back to article Openreach ups investment plans: Will shoot out full fibre to 3 million premises

BT's Openreach has unveiled plans to connect three million premises to full fibre by 2020, up 50 per cent on its previous goal. Under the "Fibre First" programme, the semi-hived off division of the former UK state monopoly will hire 3,000 engineers to deploy it to eight major British cities, including London, Birmingham and …

  1. Mike Shepherd
    Meh

    "totalling billions over time"

    ...just like the harmonic series, some time after the sun goes out.

    1. Oh Homer Silver badge
      Unhappy

      I used to get excited...

      Reading headlines like these.

      The novelty wore off once I realised that the targets set by the original Duke Nukem Forever development team were probably more realistic.

      Take my house, for example. No please, take it! To describe it as a burned out bothie hurriedly patched with wadding would be generous. And the location ... I saw a car once. I think it was red.

      Openreach rolling out fibre to my mud hut, in the middle of that abyss which couriers only slightly obtusely refer to as "the Highlands", would be like the Egyptian Pharaohs rolling out pyramids to the middle of the Amazon jungle via the South Pole, but with less manpower and far less motivation.

      There's a website, run but the Scottish government, hilariously called "Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband", which supposedly tells you when you can expect to be "super fasted" by Openreach, more or less.

      Well, actually, a lot less. Less and less each day, in fact. The initial estimate for my tin shack in the wilderness was last June. When last June came and went it was revised to last December. Openreach's Christmas present to me was the news that they'd moved the goalposts yet again, to next June.

      I think I see a pattern. No, actually it's just a rage-induced phosphene. I'm off to the pub to get "super fasted" on cheep booze and free Wi-Fi. Fire up the satphone and call me a helicopter!

      1. bsdnazz

        Re: I used to get excited...

        Our Scottish shed is on an EO line connected to the Struan Exchange along with about 110 others.

        We're still on ADSL2 - no Plus for us and Openreach When and Where are still exploring options. No fibre journey for us.

        The North Skye Broadband has struggled to get a community fibre partnership funded.

        It's galling to know that the fibre that supplies the Dunvegan exchange with FTTC goes right past the Struan exchange.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I used to get excited...

        I'm off to the pub to get "super fasted" on cheep booze

        I thought that First Minister WJ Krankie had put an end to the joys of cheap booze? Or has that yet to go through?

      3. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        Re: I used to get excited...

        Certainly sir, you're a helicopter.

        From long and bitter personal experience, you just have to keep bugging them. We had the same problems in rural Wales, timetable given and then delayed, time after time. I complained to our AM and Council, and managed (somehow) to get the email address for the boss of Openreach in Wales. After a whinge about incompetent project management he actually phoned me personally to explain. Problems still continued, so regular emails to bug him and after about three years it finally worked and I now have FTTP.

        Hang in there brother!

  2. Disgruntled of TW
    Thumb Up

    Snail pace ...

    But the penny is dropping. Everything the FTTH community has been saying for decades is now coming true, in still frame time lapse motion to give the impression the government and BT were right all along.

    The economical damage done to UK Plc by being next to last on full fibre adoption will be felt by the next generation.

    But it is now happening, albeit slowly. It would be much faster if the government had supported initiatives like B4RN instead of BDUK.

  3. Gavin Chester

    Still does not solve all the Ali Wires issues...

    A lot of the slow areas suffer from the decision back in the 70s when they used "white copper" (ia Copper clad Ali) as it was cheaper. The wiring has since been been cut, snapped, rejoined, flooded, dried and generally abused over its life and generally has not aged well, it really needs to be replaced.

    Unless they string fibre to the premises rather than to the cabinet many areas will still have issues due to the last few hundred meters of wire. And let me guess these areas will be stuck on what they have due to costs.

    1. iron Silver badge

      Re: Still does not solve all the Ali Wires issues...

      READ THE FUCKING ARTICLE YOU NUMPTY!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Still does not solve all the Ali Wires issues...

        I did, it was something about Norway I think.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Still does not solve all the Ali Wires issues...

          >I did, it was something about Norway I think.

          Nah. Belgium.

      2. Gavin Chester

        Re: Still does not solve all the Ali Wires issues...

        I Did.

        The UK has around 25 million households, this will target about 12% of the UK, and be focused on places where its cheap such as big metropolitan centers that are usually already well served. It does nothing for the rural and semi rural places that often have no choice than ADSL.

        And remember this is OpenReach, they will say one thing then do another when they work out the costs, its not like they don't they have prior form for missing broadband targets after soaking up boatload of government and EU funding.

