back to article Openreach names 81 lucky locations to be plugged into its super-zippy Gfast pipe

UK fibre flinger Openreach has announced plans to bring its ultrafast broadband service to another 81 locations, thanks in part to the joy of Gfast. Just over a million homes and businesses across the country will be able to enjoy the heady delights of up to 330Mbps, which the infrastructure business reckons is seven times the …

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Unhappy

81?

81 they say, looking at the list aren't at least half of them "London" maybe they mean 81 exchanges, but even that seems doubtful as areas outside London are often in clumps. Some of the London locations listed are awfully close together.

The technology sounds interesting if it means that another 10fold increase in bandwidth is possible without needing to dig up all the streets.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 81?

The technology is a dud. Max range from cab is 300m and causes issues with cross talk.

I know this, I am one of the poor sods who has to try and get it to work.

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Re: 81?

aren't at least half of them "London"

If anybody cab be bothered, how many of these locations already have access to VM or other cable provider? I can see several without needing to do any research.

I'm currently on Vermin Media cable, and whilst I loathe the company and it's rampant price increases, if we want a national broadband capability, OR should focus on locations that have no cable option (or are suffering ADSL-only) before piffling around trying to compete with the cable operators. Or at least make them match, one broadband notspot for every one or two nicely profitable metropolitan locations that have alternative options.

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Re: 81?

If LLU was opened out so BT could uses other's ducts then a lot of groundwork wouldn't be needed.

I've got FTTC and an O/H span while just outside my door is a green pipe leading to a half empty cabinet that BT can't use .

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 81?

I'm about 150m from the cabinet. I'm in!

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Unhappy

Re: 81?

I'm about 150m from the cabinet. I'm in!

Bah! I'm 370m from the cabinet.

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Joke

Re: 81?

I'm about 150m from the cabinet. I'm in!

Hopefully someone will come and let you out soon

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Re: 81?

"If LLU was opened out so BT could uses other's ducts then a lot of groundwork wouldn't be needed."

They don't seem to be pushing for that. I wonder if that's anything to do with the fact it would have to be a reciprocal arrangement whereby others are allowed access to the BT ducts?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 81?

It does indeed. Not for g.fast users though, right? So all those "old" ADSL/2 users, and the VDSL users will slowly see their service degrade as more people take up g.fast. And the "fix" will be to upgrade to the newer, likely more expensive product. Im getting dejavu of what vDSL uptake did to ADSL back in the day.

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Re: BT's G.fast copper carcass snake-oil tech.

Finally, someone (albeit anonymous) confirming what I've been saying for years since 2009, given all the backlash I've had over attempting to technically explain BT's copper carcass snake-oil tech.

G.fast is a can of worms to maintain (which end users pay/BT profit from, due to Ofcom's regulatory model of stupidity, of allowing profit from failure), making G.fast more viable on paper, because it's less robust than FTTP from interference, both malicious/non-malicious, i.e. BT paid call-outs potentially rise statistically with G.fast rollout/deployment over FTTP.

Little reported, but the initial field trials used isolated brand new copper cabling (separately run alongside to those used in existing local loop copper), to rose-tint the results of G.fast. Ex-BT are as a routine, parachuted into key Ofcom jobs, you just have to look at their Linked-in profiles to see this.

G.fast may have its uses, multiple occupancies - new town tenement blocks (Marchmont, Edinburgh) are a prime example, but that's about it, but even then the costings are controversial depending on which side of the fence you sit. FTTP v G.fast.

The number of G.fast nodes+mains grid connections (to actively power a G.fast node) required rises exponentially. It's fairly simple maths, which means it soon loses any advantage (if it had any over passive both overhead/ducted FTTP rollout).

Without shortening the copper lengths, G.fast helps no one (being generous here) with copper cable lengths of >500m by length, 250m as the crow flies), that figure is ball-park nearer 300m-350m (150m-175m).

G.fast all has to be ripped out and replaced with FTTP anyhow (so why not start now?) when you've sweated it to the max, speed improvements hit an upper limit/brick wall, like attempting to fold a sheet of A4 more than 5-6 times.

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Re: 81?

Could your comment explain my experiences already.

We live in Chester approx 120m from the cabinet. We've had ADSL from when it became available and have had a fairly rock steady 71 - 73Mbps connection.

For the last few weeks our speed has dropped to 67 which initially I thought might have had something to do with the fact we'd had to replace the BT Home Hub 6 because the 5GHz radio had given up the ghost ,(BT sent a free replacement - now on our 3rd unit)

Then last week I went out for a walk (passed our cabinet and noticed it had sprouted a Gfast pod.

Upon returning home I fired up the ADSL checker and low and behold Gfast has been enabled and checking with BT it is available to order for an extortionate price.

Surely as this new pod has only been installed for probably less than a fortnight and can't have had that many connections to it yet - the fact that it is there might have something to do already with our speed decrease of 5 - 6Mbps?

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Ballcocks

Still stuck on ADSL+ here in South Manchester. Neverreach can't be bothered to put in the remaining street cabinets so our part of the world can benefit from the lovely fibre-enabled exchange just down the road.

