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Long Reach VDSL2 what effect would it have?
Friday 25 September 2015 12:57:23 by Andrew Ferguson

The big BT Group presentation this week covered a lot of ground in a very short space of time and while we talked a little about the potential of a new VDSL2 variant information was thin on the ground. Now we can share the graph showing the expected performance over a range of distances.

Speeds that Long Reach VSDL2 may offer

We should point out before people get too excited and ask to join trials etc, this is not a product or trial that is available to join yet, but represents one of the potential options that Openreach could use to improve coverage. This is similar to the commitment to the Universal Service Obligation made on Tuesday 22nd, where Openreach and BT were saying that they are ready to do their part if the USO is defined in the 5 to 10 Mbps region, but until Government and Ofcom actually put into place a new Obligation for broadband coverage the work on existing commitments will continue.

We did some very quick estimates of what the LR VDSL2 model would offer earlier in the week, but now we can share what would happen if Openreach was to make Long Reach VDSL2 available from every live FTTC location that we already know about. The headline being that the UK would jump from 86.6% coverage at speeds of 24 Mbps or faster to 89.3%. The effect across the 12 regions of the UK is below:

thinkbroadband calculation of the effect a Long Reach 2 VDSL2 deployment would have on UK existing regional superfast and broadband coverage
Existing coverage data taken from 21st September 2015
Area % superfast
24 Mbps or faster
Profile 17a VDSL2
% superfast
Long Reach 2 VDSL2
24 Mbps or faster
% Under 2 Mbps USC
Profile 17a VDSL2
% Under 2 Mbps USC
Long Reach 2 VDSL2
% Under 5 Mbps USO
Long Reach 2 VDSL2
% Under 15 Mbps
Long Reach 2 VDSL2
London 92.9% 94.5% 0.3% 0.0% 0.9% 2.6%
South East 91.3% 94.2% 0.4% 0.1% 1.7% 3.8%
East Midlands 90.9% 93% 0.6% 0.1% 2.0% 3.8%
North East 90.3% 92.5% 0.4% 0.1% 1.9% 4%
North West 90.0% 92.2% 0.7% 0.2% 2.8% 5.4%
West Midlands 89.4% 91.7% 0.5% 0.1% 2.4% 5.0%
East of England 84.9% 88.1% 0.8% 0.1% 1.4% 7.4%
Yorkshire and Humber 82.4% 85.3% 0.7% 0.2% 5.1% 9.7%
Wales 81.6% 85.5% 0.8% 0.2% 6.7% 10.9%
South West 80.8% 84.9% 1.0% 0.2% 5.1% 9.9%
Scotland 78.7% 80.7% 1.1% 0.4% 5.7% 12.3%
Northern Ireland 76.3% 83.9% 8.6% 3.2% 6.8% 13.5%

NOTE: The percentages for those under 2 Mbps, 5 Mbps and 15 Mbps include those where only ADSL or ADSL2+ based systems are available. The superfast figures include Virgin Media and KC as per our standard statistics we publish, this was done to make comparisons with our existing data easier.

The VDSL2 17 MHz line in the model is more optimistic than the model we use which takes into account very pessimistic levels of cross-talk, and until Long Reach 2 VDSL2 makes it into the wild we cannot get any data to see how much to adjust the model down, but the table above shows the potential that could be delivered. The scale of the improvement nationally is that even if Openreach deployed no more FTTC, adding Long Reach 2 VDSL2 would allow another 742,000 premises to go from being under the USC to being above it.

The real questions now are, how soon can this VDSL variant be ready for market and what are its associated costs? There are other options to extending reach such as the GEA-ASDL2+ mentioned previously, then ADSL2+ or VDSL2 regenerators or as is happening in places like Northern Ireland, network rearrangement to create new cabinets for outlying clusters of premises. There are also the pilots from the final 5% projects that do not involve BT which are starting to deliver live customers and while the tech world knows how the different systems behave, the projects will deliver reports to the politicians and economists so they can decide whether to go gold plated, or enough to meet needs for the next two or three years.