        1. Martin an gof Silver badge

          Re: Still does not solve all the Ali Wires issues...

          I think Gavin perhaps could have phrased his point better - this initial roll-out is going to target areas that are already (mostly) served well by FTTC or by other cable providers. Some parts of the country are struggling to get reliable ADSL, let alone any of the three or four later generations in the technology that have come in the last 15-odd years.

          Those areas would benefit from FTTP, or simply from replacing all the ancient copper / white copper with something even fractionally newer.

          Even the "97% by 2020" target - which I assume is mostly going to be FTTC rather than FTTP - hides the fact that the final 3% will likely never get a significant upgrade.

          The one positive from this is that there are some parts of London that are on woeful ADSL lines because of the rather odd way the cabinets and exchanges are connected, that will likely suddenly be on fantastic fibre.

          But I'm not in London.

          Oh, and I'm not sure I'd appreciate being forced to pay £7 a month (or more) extra for a service that would only really be of marginal extra benefit to me...

          M.

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: Still does not solve all the Ali Wires issues...

            Re: " this initial roll-out is going to target areas that are already (mostly) served well by FTTC or by other cable providers. Some parts of the country are struggling to get reliable ADSL"

            But you are missing the commercial reality and politics.

            Firstly, if I've understood the BT press release correctly, BT are effectively asking Ofcom to okay BT's abandonment of copper-to-the-premise, initially in some 'key' areas. Given it is Ofcom who are the guardians of the POTS USO, it is up to Ofcom to accept the world has moved on.

            Secondly, deploying fibre to every premise in an area is going to cost £bn's... So naturally, going for areas of high subscriber density increases the likelihood of early revenues from the investment. Also, Ofcom's backing means that BT can turn round to its customers (eg. Sky and TalkTalk) and force them to both accept the service upgrade and demand payment for it, from the moment the service has been upgraded not at some later date.

            Thirdly, with BDUK and related initiatives, there are likely to be other funding pots and initiatives that will help fund the 'rural' upgrade, including a degree of cross-subsidy from the urban deployments to the rural deployments.

            So once again BT has placed the ball firmly in Ofcoms court, the question is will they play it or once again duck and make excuses?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Still does not solve all the Ali Wires issues...

      That must be a record, many people read the headline, maybe the subheading, THEN rant, OP didn't even get that far.

    3. Phil W

      Re: Still does not solve all the Ali Wires issues...

      @Gavin Chester

      AAAARRRRRGGGHHHH!

      That is all.

    4. phuzz Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Still does not solve all the Ali Wires issues...

      Not to mention, referring to Aluminium as "Ali".

      If you can't be bothered to spell out the whole word, just call it Al, the international fucking abbreviation for the metal, or possibly "alu" which at least sounds like the start of the word. Otherwise you sound like a halfwit or an Australian.

      (Not hating on aussies, we know you all have a medical condition, possibly from the heat or your 'beer', which makes you ad -ie or -o to the end of every word.)

  4. Adam Jarvis

    Clive Shelley, "fibre first" - more ambiguity?

    Clive Shelley, "fibre first" - more ambiguity?

    Let's drop the copper-based "up to", and when stating "fibre", distinguish between "pure fibre optic" and "copper to the premises" fibre.

    Why not just admit bamboozled, obfuscated "up to" copper carcass Broadband has had its day in terms of new rollouts, that copper-based Pointless G.fast has such a small usage footprint/cab capacity (and is a can of worms to fault find/maintain), that even being generous it will never deliver "up to" ultrafast 100Mbps broadband to homes with copper/alu lines of 500m or more / (250m as the crow flies). <350m/175m - with good cabling is more the ballpark figure. For the effort involved, can Openreach finally admit G.fast is pointless.

    G.fast based broadband is snake oil by any other name, and the UK Gov shouldn't accept it, or pay anything towards its rollout (NI as an example).

    Wales Superfast Cymru project has shown BT contractors can install pure fibre optic cables from telegraph poles in rural areas and it can be done quickly/efficiently once BT completes the planning stage.

    BT were slow to start, delays upon delays, but by the end of 2017, progress was being made and the eye-level green fibre optic splitter boxes are proof it can be done.

    Pure fibre optic/green splitter boxes should always be the first choice for rollout for Openreach from now on.

    Why not charge between the Pole and the premises per metre for pure fibre installation, level the field at the telegraph pole between pure fibre and G.fast?