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Darkest rural Spain.

We live way out in the country in a tiny village of 80 villas way way out in darkest Spain. What chance high speed for us. But the local provider fibered us all up thanks to a grant from the EEC (I hear your leaving - strange?) and we now all get 500 down and 50 up steady as a rock. Plus cable TV including all free sat and Spanish local and national channels. It’s about 30 pounds a month.

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DJV
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Re: Darkest rural Spain.

Do you do Airbnb?

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This post has been deleted by its author

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Re: Darkest rural Spain.

' But the local provider fibered us all up thanks to a grant from the EEC (I hear your leaving - strange?) '

Well the EEC doesn't exist anymore so that probably explains why we've left.

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"Up to"

If they ever charge "up to" £x / month for "up to" y Mbps I'll have up to a small amount of confidence in their reasons to upgrade.

To date, "up to" £x / month = £x / month

and "up to" y Mbps << y Mbps.

If supermarkets and petrol stations tried the same con I wonder how long they'd last.

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Re: "Up to"

And yet, as a mathematician, I know that what you're suggesting is basically just a charge per gigabyte.

And everyone would moan like hell about that.

If you pay, say, £30 a month, you might get 300Mbps / 300Gb for that. But you're unable to use it all because of the speed, so they charge you proportionally... then that basically means you're paying £10 a month for 100Mbps / 100Gb (because you couldn't have used all the data in the time you're given, so the speed and bandwidth are basically equivalent) and so on.

What speed you did it at is basically irrespective if you want to allow them to let you pay proportionally.

But sell someone a Internet connection on the basis of "we'll provide a connection, we won't tell you what speed it could reach, but you'll pay 10p per gigabyte" and nobody would touch you.

Sure, it might encourage them to up speeds as much as possible, but it wouldn't be long before people realised that actually they don't want that at all and they'd rather the kids couldn't run up a thousand pound bill because of them leaving Bittorrent running.

Much like happened with cellphone roaming charges, for instance. Which are... pay per Mb. Same thing, different scale.

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Re: "Up to"

There's a difference between speed and throughput or usage.

Yes, you'll likely have a higher monthly throughout if your speed increase, but throughput tends to plateau.

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FTTP

Love the mention of FTTP yes of course we can get it out here in the sticks so long as you can afford the estimate of £22000 to get the fibre run the 1500 meters from the cab to the house ☹️

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Anonymous Coward

Re: FTTP

Ugh, yes. I've just been asked to run an Internet link into a castle. The in-castle WiFi will be a challenge of its own (think walls of about 1m thick), but it starts with trenching the connection from the gate to the main building - a run of some 400 meters.

It'll be fun just to filter contractors, because the sight of castle and vineyards seems to quadruple estimates..

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TRT
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Re: FTTP

Even more fun when the border gateway is ACTUALLY in a bastion.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: FTTP

Oooh, I like that (original poster here). Thanks, I'm going to make sure we'll tag the firewall* "bastion host".

In case someone wonders why we can't do it wirelessly, local regulations rule that out + trees. Lots of unpredictable trees.

* Only one as the link is not business critical, just for guests.

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Re: FTTP

I live in rural Cornwall, a hamlet of 5 houses. To my astonishment, Openreach phoned to say I could have FTTP if I wanted it. I did, via Zen...80 Mbps

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Anonymous Coward

Re: FTTP

>but it starts with trenching the connection from the gate to the main building

*Cough* Listed Building Consent *cough*.

Not that I've been bitten by that before.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: FTTP

you sure its FTTP and not FTTC?

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Re: FTTP

is that Fibre To The Castle?

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Anonymous Coward

LOL - ever heard of contention?

The only reason my speed tests max at approx 833Mb/s is because you can't connect an iPhone with a cable, and that's the max rate my WiFi can carry. I get about 950Mb/s on a cable into a laptop.

Is that impressive and worthy of jealousy? Not at all, because at those speeds you get to deal with the great bugbear of the beginning years of the Internet: backbone contention. It's all jolly well if your traffic stays "in platform" (for instance games or ISP provided video/TV streaming), but as soon as you exit the local platform you end up with pipes shared by a lot of other people, and that's where your ISP will show its true colours (where it puts its money).

I would thus not initially expect too much from such new fast links - if the backbone isn't scaled with it you may get nice speedtest results with the ISP's own servers, but that's only your local segment. To really improve matters you'll need to scale the back end too.

Let's hope they do it right.

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Re: LOL - ever heard of contention?

It's only two decades since I was connecting to a 2Mb national backbone.

Something that looks a little like Moore's Law is happening to our infrastructure.

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Openfail are in the process of rolling out FTTP from the exchange I'm connected to. They've done some poles, the properties aren't able to get the service yet though. Whatever they are doing, it isn't a quick process.

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Superfast Scotland's website has been promising me FTTP for three years now. The exchange has fibre, apparently, but there is no sign whatsoever of it getting any further. So here I sit on a lousy 4Mbps.

