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 …

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Re: Eir, Vodafone & Sky

Interestingly, most Fibre is also broadband, because the carriers use multiple frequencies of laser light down the Fibre

Weeell, yes and no. AIUI, the bulk of FTTP provided by OpenRetch for domestic internet will be passively multiplexed - so multiple subscribers will share one fibre using FDM, with one fibre from the exchange passively split to connect multiple houses in the street. But at the customer termination, it will be narrowband suing a single frequency.

For FTTP on Demand it's a fibre PtP link (ie user to exchange) and is narrowband - simply because it's logistically easier to do it that way.

Thing is, using decent quality fibre terminated by decent quality transceivers, the distance-bandwidth product is very high and doesn't need broadband to give good speeds even over quite long distances.

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Re: Eir, Vodafone & Sky

Neither 3G nor 4G mobile are capable of providing "broadband" services. They're just not fast enough. And the latency is always horrible.

The mobile providers in the UK have huge coverage issues. They try to do each provision as cheaply as possible, so "advanced concepts" like shaped coverage is just an interesting notion - but not for them. Each mobile network claims coverage in the region of >90%. The reality is radically different. Real measurements (rather than their hopeful "predictions" of coverage) show that around 35% of the UK has an actually acceptable mobile signal coverage.

Remember - the UK is the second most expensive place in the world to make a phone call!

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The equivalent car ad:

Your own space* on the large car running 500m from your house at infrequent intervals.

Payment on entry to "your car"

*Your own Space subject to availability...

If you cant see the fibre in your box in your house... you did not get fibre...

Our electric company are making a pretty penny laying down fibre with the power cable.. and are now making more from the fibre than the power...

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Virgin Media are the worst

For me, every time I see that "Virgin fibre" advert with the logo being formed by a coax swooping in really gets on my nerves, almost as if Virgin are saying "we can say anything we like and insult your intelligence whilst doing it!"

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Re: Virgin Media are the worst

"Virgin Media are the worst"

Nah they aren't. Sure they advert that says Fibre with a picture of coax is jarring, but at least they provide speeds that are actually remotely worthy of Fibre unlike others.

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Re: Virgin Media are the worst

And, being completely pedantic about it - CoAx cable does have fibrous content in the shroud.

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Re: Virgin Media are the worst

They may provide high speeds to some.

They also provide reliability that makes the last few months of Notwork Rail look exemplary by comparison.

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Re: Virgin Media are the worst

No problems with them over here, in my old house or at my Father's.

Well, only problem is that they don't have a link onto my new estate.

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Re: Virgin Media are the worst

Never had a single problem with Virgin of any significance. A handful of outages that rebooting the router fixed, and one that wasn't but was somewhat obviously explained when I looked up the road to see a team of Virgin engineers with a cabinet open and hundreds of meters of cable all over the place, a scheduled upgrade I'd missed the letter about.

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We 'upgraded' one of our customers from ADSL to VDSL on a FTTC link and the download speed when DOWN from 2 Mbps to 1.3Mbps. The upload speed stayed at 0.9Mbps.

Too far from the cabinet, despite OpenWretch's estimate being 8Mbps.

Fibre? They've heard of it. It'll cost tens of thousands to get a leased line

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I'm surprised at this. I was told that there was a minimum "estimated" speed that had to be achievable by Openreach before they would install FTTC type broadband to a property. In the case of my parents, it was something like 24Mbps and the conversation came about following a call into Sky Broadband's helpdesk when the service was being particularly flaky.

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That’s Sky’s special guarantee. They won’t even bother providing crap broadband so they ‘guarantee’ your speed that way. In reality it just means that if you think you can go to sky to get guaranteed 24Mbps broadband, you won’t get what you want if the service just isn’t available. Hate them

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That’s Sky’s special guarantee

That's what Sky would like you to believe. Actually OpenRetch have a "handback speed" (based on their estimate of line length & quality) and if the VDSL connection doesn't meet that speed then it can be handed back - and you get "downgraded" back to ADSL with all the OpenRetch charges cancelled.

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Flame

Outrage

I have FTTC - fibre to the cabinet. It was delivered to my area by BT under the "Superfast Worcestershire" programme. But the cabinet is over a mile away, I am refused a superfast deal because the connection simply is not there: I get ca. 2MB over copper-to-the-premises and that is all. And they have refused to install another cabinet closer to us, they have the bloody nerve to officially advise us to go the satellite route as part of their delivered solution!

