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Standard User bgriffiths
(committed) Fri 17-May-13 09:33:36
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FTTP deployment - one for the engineers?


[link to this post]
 
Our village is having FTTP rolled out. It is already well over a year behind schedule; however small areas have now been released, all of which are "ducted" properties. There seems to be a problem with the pole based properties, but BT are very vague as to what it is. They have identified what appears to be a subset of the pole based properties for which they say an "aerial solution" is required., and that this technology is "still unproven", so that any deployment is likely to be months away at least. Now as far as we are aware "aerial" simply = "pole-based", and is in itself far from being "unproven technology", so they must be referring to something else. They have previously mentioned "shared services" poles, but again that does not seem to us to be "unproven technology", simply a requirement for engineers to have the requisite safety certificates before shinning up a pole with a live electricity cable at the top.

There have been many meetings with senior BT representatives, but none has been able to explain satisfactorily what differentiates these properties, or what this "aerial solution" is.

So the question is - what are BT talking about?
Standard User yarwell
(sensei) Fri 17-May-13 09:46:56
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Re: FTTP deployment - one for the engineers?


[re: bgriffiths] [link to this post]
 
the aerial solution would be a microduct or whatever strung from a pole. ie an overhead fibre feed. What you regard as a proven solution may not be seen the same by them perhaps ?

How many of the poles are shared ?

--

Phil

MaxDSL - goes as fast as it can and doesn't read the line checker first.

MaxDSL diagnostics
Standard User brightd
(experienced) Fri 17-May-13 10:05:21
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Re: FTTP deployment - one for the engineers?


[re: bgriffiths] [link to this post]
 
In my village, Whitchurch in Hampshire, where some of us are destined for FTTP, BT's contractors have been adding ducts and new chambers for the FTTP fibre and equipment. In one place, where they have added a new chamber close to a shared pole, there is a new grey tube sticking out of the ground at the bottom of the pole with a blue rope emerging from it. Based upon that I assume that BT will pull the fibres from the chamber to the pole through the grey tube and then distribute them from the top of the pole. Exactly how they will do that is something that I will watch with interest if they ever get as far as deployment which, if the e-mail from another thread here is true, will happen within the next couple of months.

David

plusnet Broadband Extra customer
DrayTek Vigor 2830n


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Standard User StephenTodd
(experienced) Fri 17-May-13 10:12:55
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Re: FTTP deployment - one for the engineers?


[re: yarwell] [link to this post]
 
Now as far as we are aware "aerial" simply = "pole-based", and is in itself far from being "unproven technology",
Pole-based copper is certainly proven. I believe there are unproven details with pole-based fibre; possibly (guessing) because while copper is more prone to electrical noise, fibre is more prone to light noise.

--
Moved (with trepidation turned relief) to BT Infinity 2 for upload speed. Happy BE user for several years.
Standard User zom22
(newbie) Fri 17-May-13 10:18:02
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Re: FTTP deployment - one for the engineers?


[re: brightd] [link to this post]
 
I'd imagine that they are referring to the point that long term stringing of fibre optic supply cable along multiple poles is indeed unproven in the UK.

If it was even considered for my area in the future I'd think them mad. There is so much debris from trees coming off and flying around in only a modest gale much less a storm the fibre would have to be within a pretty rugged 'bomb proof' sheath.
The overhead electric cables round here are aerial bundled cable (ABCcable - all 3phases plus neutral in one twisted insulated bundle) which are strong enough to actually withstand a medium size tree coming down on them without breaking or being damaged.

Can you say the same about a fibre optic cable?
Standard User yarwell
(sensei) Fri 17-May-13 10:31:41
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Re: FTTP deployment - one for the engineers?


[re: StephenTodd] [link to this post]
 
an aerial fibre deployment uses a small bore tube down which the fibre passes I presume, or some special composite fibre cable (possibly fibre & copper together) that can carry the tension / wind load without stressing the fibre itself.

I think Andrew posted some photos of FTTP on poles in Cornwall somewhere.

--

Phil

MaxDSL - goes as fast as it can and doesn't read the line checker first.