  5. Streaker1506

    Former Monopoly...

    FFS El Reg. 35 years ago?

    S

    1. peterm3
      FAIL

      Re: Former Monopoly...

      As I BT shareholder, I can confirm it is not a monopoly. My shares have lost 42% of their value in the past couple of years!

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. LOL123

      Re: History of fibre optics.

      >> That drop in intensity is worse than starting with the mass of the whole universe and ending up with one atom.

      Hmm, this I think is a hyperbole..

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: History of fibre optics.

        "That drop in intensity is worse than starting with the mass of the whole universe and ending up with one atom.

        Hmm, this I think is a hyperbole.."

        I thought it was a homeopathist. Could it be both?

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    Rural Vs Urban

    Going by Openreaches figures, it could be better value in the long run for Openreach to hit the rural areas first with fibre if copper is such a ball ache to support.

    1. DontFeedTheTrolls
      Unhappy

      Re: Rural Vs Urban

      Or you just don't bother rushing to fix those broken rural connections...

    2. theblackhand

      Re: Rural Vs Urban

      The challenge with rural vs urban is that your fibre costs for trenching/thrusting over long distances are significant and your existing ducts are unlikely to be usable (i.e. they are small, travel long distances and have likely moved since installation due to weather/other ground work).

      If you're delivering a 10 miles of fibre at 1/house per mile, the additional £70/month of revenue may have a long payback...

      Compare that to London where you have around 50/houses per mile and maybe even existing ducting for the majority of the route (i.e. just needing a route from the footpath into the property) and your cost model is significantly different.

      Over time, rural areas will get picked up as part of either major roadwork or other incentives but all the initiatives around fibre so far have assumed customer revenue will cover the majority of the costs.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Rural Vs Urban

        That is why you can use posts in rural areas.

        What is very annoying is that many experts that had no bacon in it said very clearly that fiber to the cabinet was a bad idea, no cheaper than FTTH, required more maintenance, and well, just worse.

        Now, years later, they seem to "see the light", but only after most of the expense on FFTC has already been done.

        I dont know if they are incompetent, have slow reactions or just want to line their pockets with neverending works.

        Anon, as I would not mind going back into that industry at some point.

      2. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Rural Vs Urban

        There are some new options. Microtrenching is cheaper, faster than conventional one. Also, fiber can be deployed in different ducts - including electrical one and even sewer systems, being immune to electrical interference, and far more resistant to corrosion. In very sparse areas is still to expensive, but it allows to cable beyond very dense ones at lower costs.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Rural Vs Urban

          "There are some new options. Microtrenching is cheaper, faster than conventional one. Also, fiber can be deployed in different ducts - including electrical one and even sewer systems, being immune to electrical interference, and far more resistant to corrosion. "

          Are you now, or have you ever been, familiar with the words of the former comedy ISP "Fibrecity" (now known as CityFibre, run by many of the same names)(or is it the other way round)? Your usage of 'fiber' maybe means you're not from these parts, but anyway...

          These were some of their arguments, back in the day. But they made little sense back then, and make no more sense now.

          For example, microtrenching might be significantly cheaper for the *first* company to do it on any given route. But for every trench/duct/cable that follows, where there are already significant numbers of premises connections, microtrenching isn't that brilliant. Just look at anywhere that's been microtrenched for/by Virgin Cable in recent decades. [edit: and, when you look into the detail behind this BT Openreach press release, the areas likely to benefit from this press release are those areas where BT Wholesale used to offer "low cost rebates" to ISPs, ie easy to serve areas where LLU and cable were easy to deploy).

          Fibre-in-the-sewer is where FibreCity marketing department started life iirc, and afaik is still used in a few places such as industrial estates and business parks, but the cost per connect in reasonable density residential areas just makes it prohibitive.

          The economics of maintaining FTTP vs maintaining copper are where this proposal *might* be attractive to Openreach. But right now, parts of BigBT seem to think that fault repairs aren't included in what the customer pays, and therefore can be added on as an extra cost. Nice little earner, that.

          1. LDS Silver badge

            "and make no more sense now."

            Are you sure? It's exactly how Open Fiber is deploying FTTH in Italy, in "market failures" areas. Being an offspring of the an electrical company, it's cabling using its existing ducts, poles, and microtrenching when needed. It will mean 90% coverage with FTTH - very sparse houses will get radio connections.

            Thanks to that I'll get FTTH this spring (works are already under way) - keep on thinking "it makes no sense".

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "and make no more sense now."

