back to article 'Fibre broadband' should mean glass wires poking into your router, reckons Brit survey

Most Brits think ads for “fibre” broadband ought to mean “fibre to the premises” and not “fibre to the cabinet”, according to a survey sponsored by a FTTP company. Two-thirds of 3,400 Britons surveyed by a company called Censuswide, on behalf of Cityfibre, said they think the word “fibre” in ads for broadband connections …

Page:

  1. Gerhard Mack

    Same in Canada

    Here we have "Bell Fibe" which usually means fiber to somewhere and could mean 25 mbps max.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Same in Canada

      >Here we have "Bell Fibre" which usually means fiber to somewhere and could mean 25 mbps max.

      Here in the UK we have "Bell Wire", it's what BT string to your house from the fibre cabinet. Fibre should mean fibre to the door as it's more resilient and fit for purpose than crappy old rotten bell wires which are prone to all sorts of faults and interference.

      1. CommanderGalaxian
        Unhappy

        Re: Same in Canada

        The whole "last few hundred yards" statement that BT Openreach & the ISPs trot out is also misleading. The nearest cabinet here is about 0.7 to 0.8 miles away. 1200 yards is not "the last few hundred".

      2. SImon Hobson Silver badge

        Re: Same in Canada

        Here in the UK we have "Bell Wire", it's what BT string to your house from the fibre cabinet

        Not on any new connection in the last decade or two we haven't. The old grey twin coper-covered-steel cable hasn't been used for new installs for quite a few years now, current installs will use a round black cable containing (typically) two off twisted pairs and three off glass fibre tensile strength members.

        I still agree with the result of the survey though - it's a complete flipping lie that the ISPs deliberately use to confuse the technically ill-educated masses.

    2. Alistair Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Same in Canada

      @Gerhard:

      the CRTC had to take bell.ca to court to get the "r" removed from that word in their ads. I still had twats from bell showing up on the street insisting that if I switched from my current DSL provider to Bell I would get "fiber" service. I keep pointing out that it is in no way fibre when I have UTP cable coming in the house. (and at the time the local "cabinet" wasn't even on a fibre pipe).

      They get even more pissed off when I point out frequency capability of UTP vs cable.

    3. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Same in Canada

      "...glass wires poking into your router..."

      My Bell Fibe (formerly known as Aliant FibreOP in Nova Scotia and elsewhere) ISP connection has the glass fiber poking into the house, then into the wee feisty Optical Network Terminal (ONT), which is mounted to the basement panel, about 30 cm from the first of several routers and switches. The first link between the ONT and Router are connected with Gb Ethernet, which "...should be enough for anyone."

      We presently subscribe to 300 Mbps service. Gb is available upon request, but they charge more per month.

      Because we have telephone poles (as opposed to cabinets on the ground) in our semi-rural suburban sprawl neighbourhood, the circa-2014 installation of the last 150m segment from the pole to the basement required them less than two hours. We blinked and missed it, found the cable dangling beside the house. Inside work, another two hours. Even stringing up 'the last mile' to service a dozen houses required them only about a day. Not really a big deal, given telephone poles. Advantage suburban sprawl.

      The reason that the telephone company decided to actually do this, was that they can now offer television service (as well as telephone and Internet), the Triple Play money spinner. The television service requires a dedicated ~25 Mbps connection, set aside from the Internet 'bandwidth'.

      YMMV.

      1. ratfox Silver badge

        Re: Same in Canada

        They advertise fiber, but actually that's a fib.

      2. aqk
        Big Brother

        Re: Same in Canada- plus ça change, eh?

        "semi-rural"?

        I live in a RURAL area, less than 60 miles from Montreal. Around 2000-2001, all kinds of fibre was strung on the poles in our neighbourhood. The 21st CENTURY WAS HERE! But then Northern Telecomm went belly-up, John Roth took his big gazillion-dollar retirement package, and all this fibre has now remained dark for the lastt 18 years and counting...

        It mostly ends in refrigerator-sized CO boxes (one is about 1.5 KM from me) and the last 200 M of buried copper is fit only for voice telephones.

        What a shame.

        I'd love to show you my http://fibe.tk but it was repossessed. All I have left to rail against Bell is an old (2008) FIBE 0.037 DIATRIBE.