Comments

Posted by TheEulerID about 1 year ago
Does long reach VDSL adversely affect ADSL2+ services from the exchange? I can see how it can be achieved by changing the frequency plan/PSD mask, but to do so might well cause issues with ADSL2+ services. As it is, I thought the existing ANFP had been designed so that the two can coexist in reasonable peace or is there some other magic sauce in this solution?
Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
Our longest lines on the West Chiltington exchange in West Sussex are about 5km. Therefore, the Long Reach 2 could provide FTTC for all lines at speeds mostly above 5Mbps. Adding line bonding for the longest lines would give every line the new USC of 5-10Mbps, if it works!
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
Does long reach VDSL adversely affect ADSL2+ services from the exchange? Cannot answer, hope to find out some more detail in around a month.

Posted by TheEulerID about 1 year ago
Good. I can't imagine there isn't a disadvantage of some sort. If it's incompatible with Exchange ADSL2+ then it might be aimed at rural areas where there are many fewer unbundled lines where there will surely be major commercial/regulatory issues. I'd guess it could be done on a cabinet-by-cabinet basis, which might help a bit with such issues.
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Broadband Watchers.
I feel with a bit of rejumpering on the Cabs plus MODs the results will be achieved in Surrey of 99.7% over 15 meg which was stated at the Dorking Meeting by BT staff using the above practice.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
I knew Surrey would get a mention and no its not enough, even if every live FTTC got LR VDSL2, still 1.3% below 15 Mbps, 0.5% under 5 Mbps. Under 2Mbps is showing as zero to 1 decimal place. 98.1% at 24 Mbps though :-)
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
"Now we can share the graph showing the expected performance over a range of distances"

What is the original source of the data? From BT Research? Passed on from Huawei?

But the figures are kinda amazing. I'm now wondering ... how?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
The chart arises from the presentation BT Group/Openreach did on Tuesday to City/Press.

Will wear out some shoes at Broadband World Forum in a few weeks to see if we can get more information.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
For comparison of how "wow" this change would be...

In the same presentations, BT announced that their £130m "early clawback" funds would allow coverage of superfast to grow by about 1% (from 95% to 96%).

A "long range 2" update, improving over 2.5% of lines, would be worth £300m or so.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
One tactic to improve speed at any range would be vectoring ... even if this has been shelved, except for strategic cases like rural distances.

Was there any mention of vectoring, in this context? Or indeed, in any other context?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
Vectoring not mentioned on Tuesday, but is being deployed, the phrase used is 'tactically'. I chased up in the last day or two.

Posted by ValueforMoney about 1 year ago
It's a long way from BET.
Posted by TheEulerID about 1 year ago
I cannot see how its achievable without changing the frequency plan/psd to exploit lower frequencies better. You can't change attenuation characteristics of a line so you have to exploit them better (ignoring the issue of vectoring for now).
But yes, if it can be done, at least tactically, then it will extend usable broadband much further and, presumably, cheaply and quickly. There has to be a catch though.
Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
The main thing is that if this works it would give the vast majority of us on long lines access to fibre broadband.
It would then be up to individuals to use line bonding to potentially get superfast speeds.
Personally I would rather have high speed fixed wireless broadband but it is good to have a choice.
Posted by themanstan about 1 year ago
@TheEulerID

I agree, all the long reach VDSL stuff I've seen makes use of ADSL bands...

So everyone on that cabinet will have to go onto that product...
Posted by craski about 1 year ago
@chilting
Why should it be "up to the individuals to use line bonding to potentially get superfast speeds".

i.e. Why should those on long lines have to pay approx £12/month/line to get to the UK wide target?

To clarify, I'm on a long line and I'd be perfectly happy for BT to bond more than one line if it gave me superfast speeds but why should I have to pay more for that when the rest of the 95% are getting it for "free"
Posted by craski about 1 year ago
at between 4 and 5km from the exchange, the prospect of being able to double or treble my current access speeds seems like an improvement worth having to me, even if it isnt superfast.

