Broadband News

Openreach sets out to run two trials for all IP services

A converged all IP future is the vision for Openreach and the network operator is proposing to run two trials that will help them learn what does and does not work when moving away from analogue voice of today to its new digital IP voice service delivered over a broadband connection into the home.

The two locations that are likely to take part in the trial are Salisbury and Mildenhall, Salisbury is a Fibre First exchange and is set to see some 20,000 premises with FTTP available once the roll-out is complete on the exchange and Mildenhall is a mixture of technologies so will be a good test of SOGEA and SOGfast connectivity. Salisbury is set to be unusual in that universal FTTP access is claimed as the end result.

A consultation period is now open until the end of July for communication providers and a launch is expected in October 2019. 

Everyone has their doubts about how voice over broadband will work and perhaps the hardest area will be residential premises where the person does not have any broadband service today and sees no need for any changes. Running a trial such as this should give Openreach some hard data on how difficult things are, or fingers crossed how easy.

While it is possible to view this as Openreach continuing their dominate position there is a positive take away in that once the public is accustomed to voice services being delivered over their broadband connection that getting people to migrate to competing infrastructure platforms may prove easier. 

Comments

According to ISPr, Openreach will also be running a trial of symmetric speeds on their 1 Gig & half Gig FTTP services. This will be on their new XGS-PON platform. If - and its a big if - this becomes available nationwide then Openreach will finally have caught up with altnets wrt FTTP symmetric speeds. Though I imagine you'd have to wait for quite a while (years!) before you see sensible prices on the 1000/1000 & 500/500 Mbps services.

  • baby_frogmella
  • 3 months ago

Most people that only have a landline and no broadband would be better off financially getting rid of the landline, getting an unlimited minutes SIM (£6 a month from Vodafone on a 12 month contract at the moment) and desktop 3G/4G phone for under £40 (there are even big button versions targeted at the elderly). It would pay for itself in less than a year.

  • jabuzzard
  • 3 months ago

@baby Given the poor backhaul in many cases the real world numbers from many altnets is actually no more and often less than BT at peak times.

  • Croft12
  • 3 months ago

How do they plan to handle the people who have the Community Alarm systems that connect to the landline? Those units are Council-provided so would have to be changed to all new equipment I assume?

  • DanielCoffey
  • 3 months ago

A "landline" can still be provided using an ATA (analogue telephone adaptor) type of VoIP hardware, these used to be quite popular before DECT phones with built in VoIP hardware. The ATA has a normal phone socket you can plug an analogue phone/fax or other equipment into and it works like a landline.

BT Openreach are also installing NTE faceplates when FTTP is installed, so that a customer can disconnect the copper incoming phone line, and then plug an ATA into their existing telephone wiring, and all phones operate as normal but just over VoIP.

  • philipd
  • 3 months ago

A big stumbling-block in rural areas is the lack of emergency resilience of VoIP. Like mobile services, it will go down immediately in a power-cut, meaning no means of communication at times of emergency (lines down, transformer fires, etc. etc.). Copper services still give that crucial support during power outages.

Then again, given the general pace of roll-out in rural areas of the UK, this need not be an immediate concern to anyone served by Openreach in the next two or three decades.....

  • p6resthome
  • 3 months ago

Right. Not like there still aren't a higher proportion of the most rural properties with Openreach FTTP than urban ones, or urban properties have power cuts too.

  • CarlThomas
  • 3 months ago

@p6resthome

Teleco plant usually has battery backup (cabinets), or generators (exchanges). No reason to assume any new plant required to support these new services won't have the same resilience designed in. BT/OR would be vilified if basic voice services stopped working during a power cut (where any cables weren't damaged themselves).

Having said that, many POTS users already probably have an issue in their homes that will rear its head during a power cut: DECT phones which require power to work. The majority of people wont have a spare analog phone in a cupboard for such an eventuality.

  • flilot
  • 3 months ago

Our DECT phone did point out the need to keep an older analog phone for emergencies. Thanks for the reassurance on the Community Alarm solution via adapter, philipd. That is reassuring.

  • DanielCoffey
  • 3 months ago

Fttp requires substantially less power (no 'cabinets' in most cases). But as mentioned above the situation wrt power cuts is not really changing as few people don't have DECT phones now. Both with dect and voip a battery backup is needed. So if you care about it you can do something about it already.

  • Croft12
  • 3 months ago

I did see some DECT phones (Panasonic?) whereby the base station would still work in a powercut provided the handset was placed on it, as the handset batteries then powered the base station, and you just used one of the additional handsets to make calls as normal. Thought that was a brilliant solution. I also had DECT phones that came with an inline backup powerpack you filled with AA batteries. Of course VoIP requires backup power for the ONT, router and VoIP ATA or phone, so you need a UPS and everything physically together to plug into it, many people will not bother with that.

  • philipd
  • 3 months ago

@Philipd

As you say the dect having its own battery backup or practising the handset is a good idea. Most OR ONTs have battery backup but you do need to deal with the rest - UPS is cheap as a solution

  • Croft12
  • 3 months ago

Stupid autocorrect! Parasitizing not practising

  • Croft12
  • 3 months ago

Commenting as a disabled person, I have DECT phones and use a VOIP service for my main landline. Mainly to stop dodgy calls on the real landline (it works!).

Knowing the potential issue of a power cut killing the service I have the router, ATA and DECT base unit on a UPS, along with my desktop PC. I also have an old corded phone, just in case I need to revert to the real landline - but unplugged.

I also keep a backup mobile phone charged and on PAYG with a different operator top my main mobile.

Anyone in a housebound scenario should plan for things like power cuts.

  • tmcr
  • 3 months ago

Post a comment

Login Register