        Bah! Nothing, NOTHING has improved since then.

        Now I rely upon a geo-stationary satellite 38,000 Km away for both my internet AND telephone. The only thing that Bell seems to be interested in is cell-phones, and from celltowers, they charge insane amounts of $$ for a few Megabits of monthly HTTP.

        Fuck Bell.

    4. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Same in Canada

      Yesterday in Italy the Communication Authority ruled that only FTTB/FTTH can be advertised as "fibre". Other types must be advertised as "mixed copper" or "mixed wireless"..

      Let's see how much and how long the telcos will try to ignore the ruling...

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Same in Canada

        "Yesterday in Italy the Communication Authority ruled "

        Until it's upheld in court, it's not binding across the EU.

        You can expect that to be fought tooth and nail by telcos across the continent.

        1. K Silver badge

          Re: Same in Canada

          And we all know the EU is no good.. I mean what benefits have they brought (sarcasm)

          Now we have Brexit, we can breathe a sign of relief, that all the marketing "white lies" will continue.. and the uneducated masses will keep believing! (But I got a happy-gooey feeling, when I realised they're probably the same folks morons that voted for it in the first place!)

          1. toffer99

            Re: Same in Canada

            I can't wait to have CCTK. What's that? Chlorinated Chicken to the Kitchen.

    5. NBCanuck

      Re: Same in Canada

      I have a fiber service in Atlantic Canada (BellAlliant) and I have fiber to the premises - I know because I can see it coming into the house. They have Good, Better, and Best services. I am on Better and have 300Mbps up and down. I have tested and the promised rates are accurate.

      1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Same in Canada

        NBCanuck related his experience, "Bell Aliant (FibreOP) promised rates are accurate."

        Yep. And to give credit where credit is due, their back-end network seems to be pretty good. It's not just fast to the nearest Speedtest.net server, but actually fast in real life too.

        It would not be uncommon for our household to be streaming three HD videos and two on-line gamers playing, all at the same time. No issues.

  2. LenG

    Not copper. I'd love copper. My connection to the cabinet is aluminium.

    1. Dwarf Silver badge

      Broken aluminium oxide wires

      They will replace it with a copper cable if you keep pestering them, my parents had the same and eventually, after a couple of years of constant faults being reported, they decided to replace the wire. Its been in for a couple of years now with no problems since the replacement. You just need to stick to your guns.

    2. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Aluminium? Luxury! We used to dream of this.

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        Two tins and some wet string? Luxury! when I got my first BT connection is was this - you don't know how lucky you are.

      2. Flywheel Silver badge

        Bl00dy Southerners! We're so poor in't North that we just shout out each other from t'tops of t'moors! on a good day our Selwyn can whistle to t'next dale at over 1200 baud. Champion!

    3. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re Not copper. I'd love copper.

      So do the local scavengers. Less troublesome to saw through than electric distribution cables. And this is the other problem with copper, it has intrinsic value.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Re Not copper. I'd love copper.

        "this is the other problem with copper, it has intrinsic value."

        Which should be "encouraging" the telcos to switch to fibre.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Re Not copper. I'd love copper.

          One might hope so, but they prefer to convenience of copper anyone can deal with easily and cheaply, fibre skills and equipment are rather more expensive, for the last links. As the Academics on the patent application approval committee said to Sir David (long before he got the Sir) "no you can't patent the in-fibre amplifier, coppers been fine for years, what makes you think anyone's ever going to want to use your invention?" How many millions of lost Patent income...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not copper. I'd love copper. My connection to the cabinet is aluminium.

      I'd love aluminum! All I have here in west Texas is barbed wire.

      Granted, I'm used to Arcnet to the ISP and would have buy additional hardware for anything faster.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Trollface

    The current law is silly. Unless it's FTTP, it should not be advertised as such, In practice there's very little difference with FTTC and ADSL2 based on the few connections I had in the UK.

    Currently I have 1Gb (real) fibre here in New Zealand.

    Fibre with last mile copper (hybrid), why not call it fi-brid, and by law allow only call FTTP called fibre.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A mix?

      Like all bran, with fibre and rice pops n honey flavouring. ;)

    2. AndrueC Silver badge
      Meh

      In practice there's very little difference with FTTC and ADSL2 based on the few connections I had in the UK.