              "Being an offspring of the an electrical company, it's cabling using its existing ducts, poles, and microtrenching when needed. It will mean 90% coverage with FTTH - very sparse houses will get radio connections."

              Yes but that's joined up thinking, and it requires a little bit of investment, and it's not in the UK. In the UK our privatised utilities mostly don't appear to understand concepts like joined up thinking or investment.

              Mind you, with sensible creative competition like you mention, it's no wonder that this time last year BT had to admit that they'd got their financial fingers *seriously* burnt in Italy::

              https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/01/24/bt_to_writeoff_530m_due_to_italian_accounting_scandal/

              Ciao.

              1. LDS Silver badge

                "last year BT had to admit that they'd got their financial fingers *seriously* burnt in Italy"

                Sure, it looks BT upper management was utterly incapable of hiring the right people in the first place, and then monitoring them. Or maybe it was looking for "well-connected" ones in hope to quickly grow the business - just the business growth was at the company expense. It's no surprise that one of the alleged culprits, Stefania Truzzoli, was also in the board of Monte dei Paschi - the bank that went almost bankrupt after accounting scandals before being saved.

                In Italy the utilities have been privatized as well. The ex incumbent, TIM, the equivalent of BT, and even worse, because it still owns the network, was dragging its feet in deploying fiber. To speed up things, the investment for "market failure areas" where put under a bid open to other companies.

                To TIM consternation, Open Fiber won proposing FTTH to 90% of the population (exceeding the bid requirements) at a lower price, exactly with an aggressive deploy plan using the current infrastructure, which already reaches any house.

                But regardless of who is doing it, I wanted to pointed out that it can be done. Sure, if you have to build a physical fiber infrastructure from scratch it can be very expensive. If you are smart enough to reuse part of an existing infrastructure that is compatible with fiber which can be deployed where copper can't, it becomes cheaper and far more feasible. Telcos aren't keen on replacing the actual network with a new one, and will try to milk it as long as they can. You need to force them to think, and act, differently. Otherwise you'll have 100Mb when other will be deploying 10Gb - which is already feasible even with some GPON standards on existing fiber.

        2. Da Weezil

          Re: Rural Vs Urban

          The problem is that many "really" rural hamlets are not connected to any sewage system bar a septic tank in thier own garden. These same areas are usually fed by overhead power lines, some of which still have street lamps bolted to the same poles. I knwo from dealing with Openjoke engineers at my workplace that there are issues with Fibre lines and power poles so I"d guess that any proximity to power is likely to have issues for fibre trunk lines.

          Of course sooner or later some troll will pop up claiming that slow connections is a price worth paying for living in a rural Idyll, Our "rural paradise" contains 2 LNG terminals supplying roughly one third of the whole UK gas consumprion, The same "hamlets" enjoyed months of noise and upheaval while huge pipes were laid to the national grid, both of the villages that sit in the shadow of these former oil refinery sites have never enjoyed mains gas along with many more along the pipeline route. and despite fibre running to the neighbouring gas sites, they had to wait till very recently for Superfarce Cymru to reach them.

          Heres a thought, maybe its time we had tiered charging reductions to reflect the disadavantage of what is in effect obsolete technology (ie copper). for many years, my line has had issues causing drops and is at the mid range of "impacted" estimates. Openjoke engineers say they cant move me to another pair as there are "none spare suitable for broadband" and that the Local cable really needs replacing - which wont be done unless there is a major failure. So rather than fleecing customers (via the retail chain) for what is afer all a very neccessary and overdue update to the supply network, shouldnt Openjoke be billing lines which dont perform as well as they should at a lower rate - to reflect the lower level of service?

          Rural we may be, but we punch well above our weight in economic (Contributions to GDP) terms.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "are issues with Fibre lines and power poles"

            Please, explain what are those issues, especially with passive optical networks. Because I guess they could open new fields in Physics... if true. Unless they are not technical issues, but only commercial or legal ones.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    With FTTP you get the speed it says on the tin, none of this upto shit which BT foisted on us with FTTC that drops connections, mysteriously increases your interleave or reduces your speed when a mouse farts in Australia.

    BT is the problem, not the solution.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. LDS Silver badge

        "Passive optical networks still share a single fibre"

        Well, every network at some point shares a single backbone, and the traffic is "aggregated" inside a single cable and needs to share the available bandwidth.

        The difference with passive optical splitters actually is that it's akin to a "hub" instead of a "switch" - the final endpoint gets all the traffic sent to each and every connected node (it's encrypted, anyway), and then processes only those packets addressed to it, discarding everything else.

