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Standard User rgp
(regular) Mon 02-May-16 21:11:40
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Will BT actually deploy *any* fibre beyond the cabinet?


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G.Fast has historically been described as a stepping stone technology to FTTH, with fibre running to the distribution point and then using the existing copper drop wire with G.Fast technology to deliver 300 - 500 Mbit/s and perhaps eventually 1Gbit/s to the end user. G.Fast to the distribution point would undoubtedly be much faster and cheaper to roll out than FTTH, as the fibre only has to be taken as far as the distribution point. The FTTH upgrade to replace the drop wire can then be done only as and when you need to...

BT has been talking a lot about G.Fast and in its field trials, it has demonstrated fibre to the distribution point (i.e. typically within 10s of metres of each property). But if you look carefully at its briefings in the last 6 months, BT seems to only be planning to actually deploy G.Fast from existing FTTC cabinets and says it is uneconomic to roll out fibre even as far as the 4 million distribution points it has, let alone all the way to the home.

Even the system vendors that work with BT have technolgoy that they claim would get much more performance out of the existing copper loop / cabinet architecture. Huawei talks about 400Meg at 300 metres and still delivering 100Meg at 800 metres using their SuperVector product and 35Mhz of bandwidth instead of 17Mhz whilst Alcatel / Lucent talks of 200Meg to 500 metres and 300Meg to 250 metres with their VPlus vectoring solution.

No doubt a quick change of line card in the cabinets to upgrade lines from VDSL2 to a long range version of G.Fast will be much cheaper for BT than actually going to the time and effort of rolling out fibre any further into the access network. But it will also remove the vital stepping stone the country needs to get to full FTTH, perhaps for the foreseeable future. After all, if BT can really get 100Mbit/s to most people by going down this route, where will the value be in ever rolling out fibre all the way?

No wonder Sky and TalkTalk seem to have gone quiet on their FTTH experiment in York. No other scale provider is going to be able to compete with BT given that BT's cabinets are all in place already and a cheap speed upgrade is already in the offing in the next few years. They would be unable to compete with BT on price in this scenario, whilst BT is allowed to keep milking its existing copper plant forever.

The losers will be those that are too far from their cabinet to benefit (i.e. more than 800 meters, which will particularly affect rural households) and everyone else who struggles to get a reliable broadband connection over their existing cruddy and outdated copper wiring which BT refuses to fix. I anticipate that BT won't care about any of these "uneconomic" customers who can't get a decent service from them, providing that most people can and more critically that BT does not lose too much market share to Virgin. If this is the route BT is going, we're going to need a very strong regulator and a Universal Service Obligation that does not fall behind where everyone else is to ensure BT is not permitted to make a large digital divide a permanent and enduring feature of the UK.

But perhaps the biggest loss will be removing the opportunity to actually transition the whole country from unreliable copper to a much more reliable and future proof fibre solution. Unfortunately, the public at large seems unlikely to put much value on having a more reliable and future proof connectivity solution. So we will all have to put up with BT giving us a cheap and sometimes dodgy service over our ancient copper lines.
Standard User epyon
(experienced) Mon 02-May-16 22:16:50
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Re: Will BT actually deploy *any* fibre beyond the cabinet?


[re: rgp] [link to this post]
 
BT have FTTPs in very limited amounts

but of course its very expensive to rollout

i think maybe in 20 years we may have 70% FTTP in the country and thats being optimistic.

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Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Mon 02-May-16 23:21:34
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Re: Will BT actually deploy *any* fibre beyond the cabinet?


[re: epyon] [link to this post]
 
Half the country already has access to 200 Mbps its not via FTTP but its still a fixed speed connection medium (1.65% of this 50% is actually FTTH)

The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.


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Standard User godsell4
(member) Tue 03-May-16 07:26:48
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Re: Will BT actually deploy *any* fibre beyond the cabinet?


[re: rgp] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by rgp:
... G.Fast will be much cheaper for BT than actually going to the time and effort of rolling out fibre any further into the access network. ... After all, if BT can really get 100Mbit/s to most people by going down this route, where will the value be in ever rolling out fibre all the way?


Think you have answered your own questions.

We can speculate that a 100/20 connection might be good enough for most residential purposes for the next 10-15 years maybe. Somewhere on TBB it was posted, a long time ago, that something like +80% of people are within 400-500m of a cabinet (somebody can correct my numbers I am sure). Expect BTO to offer faster options, FTTP On Demand, to those who are willing to pay for it.

So Yes, you are right, BTO will not be in an immediate rush to push out Fibre to the DP, those on long lines will be loosing out again while BTO wait for another handout from BDUK.