That BT/Outreach can claim they have delivered me and my neighbours FTTP/superfast broadband is a complete outrage.

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Facepalm

Re: Outrage

In the village where my parents live, BT/Openreach did FTTC for half the village. They didn't bother with the other half, claiming it wasn't cost effective.

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Meh

I'm not sure why...

The reg has taken a snarky attitude to the Cityfiber bods.

What ISP's get away with in terms of advertising is scandalous in the UK and they mostly amount to "we can say what we damn well please, providing we use a bit of weasle verbiage"

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Time for a bigger stick.

I've said it before and I'll no doubt say it again, but FTTP should be part of the building regs in all UK new-builds.

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Re: Time for a bigger stick.

Do that, and you'll probably just price everything out of range. Everything has an effect.

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Facepalm

Re: Time for a bigger stick.

''Do that, and you'll probably just price everything out of range. Everything has an effect.''

OMG! Prices are already £30,000 too high. I know, let's repeal the regulation requiring water, leccy, drains, phone and emergency vehicle access. You could save even more by not putting a roof on.

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Re: Time for a bigger stick.

They can't mandate FTTP - but they could at least mandate provision for it. That would mean providing ducting into which the fibre could be pulled later - unlike many developments where that "would cost money" and so they rely on OpenReach running their usual overhead washing lines.

One small change that would, over time, reduce the cost of future upgrades (like FTTP) for newly built houses.

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Boffin

Re: Time for a bigger stick.

Open Retch don't appear to have heard of "blown" fibre - inserted into a ductwork by air pressure. I was installing fibre this way in the 1980s, so it's not exactly a new concept.

One install I did a couple of years ago required new ducts into an existing building. We hired a "moling services" company, who actually tunnelled the duct route for us with their miniature robotic "moles", then pulled the duct sleeving along the tunnel they'd created, and finally installed the couple of dozen pipes (each about the thickness of a drinking straw) along which be blew our bundles of fibres. The installation of the 850m duct route capable of handling a few thousand fibres took less than two days, and required minimal digging!

It's a (relatively) cheap and rapid way of installing fibre - you just need reasonably accurate "stats" diagrams of the locations of the existing underground services. It's also minimally invasive!

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Re: Time for a bigger stick.

Open Retch don't appear to have heard of "blown" fibre

They've been using it for decades - I remember them blowing fibre into my (then) workplace a couple of decades ago, and they certainly use it now. But as you point out, you have to get the tubes in first to have something to blow the fibre into - that is the expensive, disruptive, and costly part.

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Meh

I doubt the vast majority of consumers care how their bandwidth is delivered.

If I was told I could have 100Mb by copper or 100Mb by fibre would I really bother? Especially if the former didn't involve digging up my drive.

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Facepalm

Ironically, VM started it. BT then complained to the ASA pointing out that VM services are coax in the last mile. The ASA ruled in favour of VM so BT joined in.

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I don't think it's as simple as marketing guys calling something fibre when it's not.

In the old days it was copper all the way to the exchange (or aluminium I guess). Then FTTC came along and they needed a way to describe it.

There is some fibre in there, where there wasn't before. So they call it Fibre, and mostly it's a couple of times faster than ADSL. I don't recall many people complaining. Then along came FTTP which is more fibre and even faster. So now the old fibre should be called partial fibre or something perhaps?

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Facepalm

There is some fibre in there

Well strictly speaking (and I think this was what the ASA actually said the first time BT complained about VM's adverts) 99% of the connection to the ISP is fibre. That's true of all telephony data technologies - even an analogue modem. It's only the last mile or so that might not be. Of course the fact that the last mile or so was the most important as far as advertising was concerned seemed to escape the ASA.

One of the daftest decisions they ever made. Although adjusting the 'Up to' figures to reflect customer experience was possibly dafter. 'Up to 80Mb/s' is a valid and technically accurate way to describe the VDSL service that Openreach provide, the more recent speed caps introduced by the ASA are meaningless.

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I don't think it's as simple as marketing guys calling something fibre when it's not.

Nope, that's exactly what it is. VM made no changes to the cabling installed around the turn of the century but started marketing it as "fibre".

The marketing coincided with head-end changes that allowed them to offer significantly higher speeds, but with the same amount of fibre as before. Funnily enough this happened when BT were clearly gearing up for VDSL rollout...