        To transmit, it needs to do it in bursts when signaled it can do it. Thereby even the "final mile" bandwidth is shared - it's up to the provider to decide how many "channels" shares the bandwidth, and thereby how much performance can degrade is all nodes are doing heavy traffic.

        This is of course far from exploiting the full fiber capability, but it's being deployed because it's way cheaper than active optical switches, and also this technology don't need power to operate. It still does allow for higher speed than VDSL at longer ranges - and can be improved replacing the passive equipment in the future, without any need to replace the cables.

    2. Martin an gof Silver badge

      With FTTP you get the speed it says on the tin

      Except, of course, that for anything domestic there will at some point be an aggregation of connections, which inevitably means contention. Imagine a rural exchange with perhaps a thousand subscribers, each of them on (say) a 100Mbps fibre connection (which I believe is at the low end of what FTTP is promising). Is that exchange really going to have a 100Gbps pipe to t'interwebs?

      FTTP may be logically simpler, theoretically more capable and practically more robust, but it still allows the marketing droids to use "up to" sales techniques that can't actually be delivered in the real world.

      M.

      1. HighTension

        There is a difference - at least with FTTP you have the chance of reaching full speed. With copper if you're too far away you'll have to suffer with your 500k down and 50 up (if you're lucky and it's not raining).

  9. Joe Harrison Silver badge

    Europe does it differently

    ISPs in some countries say we will bring fibre to your premises if we can. If not you can gave a short-range radio link to our nearest fibre cabinet. You end up with something that looks a bit like a satellite dish on the side of your house, except it points parallel with the ground rather than up in the sky. For those of us on crappy wires and not in cities I can't really see another way.

  10. jonathan keith

    FTTP

    It should be law that all new-build developments must have FTTP.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: FTTP

      Yep and Solar Panels and EV Charging points but these are all just pie in the sky so won't happen.

      1. jonathan keith

        Re: FTTP

        They certainly won't with that attitude, Steve.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: FTTP

          Adding FTTP to new builds would barely cost any more than installing the traditional copper which would otherwise have to be installed anyway. This isn't pie in the sky.

          Adding an EV charge point would add a modest extra cost to the development for the extra supply point hardware. Based on existing market penetration of electric cars, this extra cost would be wasted in the majority of households. So it's possible, just expensive.

          Solar PV on every new build would add thousands to the build cost of every property. This really is pie in the sky.

          1. Da Weezil

            Re: FTTP

            "Solar PV on every new build would add thousands to the build cost of every property. This really is pie in the sky."

            ....and yet our local housing association has been doing that exactly that with all new builds it commissions for around 10 years now, it may not be a huge number of places in the overall scheme of things, but its certainly appreciated by the tenants of the new H.A properties.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: FTTP

              "....and yet our local housing association has been doing that exactly that with all new builds it commissions for around 10 years now, it may not be a huge number of places in the overall scheme of things, but its certainly appreciated by the tenants of the new H.A properties."

              Fair enough, but if they hadn't done that, they could have built more properties. I can see why existing tenants might like the status quo, but I doubt people on the HA waiting list are quite as enthused.

              FTTP should be much less of an ask as you're building out the fibre network to the new properties instead of the copper one. That said, investment needs to be made to establish the fibre network for an area in the first place - and that's going to be the real sticking point in a lot of places. This is why OpenReach would fight tooth and nail against any suggestion to make FTTP mandatory for new builds. They only build for the future where they feel they need to shaft competing infrastructure company rollouts.

              1. Da Weezil

                Re: FTTP

                Doubtful they could have built more - the issue here is the land available here falls into 2 categories, the stuff with no view not considered to be suitable for premium housing or developers dream - suitable for executive housing with stunning views.

                The shafting of people on ordinary incomes by developers building less than affordible housing isnt just an urban problem. Its part of the modern cancer. This town is becoming a rich incomers /retirement ghetto while the local development plan doesnt allow enough land for local people to get affordible housing

          2. Commswonk Silver badge

            Re: FTTP

            @ AC: Adding FTTP to new builds would barely cost any more than installing the traditional copper which would otherwise have to be installed anyway. This isn't pie in the sky.

            Broadly true, although additional plant would be needed within exchanges to manage the Telephony traffic

            Adding an EV charge point would add a modest extra cost to the development for the extra supply point hardware. Based on existing market penetration of electric cars, this extra cost would be wasted in the majority of households. So it's possible, just expensive.