If bonding 2 or 3 lines could then get people over the superfast target line , BT need to find a way of doing that without penalising the users for the cost of 3 or 4 line rentals.
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Chil.
I think you are at 2k Mtres from CAB so from the chart above you will get SFB at aprox 30 meg down without bonding have both systems service back up due to weather.
Posted by AndrueC about 1 year ago
@craski:Because you are more so much more costly to provision. The current broadband market is akin to a taxi firm that charges everyone £5 regardless of where they live and where they want to go. Those travelling the really short distances end up subsidising those travelling further.

Your problem is that you want to go so far that the taxi firm just can't cover the losses without increasing the flat fee to a point where it would deter the other 95% of customers.
Posted by AndrueC about 1 year ago
It's more than just line length and the underlying pricing isn't quite as simple as 'one price for all' but the basic principal is the same. You are just so much more difficult to deal with than the other 95% that BT is struggling to find a way to do so in a financially viable way.
Posted by AndrueC about 1 year ago
The only alternative to you paying more is for the other 95% to pay more to subsidise you. Unfortunately for you the other 95% of us simply aren't prepared to pay enough extra to help you out.

Sorry, but we have to draw the line somewhere.
Posted by Llety about 1 year ago
@andrueC There are alteratives to taxi's. they don't go where you want to go, there are many obvious alternatives. For broadband there is ***NO*** viable alternative, hence why there should be an obligation on the encumbant provider to treat broadband like water or electric and it is provided to everyone, irrespective of location. Unless of course you favor large scale rural depopulation as a solution? I don't. Enough harm is being done as it is.
Posted by rtho782 about 1 year ago
These sorts of figures are all well and good but until BT rip up all the aluminium cable and replace with copper do not reflect the real world for many people.

An aluminium line should be considered a fault.
Posted by craski about 1 year ago
@AndrueC
Nice analogy and I get that point of view but dont agree with it. I could take a similar stance e.g. why should I pay for street lighting in built up areas that doesnt benefit me?

Anyway, I dont want to troll and take thread off topic ... I really hope they do roll out Long Reach VDSL in my area, it looks like it would help a lot and better than nothing.
Posted by craski about 1 year ago
@rtho782
Be careful what you wish for ... I dont think its just Aluminium that is a problem. I know in our village is fed by more than one cable, the older cable being a thicker gauge than the newer cable. The houses fed by the older thicker cable get better speeds than all the new houses fed by the new thinner copper cable. Aluminium is just another legacy problem, one of many!
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
@llety
The argument for an obligation on the incumbent worked when they were a monopoly - because they could then overcharge 95% a little to cover the stupendous cost of the 5%.

However, the incumbent no longer has a monopoly, and can no longer cross-subsidise in that way. To compete effectively in the commercial areas, the incumbent has to lower charges there, just to get the business.

Once you add competition, you lose the effect of having an incumbent. You have to shift the obligation to the industry as a whole, or government.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
The answer to @Craski's question: "Why should those on long lines have to pay ... ?" is because government wanted to reduce costs by forcing competition.
Posted by themanstan about 1 year ago
@Llety

But that's the thing with USO for utilities there is a threshold for cost, after which it is the customer who pays...

While there is an effective monopoly for telephony, the reality is Broadband is not... so if for example a custoter who was closer to VM and Gigaclear network wanted decent BB... who would USO obligate to provide? BTOR or VM or Gigaclear...

Also, USO has excess costs which are borne by the customer...
Posted by themanstan about 1 year ago
sorry repeated myself at the end.

Example of USO for telephony, see P5 for excess costs.

http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/consultations/uso/statement/statementreview.pdf
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
Back to long-range VDSL, and how it could happen.

One obvious possibility is for BT's researchers to take the same kind of improvements they are suggesting for G.fast (lower noise floor, higher power, etc), and applying those back to VDSL2. Non-linear line coding could be included.

