back to article BT claims almost-gigabit connections over COPPER WIRE

BT has claimed that ultrafast modern broadband can be delivered using a decidedly old school method: copper wires. The telco has released research which found that combined downstream and upstream speeds of up to one Gigabit per second (1000 Mbps) is possible using a mix of fibre and copper. It admitted that many folk assumed …

  1. Lionel Baden

    WHY WHY WHY WHY !!!!!!

    because in another 4 years

    BT: Hey guys want super fast broadband ??

    Oh you still have copper on your line .... Sorry no can do and since we blew all our budget putting fibre only half way down the street were not going to put any more in.

    Have they never heard of future proofing ?

    case in point, i live in a newbuild 1 year old. why not just install FTTP ? it is a low cost option relatively speaking to putting down copper then pulling it all up again and putting in fibre at a later date.

    1. John Miles

      Re: WHY WHY WHY WHY !!!!!!

      Living in a large new estate with low broadband speeds and no fibre/cable despite the town having both. I am pretty certain the discussions go between BT & house builders - what is cheapest option we can do for legal requirements as house builders don't want to pay and BT want to angle for getting government paying for the fibre stuff.

      Hopefully, after lots of pressure from residents, council and MP the estate I live on should get Fibre options late this year

      1. Lionel Baden

        Re: WHY WHY WHY WHY !!!!!!

        best of luck with your fibre war, I couldn'y imagine going back from FTTC it would be horrific

        I have FTTC and yes I am more than happy with my service and dont really feel the need to upgrade, in all honesty it would mainly be for bragging rights rather than actually using it to its full extent. but i really cannot understand the mentality of shooting oneself in the foot with half assed installs ............

        1. Scroticus Canis
          Unhappy

          Re: "shooting oneself in the foot with half assed installs"

          Well we are talking about BT here which says it all.

          They installed a new cabinet 200m from my house and the copper went from running at 14.5 mbps to 12.3 mbps (on a good day). Some improvement eh?

      2. Robert Simmons

        Re: WHY WHY WHY WHY !!!!!!

        I live on a new housing development, which was a test-site for FTTH (via Seethelight/IFNL) and there is no copper laid anywhere on the estate (VoIP). A couple of months ago we all received a letter from our local MP, who (ironically) was greatly concerned about the lack of competition since BT had no copper infrastructure there and we had no alternate choice of provider.

        He'd apparently had a complaint from another resident that they couldn't call up and have BT install them a phone line; the suggestion being that BT must be permitted to dig up the estate and lay their ancient infrastructure.

        1. Bunbury

          Re: WHY WHY WHY WHY !!!!!!

          @ Robert Simmons

          So, the developer selected a network company that didn't allow alternative providers to connect across it? And no doubt your neighbour wants a BT line at BT's standard charges? That's a huge cost for little revenue. Why on earth would BT want to do so? The developer has made a choice on behalf of your neighbour - spilt milk.

          Realistically, the only effective way to put the comms in to a development, and all of the development, is when it's being built. Doing it after is more expensive, and doing that for just a minority of residents spreads that cost over fewer people.

        2. Martin-73 Silver badge

          Re: WHY WHY WHY WHY !!!!!!

          I'm sure BT would do it, all overhead

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: WHY WHY WHY WHY !!!!!!

      "WHY WHY WHY WHY !!!!!!"

      Money:

      If BT pays fibre to every house as a general infrastructure upgrade it has to pay for it and recover the costs over 20 years.

      If it puts whizzy bits of kit on the existing copper it can charge the ISPs the full cost of kit (and then some!) for one end and the enduser has to stump up the all the costs for the other.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: WHY WHY WHY WHY !!!!!!

        "If BT pays fibre to every house as a general infrastructure upgrade it has to pay for it and recover the costs over 20 years."

        No - the customers have to pay for it - if BT pays for it and doesn't make a return it runs into some trouble with the competition act. It would look like it's running at a loss to keep the competition out.

      2. Phil_Evans

        Re: WHY WHY WHY WHY !!!!!!

        "If BT pays fibre to every house as a general infrastructure upgrade it has to pay for it and recover the costs over 20 years."

        Well guess what they've been doing with copper for the last 40 years? Making a loss?

        Clever wiring work in the street means not having to build new ducts or trenches if you're stripping out. Per-capita cost is going to be far less than Virgin is spending at the moment (they DO have to dig the trench and put in the furniture).

        Digging holes: Let's not forget that the STATE put in the massive copper infrastructure and since 198-something, BT has been milking it whilst selling us services atop that we have little option over.

