoD is needed for substantial amounts of in-fill and is presented as such in Openreach presentations marked confidential.
I just hope the generic design is more than a 2 tube cable bearing 1x4 strand fibre serving each cabinet. Can you enlighten us?
Posted by ian72 about 1 year ago
@vfm How can FoD be for infill? Surely if it is infill then it would be FTTP as FoD is essentially the same technology but available on demand for an FTTC enabled property? Using FTTP or fibre lease as backhaul for community wireless or similar makes sense, FoD surely doesn't
Posted by AndyCZ about 1 year ago
@ ValueforMoney - You expect Openreach to provide FoD at a loss to themselves, which would make no sense.

At the end of the day, someone has to pay for it - whether it's the end user/CP/wholesale provider/local authority/government. No BDUK contract will state that Openreach has to provide FoD at £30 per month with £100 install.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
@ValueForMoney have not see the fibre tubing that Openreach use? 8 or 12 tubes are the standard

What serves the cabinet is irrelevant for FoD, since the FoD comes from the aggregation node, where the GPON capable fibre terminates.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
@VFM 1
On Build+Benefit: Reading RCBF docs, this means that the community does the bulk of the civil engineering work, handing it over to the telco to provide service over.

Surely this kind of scheme requires individual negotiation on prices (install & monthly), and results in a bespoke offer. It is *never* going to fit with standard pricing - whether the ultimate product used are for village-wide backhaul, or for separate consumers; and whether it involves (native) FTTP, FTTC + FTTPoD, just FTTPoD.
...
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
@VFM 2
What date are those confidential Openreach documents? Do they pre-date FTTRN?

As time goes by, we see solutions being added to the mix - FTTRN seems like a solution to offer for in-fill beyond the 1.2km SFBB threshold. Likewise FTTdp could do the same in future. We've also seen solutions for wireless to the cabinet.

It seems that the "substantial infill" you envisage for FTTPoD is being covered by other solutions.
...
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
@VFM 3
Generic design for FTTx is seen in some slides for BT; see image 4374 here for an example:
http://www.coolwebhome.co.uk/fibre-milton-keynes/

That shows BT uses COF200 cable to feed aggregation node - which is not "tubes with a couple of strands blown".

Take a look at this forum post:
http://forums.thinkbroadband.com/fibre/4375161-fibre-node-installation-guides.html

The manual for the Generic Joint shows that COF200 cable comes with many fibres, from 12 to 288. It is not BFT.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
@VFM 4
The manual for the aggregation node shows the installation of fibre in a "looped-through" manner, consistent with the idea of a fibre spine out from the exchange, with a number of AGN's in the path.

You can envisage a long length of COF200 288-fibre cable running from exchange along the spine, with 5-10 AGN's.

A similar loop-through design is seen in the splitter; again you can envisage a long length of the COF205 mini-cable, with a number of splitter nodes attached.

BFT tubing really only comes into the mix after the Fibre DP.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
@ian72
I assume @VFM's term "infill" for FTTPoD really means that it is used in FTTC areas but for those properties to far away from the cabinet to benefit from 25Mb+ speeds, or too far for *any* speeds.

For the latter, there may even be an additional option: GEA over ADSL2+ (ie ADSL2+ from the cabinet). It won't be superfast, but it will improve the coverage of basic broadband.
Posted by Dixinormous about 1 year ago
There are cases where a property has both FTTC and FTTP, natively, in order to reach BDUK requirements.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
The Infill such as has been done in Surrey, is delivered at native FTTP pricing to properties and appears as WBC FTTP on the wholesale checker.

So will meet the affordability criteria.
Posted by otester about 1 year ago
BDUK is definitely getting priority, as soon as the next exchange over got BDUK support, the date for my area got kicked into the long wind and it looks as though now my cabinet won't be getting done despite it being in the original 2/3 plan.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
@otester Still seeing delayed commercial cabinets going live, so never say never.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@WWWombat thanks for the detail, much appreciated, will study the references and yes Openreach pres pre-date FTTrn. Will need to come in the future on the 20% premium for future proofing.
@AndyCZ - I was trying to suggest FoD increases and change in positioning would be reveresed to what it was when the BT mixed economy solution qualified for state aid.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@Andrew FTTP Surrey noted. It's good, looking forward much more of it, given BDUK are now saying significant savings are emerging on phase1.
Posted by ian72 about 1 year ago
@wwwombat BT would not use FTTPoD for infill for long FTTC lines. They would use FTTP. FTTPoD is just a sales package for premises to upgrade. It isn't "on demand" if it is the BT chosen product to deliver - it is just FTTP build out.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
@ian72
Agree entirely.

I don't see the "oD" product line as having anything to do with making affordable access available anywhere - there are now a variety of solutions that help with affordability.

I have always seen the "oD" product as one that lets any customer say no to the chosen affordable solution, and opt for pure fibre instead. At a cost.

In the middle term, however, while targeting only 90%, some of the premises on long lines (from the cab) have no affordable option, only the "oD" one.

Yet.

A side-effect of the fact that the full rollout takes time, and happens in stages.
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@ian72 WWWombat
So the issue is reduced but remains.
If BT decide they have met their 90-95% SF commitment by not deploying FTTP on a patch and the customer says I want it, they get offered the £100pm priced FOD product. So the issue remains but it should be much less of an issue.
Posted by otester about 1 year ago
@andrew

So "under review" doesn't mean never?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
Correct, under review means they might, they might not.
Posted by cooperfarncombe about 1 year ago
@Andrew. Are you saying in your earlier comment that the fibre from the aggregation node to the premise is not routed via the existing ducts between the aggregation node and cabinet? If not, how is it routed?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
No need for the fibre to goto the cabinet is there. Now it may share some of the same ducting if it makes sense depending on the ducting in the area, but any FTTP or FoD does not surface into the cabinet.

Essentially FTTC can be removed without disturbing FTTP at a later date.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
@cooperfarncombe
Take a look at this 2010 document with fibre architecture.
http://iwcs.omnibooksonline.com/data/papers/2010/1_8P.pdf

Page 8: FTTC cabs are fed from the aggregation node with a 4-fibre BFU within a tube of a 7-tube BFT.

Page 9: FTTP homes are fed from the aggregation node with multi-fibre mini-cable (up to 144 fibres), via splitter nodes, to Fibre DPs. Then it uses 4-fibre BFU within 7 or 12-tube BFT.

The last point of shared infrastructure is the aggregation node. No FTTP fibre goes to the FTTC cabinet.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
@VFM
Yup, that's it broadly.

The downside is that in the midst of the rollout, those in the 10% or 5% that haven't been given an affordable solution yet will only see the expensive FoD available to them ... and complain loudly.

How long will we be "in the midst of the rollout"? At least 3 years, probably 4, possibly 5 or 6. If SEP is drifting into 2018, will phase 3 come afterwards? or can it be done in parallel?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
And this raises an important question that if we had gone for FTTP in these BDUK areas and NO FTTC what would time scales have been like?
Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
@Andrew Indeed. I am certain that BT actuals (bills) are no where near the milestone payments - just look how USC premiums are being retained by BT but no solutions delivered.
They can bill a £200m a quarter for the next 8 quarters if they had starting resourcing mid-2012. The extra 2,400 is noted, but its an ideal way to train the next generation of apprentices.
Posted by otester about 1 year ago
I like the idea of FoD, if you want the extra speed, you pay for it individually.
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