Otherwise, I tend to agree - spectrum/power changes need to happen that make things incompatible with ADSL, and therefore LLU. Of course, shifting all services to the cabinet also makes it more likely the cabinet runs out of ports...
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Broadband Watchers.
The Cabs will not run out off ports they will be off loaded to fibre from the local node I would call this regrading in the old terms thus giving more fibre perertration either short or long runs it is being implemented now so don't worry in certain locations just keep watching.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
@blackmamba can you try or rephrase? Or are you suggesting that when cabinets fill up people are shifted onto native FTTP?

If so then I say that does not happen at all, unless you have some proof.

Native FTTP overlays are happening in some limited areas, mainly the area of Surrey you focus on, but do not project that to the UK as a whole. You are misleading people.
Posted by gerarda about 1 year ago
As no-one seems to know how VDSL long reach will work is it just PR puff to stave off the hive-off of Openreach?
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
I don't think it is a case of "no-one knows". Just that the people who do know happen to work in Martlesham Heath, and don't bother putting comments on here.
Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
It would seem then that BT are promoting this as something they could do but in actual fact because ADSL will get in the way it is all just pie in the sky.
Posted by gerarda about 1 year ago
@wwwombat - I was more suggesting that this is so far from being a deliverable solution it is just a spoiling tactic by BT
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Andrews Staff.
I am saying that when the long reach Mod Cabs are put into service there will be an off loading onto fibre local routes eg overhead fibre which is cheap to provide if all ports are full using the churn rate. Please remember Surry is 9 months ahead in their results and the rest will follow the pattern.
Posted by craski about 1 year ago
@chilting
Good point, it wouldnt be the first time ADSL has got in the way of unlocking full potential of the FTTC cabs.
Posted by themanstan about 1 year ago
@Gerada

It exists and they looked at it in S.Korea. But like we´ve said the tech uses the ADSL bands and, so for SKorea this was a national project it would easy for them to simply remove ADSL solutions from the equation. Not quite the same here...
Posted by RuralWire about 1 year ago
@gerarda - Bang on. No more than a "promising new technology", which is being spun for all it is worth by BT to try and curry favour with Ofcom and the Government over the Openreach debate. In other words, BT panicking over something which, in all probability, ain't going to be happening.
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Broadband Watchers.
I was under the impression that the EU and the Goverment LA with BT/ Openreach were paying for the long lines under BD/UK even reducing the 15meg band and getting money returned (clawback) thus reinvesting for others. This I think is working in SURREY. It may be even spilling over into HANTS and West SUSSEX.
Posted by fastman about 1 year ago
blackmanmba I sesiously wonder at some the information you purpose to be fact -- there is no sharing of Dslams between PCP's you can have 2 dslams to one PCP but you cannot have 2 pcps to one dslam - cabs get full -- sounds like you have been misinformed again !!!!
Posted by fastman about 1 year ago
who said overall fibre is cheap to provide -- more misinformation !!!!
Posted by fastman about 1 year ago
those long lines are not counted in the scheme of things and do not county in the coverage of what can b claimed
Posted by Llety about 1 year ago
@themanstan

Would be really interested to know who the alternative vendors who compete against Openreach and are available for the last 10%. The ones that compete with Openreach for broadband provision in rural areas(actually this problem is far from limited to rural areas). I can't think of any.
Posted by themanstan about 1 year ago
@Llety

But you see the problem for how to write the legislation... it has to be detailed so as not to exclude other operators too where appropriate... and that isn´t going to be simple.
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Fastman.
I said overhead fibre is cheap to provide dropping off at DP,s.on the overhead route. Yes I agree with you that the customers (post code under 15 meg) are not claimed back by the LA so BT/ Openreach takes the hit.
Posted by Dixinormous about 1 year ago
Well I'm mystified as to why my PCP has had an extension to the copper chassis and is on its 2nd FTTC cabinet given apparently BT go to FTTP when FTTC chassis start to become full.

Mamba - the idea that BT would spend the money installing an FTTC cabinet then make it redundant by deploying FTTC is absurd. There is some FTTP in FTTC areas serving long lines to hit targets, that's all. Absolutely nothing to do with how full the DSLAMs are.
Posted by Dixinormous about 1 year ago
NB I should mention that apart from a couple of blocks of flats every property served by the cabinet in question is fully ducted.