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My town was getting G.fast some months back. It even appeared as planned for my number on the checker. Now its disappeared and no sign of it. Not sure how accurate their roll out claims are.

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Edwardian Tech

BT announces, in a fit of corporate stubbornness, a further 81 locations are going to be locked into Edwardian copper wire telephony for the long term. Meanwhile SFA is being done for the inconvenient 5% in rural locations and pseudo-rural urban areas.

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Re: Edwardian Tech

"...going to be locked into Edwardian copper wire telephony for the long term."

Yep, sadly, anyone on FTTC is going to be at the back of the queue if/when FTTP ever becomes the standard install/upgrade.

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super, just super

Ah well, looks like I'll STILL be FTTC and O/H for decades to come

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Anonymous Coward

Worthing..

Yay!! Woot!!

Ahem, works for me. Thank you. Move along now.

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Coat

Re: Worthing..

Are you in ernest?

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The joys of being out in the sticks in south cumbria, we can only get 1Gbps fibre broadband courtesy of B4RN. Hate to think what Openwoe would charge to provide that kind of service to us.

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G.fail - Try getting that on Alu

Yes there are some lines, in business parks no less, that OpenBreach used Alu instead of copper, cos its fine for telephony, takes months to get the config right for ADSL, wouldnt like to test VDSL or G.Fail

Anyway, all Liberty Virign Media need to do is firmware upgrade to DOCSIS 3.1 and 250Mbps becomes 2Gbps and no body wants to pay OpenBreach for G.not so fast

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Gimp

Re: G.fail - Try getting that on Alu

Anyway, all Liberty Virign Media need to do is firmware upgrade to DOCSIS 3.1 and 250Mbps becomes 2Gbps and no body wants to pay OpenBreach for G.not so fast

This suggests that Liberty Global should be nearly complete with rolling out Docsis 3.1 by the end of the year. No sign of it here in Switzerland yet though.

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Re: G.fail - Try getting that on Alu

We have Alu in our village, works ok for VDSL when it isn't underwater, being knocked about by Openreach engineers, the temperature is too hot and it expands and joints pop, or it is too cold and they simply fall apart.

Yes we have brief periods of nothing going wrong and get around 60mbs at 500m, then weeks of hell as no one can work out what meteorological based issue has befallen us. !

Putting GFast over that will probably just melt it once and for all.

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"""... 330Mbps, which the infrastructure business reckons is seven times the current UK average."""

Well instead of giving some peeps a rather delightful 330Mbs, would OpenReach kindly like to provide me with something greater than 14Mbps.

At a supposed average of ~47Mbps, I still get less than 1 third of that - just because (and I love this), "it is not financially viable to put a line in" - I call bullshit; with 20+ houses, of which at least are populated with IT people; I'm sure it would be viable.

OpenReach BT need to pull their collective thumbs out of their collective arses and get the rest of the county up to speed first.

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Redundant tech

G. Fast is bloody clever but it's an ADSL technology and will never do better than 500mb/s.

BT loves it because BT has more copper in the ground than most copper mines, but using G. Fast is a sticking plaster on old tech. The only sensible solution is FTTP.

G.Fast is, however, a half-way house to FTTP, it's FTTP where P is Pole, fibre to the pole and then copper (or aluminum if you are unlucky) to the home. It's kicking the can down the road and not something BT should be proud of.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Redundant tech

Nope, its fibre to the cab and copper/ali the rest of the way

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Worthing

Apart from being a shit hole, there are lots of old people and council estates in Worthing. whilst I'm not sure there is any correlation between the two, but they all love a bit of fast broadband.

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Local regs + trees

Fifteen years ago I ran a small personal office for consulting work in a business centre about 300m from my house. My previous career having accustomed me to heights I climbed (sans 'chute) onto the roof of the house to confirm my suspicion: there was indeed a line of sight from the apex to a window of my lovely new office. You can guess what came next. Two Yagi antennae; some time drilling holes in the house, and further ladder expeditions: and I was using my own internet connection from the office. Not super-quick, but serviceable. And with no incremental fees to the landlord.

But.

But, I'd done my work during the autumn, when the trees weren't very leafy. Come spring and the sightline began to fill with leaves. I'm here to confirm that microwaves and leafy trees do not play well together, no matter how much you crank up the power.

(The Yagis found a second life at a local school, linking bits of campus, so it wasn't all wasted ...)

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Pint

Re: Local regs + trees

This was exactly the reason that Ionica's Fixed Wireless Access phone services at 3.4GHz stumbled, the original channel sounding didn't spot the short delay multipath from trees and similar stuff and so the equaliser in the modem couldn't deal with it.

Of course, their bigger problem was installing many CP devices in premises where the customers wouldn't pay, but halving their premises per base station with DSP limitations and then halving maximum range due to the multipath problem didn't help with roll out.

Wasn't the 1990s fun in telecoms?

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Re: Local regs + trees

Ah, ionica. My employer placed me there on contract.

I recall them observing considerable effort to make the use of fax machines possible, but completely ignoring the internet. I asked a senior person and was specifically told they didn't consider it off any importance.

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