      You apparently didn't try many connections then. Most people are seeing at least a tripling of their speed and noticeable improvements in reliability. I, for instance, went from an 11/1.8Mbps ADSL2+ connection that dropped maybe once a month to a 67/18Mbs connection that drops only if/when the DSLAM decides to adjust something which happens maybe once or twice a year in the early hours of the morning.

      Of course as I've posted elsewhere one person's experience doesn't count for much but since rolling out FTTC the UK's average speed has risen from around 6Mb/s to around 30Mb/s. Quite why you didn't see much difference is hard to say but one possibility is that the UK buys connectivity on price. Possibly the people you stayed with were typical tight wads and bought the cheapest package they could.

      There's an interesting article here that suggests if people in the UK bought the best package available to them we'd actually be in the top 3 countries for 'average speed' with number one a possibility in a couple of years.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        "You apparently didn't try many connections then."

        There's "speed" and there's "latency" - there's fuckall difference in the latency between ADSL2 and VDSL, mainly because it's just a shitload more 8kHz 32/64QAM carriers stacked out to 17 or 33MHz from the 8MHz limit of ADSL

        Latency is dictated by the baud rate - and the baud rate of a high symbol-per-shift carrier like 64QAM is LOW (as low as an old fashioned 1200bps modem)

        _You_ might not see that when you're streaming your kitty porn but it shows up in spades on video conferencing or when playing online games.

      2. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

        "There's an interesting article here that suggests if people in the UK bought the best package available to them we'd actually be in the top 3 countries for 'average speed' with number one a possibility in a couple of years."

        So what you're saying is: if my Scots cousins weren't part of the UK, the average UK speed would be much higher?

        I'll get me Gents Joey Scotland Jacket...

      3. AlbertH
        Thumb Down

        The sad truth of the UK situation...

        Virgin Media still claim that the ratty old bit of cheap coax run into their subscriber's houses is "fibre". When called out on this they get all defensive and claim that the "fibre's terminated in the junction box on the side of your house".....

        The reality of these "high speed" services is appalling - contention ruins data rates during periods of higher usage, return path speeds are typically only 3% of the downlink speed, and downtime is as high as 25%. They actually have the temerity to charge some of the highest prices in the world for this garbage!

        BT can't provide anything better than their flaky VDSL to the home, since their city and town infrastructure often dates back to Victorian times. Their pricing strategy is interesting too - a headline price of "just" £20 per month for the first year than >£60 per month thereafter! They try to sneak the price increase into the smallest possible print at the bottom of their literature, and hope that their sucker customers won't notice the massive price change if they're on Direct Debit.....

        My service in Singapore is genuine FTTP at 2 Gb/s for ~$4 US per month. The prices that are being charged in the UK should be able to pay for laying real fibre throughout the country. Unfortunately, the UK government is entirely toothless when it comes to dealing with business.

    3. AndrueC Silver badge
      Stop

      The current law is silly.

      No, it isn't, because it's not a law. It's just one of the rules that companies voluntarily follow in order to avoid getting a public slapping. The ASA has limited powers to enforce these things. In theory it can go crying to Ofcom in this case but I don't know if it ever actually has done or if Ofcom will even care.

      1. AlbertH

        OFCOM are in the pockets of the service providers. They're entirely useless in every way - a bunch of oxygen thieves. Just another UK Quango set up by Blair's "government" to appease the "stupid electorate" (Blair's words).

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Currently I have 1Gb (real) fibre here in New Zealand.

      So in about ten minutes you could exhaust the entire monthly movie output of Hollywood. That'll be useful, particularly if you can watch it as fast as you can download it.

      1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        @Snarky AC

        So in about ten minutes you could exhaust the entire monthly movie output of Hollywood. That'll be useful, particularly if you can watch it as fast as you can download it.

        Believe it or not there are use cases for fast fibre, albeit not for everyone. I have 300/30Mbps FTTP. I recently had to shift a number of 1GB+ MySQL backups between office and various servers. Took minutes. ADSL had taken 7hrs to upload 1GB of videos!

    5. Real Ale is Best
      Boffin

      > In practice there's very little difference with FTTC and ADSL2

      My connection improved from a flakey 4 Mbit/s to 62 Mbit/s.

      I'd say that was a fair improvement, but then we are a fair distance from the exchange.