        'Line Rental' : If it's a 'service' then you would expect investment to be costed into that rental to give you the 'service' that post-Edwardians expect.

        ISDN-2: When you pick a horse, be willing to buy a new one. Huge costs have been backing up in exchange architecture that seemed cool even after it was defunct. The rest of civilisation went ADSL.

        Reflects our international stereotype quite well. Used to be clever, chose the tweed jacket, still wearing it.

        1. Bunbury

          Re: WHY WHY WHY WHY !!!!!!

          "ISDN-2: When you pick a horse, be willing to buy a new one. Huge costs have been backing up in exchange architecture that seemed cool even after it was defunct. The rest of civilisation went ADSL."

          ISDN was the mechanism of choice for internet access pre ADSL in most of the world. Though when it was introduced in the early 80s it was a bit of a white elephant - "I Still Don't kNow what to use it for". In the 90s it was better than PSTN dial up for internet access. ADSL only came together in 1998.

          Have to say I don't understand your point. ISDN was 15years roughly before ADSL. If you're saying ISDN was of dubious value but got lucky when internet arrived then I agree. But if you're saying we should not invest in today's technology because something better will be here in 14 years then that seems daft.

          1. A Twig

            Re: WHY WHY WHY WHY !!!!!!

            I believe his point being that BT still sell ISDN services now...

            http://business.bt.com/phone-services/isdn/

            1. Bunbury

              Re: WHY WHY WHY WHY !!!!!!

              Was it? I must have missed that in the harangue. Thanks for clarifying. Some business customers can be very loathe to move onto new technology. I imagine it remains there to be sold because there are still some customers that specify it.

    3. Kubla Cant Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Newbuild

      a newbuild 1 year old. why not just install FTTP?

      About 5 years ago I bought a flat in a development newly built by Wimpy. You can tell how much foresight went into the building from the fact that every flat has gas that is supplied through 15mm copper tube that runs up the outside of the building*. I'm surprised that's even legal.

      Inside the flat there are wall sockets for phone, TV arial and satellite dish. I can only suppose these aren't actually connected to anything. The BT installer drilled through the outside wall and ran cable along the skirting board to a surface-mounted box in the good old way. Nearly every flat has a satellite dish screwed to the outside wall.

      * Like the Lloyds building, only less stylish.

      1. Bunbury

        Re: Newbuild

        I fear the mistake you've made if to buy a flat from Wimpy the hamburger chain and not Wimpey the builder.

        I also have wall sockets for satellite TV, which now work, but only after the leaseholders got together and had a whip round so that the management company could put in a communal dish. Much cheaper (and looks better) than individual dishes and avoids the issue that north facing flats will struggle with line of sight.

        Of course, if most people have their own dish there won't be much appetite for a communal one...

      2. Martin-73 Silver badge

        Re: Newbuild

        Not denying Wimpey's crappiness, but I think that's the requirement now for flats, that the gas pipework be external. Makes leaks less dangerous, and as you say, the building uglier

    4. Stu_The_Jock

      Re: WHY WHY WHY WHY !!!!!!

      Future proofing should't have to lock into one service provider. Each property built today should be provided with 2 or 3 15mm flexi pipes to a location in the property (beside fuse box say) that leads back to the local "telecoms cabinet" which allows the fibre to be patched into whichever providers want to connect to the box. With 15mm tube, one could even be pre-installed with cat6 type cabling ready to use for a phone/other copper based service if required.

      Here in Stavanger (Norway) they are gradually going round town replacing a lot of underground cables and pipes, as they do so, they are laying LOTS of thin orange pipes feeding from comms boxes to homes (the property boundary anyway) then if/when the occupants want fibre, they just need to traverse their own property and through the (usually timber) house wall

    5. Jaybus

      Re: WHY WHY WHY WHY !!!!!!

      It is a cost thing. Optical transceivers are too expensive. Of course, they are not even considering that in future the optical transceivers will most likely be dirt cheap. Several companies are aggressively working on silicon photonics that put tiny lasers, detectors, lenses and wave guides on-chip.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: WHY WHY WHY WHY !!!!!!

      " it is a low cost option relatively speaking to putting down copper then pulling it all up again and putting in fibre at a later date."

      Not for the 40% of households who just want a phone line.

  2. Ben Rose
    Megaphone

    Gigabit over copper?

    You mean like CAT5E?

    1. Stephen Hurd

      Re: Gigabit over copper?

      CAT-5E will carry a gigabit signal for 100m (330 feet)... considerably longer than the 19m specified in the article.

