Broadband News

Full steam ahead with Openreach small village FTTP trials

Three months ago Openreach announced a trial with an initial batch of 13 villages that with later additions should see some 50,000 premises gaining access to FTTP. In November 2019 we were seeing the start and road works activity at almost all the exchanges but we can now report that all thirteen of the initial villages have live FTTP.

Exchange area and level of Openreach FTTP coverage, some exchanges such as Seal have FTTP available in some areas from other providers but this is not counted in the figures shown today. In descending order:

  • Flockton 69.16%
  • Kentford 56.44%
  • Parbold 50.95%
  • Tarporley 47.05%
  • Mickle Trafford 42.3%
  • Okehampton 35.57%
  • Hesketh Bank 24.07%
  • Lundin Links 21.9%
  • Lingfield 15.25%
  • West Calder 15.15%
  • Cranfield 15.12%
  • Seal 10.19%
  • Ottery St Mary 2.65%

New build properties that are fibre only will not show in these figures since they are tagged as only connected to the handover exchange. There will also be more manifolds visible where people cannot order yet, these will not appear in our availability data, the installation of the manifolds in a pavement chamber or on a pole is just one of several steps before the ports are released to the wholesale providers.

Looking at the wider Openreach picture for the 5,500 exchanges spread around the UK, 16 have Openreach FTTP availability above 90%, 51 exchanges are above 75%, 165 exchanges are above 50% and 447 exchanges are above 25% availability.

The majority of the FTTP in the small exchanges is on our broadband map with the next update due later today adding the rest. The postcodes are added to our package search on the day we find them.

The trials are not about seeing if FTTP is a viable technology but about testing out new working practices and also getting more teams of Openreach staff trained to install the fibres, splitters and manifolds, so that the push to add 2 million more premises to the UK wide footprint in the 15 months will happen.

Comments

Andrew: .. to add 2 MILLION more premises ...

  • MCM999
  • 26 days ago

Brain skipped a word - added it now

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 26 days ago

I don't see any Openreach FTTP for the Seal exchange. Much of the area to the south of Seal has Gigaclear FTTP.

  • Michael_Chare
  • 26 days ago

FTTP in Seal should be available to order in the next few weeks

  • ribble
  • 26 days ago

Thanks ribble. Some dots for Openreach FTTP have now appeared north of the A25. The do not overlap the Gigaclear FTTP which is south of the A25.

  • Michael_Chare
  • 25 days ago

I believe there is some around Noahs ark /Kemsing

  • ribble
  • 25 days ago

All part of the superfarce. </sarcasm>

Good stuff. Some villages are very amenable to FTTP once you get the spine in place.

  • CarlThomas
  • 25 days ago

@CarlThomas Why the sarcasm about superfarce? surely it should be ultrafarce

  • dect
  • 25 days ago

Good to see more small villages soon able to order FTTP via Openreach infrastructure.

  • dect
  • 25 days ago

More premises with FTTP option in Seal added to the checker just now.

Will appear on map in next day or two.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 25 days ago

Sorry dect.

  • CarlThomas
  • 25 days ago

Nothing showing on your maps for Lundin Links, unless Lower Largo is included - your maps already had some Openreach native FTTP for Lower Largo.

  • andrum992
  • 25 days ago

https://labs.thinkbroadband.com/local/broadband-map#15/56.2099/-2.9365/geafttp/

The FTTP built over a FTTC area in Lower Largo is included in the percentages.

Lundin Links refers to the exchange area

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 25 days ago

Flockton - Whilst the highest rollout - They've missed our area - Looking at the FTTP broadband map it seems that they have concentrated on the centre of Flockton along Barnsley Road - A637 - Our house is at the top end Wakefield Road - A642.

Any ideas if they plan to try and push for further coverage in Flockton ?

  • Andy_K
  • 25 days ago

The expectation is that generally the builds will be very close to full coverage on each exchange, wayleave issues for flats aside.

Certainly a long way from the builds being complete yet

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 24 days ago

Thanks - That's really helpful - Will just have to keep my eye out for the guys working along Wakefield Road.

We're not in a flat, but our landline(s) take a long route across a field between the A637 and the A642 - Our main line has been a problematic line for years that always gets disconnected in bad weather and we're just above the 10Mbs, so this trial is a really good hope for us.

Much appreciated

  • Andy_K
  • 24 days ago

Good news if you're one of them I'm not going to e negative about that, But really is there a genuine need ?

Trenching.. they know the time and cost, small village or suburban street is there much difference.

Equipment etc same stuff, village or city does that change really.

The biggest difference will be density usually diminishing rapidly from the village centre but the cost/time is already known surely. They're crowing about over 2 million properties passed with fttp but cant work out how much or how long it will take to fibre up a village ? Whatever.

  • Swac3
  • 24 days ago

"The FTTP built over a FTTC area in Lower Largo is included in the percentages.

Lundin Links refers to the exchange area"

Thanks - your maps have been showing the OR FTTP in Lower Largo for at least a few weeks, which is good. Nice to see something being developed to cater for smaller settlements.

