back to article Wheeee! BT preps for FIVE HUNDRED MEGABIT broadband trial

BT has announced that it wants to roll out G.fast and fibre to the home to provide internet speeds of up to 500Mbps and 1Gbps. G.fast is a technology that gets fibre closer to the home and leaves traditional copper twisted pair to the last leg, so that drives and gardens don’t have to be dug up, but uses interference …

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Meh

Great!

Now all we need is a service capable of sustaining 500 megabits to the entire BT client base to download from.....

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Re: Great!

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/01/12/android_p0rn_pornhub_stats_lisa_ann/

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Great!

And a reputable company to provide it

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If....

BT were to offer a Fibre connection to premises there the last bit is from a pole and overhead to the premises then an awful lot of propeties could be connected quickly and (relatively) cheaply. No need to dig up people's driveways.

But pig might fly because this is BT isn't it?

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Re: If....

Do you mean you think BT should run fibre optic cables up a telegraph post and then dangle one across to each property?

Do fibre optics take kindly to that sort of treatment?

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Re: If....

They do if you wrap them in a suitable cable armour, which likely wouldn't be much different to the armour used for conventional twisted pair.

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Re: If....

Yup. They cope just fine. I've got 30 year old runs of 5+ miles attesting to that.

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Re: If....

If BT were allowed to use the ducts on MY side of the road I wouldn't need FTTC then O/H on copper.

Fair do's - we've had one way LLU - how about it?

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Re: If....

It may happen, if BT can con UK Gov out of more money and reap the profits.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: If....

That would cover a fair few premises where poles exist, but my understanding is that poles aren't allowed for new cable routes in towns and cities. They're considered a hazard for people with poor vision and car accidents with them tend to be fatal. Residents also complain about them being unsightly. All new housing developments have to be fed from underground cables - electricity as well as telephone.

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From Japan Wednesday Apr 17 2013

While we all lust over 1 Gbps connections most of us can't get, Sony-run Japanese ISP So-net Entertainment this week pushed the residential needle to 2 Gbps in Japan. The speedy service is named "Nuro," and will cost 4,980 yen ($51) per month, providing Japanese customers with 2 Gbps downstream and 1 Gbps upstream. The service requires users sign a two-year contract and pay a 52,500 yen ($539) installation fee -- which the company says they're waiving if users order the service online. The Nuro service is being offered primarily to smaller apartment complexes in Chiba, Gunma, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Tokyo, Kanagawa and Saitama.

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Holy shokushu goukan, Batman!

2Gbs? That's one hell of a lot of tentacle-porn...

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Anonymous Coward

GPON?

This "2Gbps down/1Gbps up" claim sounds like GPON: 2.4Gbps downstream, 1.2Gbps upstream, but each link shared between a number of customers (could be as many as 64) via a passive splitter, and presented to the user on a regular ethernet port so you can't burst over 1Gbps.

The Gigler service in Bournemouth is something like this.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passive_optical_network

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Sounds lovely, but I live in an area whereby BT's Infinity service has been listed as being "under review" for approximately yonks now. It could be due to the availability of Virgin Media, but the lack of choice for broadband greater than the 2 megs otherwise available is rather frustrating (and as I'm with VM, expensive).

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Can't believe it took 5 posts...

... before the obligatory "500Mbps, I can't even get 2Mbps, rant rant, rave rave, evil BT etc etc" post. I would have bet on that being 2nd post at least.

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Coat

Re: Can't believe it took 5 posts...

Maybe they were slowed down by some sort of network bandwidth issue preventing them from hitting the second post?

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Re: Can't believe it took 5 posts...

It's all very well boosting existing 20mbps connections up to 500mpbs and upwards etc. but I just wish they would pay a little more attention to the people who can barely scrape 1mpbs or even less.

Like houses near schools and transport links, houses with access to decent fibre links are going to appreciate more than those without.

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Unhappy

I live in an area where the exchange was upgraded, the cabinet installed, and then has sat languishing for 18 months waiting for them to switch the damn thing on and finish the job. :-(

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Re: Can't believe it took 5 posts...

To all those that are moaning 'cant get barely 2mps..' this is the old twisted wire...

FTTP is Fibre To The Premises.. min speed depends on how fast the exchange can do!!

If you *have* to ask, if your super car cannot do more than 30mph, result is disbelief / laughter.. :)

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Re: Can't believe it took 5 posts...

