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Haydon Wick starts to see FTTP roll-out from Openreach
Friday 01 April 2016 11:06:10 by Andrew Ferguson

The FTTH picture in the UK is looking rosier every week and FTTH from the incumbents (KC/Openreach) has just past the 1% availability barrier (1.009% as of 31st March 2016) and the news from Openreach of progress in its 'plug and play' FTTH trials will further boost this.

Ultrafast FTTH from Openreach in Swindown
200 Mbps Broadband Speed Test from Swindon

The speed test result shown is from a user in the Haydon Wick Openreach trial area and prior to this they seem to have been enjoying speeds of 2 to 10 Mbps depending on time of day/provider. So far the trial seems to comprise of four live postcodes, but is set to expand to include premises in Ariadne Road, Boatman Close, Clementine Road, Mayfly Road, Metis Road, Minnow Close, Ulysses Road and Voyager Drive. As streets go live we will be adding them to our own availability checker but in the mean time the Openreach Ultrafast fibre website gives details for the Swindon trial and other trials they are carrying out.

Swindon FTTH in pavement chamber

FTTH from Openreach is nothing new, but the original roll-out method was time consuming with figures of 7 hours to connect each premise even after the work to roll-out the infrastructure up and down the street was already done. The new plug and play aspect is around using connectorised kit thus reducing the amount of splicing and fibre blowing needed. The G.fast trials can use similar techniques and trials like this are needed to help inform the cost model that will decide which streets get G.fast and which get native FTTH as Openreach pushes the fibre deeper into the local loop.

KCOM in Hull has announced a faster roll-out of its FTTH Lightstream service in the Hull area, so its clear that the incumbents are ramping up their act and it will be interesting to watch the picture change in the next few years. Firms like Hyperoptic and Gigaclear also have big expansion plans, and if the CityFibre joint venture with Sky and TalkTalk starts to deliver in volume we might see the current 1.55% FTTH availability figures vanish into the distance and be talking of 3 to 5% within 18 months.

Comments

Posted by CarlThomas 8 months ago
Good for Haydon Wick and, hopefully, indicates a move from Openreach treating GEA-FTTP like leased lines in terms of labour and, for FoD, cost.

I must write a blog at some point. I was having some thoughts about overbuilding of FTTC with G.fast/FTTP.

I find myself wondering if high uptake of FTTC will actively deter Openreach from deploying deeper fibre.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 8 months ago
For the accountants who use the cold spreadsheets one driver might be popularity of up to 76 Mbps rather than cheaper up to 38 Mbps on lines where fast available, i.e. areas where people willing to spend more for speed might give better incremental income.
Posted by TheEulerID 8 months ago
The financial viability of deeper fibre penetration in existing FTTC areas will depend on two things. Firstly that there is some form or pricing differential and, second, that there is sufficient take up at that premium over FTTC.

One thing that does occur to me is that a future cut in GEA-FTTC is surely likely, and if OR is aggressive on that it might threaten LLU ADSL economics (but would Ofcom step in?). With such a cut, premium FTTP/G.FAST might fetch a premium.
Posted by TheEulerID 8 months ago
I'd add that the prospective cut in GEA-FTTC would likely be to maintain market share against VM offerings at the lower end of their speed ranges.
Posted by CarlThomas 8 months ago
@Andrew I thought that one too. We're definitely cream crackered here, then, many people are on Sky :)
Posted by chilting 8 months ago
The trouble is that in areas like mine in West Sussex where folks are so anti-technology we would never get enough demand to warrant FTTP.

Even though our exchange is 5km from the village a very high proportion of people are still using ADSL instead of FTTC.

This creates a larger digital divide for those of us who want a better service locally than any other factor.
Posted by WWWombat 8 months ago
Back to a demand registration system?
"fibremystreet.com"?
Posted by DrMikeHuntHurtz 8 months ago
So as urbanites move on to 1Gbps I'm moving on to...not even 38Mbps...or even 3.8Mbps...
Posted by jumpmum 8 months ago
This is great to see!

Long time ago, in a different life I had an argument about the Haydon Wick area before the exchange was ever put in place. A group of us wanted the new estates to be native FTTP from the exchange it was originally served from, (Blunsdown), as it was too far away to get basic BB (even voice was going to be dodgy due to distance). The regulator wouldn't let it be served without copper, as this would bar LLU, so BT had to build the new Haydon Wick exchange at a cost of £xm and provide Copper.

What a short sighted regulator. What a waste!
Posted by CarlThomas 8 months ago
There are already urbanites on 1Gb, Mr Hurtz. Hyperoptic, Keycom.

There are also ruralites on 1Gb, B4RN and the like, and proportionately more FTTP in sparsely populated hamlets than urban areas and suburbs.