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They should/could have kept using coax > telephone wire and left "fibre" to full fibre connections.

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Anonymous Coward

Whilst it ought to mean fibre to your router, one can't help thinking that those who thought that was already the case must surely have noticed what their router/modem connected to.

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It was always fibre though, right?

The internet backbones have been fibre since the days of dialup, right? So, there's always been some fibre in it somewhere, it's only the amount that's changed. So not really sure why the ASA are suddenly allowing people to call it fibre.

I have FTTP, and I'm fed up of explaining to virgin media customers that I actually have a piece of fibre coming into my house, and they don't.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It was always fibre though, right?

"The internet backbones have been fibre since the days of dialup, right?"

Wrong.

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Re: It was always fibre though, right?

They were all Strowger Exchanges at the start. And thus the rise of the Blue Box Phone Phreaker. Hands up anyone under 50 who knows what that was?

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Coat

Re: It was always fibre though, right?

Collecting code books from adjoining areas so you could dial various exchanges to check for faulty ones ( dial remote exchange from local exchange then code for local exchange from remote location) to see if paybox gets bypassed. Rinse and repeat. Result : faulty exchange bypasses paybox- free phone calls.

Otherwise dial exchanges in a string to avoid long distance charges- gets noisier with more hops.

I've said too much...

Mines the one with all the little red books in it. ( No, not those little red books...)

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Re: It was always fibre though, right?

Certainly, there was a time when most of the trunk or core network was fibre, while the analogue phone system beyond the local exchange was copper. That was the concept of System X.

I worked for a company that was providing BT with telephone exchanges in the late '80s, and they were definitely selling fibre trunk equipment then. According to Wikipedia, the last trunk connection in the UK was switched to fibre in 1990.

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Pint

Battle weary

Let's not kid ourselves that the new-wave FTTP companies are all consumer kniggets in shining armour, please. These buggers are just extracting your renal secretions in a different way.

I have resorted to my default fallback of caveat emptor. While marketing are naming these technologies, they're always going to make it look more shiny than it actually is; fibre proper has been around for decades - I built Seimens OLTI boards back when 128k bonded ISDN was the broadest of bands - yet "Ultrafast fibre" is touted as a new, magical technology made from unicorn farts and bose-einstein condensates.

I'm also a little weary of chasing the numbers. On VDSL2:

Data Rate: Down: 79.904 Mb/s / Up: 19.999 Mb/s

Line Attenuation (LATN): Down: 14.2 dB / Up: 17.8 dB

Signal Attenuation (SATN): Down: 14.3 dB / Up: 17.5 dB

Noise Margin (SNR): Down: 3.4 dB / Up: 15.4 dB

Aggregate Transmit Power (ACTATP): Down: 6.5 dB / Up: 14.0 dB

Max. Attainable Data Rate (ATTNDR): Down: 81.264 Mb/s / Up: 25.194 Mb/s

To be quite frank, that's enough for me right now. What I would like to happen is Openreach being held responsible for fucking up existing lines when patching in new ones or buggering about with the cab. There should be Yakuza-style penalties for fat-fingering patch panels. Can we, just for once, make existing tech work properly and stably before we go gallivanting off on some wild chase for ever faster ways of watching a cat try to use a Lexmark door-stop,

Beer. When all else fails, when the bullshit is knee-deep, people want the moon on a stick and marketing won't STFU, it must be beer o'clock.

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Marketing shills will just rename it to "Fibre ready" and "Full Fibre" broadband. They definitely want the word "fibre" in there even though the difference between FTTC and FTTB is about a factor of 10, currently, and probably more in the future.

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Marketing

The term "full fibre" seems to be taking off as a synonym for FTTP.

Maybe the term "fake fibre" should start being used as shorthand for FTTC.

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TRT
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Plenty of fibre...

Keeps your bowels regular you know.

Roughage to the cabinet.

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Re: Marketing

They put the ‘fib’ into ‘fibre’

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Windows

Back in my day, we had to walk the packets from the exchange to the house.

None of this newfangled cable lark.

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We were posh, we had the postie deliver ours

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My internet was sold to me as Fibre to the Premises

Surely that has to be breaking some kind of law when that is blatantly not what I've got.

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Ol'Timer

Bah you young'uns haven't lived. You don't need gigabits, nor even megabits. We used run a financial markets trading system over a 4800 baud satellite link, including the software upgrades.