If you're in an area with crap broadband, 9 times out of 10 it's because there are not enough of you willing to cough up the cash to make it worth anyone's while to install the right solution.

Exchange only line? Either FTTP or re-run cables so there is a cabinet you can get FTTC through. Bloody expensive per property in both cases and unlikely to be worth it for a few people paying £20 a month.

Too far from the exchange? Probably not enough of you to make it pay to install FTTC or run FTTP. Unless you each want to pay £100 a month for your broadband so the installer can get their money back.

Bloody miles from anywhere? You're on your own pal. Only option is to put the hard work in yourself and get together as a village to sort it out with one of the small suppliers. BT or others are not going to do it for you as it will be too expensive.

Government has thrown a bunch of cash to help sort it, but while you can give BDUK a kicking for the way that it has spent the money, its always going to be spent to get the best bang for the buck and it was NEVER going to be enough to get everyone more than a basic connection no matter how it was distributed and whichever companies were involved. You can think that the Government should spend more, but then you have to take the cash from elsewhere (nurses, doctors, police, teachers, roads etc etc).

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Re: Can't believe it took 5 posts...

It's the same then as here in the States. Piles of money get tossed about but unless you live in or near a major city.. pffffft...

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Re: Can't believe it took 5 posts...

@IHateWearingATie

I sort of agree with what you're saying about living in the sticks etc etc, but my parents live in a small village miles away from the exchange and have had fibre for around 3 years and recently it was upgraded to 50mbps and this is the same story for all the other small towns and villages round here. I live in one of the largest towns in the UK and the exchange here only got upgraded last year and so far they're aren't any signs of fibre being rolled out on mass.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Can't believe it took 5 posts...

Isn't the issue about how you do it profitably? The competition authorities are not very keen on companies with large market shares selling things below cost - it tends to make it difficult for competitors to have any chance of success.

If providing high speed access doesn't cost in, it's not only a bad business decision to roll it out anyway, for some companies it would also be illegal.

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FTTP

I idly looked into FTTP when moving into a new place. At the moment, when you pay for install (If it's available from your exchange), you're paying for the civil works to dig up the street and lay the fibre. Of course, once that's done, anyone downstream of you can use the same ducts at reduced rate :-/

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Re: FTTP

If ThinkBroadband are to be belived, then that's not entirely true. You pay a proportion of the costs, and everyone else that benefits from it pays the same proportion.

"The first person to order fibre on demand product for a cluster of properties will pay a proportion of the costs of installing the extra fibre run, fibre splitter and manifold. Subsequent orders on the same manifold will pay the same proportion, so being first to order should not unduly affect the cost, the difference is that subsequent people ordering will have a shorter lead time for the installation."

-- http://www.thinkbroadband.com/guide/fibre-broadband.html

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Wow... don't know how they can make announcements like this when they're still shafting people in the "country".

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Facepalm

You're right! The other 80% of the population should wait until you've caught up with them.

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Meh

Maybe they should wait until they've got the countryside up to 1% of their fastest speed? 1Mbps would be an upgrade for the village I grew up in, 5 would be a revelation.

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You're right! The other 80% of the population should wait until you've caught up with them.

BT's (Openreach's) excuse most of the time is it takes to much resource. Yet they have the resource to start a second rollout before they have even finished the old tech. Sounds like excuses to me and shafting the people that have no choice, it's up to BT if we catch up not us.

We were starting a fibre rollout because BT were ignoring us. Guess what BT did? Yup, they said they were going to install fibre when they found out.This has the effect of killing any private setup dead because the prices would be higher for us to do it and competing against BT would be daft for a small village. This was 3 years ago and they said last year it is not viable. Basically all they wanted was to scupper our plans.

So before you get on your high horse again, yes others should be made to wait. Finish something properly don't half do a job. Or a much better idea, break BT up so that there are more companies that have to compete for business.

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Anonymous Coward

"So before you get on your high horse again, yes others should be made to wait. Finish something properly don't half do a job. Or a much better idea, break BT up so that there are more companies that have to compete for business."

If the gas and sewer people haven't managed to find a way to profitably serve rural properties in a hundred years or more, what makes you think telecoms is any different?