            The cost would be way more than "modest" because it isn't just the additional hardware of a charge point; it's the additional cost of much heavier cabling back to the substation, and a bigger substation, and so on*. That is unless you are going to mandate "trickle charging only".

            So it's possible, just very expensive.

            * Ultimately right back to greatly increased generating capacity, which at the moment we have not got. (To paraphrase Henry Reed)

            1. Martin an gof Silver badge

              Re: FTTP

              The cost would be way more than "modest" because it isn't just the additional hardware of a charge point; it's the additional cost of much heavier cabling back to the substation, and a bigger substation, and so on*. That is unless you are going to mandate "trickle charging only".

              Not necessarily. Think about it this way, the standard "diversity" calculations already allow for electric showers and electric cookers and some amount of electric heating. A shower will be fused at 40A or 50A and a cooker will have 32A. A 32A ring final circuit has a floor area limit of 100m2 precisely because it was originally intended to be able to run portable space heaters. Granted these are all either thermostatically-controlled or short-term loads

              Most modern properties on most modern developments will have mains gas and so are likely to have gas cookers and probably thermostatic showers run from the hot water cylinder or a combi boiler. Add these savings to the fact that many fewer people now heat their homes - even partly - by electricity or heat their water electrically, partly because of the simple fact that kW for kW gas is still about a quarter the price of electricity, and you could easily accommodate a 32A "fast" charge point - especially if "smart" - on the existing infrastructure.

              M.

              1. meadowlark

                Re: FTTP

                I used to work for BT and helped on a few change-overs from the old electro-mechanical telephone exchanges (e.g. Strowger/Crossbar) to the new digital ones (e.g. System X and System Y). This would have been the mid to late 1980's.

                Early one morning, myself and others were down in the basement of a very large city centre exchange waiting for the signal to pull the pegs to disconnect the old, and bring customers onto the new all singing, all dancing, digital telephone exchange upstairs.

                I was looking down to where the old underground cables came into the building, and the incompatibility struck me. The cables going to the customers, 95% of whom were business ones, were the original early thirties lead covered type, with copper pairs covered with paper insulation.

                True, fibre optics and broadband were in their infancy but to me, it seemed that only half of the job had been done. A fortune had been spent developing digital telephone exchanges, but not much on the external cable network. It could have been done relatively cheaper back then to replace the lot.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              "additional plant would be needed within exchanges to manage the Telephony traffic"

              When you get FTTC/FTTH - and in many places, even when you get ADSL2+ -, often the phone traffic is moved to VoIP. (it becomes already VoIP anyway somewhere). The old telephone line is disabled, especially when the operator would need to deploy its own local telephone infrastructure along the IP one.

              The router have specific ports to connect your POTS phones and convert them to VoIP traffic. Some have built-in DECT base stations as well.

              The downside is a power failure would leave you without fixed phones, unless you run an UPS to power the router.

              1. Martin an gof Silver badge

                Re: "additional plant would be needed within exchanges to manage the Telephony traffic"

                When you get FTTC/FTTH - and in many places, even when you get ADSL2+ -, often the phone traffic is moved to VoIP

                Dunno where you live, but that's not what happens for FTTC around here. Around here they install a second street cabinet next to the original one. The second cabinet terminates the fibre and produces the VDSL signal, which is then "jumpered" across to the original cabinet and on to your phone line. Thus you still have a direct copper connection back to the exchange for POTS, so you can keep your line-powered devices and even if the whole area suffers a power cut, so long as the exchange stays up, so should your phone.

                The FTTC cabinets I've seen also have a local UPS, so the VDSL should stay running too, so long as the power outage isn't too long, and the engineer I once spoke to said that the batteries are easily swappable and in a real emergency they actually have a procedure for replacing flat batteries with spare fresh ones.

                M.

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. Mike Scott 1

    So are they saying that money that was originally earmarked to provide fibre infrastructure in rural areas, is now going to be used to provide better fibre connections to urban dwellers that already have it? Are those not in the 95% about to be forgotten about altogether?

  12. adam payne Silver badge

    Beginning of the end for copper?

    No certainly not, just a olive branch to get some people off their back.

  13. psychonaut

    a ha ha ha haaaaa!

    oh my chinny chin chin chinny

  14. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
    Unhappy

    No fibre for me

    Up here in the land of wind-farm and tidal gold-rush everybody and their dog wants to make a buck. The problem is that the interconnect is already running at full capacity. So a new sub-sea cable is needed but nobody wants to pay for it. In fact they want the consumer to pay for it and all the pylons etc. The local public were invited to a presentation of how our landscape will look like with all this clutter installed.

