Broadband News

Openreach in technical trial to test micro-filters with FTTC service

In the early days of broadband, all installs were carried out by BT engineers visiting the premises to install and test the service. BT Wholesale then introduced 'self-installs' which allowed users to install their own broadband connection using a micro-filter and their own router, or one supplied by their ISP.

When (FTTC) services were launched by Openreach, they were again started on an engineer-install basis.

As part of a gradual move towards supporting a self-install FTTC product, Openreach is to run a microfilter technical trial. Currently a FTTC install involves the engineer fitting an interstitial plate to the master socket, that provides a filtered socket for the VDSL2 service (a NTE5 master socket is provided if one is not present). Engineers can run a data extension from this socket for up to 30 metres to allow the modem to be located in a more convenient location.

The microfilters in the trial will be the BT MF50 model, which has been been used for the ADSL and ADSL2+ services for many years. During the trial an engineer will still attend to deliver and test the Openreach VDSL2 modem. Assuming micro-filters provide a reasonable service, then specifications can be finalised and we may see trials of self-installs taking place in the not too distant future with broadband providers supplying their own integrated VDSL2 modem/router.

The trial is on a relatively small scale, looking at 300 triallists by 30th May located in the Glasgow and North West England regions. The limits will make it easier to assess what effect the use of filters has on both the triallists and other users connections in the area.

Due to its use of higher frequencies, VDSL2 is known to be more prone to radio frequency (RF) interference picked up by extension wiring in a property. Hence Openreach usually elect to filter at the entry point to a property. The trial will help to provide data on this outside the laboratory. With VDSL2, every metre of cable can have a dramatic effect, and with many households having extensions that do not use twisted pairs these effects can be even worse.


Why don't they make filtered faceplates available to those who would like to install them? I am curious to know whether a normal Adslnation filtered faceplate would be adequate for VDSL2

  • Michael_Chare
  • over 8 years ago

So long as the faceplate meets the SINET specification it should be suitable.

A few engineers have left them in place for FTTC installs, according to reports on forums.

The future may see the option of the Interstitial plate, but the tech trial is trying to see what the difference between a plate and microfilters in real homes.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • over 8 years ago

The issue is the amount of star-wired extension wiring in the properties which form natural RF Filters. I have seen this reduce an FTTC service to 8Mb and be very unreliable, only a200-300m from the (non-openreach) FTTC cab. A standard ADSL filtered master socket and dedicated pair run to the router resolves the issue perfectly with 36Mb+ download on a 40Mb connection

  • TechGuyUK
  • over 8 years ago

I love how we trial something costing thousands of pounds to appease the retards of the nation who cannot fit a fascia plate!

On another note, engineers still have to visit your FTTC cab and do the wiring before you could do your own self-install. Are we really saving a significant amount of time here, assuming that as has been explained the VDSL2 suffers terribly if introduced to bad internal wiring.

  • mabibby
  • over 8 years ago


It would be no different to an ADSL self install, the engineer does their stuff and then the customer does their bit at their convinience. No waiting around for an engineer who may not even show up.

And ADSL also suffers from bad interal wiring, Openreach is just moving onto the next logical step for FTTC.

  • undecidedadrian
  • over 8 years ago

customers internal wiring is a massive reason for people being unsatisfied with their current adsl service, internal wiring can easily knock 1meg+ from their sync speed, sometimes even more, on VDSL the results will be even worse. And some people still struggle to install microfilters propelry for adsl even now. Especially engineers istalling set top boxes for certain tv companies.

  • CaptainHulaHoop
  • over 8 years ago

If 60% of installs can be done with no home visit, then the potential cost saving and reduction in install fee could drive take-up even higher.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • over 8 years ago

@mabibby Not everyone has an NTE5 socket, and if you have one of the older style sockets you're not allowed to modify it yourself. So it's not always a simple case of just changing a faceplate.

  • EnglishRob
  • over 8 years ago

Bad idea I feel, opens the way to rubbish speeds due to rubbish home wiring.

A DIY faceplate / iPlate with a £30 engineer fit of NTE5 as an option ?

  • herdwick
  • over 8 years ago

Well if it opens the door for loads of easy broadband jobs with people complaining that someone is stealing their megabits then awesome!

  • Spectre_01
  • over 8 years ago

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