I don't know how breaking BT up would help - there are lots of companies selling telecom services in the UK and the existence of BT doesn't prevent those other companies from doing anything. Anyone can set up a telco. Anyone can build a last mile network. Why not ask Colt or Virgin to deliver broadband to your village? It's almost certain that you'll find they'd be happy to do it but not at a price that you'd be willing to pay, and that's the central problem. What company is going to sell you a service that costs them £10K to deliver but that you're only prepared to pay £30 a month for? Most investors want a payback over a smaller period than 30 years.

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Really? You're going with gas and sewerage. Totally different playing fields.

Telecoms, string a cable and stick in a few cabinets. Gas, very dangerous, needs pumping etc. Sewerage, again massive pumping and cleaning etc. Both of your two comparisons have huge ongoing costs.

BT has a lot of the infrastructure already there they just have not kept up and did not maintain. That is why it costs them so much now. Other players are out for that reason as well, BT already has the infrastructure so for another company to compete it has to put in massive investment.

Lot's of people offering the services yes, not the infrastructure. And what do yo mean not at price we're willing to pay? Did you miss the part where we were doing our own fibre until BT used their might? In our village we are willing to pay but each time BT comes in promising lower prices, if we did install you can guarantee those promises would be fulfilled and we would have paid out for no reason. Give us the guarantee that if we install then BT are not allowed and it would be there in a heartbeat with this "high cost".

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Rollout timetable

TEN YEARS to roll it out nationwide? They're taking the piss, aren't they? Or will there be a sudden magical improvement in the timetable to three years if the government bung them a few billion quid?

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Re: Rollout timetable

No - you'll find they'll slip behind schedule and the government will stump up some money and it will slip some more and they'll keep slipping until that stops working. Then they will install some fibre an charge you through the nose for it.

I'd like some evil barrage balloons please.

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Ha ha ha ha ha

500Mbps broadband in Britain?

ha ha ha ha ha ha OMG II've wet myself...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ha ha ha ha ha

You are nearly correct. The correct laugh should be:

Ha ha ha ha ha

500Mbps broadband OVER G.FAST?

ha ha ha ha ha ha OMG II've wet myself...

Let's look into the HaHaHa. Over the average distance from FTTC cabinets to a household you should open the Champagne if you hit 200 (I doubt even that). Yes, G.FAST can do in theory over a single line in laboratory conditions 500MB/s for 100 meters. Now make that line wet and stick it into a bundle with 30 other lines to get some good crosstalk. If you get 200 that would be an achievement.

So the only place where this can work is in over-the-air deployments from a DP. The question is - where is the magical G.FAST DP DSLAM? Where is its power supply? Where is its planning permission? Yep. Not anywhere to be seen.

This is besides the fact that doing G.FAST instead of FTTP in a DP environment makes sense only for one of the all interested parties - the Union. That would keep them employed fixing it for the next decade. It does not make sense financially, technically, etc.

In addition to that GPON speed for the whole bundle is 2.4G down, 1.2G up. Period. If you have multiple stations capable of hitting the 2.4G you are looking at having to manage congestion and QoS in the access loop. Openreach and QoS management in a shared SP regulated wholesale environemnt. Why am I looking at the calendar and wondering if April has come early this year...

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Re: Ha ha ha ha ha

You ought to do a bit more reading. For the most part, g.fast nodes will be installed much closer to the property. Typically in a DP (atop a pole, or down a hole). Power will be line-fed. Two possibilities, forward fed from a cabinet or other power point or using reverse power. That is using power from the terminating device in the customers premises.

Of course, with only 48V available, distance is an issue with typical 0.5mm diameter copper. To some extent this is dealt with by circuits which extract power from a number of lines and produce a combined output. You might expect a typical g.fast node to support possibly a dozen lines or so. Of course this means running fibre deeper into the D side of the network, which is expensive, but nothing like as much as running new fibre to every property, digging up gardens, replacing master sockets, installing an ONT etc. Another point about running fibre deep into the D side network is that it allows for a GPON node to be installed (which is just a beam splitter). That allows for the potential of a much cheaper form of FTTP on demand, as the customer would only have to pay for the work to run fibre for a shorter distance than from a current fibre concentrator. It might even be possible that combine g.fast/gpon nodes could be designed which are serviced by just one fibre.

A further point to note, it is not just the money required to run fibre to every property that would be the issue, but the resource and timescale. There are only a limited number of people in the country trained to do this work, and it's ridiculously expensive to try and increase workforces several times over for just a few years. So a technology that can be rolled out faster is to be preferred.