  • andrum992
  • 24 days ago

swac - but cant work out how much or how long it will take to fibre up a village ? Whatever.

you clearly have no idea how complicated it to build a village which is specific premises in a defined area (rather than bulk), some will be Overhead and long drops from the poles, some will be underground and blockages and , bespoke access to premises , some of it will be direct in ground , means you ether have to fund a new route in put of poles - !!!!! none of the above is easy, most of it is fraught with challenges of which some communities are helpful as you overcome them and some are not.

  • fastman
  • 23 days ago

Fastman, No idea is pushing it a bit, No experience or involvement sure, you're right.
Maybe you could explain How a village Actually differs from a urban estate ? Streets with houses and shops in them.

Any existing area that's not new build has some or all of what you cite as reasons its different, OR have already done many times. Theyre quite proud of their bespoke community projects that have involved all of your issues possibly aside from the subject of obstruction from communities.

Overhead, blocked ducts new poles or street furniture thats not anymore challenging in rural than urban.

  • Swac3
  • 23 days ago

Swac3 - it’s more about using Huawei DSLAM’s as sub-tended headends to save having to put in very expensive new spines. Use of new civils avoidance techniques most of which have been reported on Thinkbroadband previously but even new ones that can’t be used in urban areas.

  • Unknown101
  • 23 days ago

Hi Unknown101,
Aye I just trawled the OR press releases for the background. GPR and microducting, aren't some new 'rural' solution and that's some of why the PR for this kind of thing irritates me. They're not solving some 'rural' issue.

Calling these places trials I would assume does allow OR to sidestep the issues with commercial viability and allow budget flexibility.

  • Swac3
  • 22 days ago

Trials does not always mean a brand new technology that may or may not work, in this case the technology is known to work, this is about seeing how it works in the wild and building an accurate set of costings to see how viable other villages of similar sizes will be across the UK.

There is also the take-up factor, will this be different in these villages and will one type of village demographic see faster take-up than others.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 22 days ago

@Swac3 - Not new tech (civils avoidance) just new to being used by OR for rural build. Subtended headend utilising Huawei DSLAM is new tech to avoid costly new spines. Doing rural at scale (BDUK wasn’t really scale) is a trial for OR, like a city build but in a rural area. Don’t see many other commercial providers doing a scale rural build.

  • Unknown101
  • 22 days ago

swac

Fastman, No idea is pushing it a bit, No experience or involvement sure, you're right.
Maybe you could explain How a village Actually differs from a urban estate ? Streets with houses and shops in them.

the issue is if they are urban and direct in ground the bits that are hard and complicated wont get dome get done (the big number 2M will be premises premises that can be done easily and leaves out premises that are hard or complicated or expensive to do - In a village in an exchange deployment they need to get done or if that is the case none of the village will get done

  • fastman
  • 22 days ago

These places are nearer to being small towns than small villages. In fact I think Okehampton has a town rather than a parish council. So an interesting exercise for large villages and small towns with their own exchanges but the lessons learned from the trial are unlikely to be transferrable to most villages.

  • gerarda
  • 22 days ago

Cheerful as ever, Gerarda.

Presence of exchanges irrelevant. Trials focused around getting fibre into areas for distribution alongside using existing street furniture relevant and transferable.

Very useful also in understanding how much may be saved using these techniques and, hence, how many more premises may be brought into range of commercial deployment.

Not a miracle worker for the most remote areas. Lowering the cost of reaching a hamlet from £10k a premises to £5k still means subsidy required but less of it so projects may be more optimistic and easier to forecast.

  • CarlThomas
  • 22 days ago

I guess another thing worth remembering about the more remote areas is that Openreach have experience with the bits that aren't transferable, more sparse premises, etc, already from BDUK.

If these trials mean Openreach can save £100k reaching 30 premises that's over £3k per premises.

These are if anything more relevant to smaller villages as fewer premises to spread spine fibre cost between and bigger savings versus older deployment techniques.

  • CarlThomas
  • 22 days ago

I'm totally in favour of cheaper methods, And i can see the need to prove the theory/calculations in a physical trial deployment. Thats all fine.
Please humour me i'm not an expert, whats the capacity of the fibre links that run out to current FTTC cabs in rural areas ?

If we then install new splitters in these cabs/nodes what does that give us capacity wise for connections from that cab/node ? how many fttp connections can the fibre link support, at what point will we need more capacity than was originally provisioned when the deployment was intended at provide an 80meg fttc solution

  • Swac3
  • 22 days ago

You need more capacity than FTTC requires immediately.

Fortunately it's fibre been cabinet and headend so moving from the gigabit links that are used for FTTC to 10 gigabit is easy enough.

The kit in the cabinets need upgrade to allow Openreach to use them for FTTP alongside FTTC.

It shouldn't be an issue.

  • CarlThomas
  • 22 days ago

@Swac3 - Two spine fibres can provide in excess of 1k connections. Spines fibres put in to feed the DSLAM agg node vary but easy enough to add more fibre in if required (no need for additional subduct). I would suspect this wouldn’t be required just jointing of existing fibres back to HE. One fibre on a subtended headend can feed 500+ CBT ports.

  • Unknown101
  • 22 days ago

AH ok right, was wondering after some previous comment regarding the cost saving of not running new 'spine' fibres ,how much of a big deal these new headends were vs If they were realistically going to need new fibre running back to actually support the potential FTTP connections they are providing.

  • Swac3
  • 21 days ago

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