Shouldn't hold urban areas back due to your location any more than BT should be barred from deploying FTTP in hamlets because there's none in the UK's 3rd city.
Posted by cyberdoyle 8 months ago
Gfarce. https://neil-fairbrother.squarespace.com/blog/2013/7/1/gfast-a-high-speed-cul-de-sac
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 8 months ago
@cyberdoyle Article was about Fibre to the Home appearing in Swindon. Some of the techniques pushing fibre deeper into the local loop are being used in this FTTH deployment in Swindon and reflect changes in how Openreach work.
Posted by TheEulerID 8 months ago
That misreading of articles is beginning to look like a pattern as it's hardly the first time something hasd been completely misinterpreted.
Posted by Somerset 8 months ago
@CD - a flawed article - gives an example of Slough with one cabinet, there are about 120 with FTTC. And also fails to discuss detailed costs of FTTP everywhere.
Posted by CarlThomas 8 months ago
I struggle to take the words of a guy who writes about technical matters and claims this:

'I believe Hyperoptic have two options - one is to run optical fibres in building the other uses coax cable (1000Mbps Ethernet), not copper wire.'

Pretty sure he means copper UTP, which is still of course copper wire. Hyperoptic only use fibre in building when UTP can't be used due to distance.

It's a marketing piece from a marketing guy.
Posted by WWWombat 8 months ago
Neil Fairbrother: a self-titled marketing man. One whose task is to sell a message to the public. Not one to develop or deploy the technology of broadband, nor to manage the task of making it affordable.

I always love the picture that shows how slow broadband would be in Heathrow when served from one cabinet located in the centre of Slough. He might as well have shown the speed in Outer Mongolia for all the relevance this has to the real world.

A beautiful marketing message, if you like that kind of thing. Merely biased and opinionated, if you don't.
Posted by WWWombat 8 months ago
There's an interesting book "All marketers are liars".

It makes the point that marketers tell stories, but cautions that "When you are busy telling stories to people who want to hear them, you’ll be tempted to tell stories that just don’t hold up. Lies. Deceptions."

Neil's story sounds great, but misses half the facts out in the real world, turning it deceptive.
Posted by CarlThomas 8 months ago
Really long way for Openreach FTTP to go. It should be noted just how much of the Openreach rollout has been dependent on the taxpayer.

This is put into focus by how little of it there is in the areas you'd expect to see it the most - the larger cities.

6 of the UK's 10 most populous cities have zero Openreach FTTP, and B4RN have passed more premises with FTTP in their area than Openreach have in Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow, Sheffield, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Manchester and Bristol combined.

I'll reserve my excitement for now.

http://tinyurl.com/glfegzp

http://tinyurl.com/zm22s2j
Posted by TheEulerID 8 months ago
Regarding g.fast, would it even be necessary to build new cabinets to support it? Is it possible that existing cabinets to be upgraded to support both? This might require major changes, but it might be just new line cards with dual-mode VDSL2/g.fast ports.

That could radically change the marginal cost of offering g.fast from existing locations as it would eliminate much planning, fibre, cabling, construction & power issues.
Posted by TheEulerID 8 months ago
I should add I'm well aware that the existing trials have required new cabinets, but that could easily be due to lack of production ready equipment and, more importantly, the need to maintain a separation between g.fast trial and existing production cabinets for trial purposes.
Posted by ian72 8 months ago
I would assume the main reason for new cabinets is to put in additional cabs nearer to the customer? The whole idea of G.Fast is that it needs short lines to get the speeds and so more cabs will be needed.
Posted by CarlThomas 8 months ago
BT could hit the target of 10 million premises passed at ultrafast speeds by G.fast by 2020 without building deeper fibre.

I don't see any reason to think they'll spend more than they have to.
Posted by TheEulerID 8 months ago
@ian72

The first goal will be to have something available as quickly as possible in order to have at least something on the market in the "ultrafast" segment. The quickest way to do that is upgrade current cabinet locations. Going deeper to extend coverage takes time and money and, very importantly, it innovative (cheap) power provision. Possibly reverse power, but that will take time for products to appear.

So #1 priority is surely upgrading cabinets in areas with the best potential.
Posted by ian72 8 months ago
@TheEulerID that may be what you think is best but I don't think that is the Openreach plan. As far as I know they are looking for something that is replicable and provides high speed to the highest percentage of people - the trials are to find out if that can be done and just upgrading those near existing cabs will prove little and not find the problem cases.
Posted by TheEulerID 8 months ago
@ian72

We'll wait and see, but I still think it makes most financial sense to pick those cabinets in high population density areas and with shorter sub-loops to do first. Relatively cheap and fast to do and speed of roll-out will be of the essence as they are falling behind VM.

Putting in new nodes using existing technology is very expensive, especially with power provision (which is the issue FTTrN encountered). I do think, however, we'll also see OR doing some FTTB g.fastg installs as power is not an issue.
Posted by adslmax 8 months ago
@ Posted by ian72 about 5 hours ago
I would assume the main reason for new cabinets is to put in additional cabs nearer to the customer? The whole idea of G.Fast is that it needs short lines to get the speeds and so more cabs will be needed.