MaxDSL diagnostics
Standard User bgriffiths
(committed) Fri 17-May-13 10:43:28
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Re: FTTP deployment - one for the engineers?


[re: yarwell] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by yarwell:
How many of the poles are shared ?

Difficult to tell how many also have electricity services on them - many of the poles are hidden away in people's gardens, behind hedges etc. Only when you start looking for them do you realise just how many poles there are! However one of the roads which they have specifically mentioned has no shared poles at all.

A lot of the poles DO already have fibre run all the way to the top; it doesn't make sense to get that far then announce they can't go the last few metres because the technology is untested!. We understand that there is a small area elsewhere on the exchange where properties have had fttp delivered from a pole.

We wondered whether the maximum drop for a fibre cable is shorter than for copper, putting some properties out of reach from their pole and necessitating some other solution?
Standard User bgriffiths
(committed) Fri 17-May-13 10:46:18
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Re: FTTP deployment - one for the engineers?


[re: zom22] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by zom22:
Can you say the same about a fibre optic cable?

...or indeed a bog-standard copper cable? Surely there's only one way to test the long-term resilience of an overhead fibre cable?
Standard User Rastus
(committed) Fri 17-May-13 11:20:57
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Re: FTTP deployment - one for the engineers?


[re: yarwell] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by yarwell:
I think Andrew posted some photos of FTTP on poles in Cornwall somewhere.


Yes he did in this post.

There are many of these on poles in quite a few parts of the town, and although the pole outside my house has had the fibre cable run up it and the manifold fitted, I'm still waiting impatiently for the FTTP service to go live in my 'cabinet area'.

I have managed to narrow down one approximately 200m length of one of the main roads (Henver Road, Cab 81) where FTTP is already available and that particular section is serviced via poles, although I don't know of any premises actually connected. Strangely not all the premises along that road which are also in the 'cabinet 81 area' are yet able to obtain FTTP which I have reason to believe has been available in that area for some months (according to a friend).

Edited by Rastus (Fri 17-May-13 11:33:34)

Standard User WWWombat
(fountain of knowledge) Fri 17-May-13 14:37:48
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Re: FTTP deployment - one for the engineers?


[re: bgriffiths] [link to this post]
 
I've seen some of the specifications for copper drop cable that refers to it as OK to "cross" low voltage power lines - which I presume is rather different from running parallel to it.

I expect, therefore, that the spec for fibre microtubing might have similar differences. And BT's confidence in how it performs in reality might not be high.

Deploying FTTP *in the UK* and for *mass residential use* is relatively new, and relatively unproven. We're not talking about the technology here, but the methods of deployment, the training of the staff, and the impact of both on the future maintenance of the equipment.

So deployment of FTTP is, so far, a large-scale trial for BT to learn all the various gotcha's as they apply to the current environment in the UK, with regard to all kinds of legislation, health & safety, union rules, training and things such as weather, and the future impact to callouts and interaction with other utilities.

All of this plays it part in determining whether a FTTP rollout is profitable, or worthwhile at all, so you have to expect that they want to make sure they have learnt the right lessons as they go. If they don't, then FTTP deployment will be killed for decades...

Surely there's only one way to test the long-term resilience of an overhead fibre cable?

Yes. Both the microducting for blowing the fibre, and the fibre itself.

The manufacturer builds it to a spec.

BT install it at Martlesham Heath for a while, to see how it performs in reality. They get opinions from engineers about how it degrades over time, and how it performs in a degraded state. How maintenance is affected in a degraded state, and how a neighbour's line works when they order it ten years later.

When they're convinced it will survive for decades, and their staff can handle it, and that it deserves to be a real part of the future deployment, they can put it to the test in one or two live locations... and go through similar tests.

What they really need to ensure is that they aren't going to accidentally cause bad fragmentation of the stuff that gets deployed. If that ends up true, then they ensure they have a training nightmare in 30 years time.
Standard User Rastus
(committed) Fri 17-May-13 14:54:41
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Re: FTTP deployment - one for the engineers?


