Broadband News

VDSL2 pilot for fibre to the basement in City of London

The deployment of fibre to the remote node has been talked of before by Openreach, but the announcement of the actual locations means the trial is moving on from being just talk.

"All businesses are keener than ever to be well-connected and this ‘Fibre-to-Basement’ pilot is a welcome step forwards, especially for smaller SMEs, who are critical to London’s commercial dynamism. We hope the trials will lead to further expansion of fibre broadband across the Square Mile for residents and SMEs, complementing the Ethernet infrastructure already available to larger firms."

Graham Bell, Chief Information Officer of the City of London Corporation

The locations where a VDSL2 node will be installed are for 225 homes on the Middlesex Street Estate and some 50 SMEs based in 65 London Wall in the City of London. The use of VDSL2 means maximum download speeds per copper pair will be up to 76 Mbps.

While the BT press release uses the term fibre to the basement, the more common use of FTTB is for a fibre delivered to a basement and Ethernet used to then distribute the service around a building. The use of a VDSL2 node will avoid the need to install extra wiring and assuming that a building is not too big should also mean that an upgrade to a node could offer G.FAST speeds in the future.

The City of London is unusual in that the number of businesses is higher than the number of residential households and while Ethernet and other fibre based services have been available for a long time the price of these services is generally not something the average SME wants to pay.

The coverage of superfast services at affordable prices is generally concentrated in the suburban boroughs currently, so while areas like Kingston on Thames and Fulham have class leading coverage of fibre based services, the City of London is at the bottom of the pile and Southwark is actually behind rural areas like Cornwall. The deployment FTTrN should hopefully offer a cost effective way to bring faster broadband to inner city areas and if done right by deploying in the basement of buildings will ensure short distances and thus high connection speeds.


G.Fast makes much more sense in this sort of use, but I guess it's a bit early for equipment to be made available as the standard has only just been ratified.
However, once fibre is run to the building, many options become possible.

  • TheEulerID
  • over 6 years ago

Its a DSLAM mounted in a rack rather than a street cabinet, and placed inside a building

  • ribble
  • over 6 years ago

Interesting in the context of my rant elsewhere. It might be of use if you lived in a block of flats, but not much use at all if the building is a house or small development, where BT would, no doubt, suggest it wasn't viable. Of course, it also relies on the building owner co-operating. CoL might be inclined to do so. Experience tells me that LB Southwark will say no.

  • Desmond
  • over 6 years ago

It is about time that BT had some sort of solution ready for FTTB, no matter the kind of signal used over the remaining copper.

They've already got an FTTP splitter node that is suitable for basement deployment, or comms room.

The key here, just like the FTTRN trials, will be power.

  • WWWombat
  • over 6 years ago

@Desmond, Southwark would find themselves in a very unpopular situation if they said No.

  • godsell4
  • over 6 years ago

Pushing an active element this deep in the network does not look efficient.
Those connection vouchers should be used for the cabling rather than this object.

  • ValueforMoney
  • over 6 years ago


Fibre-to-the-building is used all over the world and is often how gigabit access is provided to apartment blocks using ethernet cabling. Those systems used active electronics, so there's no difference in principle.

In any event, fttp is terminated by active devices, and it's generally the case that those are owned by the network operator (as it is for OR's FTTP service). It's a bit difficult to think of any active components "deeper in the network" than an ONT device.

  • TheEulerID
  • over 6 years ago

VFM who said vouchers had been used -- You cannot aggregate vouchers to enable cabinets and they are for or puchasing a service only -- enablement of cabinets is infrastructure and would be subject to state aid

  • fastman
  • over 6 years ago

@The EulerID - re-arranging copper is not using ethernet cabling.

Principle maybe not, but in practice there is a big difference in a service where customer can cease legacy services using the new improved service.

Fastman - 30 tenants can apply for vouchers and buy as one, that's already happening.

Nothing wrong with VDSL cab in basement but BT is already delivering more elsewhere. This seems a step backwards.

  • ValueforMoney
  • over 6 years ago

@The EulerID & Fastman - BT has made a big fuss on VDSL operational costs, so why engineer it here where such costs could be avoided?

  • ValueforMoney
  • over 6 years ago

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