Answer is NO! BT will not be interesting to bring more cabinets! The short line customers will be very lucky to have a maximum speed on FTTC 80/20 with G.Fast going up to 330/50.
Posted by AndyCZ 8 months ago
Probably not entirely related here, but Openreach are undertaking a 5 year programme to improve the performance of FTTC lines by installing 2,800 new cabinets closer to end user premises. In the trials, the average line went from 15Mbps to over 65Mbps.
Posted by TheEulerID 8 months ago
That would be entirely compatible with them being updated to g.fast capability at a later date.
Posted by _Mike_B_ 8 months ago
Haydon Wick is BT's newest exchange and was only built in 2007. Can someone explain why the speed is so slow? ADSL2 was already in widespread use at that point for instance.
Posted by Somerset 8 months ago
@MikeB - has ADSL2+, 16M next door to exchange.
Posted by Somerset 8 months ago
@AndyCZ - any links to details?
Posted by chilting 8 months ago
I understand that FTTC would provide faster speeds if ADSL was decommisioned.
The West Chiltington exchange is located 5km from the village in Storrington. This means that, as far as I know, nobody can actually get the new USC speed of 10Mbps on ADSL.
Why, then don't BT do one of their famous trials and switch everyone on the exchange to FTTC and then measure the results in the real world.
Posted by TheEulerID 8 months ago
@chilting

West Chiltington is an LLU enabled exchange, so it's not going to be in their power to move everybody to FTTC.

Personally I think there's a lot to be said for lines which go via some rural cabinets to be serviced from those cabinets with a suitably refined ANFP, but I am sure there are a lot of regulatory and technical issues to this. Perhaps something will come from the USO proposals.
Posted by AndyCZ 8 months ago
@ Somerset - It's on the internal Openreach portal. I'll drop the details to Andrew so he can cover it and see if he can get more details from his contacts.
Posted by chilting 8 months ago
@TheEulerID
As a point of interest, our longest lines are 5km from their cabinet by road. With the refined ANFP - do you think that they would get a service from their cabinet?
Posted by fastman 8 months ago
andy Z - really -- Probably not entirely related here, but Openreach are undertaking a 5 year programme to improve the performance of FTTC lines by installing 2,800 new cabinets closer to end user premises. In the trials, the average line went from 15Mbps to over 65Mbps. -- really ?
Posted by fastman 8 months ago
so which trials are these ?
Posted by TheEulerID 8 months ago
@chilting

I think it would still be poor at 5km. The modelling published to date indicates perhaps 4mbps max at that length. In terms of the proposed 10mbps USO the limit is more like 3.5km.

I don't think existing cabinet locations are going to work for situations like yours. That requires either new cabinets, FTTP or, perhaps, fixed wireless.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 8 months ago
Infill cabinets are hardly news or ground breaking, we see a few every week when updating the coverage data.
Posted by jumpmum 8 months ago
Mike B.

It is over a mile by the shortest road journey and as it is all a new estate the cable is likely to follow the way the estate was developed rather than the direct route ( which seems to include an unadopted bit of road on Google. This may be significantly longer, up to 2 miles the other way through the estate. The whole Exchange area was fields in 2006 and all roads are not straight!
Posted by chilting 8 months ago
@TheEulerID
Thank you.

Fixed wireless is hopefully on the way very soon from Blaze. Also Kijoma are slowly expanding their local network.

I think that we will end up with a commercial solution to our speed problems rather than a BDUK one. Although if WSSC extend their satellite voucher scheme to include Fixed Wireless that would give us a big boost.
Posted by WWWombat 8 months ago
@Euler
Original statements reckoned it would never be worth putting VDSL2 functionality in a G.Fast node, but that might have been the thinking when nodes were small.

DSP complexity for vectoring of 106MHz will be the limiting factor for large nodes.

I suspect it is possible that an existing Huawei DSLAM could be swapped for hardware that can cope with (say) 96 lines of G.Fast, or 288 lines of VDSL2, or a mix.
...
Posted by WWWombat 8 months ago
According to this story (that Huawei are working on a 96-port node), the Broadcom chipset will support VDSL2 too.
http://gfastnews.com/index.php/90-r/211-96-port-g-fast-q4-from-huawei
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 8 months ago
Don't know manufacturer but one node on test in Martlesham was shown (it was that test line that produced the frequency trace on blog.thinkbroadband.com) switching from VDSL2 to G.fast with same modem and node i.e. both supported both standards.
Posted by chrysalis 8 months ago
I have had a think about the urbal situation, and I really think thi sis due to political pressure, we have seen for the last 10 years or so, that rural people want everything urban people get on broadband, if BT rolled out FTTP to urban areas, its inevitable the media would be plastered with angry people going on about a digital divide. So this trashes the ROI on urban areas, as it can only be done if the ROI is also good for rural.
Posted by _Mike_B_ 8 months ago
@jumpmum

I think I located the exchange on Google Maps, its just at the entrance to the estate on the right when you come from the main road. But you have to drive right into the estate to get to it. Is that the place?

Amazing that it could be 1m from the nearest house. Pretty poor network planning then. Presumably there's some cabinets on the estate itself though?
Posted by chilting 8 months ago
@chrysalis
BDUK have made a big contribution alongside BT to bring FTTC to rural areas but this will be as good as it gets.

The next phase will be the commercial roll out of G.Fast which will greatly benefit urban areas and maybe the centres of rural towns and villages.

Most of us in rural areas will probably have to wait a long time and rely on tax payers money for any improvement to what we have now.
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