[re: WWWombat] [link to this post]
 
I'm not going to dispute what you've said above as it could be said that Cornwall is a test-bed for overhead fibre which may well back-fire over time, but to quote from this announcement for example from a couple of months ago;

BT has achieved efficiencies since the programme began, enabling the company to set the more ambitious coverage target with its partners. Many of these efficiencies have been achieved through innovations that have been pioneered in the county including the use of lightweight overhead fibre cables.

No doubt they've started deploying the same technology elsewhere, but I agree, only time will tell.

Edited by Rastus (Fri 17-May-13 14:57:32)

Standard User WWWombat
(fountain of knowledge) Fri 17-May-13 15:49:08
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Re: FTTP deployment - one for the engineers?


[re: Rastus] [link to this post]
 
I don't know if back-fire is the right phrase there, as it is all a process of learning by doing.

[Off-topic-ish - Openreach recently put out a briefing that indicated their temporary/experimental FTTP network in Ebbsfleet had been dismantled, and they were now using a more standard setup, so the prices would now be taken from the standard price-list. They "did" to learn there, but are undoing it to revert to a standard setup, more easily maintainable in the future]

I suspect, in this case, that the lightweight overhead fibre cables might be appropriate for poles which have been fed underground (so the lightweight cable only goes from the manifold at the top of the pole), and have no power cables strung from them. Equivalent to existing drop cables.

Fibre cables that are distributed along a whole series of poles becomes a different ballgame, with different stresses over a longer distance. Think of these as more "distribution cables" rather than the final drop cable.

And cables that have to run in parallel with power cables, probably with additional robustness requirements, protection requirements (and an extra desire to never have to send a bloke out to maintain them ever again), is a different sport.
Standard User bgriffiths
(committed) Fri 17-May-13 16:03:04
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Re: FTTP deployment - one for the engineers?


[re: WWWombat] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by WWWombat:
Deploying FTTP *in the UK* and for *mass residential use* is relatively new, and relatively unproven. We're not talking about the technology here, but the methods of deployment, ...

I wonder if we have a variety of reasons for the delay here. There have certainly been resource problems, even with the ducted installs. I mentioned that BT had identified a subset of pole based properties for which a solution is not yet available for deployment, but they can't / won't say what the common feature is. They have said there are 77 such properties, which is quite a lot, but I would guess less than a third of the total. In fact it may be even less, as the 77 is exchange-wide - some may be in a nearby villages. So clearly they must think they DO have a deployable solution for the rest.
Standard User Zarjaz
(knowledge is power) Fri 17-May-13 16:26:00
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Re: FTTP deployment - one for the engineers?


[re: bgriffiths] [link to this post]
 
The issue with JUP's (joint user poles, electric and telephony) is that, certainly where the SSE are involved, there is no licence for Openreach to attach new line plant, only to maintain/replace existing plant. This could well be the cause of some of the stumbling blocks.

E.G. Went to fit FTTP, all good to top of pole, but there were a further three carrier poles before the property, 2 were JUP's and the other, hugely inaccessible, not within test date, so would require a hoist (couldn't get there) or the pole testing and/or replacing.

It may well be that some currently copper fed DP's are serviced via a 20 or 50 pair aerial cable, so that the current set up, a twelve ported manifold run to the top of the overhead DP from underground won't suffice. You'd be looking for the manifold tubing to be run overhead to feed subsequent DP's

Standard User Zarjaz
(knowledge is power) Fri 17-May-13 16:36:26
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Re: FTTP deployment - one for the engineers?


[re: yarwell] [link to this post]
 
an aerial fibre deployment uses a small bore tube down which the fibre passes I presume

Yes. From the manifold on the pole, a blown fibre tube is run to the customer splice point on the property. This BFT (let the acronyms commence !) has steel strengtheners in it, like drop wire does, it can also be provided with a single copper pair built in to the tube, so PSTN can be pushed through it also.

Once in situ, the fibre is blown from the DP node direct to the CSP. There is plenty of space within the tubing, it literally rattles as blown through, so should be fairly robust.

Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Fri 17-May-13 16:44:23
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Re: FTTP deployment - one for the engineers?