    I asked them if they planned to add fibre to the interconnect and this was the reply:

    "We will have some fibre for our own systems control but if we add fibre for telecommunications we have to register as a provider*."

    Of course the bureaucracy would add years of delay so it won't get done. End result, a £20 million cable with no broadband facility. No joined-up thinking here in the UK :(

    *I can't remember the exact term used.

  15. AndrueC Silver badge
    Alert

    Other CPs are already in some of those cities. I do hope they aren't going overlay their own fibre. Please, for pities sake Ofcom, get them working together to build one physical network.

  16. FlossyThePig

    FoD (not FUD)

    According to the BT broadband checker I can get "FTTP on Demand" so I investigated what it was and how much. I don't have the figures to hand but installation was over £6k and as it isn't available from your ordinary ISP the monthly fee was also effing X.

    I'll stick with my FTTC 8Mbps for now.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: FoD (not FUD)

      The cost of FTTPoD is going to change significantly this month. It doesn't look like it'll save much money but is supposed to make it a lot more attractive for groups of people to order together (or for a CP to order for multiple people in the same area) to spread the cost.

  17. Haku

    Openreach's "ultrafast" broadband means 100 megabits.

    Does that mean those who are already on Virgin's 300 megabit connections are on "ludicrus" speed?

    And the lucky few on the planet with 1 gigabit connections are on "I've told you a million times not to exaggerate" speed?

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Openreach's "ultrafast" broadband means 100 megabits.

      ..no it doesn't.

      "Ultrafast is the collective name for fibre technologies that enable connection speeds of over 100Mbps.

      We’re piloting and delivering Ultrafast in two ways;"

      And the article goes on to talk about up to 330Mb/s and up to 1Gb/s. In any case this whole 'super, 'ultra', 'hyper' stuff is just marketing idiocy with very little agreement from anyone what any of the terms mean.

  18. deanb01

    A press release designed to impress investors...

    ...Still waiting for them to enable our cabinet for FTTC. Only been waiting 3 years. Suspect we'll get passed over for FTTH for the same reasons - it costs to dig trenches.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    EV Charge points and New Build Houses

    Modern houses have cables capable of at least 50A and often 100A on their incoming supply.

    Running Type 2 Chargers (up to 7KWh) off that supply is a no brainer. It works.

    I looked into this when investigating the pro's and con's of getting an EV.

    1. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: EV Charge points and New Build Houses

      Modern houses have cables capable of at least 50A and often 100A on their incoming supply.

      Never seen 50A here (South Wales), the standard "main cutouts" were 40A (in the very old days, but I have met a few still in use), 60A (quite common), 80A (less common) and 100A (almost ubiquitous since the 1990s). As I explained a minute ago (having not seen your post), the cabling in most urban areas was designed (using "diversity" calculations) to enable a lot of electrical heating appliances, for cooking, washing, space heating etc., but most people these days use gas and also have more efficient electrical appliances, for example lighting. Therefore, even though EV charging is not a diversifiable (if that's a word) load (because it is a long-term continuous full-rate use), the system should still easily be able to cope with a 32A outlet (approx 7kW) per house I'd have thought, particularly if the chargers were in any way "smart".

      M.

  20. JaitcH
    WTF?

    More Tosh: "Fibre costs in cities have been pegged at around £300 to £400 per household . . .

    but he said costs in rural areas are "massively more expensive"

    Why, I ask?

    Perhaps it is because Openreach has adopted BTs over-engineered cable practices. Fibre optic cable (from China) is very economic, as are the distribution cabinets, etc.

    I have a weekend retreat some 70 kilometres from the nearest town of a size, on a minor provincial highway in DakLak Province. The plan for fibre was announced by billboards along the route so we all kept an eye out for the great event.

    First we observed survey teams, armed with laser tools and erecting high resolution GPD equipment, carefully surveying the route took about 6 weeks. Then silence.

    Without much hoopla massive cable carrying trucks obstructed the road, preceding the cable laying ploughs that operated 24/7 burying the conduit that had been filled with the fibre cable. This route has small hamlets and villages along its length and the spurs (and associated junction boxes) were positioned easily as there was slack designed in - and simply buried in the ground.

    The only delays were incurred when one cable truck ran out of supplies and another moved in - requiring splicing.