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Re: Ol'Timer

4800 baud? Luxury. Voyager 2 does the biz on 128 baud and that includes sending holiday snaps of the solar system from 18 Billion miles away.

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here in the northeastern US...

Here in the northeastern US, we had the same thing ... the regional telco (Verizon) offers true FTTP (the service is Verizon FiOS ... I have it and it's fantastic) ... so the regional cable tv company (Cablevision) started posting ads saying "we've been using fiber for over 15 years!" Well yes, but the fiber only goes to a neighborhood node that serves ~500 subscribers.

To be fair, the use of fiber vs. copper doesn't tell the whole story. What matters most is how oversubscribed the connection is. A typical FTTP BPON is 622 Mbps shared between 32 subscribers, and a typical GPON is 2.488 Gbps shared between 64 subscribers. And remember, that entire wavelength is dedicated to data. That's the problem with HFC and DOCSIS -- they can only dedicate so many channels to data, because most of them are still being used for video.

I've got to be honest, if there were no FTTP available in my area, I'd probably go with DSL instead of cable. Whatever speed you're able to purchase (depending on proximity to the CO), at least you know you're getting the entire channel to yourself, and it isn't going to tank during peak hours when everyone is online.

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Anonymous Coward

CenturyLink

A salesman from CenturyLink told me that "Fiber Optic" had recently been installed in my area and that I would have actual fiber all the way up to the box inside my house.

When I contacted CenturyLink by phone to verify this the representative said there was no fiber in my area and he couldn't even tell me the closest area to me that actually had fiber.

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Considering the survey was sponsored by a FTTP company I would take the results with a large pinch of salt as I expect they cherry picked the people to get the answer they wanted.

I don't really think the majority of the population really cares whether their 'fibre' broadband it is FTTC or FTTP, they only care about what speed they get compared to ADSL or 4G and how much it costs them a month.

Many of the none technical people I know just refer there internet connection as 'WiFi' when I ask them what type of broadband they have at home.

Maybe FTTP the premises just needs to give up on using the fibre name and rebrand as something new to differentiate it from FTTC. Maybe Ultra HD 4K fibre.

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In Brazil, of all places...

...they don't call it fibre or fiber unless there is a glass-filled thin wire plugged straight into the ISP-leased router on your desk.

They call it just 'cable' or 'Internet cable' at best, due to the commonality and ubiquity of a service provider first using DOCSIS 3.0 (over coaxial cables of course) common to TV's, only having actual fiber on the light pole outside. This service provider took advantage of using TV infrastructure (being a cable TV foremost) to advertise the new method of (broadband) Internet access.

The other service providers use POTS cabling and xDSL, again leaving the actual fiber cables on the poles. Only when you ask for 100+Mbps services, they will go the extra mile, rip everything copper off, and place another section of actual fiber all the way inside.

It turned out so because all ISP's, in one way or another, were behind the evolution curve kept by the clients, that DEMANDED proper installation of newer technologies, after having used dial-up for what seems like millennia and KNOWING that those were COPPER cables, and not fiber, going inside their homes.

The entirety of the Internet service provided in the country trickled down from enthusiasts and first-adopters, into the clients, families, employees, and colleagues of where the first-adopters worked and lived.

Only after the dial-up crowd was appeased and the looming threat of suing for false advertisement ended, actual advertising offering "cable internet" coupled with TV and phone services took place to a broader audience. The generic term was broad enough to ensure marketing couldn't possibly f*** up this time.

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Better in the 3rd World

I was staying a few weeks with a friend in Nepal. My arrival prompted him to get an Internet connection. He ordered it around 17:00 Sunday, and the router was installed and fully up & running in the house by 10:00 the next day (Monday). Bit of a bird's nest at the top of the pole and the fibre cable not routed all that elegantly around the walls of the house, but it was definitely fibre all the way, not an inch of copper. No deposit required, no line rental, no installation fee, pay the first year's subscription after trying for 7 days. He chose the 35Mbps unlimited data option at £120 per year (up to 125Mbps was available IIRC). In the past 6 months it has had one 4 hour outage (lorry crashed into the pole outside his house and brought it down, snapping the fibre cable). They also have 5G in many places in Nepal. And that is very much a 3rd World country. I get better quality video calls to him than to another mate in the U.S.

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Re: Better in the 3rd World

Did you send Dollar Street photos?

https://www.gapminder.org/dollar-street/matrix

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