    6. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
      Coat

      @AC

      If you had fiber to the box, then told the consumer that they had to spend extra $$$$ for no difference in terms of performance... how do you think that they would feel?

      If you're talking copper for the last 100 yrds or less, its not the same as if you had copper for the last mile.

      So if you live in an apartment and had fiber to the building but then its muxed out via copper... is that really a bad thing?

      Yes, I'm the guy who 20 years ago had a pair of fibre cables pulled from my unit to the telco closet / room so that I could put fiber in some day when FIOS came around. So even if its in my neighborhood, since my building doesn't have it... I can't get it. Its the 200-300 feet under ground within a pipe that is missing, but you can't tell the phone critters that.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      In UK suburbia I went from <1Mbps on ADSL2 (new build area of town resulting in a seriously round-the-houses copper connection to BT exchange, 2.5 miles away as the crow flies) to 80Mbps line speed as soon as my local cabinet went to FTTC. I was the second line installed. Speed has dropped since as more people have got in on the action.

      That was a significant upgrade.

    8. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

      ACNZ, I signed up for Vodafone's "FibreX". I didn't cotton on to the fact that it was HFC until they came to "install" it: by swapping my old 100Mbs cable modem for a 800Mbs cable modem. But as the speeds are as-promised, I am happy enough.

      I would never be happy to sign up for HFCu...

  4. Baldrickk Silver badge

    Should really be advertised as it is...

    ...whether that is "FTTP and FTTC" or "hybrid fiber"

    The average consumer doesn't care about what the back-haul is built from or how it works. They care about the service they can get.

    I'd argue that providing accurate bandwidth estimations should be enough, but the homeowner is also concerned about their direct connection, as that is what can limit upgrades in the future (that they have to care about)

    1. ibmalone Silver badge

      Re: Should really be advertised as it is...

      When I signed up for a "fibre" contract I was never unclear that what I was getting was FTTC, and it was much better than the available ADSL (supposedly up to 12-18Mbps I think, actually lucky to get 2Mbps and frequent outages). It was also apparent that we were basically capped to the advertised speed (35Mbps), and that local FTTP providers weren't bothered about us. Now I'm on Virgin FTTP in a different location and speed is not noticeably better, reliability is a little worse. Not really bothered what technology is used so long as it's fast and robust.

      The only downside is Openreach's make-work disconnection fee, where if you have to cancel such a contract they claim they must send someone out to disconnect it and charge you for it.

    2. CommanderGalaxian
      Unhappy

      Re: Should really be advertised as it is...

      There is a fundamental unfairness though - people buy the same service, get charged the same price, but those living close to the cabinet get much faster speeds than those living further from it.

      1. Oldnewt21

        Re: Should really be advertised as it is...

        The infrastructure is all controlled by OPENREACH which has a fixed interest in its associate company BT. This means that OFCOM has no sway in honest regulation and has no will to do so.

        I have about 1/2 a mile of fibre cable from a modern exchange but then close on 4 miles of victorian copper to the house. With my speeds it is often not an option for music streaming and therefore certainly not worth investing in streaming movies or Hi-Res music.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Should really be advertised as it is...

      And when we have true fibre services how do you differentiate them?

      Ironically, with copper networks you cannot give accurate estimations. With true fibre you can.

  5. JimC Silver badge

    Is it important?

    As longs as the final run is short enough (yards, not miles) that its not significantly impacting performance does it really matter? It smacks a bit of box ticking to me.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Is it important?

      Does if you're buying your own modem / router.

      1. Commswonk Silver badge

        Re: Is it important?

        @ TRT: Does if you're buying your own modem / router.

        Yes, but... realistically how many broadband consumers do buy their own? I suspect that as a percentage of the total the number is quite small.

        1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

          Re: Is it important?

          Yes, but... realistically how many broadband consumers do buy their own?

          Indeed, not many do - but some of us do. But I suspect that in most cases, FTTP would be terminated by OpenRetch's NTE - breaking out a voice service (carried as VoOP but presented as POTS) and presenting the data service over ethernet on copper.

          That I would have no problem with - over the sort of lengths needed, running IP over ethernet over copper offers no restriction in data rates (gigabit ethernet will easily run around a typical house over Cat5e or Cat6).