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Standard User WWWombat
(knowledge is power) Tue 03-May-16 18:54:57
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Re: Will BT actually deploy *any* fibre beyond the cabinet?


[re: rgp] [link to this post]
 
BT definitely have a choice to make: retain VDSL2, but add vectoring and profile 35b (which is the standardised name for the two proprietary ideas of Vplus and superVector); or use G.Fast.

The two aren't compatible, as they both use the spectrum above 17MHz in incompatible ways ... so it is one or the other.

The ANFP has already been re-written to allow G.Fast, with the appropriate change to allow G.Fast DPU nodes to be sited deeper than the current PCP. Right now, therefore, BT are following the G.Fast route.

But the location of the DPU is not a binary one of "at the PCP or DP" alone. They can be located anywhere between the two. If it is too uneconomic for DP placement, they might target distances of, say, 200-250m instead. Presentations by Sckipio suggest that BT is indeed chasing that target longer term, even if their first steps will be to put the DPU at the existing PCPs.

If BT were going to be happy getting 100mbps to half the premises, they would only have planned on vectoring for VDSL2. Instead, they seem to be taking this on to the next generation - where they have to be aiming at that 300Mbps target to 50%+.
Standard User WWWombat
(knowledge is power) Tue 03-May-16 18:58:50
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Re: Will BT actually deploy *any* fibre beyond the cabinet?


[re: godsell4] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by godsell4:
Somewhere on TBB it was posted, a long time ago, that something like +80% of people are within 400-500m of a cabinet (somebody can correct my numbers I am sure).


This is the spread of D-side lengths:
http://postimg.org/image/bp372fcnn/

17% within 200m of the PCP
49% within 400m
72% within 600m
84% within 800m
90% within 1km
Standard User rgp
(regular) Tue 03-May-16 22:39:48
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Re: Will BT actually deploy *any* fibre beyond the cabinet?


[re: WWWombat] [link to this post]
 
The distance distribution from cabinets you quote is very interesting...

Skipio have produced an slide showing speed vs. distance for G.Fast (20 Mhz - 106Mhz) and VDSL2 35b which suggests that a likely G.Fast target is 300 Mbit/s at 300 metres. Many UK properties are much further than this from their serving cabinet, so if you wanted to pursue a pure cabinet deployment strategy (like they are in Germany) it would appear that you would be much better off deploying VDSL2 35b instead of G.Fast...

Based on the distribution of line lengths from the cabinet, it would appear that BT will have to push fibre further from the cabinet if they really are going to use G.Fast in the 20Mhz-106Mhz band as per the ANFP, as customers would otherwise be better off sticking with VDSL2 from the cabinet where their line lengths is 400 metres or more which seems likely to be a lot of customers.

But deploying fibre deeper into the distribution side would seem to be at odds with BT's apparent ambition to deploy G.Fast from existing FTTC cabinets. Deploying G.Fast only from the cabinet starting at 20Mhz doesn't really seem to make sense, as too many customers would be too far away to benefit...

So, on the assumption that BT can only use 20Mhz-106Mhz for G.Fast (as per the ANFP), BT must be planning to deploy at least some fibre into the distribution side as part of its rollout so that its target customers are no more than 300 metres away...
Standard User rgp
(regular) Tue 03-May-16 23:05:23
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Re: Will BT actually deploy *any* fibre beyond the cabinet?


[re: MrSaffron] [link to this post]
 
But how many actually take-up the 200Mbps Virgin option? It's an £8 per month premium to the 100Mbps service and a £13 / month premium to the 50Mbps service.

If Virgin's take-up is very low, this suggests that the public mostly isn't prepared to pay much of a premium for more speed. This doesn't bode well for BT's G.Fast rollout, but perhaps BT feel they have to do it to try and avoid losing business to Virgin...
Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Tue 03-May-16 23:29:26
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Re: Will BT actually deploy *any* fibre beyond the cabinet?


[re: rgp] [link to this post]
 
Well so far the G.fast public trials have been fibre to the DP

The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Tue 03-May-16 23:33:36
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Re: Will BT actually deploy *any* fibre beyond the cabinet?


[re: rgp] [link to this post]
 
Take-up of faster (i.e. price premium) products is low, even on Hyperoptic and Gigaclear the full Gig products are not the most popular option, i.e. speed above a certain point becomes bragging rights versus a higher utility bill

In 16 years Virgin I don't think has ever had a headline speed product slower than BT but they have not destroyed BT products in the areas they overlap.

Some of the up to campaigning could actually be good for BT and bad for Virgin Media i.e. median speeds or lower quartile type speeds some are calling for don't look great for Virgin Media.

The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
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