I have no idea where you get this stuff from without proof I find the idea ridiculous. FTTP overlay of very long FTTC lines definitely happens, FTTP overlay because cabinets are getting full is a different matter entirely.
Posted by Llety about 1 year ago
@themanstan I respect where you are coming from.

I think out difference in perspective is that I think the people should be be the priority, not the operators. I suspect (correct me if wrong) you believe look after the operators and the best solution results. The current situation is too broken for many, the UK as a whole too unproductive to let it continue. The market has failed for many, time to look for alternatives. BTW I work for the most capitalist company on the planet and am confortable with it.
Posted by themanstan about 1 year ago
@Llety

I don´t think OFCOM has ever envisioned how the market would evolve, particularly from a reactive mindset.

From my perspective they should have partitioned the market... the more competitive areas as one where SKY, TalkTalk, BT, VM and others could duke it out... and the more rural areas where defined regulation forced BT to develop the infrastructure but guaranteed returns similar to NatGrid... which would have given a solution to your situation...
Posted by themanstan about 1 year ago
The 2nd market would be true monopoly, like NatGrid so that there is ROI.

But, OFCOM can be said to be focussed on cheap deals for consumer to realise that this isn´t always best...
Posted by binary about 1 year ago
Very interesting article, along with some interesting comments... interspersed with what seems to be some pretty wishful thinking, based on nothing very solid at all!

The mind slightly boggles when thinking of how things might work from a regulatory and commercial standpoint if LLU ADSL customers were shunted off the exchange to DSLAMs in FTTC cabinets... but then again, if that's what it takes to get results, and (some) people are crying out for results and couldn't care less about the technological and business models behind how it's made to happen.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
I think the situation may be different for exchanges that don't have LLU, alas that is just 5% of the UK premises.

Hopefully Broadband World Forum will offer more information on various options, as you have vendors from around the world with their wares
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
@themanstan
Ofcom have already divided the market, based on whether LLU is present. They might divide based on FTTC in the future.

But this is a moving goalpost ... and something that helps the bottom rung of the comms ladder needs to be a long-term commitment.

This might be the way to go, but implementing it is non-obvious right now.

@binary
Yup - that's the bottom line: results. Perhaps Ofcom needs to figure that there is a group which is disadvantaged by the mere presence of competition, and that Ofcom aren't representing them well at all.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
@gerarda
It certainly looks to be a distance from reality, absolutely.

But, given that BT is being attacked on all sides, don't they have a right to defend themselves? Shouldn't they be able to show what they *could* do? And shouldn't that be both short-term and long-term?

In this case, I see a slightly different aspect. It shows that there is research within the BT group, and it does include rural aspects.

If Openreach is sacrificed on the alter of competition, would this survive?
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Gerarda.
As you are on a long line would it get in the EU directive of 30 meg down using the above system or would fibre be required to achieve the result in your enclave.
Posted by themanstan about 1 year ago
@WWWombat

Oh I agree with you on the current state of play...

I´m pondering the lack of vision in OFCOM when DSL and digitisation of cable occurred, the S Korea planning was public, a small working group would have shown the need for a radical departure from the reactive to proactive planning for the market...
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Andrews Staff.
Many thanks for updating post codes at Dunsfold on Weekley update.
Posted by New_Londoner about 1 year ago
@Blackmamba
IIRC it's not a directive, not sure it's even a target any more after virtually all the budget was pulled. Perhaps an ambition?

In any case you can't really instruct someone to replace their possibly virtually free but slow ADSL with something faster and more expensive just to appease some bureaucrats.
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi New London.
If the customer wishes to buy a service which is to his requirement that is his choice even if he could get it cheaper and faster.
Posted by chrysalis about 1 year ago
I expect this is a combination of g.inp, vectoring and using adsl bins to get the better performance, so I assume it would need everyone to be moved to the cabinet, or there is a cost of those served from the exchange and routed via the cabinet will lose performance.
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