I saw the following response that someone has made to a recent article on ‘The Register’ website entitled ‘Openreach to trial G.fast in Swansea.
Any thoughts on the issues raised therein?
The sheer irony of BT. If there is one place in the UK where G.fast will never be practical to do roll-out ‘en masse’, it’s Wales.
Let’s get the truth out there straight away.
This is a BT 'trophy project' like VW building the Audi RX7, when 99% of what they sell are Polo's and Golf Match. If you're Welsh, live rurally - it will never be rolled out, it just doesn't make economic sense.
The FTTC solution that's being chosen by BT for the UK, works well in Cities/Market Towns (in the town itself) but it’s not a good solution for (mostly rural) Wales or rural hamlets / sparsely populated housing.
Coverage en-masse - You need to 'carpet bomb' a new FTTC Roadside Cab every 2(km2) to cover the UK. Otherwise ‘Not Spots’ are still ‘Not Spots’ (in FTTC minimum speed terms). That's a lot of FTTC cabinets, to give you an up to 80Mbps (without any future proofing) to every part of the UK.
To improve each FTTC cabinet with G.fast 'en masse' you then have to take each individual 2(km2) area and 'micro-carpet-bomb' with a minimum of 8 further FTTrN distribution points, to give a maximum line length of 500m to each consumer node. Currently these aren't self-powered so each require an expensive connection to the mains grid. (A total of 8 FTTrNs+1 FTTC per 2(km2)).
Even then, you will have G.fast 'Not-spots' (or in this case, areas where speed is more like 'up to' FTTC speeds), as G.fast has a working range of up to 400m. It’s unlikely that BT would ever have a maximum 'copper/aluminium' distance of 250m 'en masse' to each consumer premises/node as the costs rise exponentially for G.fast (you'd need to add a 16 further FTTrN distribution points, 24 in total+1 FTTC per 2(km2)).
The best G.fast can theoretically hope to offer is 650Mbps at 50m, Only 10% of customers per existing FTTC cabinet, even after you add 8 further powered FTTrN points, per 2(km2) could achieve this.
There comes a point where it would be more cost effective to find an efficient method of connecting those premises with either Fibre Optic or something like Intel's Optical Thunderbolt technology, with consumer style connections either end, for ease of installation.
Maintenance cost will also become prohibitive, because there will be so much delicate 'maxed out' technology between the consumer and the 'exchange' (in the conventional sense). Fault finding will become very difficult, lengthy and more frequent.
Speeds, like VDSL/ADSL, are dependent on copper line quality/length, even more so. The land area of UK is 243,610 (km2). OK, not all of it populated, but generally most areas have a end node, there somewhere.
That’s over 100,000 FTTC cabinets are around £15,000 each, a lot more than the current 5600 exchanges, with a further 800,000 FTTrN distribution points just to achieve a further 10% of customer's (per FTTC) obtaining a connection of 'up to' 650Mbps at a distance of 50m from FTTrN.
Putting a piece of complex technology in between the premises and the telephone exchange in damp, windy, rural areas (Wales/telegraph poles in particular-FTTrN) isn't going to last either.
And this begs the question, if FTTP is inevitable for Wales, why isn't there a policy in place that copper cable renewals in Wales are ALL FTTP from now on, where line lengths are more than 250m from an existing proposed/future Cabinet/FTTrN roll-out. Because upgrading these premises is going to take a long time, they have no solution in sight, so we may as well start today, working from the outer reaches in, towards the exchange.
Conclusion - BT in their wisdom thought Swansea would be the best place to show off this G.fast Tech. BT are more or less, having private joke at the expense of the Welsh.