A lot has to be proved, but these are all stepping stones. It would get fibre deeper into the network and will benefit from all the work that has got fibre to the VDSL cabinets as the E-side network has already been extensively upgraded.

As to distances to DPs, these are typically in the 10s of metres, not the hundreds, or even thousands of metres (like cabinets).

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They will do anything to hang onto those phone lines instead of running fiber.

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@Asher

Don't understand. If I get 100s of Mbps without having to dig up my garden and drill a hole through my wall why would I not want to use copper wire to the pole?

If you just want glass for glass's sake, buy a window.

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That's because they can charge 100% or more of the equipment costs upfront, whereas fibre build outs would require them to eat infrastructure costs.

As long as fibre remains "special case" they can charge premiums for installation and supply.

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You'll only get "hundreds of Mb" if the total run is less than 100 metres, more likely 70 when crosstalk is factored in.

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Anonymous Coward

For a given set of values of They

Where They == Communications Workers Union. Copper == Work. Fiber ~ 75% field force redundancies

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Re: For a given set of values of They

Most Openreach people these days are barely trained monkeys operating as independent contractors with no union protection.

CWU coverage amongst fulltime workers isn't wonderful and they tend to complain that their hands are tied by manglement anyway. It's got precious little to do with "redundancies" and lots to do with putting off _any_ copper replacement as long as possible (the less you spend on maintenance, the more you make in asset-stripped profit)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: For a given set of values of They

"Communications Workers Union"

I think you vastly overestimate the power of the unions. And ignore the economics of a fibre roll out.

Leaving aside business premises, there are 25M dwellings in the UK. Running a fibre costs, give or take, £2000. I'll do the sum for you - £50Bn. Bear in mind that maybe half of those premises don't want superduper extra fast broadband, they take the cheapest available even when FTTC or Virgin are available. A fifth don't want fixed broadband at any cost.

It would be a tough meeting with the bank manager and the investors when you ask them for £50Bn in return for what? "Well, you might get some of it back in a decade or so, depends what the regulator does between now and then, who knows? Our plan is to roll it out to every property, even the people who don't want it or who take service from a competitor, at £2k a pop. Neat eh?"

FTTP and FTTC and g.FAST and the like can be rolled out to match economics and demand. A national rollout of fibre would simply bankrupt anyone who tried it. And if that wasn't the truth - if going for broke on fibre is such a great idea - why isn't anyone else doing it? Virgin must have similar economies of scale to BT - surely they'd be leaping at the chance? No-one's stopping them.

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Anonymous Coward

Great, but what about the significant numbers who don't even get 25 Mbps?

Perhaps they're going to upgrade these areas first? Oh, they're not.

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Anonymous Coward

Step in the right direction

It's a step in the right direction, but would like to see a guaranteed Gb connection as standard. How else will a typical family watch several 4K feeds, or a small business?

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Re: Step in the right direction

4K requires about 15mbps I believe. I get ~70mbps on my FTTC connection. Not sure why you think you need gigabit fibre in order to watch "several" 4K feeds, unless you have a very large family.

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I seem to have used up my data allowance for the month

What am I going to do for the remaining 30 days, 23 hours and 57 minutes?

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What happens...

...to those people on a data allowance (like me). I have 30GB peak allowance that I don't even get near each month (average about 14GB). At those speeds (as if), you could yomp that up in a few hours.

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Facepalm

Re: What happens...

"I have 30GB peak allowance that I don't even get near each month (average about 14GB). At those speeds (as if), you could yomp that up in a few hours."

What massive amounts of data are you suddenly going to start downloading if you don't use half of your allowance now? Or are you saying your connection is so piss poor you can only manage to download 14GB in a month?

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Coat

Existing customers...

Be nice if I could get anywhere close to the 100Mbps on my FTTP link (and yes I do mean premises - installed as part of a trial about 3 years back), or any kind of consistency of bitrate - speed tests tend to show in the 40-50Mbps range, but file downloads from varied sources tend to show ~ 15 Mbps, and frequently hang mid-download, and streaming video regularly goes into buffering. It's quite frustrating when the same thing pulls down faster / more smoothly over 3G or H+ connections. Frankly though, it's all still better than the maybe 1Mbps we had over ADSL before the fibre arrived.

Mine's the one with the list of 'first world problems' in the pocket!

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