      1. MrXavia

        Re: Gigabit over copper?

        yeah, but gigabit CAT5-E uses 4 UTP to give that speed, all four channels are used.

        by comparison, your phone line has two wires... and its spliced in ways that would make ethernet cry...

        but in all fairness I would run cat6 to the edge of my property for them to get higher speeds, but i'd be happy for 100Mbs each way, no idea why anyone needs gigabit internet connectivity at home...

        1. Jim 59

          Re: Gigabit over copper?

          @MrXavia I have no idea why any user need more than 640 KB.

          Okay sorry about that. Good answer re cat5e, I didn't know that.

          1. DougS Silver badge

            Oh please, not the tired old "640K" crap

            Please state a use case where gigabit is needed and 100Mbit is not adequate.

            All the data we download and upload has to serve us meatbags in some way. Some of it acts as input to our brains. As speeds have increased we moved from an internet that was almost all text back in the 80s to today where people are streaming movies over it, so the input to our brains has improved. But that's as high as the resource consumption goes in that respect. We don't have holodecks, if we get them then forget gigabit we need terabit, but I don't see that happening. Netflix streams 4K in 15 Mbps, so unless you plan on needing more than a half dozen 4K streams at once, 100 Mbit is probably fine for your media needs.

            If it isn't data that is being directly input into our brains in the form of media, it is some other type of data that is incidental to that process, i.e. computer instructions to create that input, either a program or encoded files that are input to those programs. Like say a Linux ISO. Surely if you download Linux you'd rather it arrive in less than a minute[*] than waiting nearly 10 whole minutes, right? But how often do you do that, and even if you were a reviewer whose job it was to download 5 Linux distros a day and see how smoothly the install process goes, it wouldn't be that much to ask to kick off the download of one while you test the one before it, right? The nice thing about downloads and uploads is that they don't require your attention, or impede you or your computer's ability to do other tasks while they're happening! Unless it is so fast I don't have time to even think about doing something else while I wait, it is "too slow" and I'm going to optimize that process by doing something else while the download occurs.

            I have asked this question about "what good is gigabit" many times in many different forums, and I've never seen a good answer. When Bill Gates supposedly (but didn't) say the thing about 640K, anything with half a brain could come up with a ton of reasons why you'd want more than that, if not that day surely in the near future. Maybe people would have struggled to come up with a reason why people would complain about "only" 1GB in a phone or 8GB in a laptop back in 1985, but that would be like asking what we'd do with a petabit per second internet connection in 2045. I'm not sure I know what we'd really do with a gigabit per second connection in 2045! I don't think any of you do either, other than to cop out and say "surely technology will have moved on and we'll need that and more".

            [*] I'm VERY generously assuming that whatever your speed of connection is, your ISP and the internet magically maintain it all the way to all the servers you connect to. This isn't true today, but maybe someday when everyone does have gigabit connections, whether they need them or not, you'll actually be able to download a Linux ISO at 120 MB/sec from any site that has it.

            1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

              Re: Oh please, not the tired old "640K" crap

              "All the data we download and upload has to serve us meatbags in some way. Some of it acts as input to our brains."

              This is a fair point, but I'll have a go anyway. How about a family of four, each watching a different HD video? Your mileage may vary but each of those channels /might/ be over 25Mbit/s after compression and your 100Mbit pipe will struggle to deliver all four without glitches.

              On the other hand, a gigabit pipe will handle a set of 4K channels comfortably, so video probably won't be the reason that (eventually) gigabit isn't enough. Perhaps some kind of multi-player, immersive virtual reality? I don't know how much they use.

            2. Matt Bucknall

              Re: Oh please, not the tired old "640K" crap

              Did 100Mbit ethernet or 54Mbit wi-fi turn out to be adequate? No.

              Are consumers moving away from shifting data about in the LAN to shifting it in and out of the cloud? Yes

              No, consumers aren't likely to utilize a 1Gbit connection 100% of the time, but when they upload or download something, the preference is likely to be; the quicker the better.

              The basis for your argument seems to be about what people need. But the Internet isn't about what people need - Unlikely as it might sound, life can exist without the Internet! It is about what people want.

              1. DougS Silver badge

                Need vs want

                Too true, I'm not saying no one should be allowed to get gigabit because no one needs it. I'm saying no one should be bent out of shape if some people are only able to attain 100 Mbps where they live instead of a gigabit. It won't handicap their ability to do anything the gigabitters can do.

                Anyway, until the internet undergoes some massive upgrades it won't matter because I find even on my piddly 25 Mbps connection (which I could have upgraded six years ago but have chosen not to) the speed limit is set by limitations "out there", hardly ever by the speed of my link.