[re: Zarjaz] [link to this post]
 
http://blog.thinkbroadband.com/2013/04/it-is-surpris...
http://blog.thinkbroadband.com/2012/11/spotters-guid...
http://www.coolwebhome.co.uk/fibre-cornwall/
http://www.coolwebhome.co.uk/fibre-milton-keynes/

The Milton Keynes is ducted stuff, in cornwall is a mixture of FTTC and overhead FTTP in the pictures.

An interesting one is a pole mounted splitter thus feeding other manifolds that are also on poles in the area, that is in Falmouth down some of the cobbled streets (or did I imagine the cobbles)

Andrew Ferguson, [email protected]
www.thinkbroadband.com - formerly known as ADSLguide.org.uk
The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Standard User bgriffiths
(committed) Fri 17-May-13 16:57:12
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Re: FTTP deployment - one for the engineers?


[re: Zarjaz] [link to this post]
 
This would explain the apparent tardiness and vagueness in BT's explanations for the delays - it has probably taken two years (from the time we won our "Race to Infinity" slot) for them to identify and map everything! I think I could probably spot examples here of all the scenarios you mention
Standard User Zarjaz
(knowledge is power) Fri 17-May-13 17:01:14
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Re: FTTP deployment - one for the engineers?


[re: MrSaffron] [link to this post]
 
An interesting one is a pole mounted splitter

Do you have a photo of that ?

I can imagine a DP being pole mounted, but the splitters are a big beast of a thing to have pole mounted.

Are you saying that twelve tube feeds to the manifolds went from the pole mounted DP straight up and spanned to the required poles , or did they just disappear back UG to go to the others ?

Standard User Zarjaz
(knowledge is power) Fri 17-May-13 17:03:51
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Re: FTTP deployment - one for the engineers?


[re: bgriffiths] [link to this post]
 
Not so much a race, as an arthritic shuffle ! smile Were you the poster who lived in Blewbury ?

Standard User WWWombat
(fountain of knowledge) Fri 17-May-13 17:27:17
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Re: FTTP deployment - one for the engineers?


[re: Zarjaz] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by Zarjaz:
Do you have a photo of that ?

I can imagine a DP being pole mounted, but the splitters are a big beast of a thing to have pole mounted.

Photos 10 and 11, if you follow the third link of MrSaffron's.

There are no colour-coded splice trays, like seen in photos of full splitters, but there are more trays than normally seen in a DP - 2 styles, a group of 6 and a group of 32.
Standard User Zarjaz
(knowledge is power) Fri 17-May-13 18:38:05
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Re: FTTP deployment - one for the engineers?


[re: WWWombat] [link to this post]
 
That is a DP, note the colour coded tubes going off to their counter parts in the manifolds.

Standard User Zarjaz
(knowledge is power) Fri 17-May-13 18:48:12
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Re: FTTP deployment - one for the engineers?


[re: MrSaffron] [link to this post]
 
I would suspect no room in nearby footway boxes, or no planning permission for a new box. If you look at my reply to WWWombat, you'll see that is a DP, not a splitter.

Photo 5a, did you notice the two E-side DACS units in the cab, guess you could now have a DACs'ed line AND broadband !

Photo 18, this is the BFT with the addition copper pair in it, hence the under eaves closure and the original drop wire taking the original feed in.

Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Fri 17-May-13 18:55:15
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Re: FTTP deployment - one for the engineers?


[re: Zarjaz] [link to this post]
 
I get them mixed up sometimes smile

Andrew Ferguson, [email protected]
www.thinkbroadband.com - formerly known as ADSLguide.org.uk
The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Standard User bgriffiths
(committed) Fri 17-May-13 23:35:00
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Re: FTTP deployment - one for the engineers?


[re: Zarjaz] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by Zarjaz:
Not so much a race, as an arthritic shuffle ! smile Were you the poster who lived in Blewbury ?

No - we are Madingley (EAMAD). Resourcing was not helped by the next door exchange, Caxton (EACAX) also winning a Race to Infinity spot. Frustration at the apparent lack of progress has been compounded by BT's repeated assurances over the last year that completion was imminent, next few weeks, end of the month etc. Back in September/October they even reckoned the problem properties would be finished early 2013
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