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Standard User rgp
(regular) Tue 19-May-20 16:28:19
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Is the Universal Service Obligation a Bad Joke?


[link to this post]
 
I have a friend who lives in Northern Scotland (north of Inverness), who has poor ADSL broadband (about 1-2Mbit/s). He is connected to a fibre cabinet, but as the length of the line from the cabinet to his house is 3.3Km, FTTC is not available to him as he is too far away.

With the advent of the USO, I had expected that he would be able to get upgraded via the USO as he does not have 10Mbit broadband, nor do any of the other properties in the locality. However, having got in touch with BT to ask for a quote under the USO, they have just come back with a proposed cost of over £275K!!! This works out at over £80 per metre to the nearest FTTC cabinet (3.3km), almost all of which would be cable in soft verge, if new FTTP was provided. There are over 40 properties at the same post code that could benefit from upgraded connectivity.

The USO will be completely and utterly useless if everyone asking for a connection quote gets one as high and uncompetitive as this appear to be. Using Openreach's own excess construction costs, the standard cost is less than £20 / metre for directly buried fibre cable and no doubt if you are laying over 3Km, it would be possible to do it for much less than £20 / metre (e.g. mole ploughing). When asking for a breakdown of the cost / the reasons why the quote is so high, the BT person rather unhelpfully responds "we are unable to provide any details of the survey quotes provided as Openreach will not provide ourselves with this information".

I am left to conclude that the USO is apparently a bad joke. Anyone can quote a ridiculous, excessive cost and effectively decline to connect someone. What is the point of the USO if even people who are not excessively remote and where there are plenty of other properties cannot get a reasonable connection price via the USO?

Any thoughts as to what is going on here? Why would BT take on the USO and then not offer connections at a fair price?
Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Tue 19-May-20 16:38:08
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Re: Is the Universal Service Obligation a Bad Joke?


[re: rgp] [link to this post]
 
£275k between 40 properties is still £6,875 each, so above the USO threshold even if they take all of them into account. Cost might also go up depending on what you mean by locality, e.g. 40 homes in tight 250m area little increase but will creep up quickly if spread over a kilometre of more.

What you have had back is the Fibre on Demand desktop quote, i.e. a rough and ready estimate using the records. People who order fibre on demand have a second stage of a £250 survey where someone turns up and measures, checks for soft verges etc, road crossing this can sometimes be lower or higher.

Have you looked at the R100 plans https://www.gov.scot/policies/digital/broadband-and-...

They are looking at spending this sort of money (£4k to £6k/property) to get superfast to close to all premises in Scotland, and for the majority that will mean FTTP.

The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Standard User rgp
(regular) Tue 19-May-20 16:58:30
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Re: Is the Universal Service Obligation a Bad Joke?


[re: MrSaffron] [link to this post]
 
Yes, I'm aware of the R100 project. My friend's house is in the Northern lot. It seems like connection via that project might still be some way off. As far as I am aware, the contract for that lot is not yet concluded due to legal wrangling?

Regardless of whether BT / Openreach are connecting properties via the R100 project or the USO, they won't get very far if they cost digging fibre cable into soft verge in the countryside at £80 / metre. In this particular location, the properties are spread out a bit, so that would add some cost on as you rightly point out. Nevertheless, the cost per property using more reasonable metreage rates for fibre in soft verge, assuming they connect them all, should be much less than £6K each.


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Standard User rowter
(learned) Tue 19-May-20 17:07:54
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Re: Is the Universal Service Obligation a Bad Joke?


[re: rgp] [link to this post]
 
Some one over on ISPReview got a quote back of £1.1m
Standard User brookheather
(member) Tue 19-May-20 17:12:25
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Re: Is the Universal Service Obligation a Bad Joke?


[re: rgp] [link to this post]
 
FTTP doesn't go to a FTTC cabinet so the actual distance required for the new cables could be much longer than you think.

Cerberus FTTP + pfSense + Asus RT-AC67U AiMesh

Edited by brookheather (Tue 19-May-20 17:12:55)

Standard User sheephouse
(member) Tue 19-May-20 17:13:45
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Re: Is the Universal Service Obligation a Bad Joke?


[re: rowter] [link to this post]
 
Has anybody anywhere got a reasonable USO quote back?
Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Tue 19-May-20 17:52:20
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Re: Is the Universal Service Obligation a Bad Joke?


[re: rgp] [link to this post]
 
Even if a FoD order came inside budget and went ahead it would likely have a 1 year build time line, so won't be much faster than R100 if that does come to you.