                Since I have VDSL2 and a good ISP, I always get that speed - a lot of people think they need faster because they have a crappy ISP, or cable modems that have a faster speed initially that slows down for longer downloads, and their performance depends on how many of their neighbors are streaming Netflix or using bittorrent.

        2. tony2heads
          Go

          Re: Gigabit over copper?

          I'l raise your cat6 with a cat7 - what do you say to that

          1. Mark 85 Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: Gigabit over copper?

            This explains why cats have taken over the Internet....

        3. Crisp Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: no idea why anyone needs gigabit internet connectivity at home...

          It's for downloading large amounts of "research material".

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: no idea why anyone needs gigabit internet connectivity at home...

            Research Material includes:

            - A full install of World of Warcraft at 40GB;

            - Destiny in several platforms, at several GB as well;

            - The missus watching youtube and causing lag on my gaming;

            - Full backups at offsite location; (3 copies, in 2 different places, 1 in offsite location, as usual).

            and pretty soon we will have GTA 5 on Steam.

            And if the band was really, really really large we wouldn't need to download the games, just log online and play, all the content would be served through network. No more waiting-to-patch.

            1. Bunbury

              Re: no idea why anyone needs gigabit internet connectivity at home...

              As soon as you get your ubiquitous gigabit internet you'll have the next generation of games that'll be 40TB then you'll need terabit connectivity.

        4. Matt Bucknall
          Facepalm

          Re: Gigabit over copper?

          "no idea why anyone needs gigabit internet connectivity at home..."

          Which is a bit like the quote "640K ought to be enough for anybody."

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Gigabit over copper?

          I'm thrilled with 30/5 Mbps but as a freelancer, more bandwidth is *always* better.

        6. Martin-73 Silver badge

          Re: Gigabit over copper?

          I am wondering if a lot of the speed gain is precisely the elimination of such splices as most of those are between the cabinet and the DP on underground developments. Example, my own line: We're approx 60m from the cab as the crow flies, or about 100m as the cable runs, all u/g. There are 3 splices before the DP, then the actual splice in the DP itself, simply because of the way the local network (D-side) wiring is done

        7. jonathanb Silver badge

          Re: Gigabit over copper?

          If my work also had gigabit internet, then I could access their servers at the same speed as the LAN in the office.

          1. DougS Silver badge

            @jonathanb

            No you couldn't, the latency would be longer - perhaps significantly longer if your ISP doesn't directly peer with your work's ISP.

            Besides, if you could access the servers at work at the same speed as you could while in the office, what does that do for you that accessing them at 100 Mb couldn't? How would that impact your ability to do your job?

            1. jonathanb Silver badge

              Re: @jonathanb

              Try accessing a Sage Line 50 dataset on the other side of a 100Mb/s link. It is not a pleasant experience.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wish they would give me something anywhere near that...

    Exchange has just been upgraded for FTTC. Looks like I'll now be able to get a whole 33/7 (if I'm very lucky).

    A pity the upgrade didn't include actually putting some cabinets in the village (of some 200 properties) rather than using the one some 900m down the road :-(

    1. TechicallyConfused

      Re: I wish they would give me something anywhere near that...

      I suspect they weren't allowed planning permission. BT will stick their boxes as close to the end points as they can because it is cheaper for them to do it that way.

      If they are stuck out of town it is because they weren't allowed in town.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I wish they would give me something anywhere near that...

        If only - we live in an area with lots of small (ex mining) villages. The cabinet that serves most of the house in our village is located in another village that's closer to the exchange.

        To put a cabinet (or two) in the village would have required significant changes to the phone wiring infrastructure, so it gets the "not viable" tag.

        The council would have no problem granting planning (supported by the community) if it was requested...

    2. Tony Pomfret

      Re: I wish they would give me something anywhere near that...

      Welcome to my world!

      If you chase BT for cabinet / DSLAM rollout dates they will probably tell you your location is not economically viable as they did with me.

      1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: I wish they would give me something anywhere near that...

        For me they said it'll come on such and such a date, but then on that date add a year as they have done for the past few years, NTL just told me to go away even though they keep spamming me with their offers I can't get.

        *Waves fist with envy that a street away they have both NTL and BT Fibre to Cabinet Options*

      2. auburnman

        Re: I wish they would give me something anywhere near that...

        Isn't Openreach supposed to have some sort of accountability process for the provision (or not) of comms infrastructure? Might be worth seeing if you could request the details of the cost estimate that returned a 'not viable' verdict. The cynic in me wonders if 'not viable' is code for 'can't be arsed.'