    Four months later it was finished. One hundred megabyte feeds to one and all.

    I have observed fibre optic cable installation in Toronto - down the centre of major roads using pavement cutting ploughs. In Ho Chi Minh City/SaiGon economies are achieved by telcos and cable companies share the cost of installation and having detailed maps of underground infrastructure. Because there are hundreds of bridges in the city they had to install conduits and then pull cable.

    Perhaps if Openreach used modern techniques and sub-contracting instead of hiring thousands of 'engineers', they could reduce the excessive £300 to £400 per household costs.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More Tosh: "Fibre costs in cities have been pegged at around £300 to £400 per household . . .

      " he said costs in rural areas are "massively more expensive"

      Why, I ask?"

      Maybe it's not *actually* the installation costs he's thinking of, maybe it's the maintenance costs, due to the incompetent way in which BT Openreach and BT Wholesale have (still not) implemented a cost effective fault prediction and repair strategy, but simply pass their ridiculous costs onto their customers instead, which leads to BT looking a bit,,, well, uncompetitive, as usual.

      E.g. a site I used to visit had 30+ separate broadband+voice customers in one building, with a mixture of ADSL and VDSL/.FTTC. The relevant FTTC cab had a fault which meant customers cnnected via that card could choose *either* working voice *or* working broadband, but not both. The smarter OpenReach technicians worked out that this was a fault on the (one and only) line card, and could not be fixed till the line card was swapped (which eventually took weeks, not days),.

      Despite that, Openreach kept pointlessly sending engineers to visit customer site for faults on the affected cab, for faults that the Openreach folk *knew* wouldn't be fixable by site visit (but they weren't allowed to admit that, because "the system" says that a fault must be investigated?, On one particular occasion I saw three Openrach folk s on the 30line site at the same time, all "investigating" problems caused by a faulty line card. Utter waste of time and money, much like most of BT management.

      Once upon a time that site might have been an opportunity for someone like Hyperoptic or Gigaclear, much the same as once upon a time there was allegedly room in the market for "community broadband" providers. Then along came BDUK and BT took all the dosh. Now along comes BT again and they'll again do their best to make sure the independents don't have much of a chance.

      First against the wall when the revolution comes.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Picking the low hanging fruit?

    FTTP in built up areas is comparatively easy and since we presently have FTTC achieving high speed is unnecessary and an extra expense to the customers for little gain.

    I think I would like to see a fibre network that reaches all communities first, take it to cabinets - then from the cabinets use what fits best for the end connection Copper, FTTP, microwave, etc.

    On new builds, let's have a comms duct installed to a cabinet location by the builder - so fibre can be Blown in, whatever.

    On the cost of solar panels on new builds, if they all had it, costs would fall.

    1. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: Picking the low hanging fruit?

      I think I would like to see a fibre network that reaches all communities first,

      Absolutely. If there's money available, why use it to upgrade places that already receive acceptable (though I suppose you have to define that) speeds? Use it to reach that last 3% or 5% that are still languishing with barely-connecting ADSL or dial-up but which are commercially "uneconomic" to connect. I think we are past the point where a decent internet connection is a lifestyle choice, and well on the way to it being a modern necessity, like electricity and clean water.

      On the cost of solar panels on new builds, if they all had it, costs would fall.

      There may be some more price falls possible due to economies of scale, but unlike the car charging, installing PV on every house in the street (unless it is a relatively small installation) may well require infrastructure upgrades too, hence the cost for the kit on each house may be lower, but the cost of connecting it to the grid is likely to be higher.

      I don't know what the current figures are, but ISTR that a few years ago National Grid (or the local incumbent such as Western Power) was starting to refuse new residential PV connections where there was already a high density of installations. Something like 30% of the local transformer capacity?

      In a situation with smart-charging electric vehicles or residential battery packs (to "soak up" some of the capacity locally), this might change, but these are themselves expensive.

      M.

  22. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Removing copper?

    In principle, that's the way to go. I have no idea of the economics, but surely running a string of fibre to a house to replace a string of copper can't be ridiculously expensive, particularly if it's overground and the poles are already there.

    Having said that, the poles are often the problem. It's impressive to drive down the main road through are village and look up. It looks like Shelob is trying to weave a mighty web for passing drones - wires everywhere from poles to houses - no underground ducting here. And that's the problem for the people getting less than 2Mb - crap copper. FTTP is now an option for us - it'll be interested to see when BT tell everyone that they're getting a fibre upgrade, regardless.

    And yes, FTTP is lovely.

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