The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Standard User rgp
(regular) Tue 19-May-20 18:54:25
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Re: Is the Universal Service Obligation a Bad Joke?


[re: brookheather] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by brookheather:
FTTP doesn't go to a FTTC cabinet so the actual distance required for the new cables could be much longer than you think.

Yes, but there is only 1 cabinet in the local village and it is on the main road, so unlikely that the fibre connection node is very far away from that cabinet. In fact, looking on Google maps, there is a large chamber right in front of the cabinet which seems like a possible location for the nearest fibre connection node.
Standard User rgp
(regular) Tue 19-May-20 18:55:44
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Re: Is the Universal Service Obligation a Bad Joke?


[re: MrSaffron] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by MrSaffron:
Even if a FoD order came inside budget and went ahead it would likely have a 1 year build time line, so won't be much faster than R100 if that does come to you.


Is there no difference between a USO quote and a FTTP on demand quote? If not, what's the point of the USO?
Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Tue 19-May-20 19:03:02
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Re: Is the Universal Service Obligation a Bad Joke?


[re: rgp] [link to this post]
 
If you go the path of FoD then you pay everything yourself

If you go down USO path, if 4G is possible then offer that, they also check if in any of the existing roll-outs for the next year, then then use the FoD system to get a quote from Openreach on the same basis as firms such as Cerberus and Spectrum Internet the difference being they will pay the first £3,400 under the USO terms.

The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Standard User witchunt
(experienced) Tue 19-May-20 19:03:14
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Re: Is the Universal Service Obligation a Bad Joke?


[re: brookheather] [link to this post]
 
FTTP generally doesn't goto a cabinet but may do in rural areas where a subtended headend is installed in the cabinet to overcome the distance limitations of the PON.
Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Tue 19-May-20 19:04:27
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Re: Is the Universal Service Obligation a Bad Joke?


[re: rgp] [link to this post]
 
Aggregation nodes are normally placed to serve around 1,400 premises with FTTP eventually, so in rural areas it can be several villages away

The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Standard User j0hn83
(fountain of knowledge) Tue 19-May-20 21:18:16
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Re: Is the Universal Service Obligation a Bad Joke?


[re: rgp] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by rgp:
Yes, but there is only 1 cabinet in the local village and it is on the main road, so unlikely that the fibre connection node is very far away from that cabinet.


More likely than not.

The Fibre Aggregation Node provides the fibre to a number of fibre cabinets, not just yours.

A single Agg Node might serve 3 or 4 cabinets (around 1400 properties) so in a rural area might mean it's a few miles away.

In fact, looking on Google maps, there is a large chamber right in front of the cabinet which seems like a possible location for the nearest fibre connection node.


Many cabinets have large chambers in front of, or very near them, even cabinets with no fibre available.
Standard User noinchki
(member) Fri 22-May-20 12:23:15
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Re: Is the Universal Service Obligation a Bad Joke?


[re: sheephouse] [link to this post]
 
Hi,

I live on a hebridean island which has FTTC in the local exchange. Unfortunatley the nearest cabinet is 1.5 miles away and I get no better speed than ADSL2+ (9Mbps down and 0.8 up). I struggle with 2g mobile signal, so 4g is not an option. I got an initial estimate of £50k for FTTP via USO, and asked for a more detailed quote. They just came back with a detailed quote of £229k! There are 5 properties in the same predicament, but they are spread over a large area. Even if they were co-located we could not possibly afford this option. The USO is a bad joke from my viewpoint.

Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity
Standard User jchamier
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Fri 22-May-20 12:53:12
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Re: Is the Universal Service Obligation a Bad Joke?


[re: noinchki] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by noinchki:
I struggle with 2g mobile signal, so 4g is not an option.

Sorry to hear of your bandwidth woes. At 9 Mbps you are close to the USO's aim of 10 Mbps, I thought?

Have you tried all the networks? EE, Three, Vodafone and O2 for signal?

20 years of broadband connectivity since 1999 trial - Live BQM
Standard User MHC
(sensei) Fri 22-May-20 12:57:58
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Re: Is the Universal Service Obligation a Bad Joke?


[re: jchamier] [link to this post]
 
In cases like this, you would think Openreach might think "outside the box" and provide a second FTTC line at no extra cost to the customer along with the a bonding solution. Suddenly their 9Mbps becomes 16 or 17, probably not 18 though.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

M H C


taurus excreta cerebrum vincit
Standard User Fastman3
(newbie) Fri 22-May-20 22:37:57
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Re: Is the Universal Service Obligation a Bad Joke?