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I wish they would give me something anywhere near that...

          " The cynic in me wonders if 'not viable' is code for 'can't be arsed.'"

          I doubt it. Companies like to make a profit, as do their shareholders. Companies that pass up on opportunities to make a profit see them taken by other companies and shareholders demanding that the board be sacked.

          My understanding is that the profit test is pretty important - BT has a large market share and selling anything below cost or unprofitably invites all sorts of legal action around competition. How would you feel as a startup fibre ISP if you had to compete with an incumbent selling below cost?

      3. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: I wish they would give me something anywhere near that...

        Don't you know how to solve that?

        Setup a broadband company, chase EU funding for community broadband - you're eligible for it if BT says "not viable".

        Get everyone signed into it, etc etc

        Announce a launch date and do a but of groundwork.

        Watch as BT magically change their tune and drop everything to install DSL to the area they once deemed "not viable"

        Anticompetitive activities? Nosirree, just that the market conditions have changed.

        1. A Twig

          Re: I wish they would give me something anywhere near that...

          There's a community fibre company round here, I'm supporting it purely for the reasons you state, to suddenly make our village market conditions "better"...

  4. Pypes

    19 meters you say?

    That's about my distance from the exchange. Now if they would only drag exchange-only lines out of the stone age I'd be sorted.

    How it works out to be "cheaper" to do a green box, than upgrade the poor sods on the exchange (where 90% of the equipment presumably already exists) is beyond my economics-fu.

    1. Dave Harvey

      Re: 19 meters you say?

      AFAIK, this this is regulatory issue, not technical nor even financial.......VDSLx uses higher frequncies, and so produces much more crosstalk than ADSLx, and there are concerns about polluting other providers if VDSL kit goes into an exchange, as opposed to a cabinet where most of the noise will go into the open space around it.

      1. Chris Priest

        Re: 19 meters you say?

        Agreed it is a regulatory issue, however they did talk about fitting cabs outside the exchange to host the VDSLx kit, but there seems to be no more information on when or if this will ever happen.

        It would be nice to see BT bring their current infrastructure up to date before considering faster tech.

  5. rh587 Silver badge

    "During the G.FAST trials, researchers achieved downstream speeds of around 800Mbps over a 19m length of copper"

    Oh good. So they're going to fit new distribution boxes every 20 metres? If you're going to run fibre from the cabinet to within 20 metres of a property just take it to the damn door!

    The tech could be useful in very dense urban areas where there are relatively many customers within 66metres of each street cabinet, where squeezing those speeds out of existing copper is cheap and provides adequate bandwidth. But for the rest of suburbia and the country, just run the damn fibre already. We want it and thieves don't. It's the only realistic long term solution.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Oh good. So they're going to fit new distribution boxes every 20 metres? If you're going to run fibre from the cabinet to within 20 metres of a property just take it to the damn door!

      That's a nice idea but a lot of the cost is going to be dealing with those final few metres.

      I live in a fairly modern house and you could blow fibre through ducting all the way to the access panel in the pavement outside. Would be easy and pretty cheap. But to get it to my house you'd have to micro trench my driveway which is more costly because that run of cable is not in a duct. They can't just go around doing that everywhere (not everyone would give permission and anyway for a typical housing estate that could be a few thousand kilometres of micro trenching) so it becomes a bespoke installation cost. Then there's flats and offices where the fibre would terminate in the basement. Who pays to run the cables to each property?

      I'm not trying to be obstructionist, just a realist. Replacing the final few metres of cable from the property edge to current demarcation point is quite expensive and involved. It's likely a minefield that no-one wants to deal with until/unless they get a specific request from the property owner.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        " But to get it to my house you'd have to micro trench my driveway which is more costly because that run of cable is not in a duct. "

        Overhead fibre has been around for more than 20 years. It's just as ugly as overhead copper but less susceptable to lightning damage.

        1. AndrueC Silver badge

          Overhead fibre has been around for more than 20 years. It's just as ugly as overhead copper but less susceptable to lightning damage.

          There are no overhead wires of any kind on our estate (or indeed in most of the town). The council wouldn't give permission for them to suddenly appear and neither would I.

    2. JP19

      "Oh good. So they're going to fit new distribution boxes every 20 metres?"

      No. G.Fast is a descendant of VDSL which can go faster over short (up to 250m) cables, much the same as VDSL goes faster than ADSL over short cables.

      If they move to G.Fast in the cabinets a bunch of FTTC customers could get upwards of 200Mb and if they stick cabinets every 500m all of them could.

