Openreach self installs for fibre broadband inch closer
One of the problems with the Openreach FTTC superfast broadband capable service to date has been the need for an engineer to visit your home, which if you are ultra keen to experience the faster speeds will be no problem but for the massed market the need to take a day off work to sit around and wait for an engineer can be a big stumbling block, even if you ignore the cost aspect.
To make it easier for Openreach to cope with the increasing volume of FTTC orders and in response to requests from providers, self-install trials have been underway for a while, but the first sightings of users on our forums are surfacing, with a Sky customer being told they'll be sent an all-in-one integrated Sky device (a new model with built-in VDSL2 modem).
While this may look like Sky are ahead of the rest of the pack, Openreach have confirmed that Sky has not been selected for special treatment, but rather is just the first provider to move beyond staff guinea pigs. BT Retail and EE are known to have their own integrated solution (VDSL modem and router in same box) on the way.
While a self-install will probably be cheaper and less hassle, there is the risk that as VDSL2 is more prone to noise interference due to wiring that we may see a surge of people complaining of slow speeds. To this end we hope that the providers are paying heed to the speeds and stability the trial users experience. We would also add that while micro-filters are the simplest solution for many, our recommendation to anyone looking at a self-install would be to install a VDSL Interstitial faceplate, so that the VDSL modem/router are located at the master socket, or running on a dedicated data extension if the master socket location is not suitable. In theory those with reasonable quality ADSL faceplates should need to make no changes, and some engineers have left existing faceplates in place previously.
If the self install process creates a similar rise in sales and installs like the original ADSL move from engineer installs to self install a decade ago, we might see FTTC take-up breaking the 20% barrier in lots more places and then the trials for vectoring to boost FTTC speeds further can get underway.
"Openreach is currently conducting an industry pilot of its “wires only” self install FTTC service, where participating CPs have the option of supplying their own integrated modem or router. Several CPs are participating in the pilot which will run for approximately two more months.
One of the objectives of the pilot is to understand the impact of micro filter based solutions on broadband speeds within the home. So far the results are positive, and this and other factors will continue to be monitored for the remainder of the pilot.
Openreach is working closely with the participating CPs to ensure a good customer experience is maintained throughout the pilot. The results of the pilot will closely inform Openreach’s plans around the launch of any final product.Openreach statement of self install trials
Update 12:45pm We have added a statement from Openreach, and would also like to emphasis that the option of requesting an engineer visit will remain, though obviously what the cost implication will be and the cost savings from a self install will be are still big unknowns.