          In fact, as the network is likely to roll out, it is essential that OpenRetch have control of the optical termination. AIUI the bulk of connections will be on a passively shared fibre. This requires that each termination uses it's own specific frequency - and managing this really requires that ONE body have control over all the connected devices. While purists may complain, it makes sense to share fibres like this - the alternative is a heck of a lot of fibres going into the exchange, and while ripping copper out would leave a lot of frame space, it's going to make the network a lot more affordable.

      2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Is it important?

        "...if you're buying your own modem / router."

        Our ISP (Bell Fibe) provided the ONT and the first router. I left their router in place as it's sufficient and seems reliable. Their provided router is connected to my 24-port Gb switch, which then connects to my three other WiFi routers (covering the entire 2.4 GHz band, plus a couple of 5 GHz channels) as well as numerous wired devices. One of the routers has a Yagi antenna aimed at the lake. There are two or three additional Gb switches. Everything is wired up with STP (Cat 5e/6) Gb cables. I had to ensure that the IP addresses, WiFi channels and DHCP settings in the multiple routers didn't conflict.

        Point being, you can have both: their provide router and your own additional routers and switches.

        1. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

          Re: Is it important?

          “...(covering the entire 2.4 GHz band” — that’s a bit selfish and pointless

          “, plus a couple of 5 GHz channels” — why?

          “...One of the routers has a Yagi antenna aimed at the lake.” — what lake? Why?

          “There are two or three additional Gb switches. “ - why? What’s the point you’re making?

          “Everything is wired up with STP (Cat 5e/6) Gb cables.” — why STP?

          “I had to ensure that the IP addresses, “ — well, yes, this is standard stuff

          “WiFi channels” — So?

          “ and DHCP settings in the multiple routers didn't conflict. “ — why are you using DHCP settings in multiple routers? Have you not understood the point of a LAN?

          Finally, why do you use their router anyway? None of what you’ve written makes sense outside the context of someone who just likes to throw their money around at routers.

          1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: Is it important?

            Anthony Hedgehog grumbled: "...covering the entire 2.4 GHz band - a bit selfish and pointless..."

            Since we live on 3.5 acres of lakefront sprawl (BTW, minutes from everywhere), we can barely detect the WiFi signals of our neighbours, and therefore it's safe to assume that they can barely detect ours. So the band is effectively ours within our extensive grounds. As we have at least 4-5 heavy users in the household, using several channels spreads the load. I have my own channel (hot spot), so the kidiots and I do not bother each other. Everybody is happy. The several 5 GHz channels come free with dual-band routers.

            "...Yagi... Why?" We live on lakefront. Our nice picnic spot is about 150m away from the house. The several hotspots have weak signals at the hammock. Turn on the extra router with the Yagi, and the Internet is available at the lakeside with a strong reliable signal.

            "...additional Gb switches...?" Gb switches allow a single cable to service (for example) a kidiot's bedroom that has a half-dozen wired devices. So run *one* $30 Cat 6 STP cable up to the room, and then the $20 Gb switch can feed multiple gadgets. Cable is more expensive than a nice cheap Switch. Basic economic advantage of a hub-and-spoke physical cable architecture.

            "...why STP?" Shielded cables should have reduced RF noise, to reduce the risk of interference to HF radio equipment (shortwave). Also, the overall shield might reduce damage from nearby lightning strikes (which has happened).

            "DHCP...?" Multiple LANs. It's possible to design it wrong; but I've not done so. Works great, except a couple of the cheap and cheerful routers have rubbish firmware that falls over once a month or so.

            "...throw their money around..." Ah, nobody can squeeze a dollar like me. The several routers were always bought on sale at deep discount (barely cracks $100 in total). The 24- and 16-port Gb Switches were bought defective dirt cheap and I repaired them (replaced a capacitor in the power supply and installed new fans). The 8-port Gb switches are often on sale as cheap as chips (well under $20).

            Total cost of the *entire* network is comparable to one expensive router as some may choose. So your conclusion is incorrect.

    2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: Is it important?

      Point is with FTTP there is no practical bandwidth limit on the infrastructure: change the end point transceivers (assuming enough backbone capacity) and you can get 1GB or possibly 10GB symmetric speeds. At least and order or more of magnitude faster than last-run over copper.

Page:

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019