  6. Chris Miller

    Copper wires?

    Most domestic connections use truly nasty aluminium (yes, cousins, that is now the correct spelling). How will that fare at 1Gbps?

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Re: Copper wires?

      "Most"

      Citation required.

      1. Chris Miller

        Re: Copper wires?

        Talk to a BT engineer. I'll settle for 'many' if that makes you feel better.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: Copper wires?

          It does, it sounds a lot less misleading now :P

  7. Chris Priest

    What about considering your EO customers!

    I live for the day that they can actually deliver these kind of speeds on EO lines...

    I have a fibre cab outside my house, but my line terminates in the exchange, no super spangly fibre like speeds for me :(

    I know EO lines are the minority, but please don't forget us :)

    1. b166er

      Re: What about considering your EO customers!

      +1

      BT Openreach engineer said they will be putting a fibre cabinet in the grounds of the exchange for EO customers 'at some point'.

      Not holding my breath though. Our exchange serves 110 Residential premises and 8 non-residential.

      It can't go in the exchange for some reason. (perhaps because our exchange, WSARY, is the size of a single garage only narrower, no joke)

      I wish they would first fix the congestion issue here, though. I get 8Mbps (the maximum possible for this exchange), but it slows to a crawl at busy times.

      1. Martin-73 Silver badge

        Re: What about considering your EO customers!

        @B166er, that smaller than garage is the standard building the GPO used for UAX 12s back in the day, for handling upto 100 lines (including trunks) I expect it's pretty much empty now actually, given the size of modern kit

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What about considering your EO customers!

        "It can't go in the exchange for some reason"

        The crosstalk on VDSL would swamp the very low level signals coming back from all the other people's houses in the exchange. Your broadband would work great at the expense of everyone else connected to the exchange. That's why the kit needs to be in a cabinet where such interference can be managed.

  8. Jim 59

    Of course, the other group of people who love copper are thieves, who love nothing more than nicking cables to sell off to dodgy metal traders. Earlier this year, BT suffered a nationwide outage after thieves severed the telecoms giant's fibre cable in an effort to nick copper wiring.

    Metal thefts in the UK have dropped 95% in the last year, since the licenses were introduced for scrap metal dealers, and cash transactions outlawed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, the thieving bastards have all moved to France. If only a few more of them would try nicking rail cateneries while they're powered...

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        "Yeah, the thieving bastards have all moved to France."

        Most of 'em. the rest have figured out that they can take a van full of stolen copper to France and sell the scrap there.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yay

    Now all I need to do is move 2981 metres closer to the cabinet.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yawn....

    Given BT's track record, this will take many years to become reality and it wont benefit many of us who have longer lines than used in their optimal lab conditions.

    I was previously using BT Infinity's up to 76Mb FTTC service, but in reality I was only ever able to achieve anything from 28Mb to 42Mb download speed with the upload speed varying between 6Mb to 8Mb. It changed depending on how long it was since the last Openreach technician sorted out the regularly corroding joints and on weather conditions. Unfortunately I had a mostly aluminium line from somewhere between 500-600 meters in length with numerous joints, so there was no way I'd ever get the maximum 76Mb. Even with the new technology BT is looking at, I highly doubt it would help improve those in my situation. However, it is great news for those with a clean copper line with few joints, living very close to their Openreach fibre cabinet.

    The good news is, I am lucky enough to have an alternative option in the form of Virgin Media, who have provided a fresh new line to my home from their cabinet about 100m away.

    I suppose I'll have to wait until BT are able to provide FTTH before I can consider them again as a viable alternative in the future.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BT have claimed lots of things.

    F'insrtance:

    * BT has "better performance" for up to 16Mb customers than Sky or TalkTalk

    (from http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/12/04/asa_bt_bskyb/)

    * fibre optic Infinity already available throughout Manchester

    (from http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/11/13/bt_manchester_infinity_ad_slapped_by_asa/)

    * Oh, no, fewer people are complaining than ever before

    (From http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2013/03/12/Kelly_Fiveash_BT_engineers_missed_appointments/)

    * BT's "six-month free broadband"

    (From http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/2/2013/01/16/bt_asa_ruling_line_rental/)

    * No, we've never intercepted web traffic

    (from http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2013/01/16/bt_asa_ruling_line_rental/

    * No, we've never had anything to do with DPI

    (from http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2013/01/16/bt_asa_ruling_line_rental/

    * No, we'd never do something like impose behavioural advertising trial on our customers without asking them first.