[re: MHC] [link to this post]
 
the fftc at 3.3km wont be any help due to distance

the USO was you can demand a 10 meg service in the same way you can demand a phone line (issue is over 3,400 you pay expect 99.9999% phone line cost lest that 3.400 to instanll then ones that cost more make headlinie news , charged thousands fro a phone line in middle of nowhere) - - this is the same except there will be a lot more costing over 3,400 - that's the biggest issue with this

Reality of USO and what it means is coming into clearer vision
Standard User MHC
(sensei) Sat 23-May-20 10:05:02
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Re: Is the Universal Service Obligation a Bad Joke?


[re: Fastman3] [link to this post]
 
Read the post it was replying to - 1.5miles and 9 Mbps

So yes it would be of assistance. 9 + 9 = 18 and that is much greater than 10


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

M H C


taurus excreta cerebrum vincit
Standard User rjh321
(member) Sat 23-May-20 10:16:47
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Re: Is the Universal Service Obligation a Bad Joke?


[re: Fastman3] [link to this post]
 
It's very hard to understand your posts. I presume they are meant to be in English - they don't follow the rules that I was taught!
Standard User Fastman3
(newbie) Sat 23-May-20 12:27:28
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Re: Is the Universal Service Obligation a Bad Joke?


[re: rjh321] [link to this post]
 
poster says in original post FTTC not available

I cannot seen that FTTC or any form of ADSL would form part of USO suite (either 4G or FTTP)

the USO sates you can demand a 10 meg service in the same way you can demand a phone line (issue is if that phone line is over 3,400 you pay difference - so in reality 99.9999% of phone line asks cost lest that 3.400 to install (so no cost / bill to enquirer) those that cost more that make headline Person charged thousands for a phone line in middle of nowhere) - the issue with using this principle is that significantly more USO cost will be greater than 3,400 - so expect more headlines about USO and cost of more premises - as the reality of what USO is and is not becomes more apparent

Reality of USO and what it means is coming into clearer vision
Standard User noinchki
(member) Sat 23-May-20 14:28:20
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Re: Is the Universal Service Obligation a Bad Joke?


[re: MHC] [link to this post]
 
Thanks for the suggestion. I already have a second line and have a Draytek router that supports load balancing. Not quite as good as line bonding, but it does help to spread the load with multiple users. For P2P downloads I have seen speeds as high as 16 Mbps download. The combined cost of the two lines I'm paying just now is more than the USO cap of £45 /mth, so as you suggest in my case it would be possible and would allow the full bandwidth for all types of downloads. Any idea how I can get this solution via USO?
Standard User MHC
(sensei) Sat 23-May-20 15:34:58
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Re: Is the Universal Service Obligation a Bad Joke?


[re: noinchki] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by noinchki:
Any idea how I can get this solution via USO?


I don't think you can - that is why I said OR need to "think outside the box" ... maybe flag up a USO request and then put the suggestion to them.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

M H C


taurus excreta cerebrum vincit
Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Sat 23-May-20 18:19:59
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Re: Is the Universal Service Obligation a Bad Joke?


[re: MHC] [link to this post]
 
Bonding does not exist as a USO option.

People like AAISP can do it, but the cost of the hardware at both ends makes most people wince and stick with load balancing.

The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Standard User MHC
(sensei) Sat 23-May-20 18:58:05
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Re: Is the Universal Service Obligation a Bad Joke?


[re: MrSaffron] [link to this post]
 
That is my point, they should move away for basic solutions and look multiple line and bonding - it would be way cheaper than spending thousands on other alternatives.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

M H C


taurus excreta cerebrum vincit
Standard User Swac3
(learned) Sun 24-May-20 14:15:09
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Re: Is the Universal Service Obligation a Bad Joke?


[re: MHC] [link to this post]
 
Possible in some cases maybe, but if our area is anything to go by there's no chance of channel bonding being a mass solution.

Our direct buried line surfaces at several points along the run where cores are then spliced and head off up to a property, I'd hazard a guess that's quite common.
Standard User BranH
(learned) Sun 24-May-20 17:50:44
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Re: Is the Universal Service Obligation a Bad Joke?


[re: Swac3] [link to this post]
 
Think there would be the same problem here, not enough spare working pairs to allow three lines to be bonded to reach USO speeds.
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