    (from http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2013/01/16/bt_asa_ruling_line_rental/

    * No, it MUST be your PC

    (from http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2013/01/16/bt_asa_ruling_line_rental/

    * No, we're not scamming prices.

    (from http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2013/01/16/bt_asa_ruling_line_rental/

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Re: BT have claimed lots of things.

      I was tempted to downvote just for the re-use of the same reference for multiple comments, you could have grouped them :)

  12. frank ly Silver badge

    G.FAST technology

    Does the cable jacket have stripes on it? That always helps.

  13. Haku
    Coat

    I really wish they'd hurry up and offer us this gigabit internet speed

    On my 80mbit connection it takes literally minutes to download some things! It's just unacceptable!

    1. David Webb

      Re: I really wish they'd hurry up and offer us this gigabit internet speed

      Aye, and on my 330Mb connection it takes seconds, this is unacceptable, I want my porn to last minutes, not seconds :(

      On topic though..... the guy that installed my FTTP took several (5 or so) hours to get everything up and running (ONT near my PC, drilling holes, feeding cable, fiddling with the box etc.) but I'm in a flat, if it takes an hour to do a house, you can see that it is very time consuming for FTTP so being able to use the existing infrastructure is "a good thing".

      1. Andrew Jones 2

        Re: I really wish they'd hurry up and offer us this gigabit internet speed

        According to the thinkbroadband site I read yesterday, which has considerably more information about this - an average FTTH / FTTP install is around 7 hours - that's the reason BT are dragging their feet about it.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge
      Coat

      Re: I really wish they'd hurry up and offer us this gigabit internet speed

      At 80mbit, it will take 12 seconds to download each bit. Literally minutes might be enough to pull down a whole byte. The headers alone would take an hour or so for each packet.

      If you're within walking distance of the exchange, might I suggest you stroll down there each morning with a memory stick?

  14. nigel 15

    80% within 66m?

    I call BS. According to the BBC BT are claiming the 80% of households are within 66m of a fibre box.

    Drivel.

    1. Robert Sneddon

      Re: 80% within 66m?

      I live in a terraced flat in a city centre. A 66m (actually 200 feet in old money) radius from the fibre box near our front door would cover thirty or forty "households", many of them shared flats with four or five students or single folk all of whom hammer the internet day after day as well as shops, guest houses etc. That fibre box isn't the only one in our street, of course. Lots of people in the UK live in high-population-density areas like this.

      That 80% coverage figure by BT sounds about right and they've got the maps and infrastructure details to back up their claim. You've got, what, a feeling? Voices in your head? that makes you sure it's bullshit. I'll go with BT in this case.

    2. Bunbury

      Re: 80% within 66m?

      66m of the location in which this technology COULD be deployed but is not at present. They are not saying that everyone is within 66m of a fibre box right now.

    3. Andrew Jones 2

      Re: 80% within 66m?

      The BBC are incorrect -

      This new idea means that the fibre equipment will installed on your telephone pole (or the ground beneath it) - BT claim 80% of people are within 66m of their pole (or drop point - FTTdp)

    4. Martin-73 Silver badge

      Re: 80% within 66m?

      I suspect the BBC have confused the PCP (aka cabinet) with the DP which is where the G.Fast is coming from,. according to the article (A point which seems to have also confused MANY of the commentards) The DP is the telephone pole or manhole or (on terraced buildings/offices) the junction box that the lines aggregate at, usually then heading into a 20pr cable back to the cabinet.

  15. chipxtreme

    My previous property had FTTC and when I moved a couple months back to a town that has fibre and noticed a cabinet at the bottom of the street was looking forward to receiving it again. But no, turns out half the street is ran from that cabinet and the other half (my half) is ran from another cabinet, probably the only one in town that isn't fibre enabled.

    Been in touch with Digital Durham and I have to wait 18 months minimum before it will be upgraded. Needless to say i'm looking to move again can't live on 12mb/0.5mb after being used to 76mb/15mb

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      12Mb?

      Talk about human-rights abuse(!)

      Get a grip,

      #firstworldproblems.

  16. Tweetiepooh

    Question about FTTP

    If phone runs on this too how will life line services be provided - phone must still work in power cut? I don't have mobile so need home phone to work.

    1. Pypes

      Re: Question about FTTP

      I think most US FTTP installs come with a substantial UPS for just this eventuality, I assume BT will do something similar.

    2. Bunbury

      Re: Question about FTTP

      BT FTTP has a battery back-up unit, which will cover emergency services for an hour in the event of a power cut. Other FTTP operators may not do the same as they have no universal service obligation - but no doubt they'd be able to clarify if you asked them.

  17. StuBr

    When will BT wake up and bite the bullet ????

    Another research project to try and squeeze the last breath out of copper?

    They are going have to move to FTTP at some stage

    I am lucky in having Gigaclear installing FTTP in our village right now. Their technology uses conventional Gigabit Ethernet switching over single mode fibre. Proven technology and guaranteed performance over distance. Not years of research to get "near gigabit" to market, with a speed lottery depending on line quality and distance. What will the bandwidth requirements be then? I know that I won't need full gigabit symmetrical bandwidth when the Gigaclear service goes live next month, but it will future proof our village. BT/Openreach were faffing around with the BDUK subsidies and only proposing to upgrade the "easy" bits of their network which was all they could "afford". This would have left well over half of our village on ADSL. This was completely unacceptable to our community, which is why we campaigned for the FTTP solution.

    I am also extremely annoyed that Openreach were allowed by the ASA to use the marketing term "Fibre Optic Broadband", when it very clearly isn't, it's FTTC with the last bit over copper and it's the copper that determines the speed.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A polished turd

    More crappy OFDM wideband crud unleashed, taking the stupidity and unpredictable bandwidth of DSL for the high VHF/UHF spectrum where it will most likely be as efficient as a one-legged man at an arse kicking competition.

    Why don't the bozo's that dream up with this kind of badly conceived junk take up knitting instead?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A polished turd

      A technology that was once considered to be able to achieve 56K max can now get 24Mb and higher?

      These 'bozos' are probably 1,000 times smarter than you, and their 'badly conceived junk' 1,000 times cleverer than any bullshit you could cook up.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A polished turd

        Firstly, if you want to make a comment about someone's intelligence, then it's a good idea not to hoist yourself by your own petard. Kilo is written using a lower-case k rather than an upper-case k.

        If you make a statement, then it is quite a good idea to put it into context. "A technology that was once considered to be able to achieve 56K max can now get 24Mb and higher?" Are you referring to DSL?, OFDM? Why do you end a statement with a question mark? Are you Australian?

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: A polished turd

          The context was quite obviously "What can you get down the existing phone line, by whatever means you like?" and it is indeed the case that the answer to that question 20 years ago was 56k and is now nearly three orders of magnitude higher. Obviously the means have changed, but equally obviously the original question deemed that irrelevant. (That's your "man in the street" perspective versus your "El Reg reader" perspective at work.)

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

  19. xeroks

    That's all very nice

    What's the chances of them trialling it on my cabinet - it must be one of the few left still on copper.

    OK, they've promised it'll be upgraded in the near future, but they've been saying that for 2 years now.

    1. Andrew Jones 2

      Re: That's all very nice

      Well.....

      you're closer than those of us who have an exchange without a date - that has never had a date......

  20. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    "What's the chances of them trialling it on my cabinet - it must be one of the few left still on copper."

    ... we've still got a dstp/wstp system (damp string to the pole/wet string to the premises). Sometimes the joint leaks and the feed dries up ... at least I think that's what Mr Openreach said ...

  21. Roger Garner
    Facepalm

    Distance from cabinet vs cable pathing...

    The green cabinet for my house is the other side of the road. Except to get to my house the cable has to go into the pavement, right by about 6 meters, then up a pole (5...6m?), diagonally across the road (probably close to 10m), then another 15m or so as it travels over my garden and down the side of my house into my lounge.

    Straight line I might only be 12-15m away from the cabinet but the route is probably closer to 40m...

    So how many properties would REALLY be within 66m of a cabinet?

    ---

    On the FTTP / newbuilds... my Dad lives in an estate built in the late 90s. They had fibre installed by the developer as a trial, alongside standard BT copper. The trial never happened however and BT have been using the copper ever since... you can still only get FTTC and not FTTP despite their being fibre to each house on the estate... its simply not connected to anything. *rolleyes*

    1. Martin-73 Silver badge

      Re: Distance from cabinet vs cable pathing...

      So by your own admission you're 25m (10m+15m) from the DP, which is where the fibre will end up (FTTDP remember!), the cabinet's location has bugger all to do with FTTDP, you're thinking of FTTC

  22. Steve Barnett
    Facepalm

    Aluminium Cables

    Well out here in Cambridge I was told by Engineer coming to fix my line yet again so I could finally achieve 1.9mb, yes - we'll have FTTC here by Christmas but you have Aluminium cables and that means you'll still struggle to get a decent connection - oh happy day....

  23. AsherGoldbergstein
    Facepalm

    "Currently, most of BT's customers are supplied by Fibre to the Premises (FTTP)"

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