Saying that 94% of premises have access to speeds of 24Mbps must mean that the 6% that don't all live near us, our friends and family. Be interested to see how OFCOM arrives at those figures.
As a nation, Brits feel starved of full-fibre connectivity and look hungrily at the availability of 1Gbps on the continent, says prime minister Boris Johnson. Except evidence suggests that they don't. According to Ofcom, speeds of 24Mbps are currently available to 94 per cent of premises. Yet only 45 per cent have signed up, …
The 'best' I can get is less than 20Mbps which is OK-ish as long as it is there full time and as long as nothing else is going on at the time. Otherwise, even YouTube can have its poor moments with the present end-to-end capabilities. You can forget mobile with its no-G for much of the time, (dis)services.
My wife called our neighbour last night, our wired phone to their mobile. Their mobile service was so crap, the call had to upgrade to POTS phone to POTS phone to be able to speak.
With the effective closure of the POTS service in the not so distant future, re-engineering the distribution service to provide a reliable future proof working alternative is close to overdue. Sorry radio (works if it wants to service) single option does not appear to be a reliable part of that future for us.
the speed and quality of mobiles depends on where your Cell tower is and what large buildings are in the way...
on O2 at work in Hampton hill, my cell tower is about a KM away past Fullwell station - I get good reception in the high st, but when I go in the building, it drops to zero (even Hscd and Edge is very low!) due to all the buildings and station in the way!!
On THREE, there is good reception due to its tower being on the high street...
so they need to build more towers... and people need to decide whether they complain about towers or lack of signal!!
Disguise towers as trees. Make them Green and "leafy" at the top end with a brownish support and the Nimbys won't worry so much.
Better yet, install the aerials and antennae *in* trees, real trees. Then even the Green tree-huggies will love tech.
Standardise the design, mass-produce them, power them with solar-powered, photo-voltaic leaves [yes, that's where the green bits come in] and massive storage batteries in the "root" spaces. Let the Greenies know you're being cool and green and bio-friendly.
Or is that too nerdy, Skiffy, Bukkrojjahsy?
The NIMBY squad will tell you it's the wrong shade of green, or French Oak instead of English.
The technical reality is that it's more or less impossible to make a site 2G/4G/5G ready with a convincing cloaked design.
Councils put up Lampposts and traffic signs with impunity, roads are built with our money and no say.
National Grid can raise 60M towers with statutory powers, but mobile masts are expected to have the physical footprint of a toothpick.
How does OFCOM get those figures? Same as the government over on this side of the pond, of course. Start by making an appointment with your proctologist...
And I'd like to express my thanks to all the folks at MiniTrue who work hard to bring us these statistics like broadband speeds, both for the folks on Airstrip One, and on this side of the pond. And, of course, thanks to BB for raising the chocolate ration by 10 grams! Doubleplus good!!
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FTTP is being driven by consumer demand - just not the consumers it's being delivered to. My parent's entire road signed up for "Fibre", and the cabinet was duly upgraded to FTTC. Precisely two houses have taken it because VDSL is not reliable over the majority of lines. OpenReach and Ofcom are apparently labouring under the impression that people's failure to upgrade means they're "happy" with their 1Mb ADSL.
The people who want FTTP are the ones who don't have the luxury of upgrading from 1Mb ADSL, because even if the cabinet is notionally offering FTTC/VDSL, it makes no difference to the residences on the end of 2miles of corroded CCA.
See also, those (even inside the M25!) on oft-overlooked EO lines who were some of the last to get ADSL and in many cases still can't get VDSL because there's no space in the exchange for the hardware.
I've said it (many times) before and I'll say it again. This shouldn't be about taking people from 50Mb VDSL to 1Gb FTTP. It's about taking people from flaky 1Mb ADSL to literally anything better.
Yes. They got all excited when OpenReach wrote to tell them that Fibre was coming. And then (as I suspected they would) they pointlessly installed FTTC to a cabinet on a rural road where most houses were 1-3miles away, and aside from two close by, VDSL would result in a less reliable connection for literally every other line.
Bell Aliant, Atlantic Canada, rolled out FTTH(P) in my neighbourhood about 8 (10?) years ago. The service is unsurpassed and is not that much more expensive than copper. The cost of initial roll out is significant but upkeep and repair is greatly reduced for the ISP.
Let's say a pole is hit by a car/truck and the ISP's cable to a specific neighbourhood is damaged. Consider the time required to repair/splice a 250 pair copper cable versus a single fibre cable. Now, consider fixing that 250 pair copper cable in a Canadian winter with an ambient temperature of -15C with a wind chill making it feel like -25C at night in an ice storm, because that seems to be when these incidents take place. I think I'd rather splice one or two fibres.
Oh please! A fibre strung on a pole will necessarily be a multi-strand thing, so repairing 2<n> fibres when it's knocked over - in the middle of a Canadian winter will be even *more* difficult than repairing Cu - simple IDC connections each one. Ever seen a field fibre splicing unit at work? In a 40mph wind?
Even though you specifically mention ISP to neighbourhood, it *still* won't be a single fibre pair. It's almost the same cost to lay 96pair fibre as 48pair - the cable isn't the cost, it's the positioning and fixing. So everyone always lays more pairs than their initial need.
Someone who gets it rg287. It's not about the speed necessarily. It's about the creaking infrastructure and kicking the can down the road until that infrastructure is completely shot and the investment money was spent trying to shove more signal down it.
Never mind what speed it can give you or what you can use it for. Full fibre to the home gives you the potential for use we haven't comprehended yet and the reliability we need right now. It also gives people who have to put up with almost nothing in terms of speed right up to where they should be in this day and age.
I remember as a kid seeing the work crews laying ComTel cable round by where I lived and the Herculean effort it took to cable up an entire estate, actually as it happens fairly quickly. All we need is a repeat of that effort on a national scale and we are set.
I have the choice between BT FTTC which did not have a working spare twisted pair when one of my pairs cracked, or VM coax which is constantly under repair and was 92% availability in the last 2 months before I left them.
Old (speed capped) copper needs retiring and replacing with fibre for the next 100 years.
I don't pay for 4k netflix so what would I bother about having enough bandwidth for it? Prime has 4k stuff inclusive but I really can't tell much difference between it and and HD. Possibly compression means the quality is about the same but HD is good enough so I really don't care.
I have access to 70Mb broadband but I only pay for 34MB becasue it'ds fast enough and half the cost. TBH when I was on a 17Mb contract I rarely had issue with it.I understand that some people have a need for 500Mb/1Gb broadband but most don't.
I use powerline networking in the house right now and that shares 100Mb across multiple devices. What's the point in having a broadband speed higher than one I can deliver across my home network when I have no issues? This will maybe change in my new house since I've flooding it with ethternet and putting in a Gigabit switch, but probably not.
There's also the little matter of getting fibre the last few yards let alone the last mile. In my own case the house is unusual in that it's the only one where the phone cable is underground, the neighbours all have overhead distribution. However, in my daughter's street and the surrounding streets all the houses were built with underground feeds and I suspect it would require planning permission to put in an overhead distribution system. Failing that all the roads and drives would have to be dug up and relaid. Would the householders be willing to pay for that? I doubt it, given that FTTC gives sufficient bandwidth to support her working from home.
The bigger problem would be in getting better bandwidth to the more remote houses. The FTTC network has been extended past our house so that the next hamlet now has a cabinet. However there are a few fairly remote farms. FTTP might be as economical as FTTC for these.
However there are a few fairly remote farms. FTTP might be as economical as FTTC for these.
The cost-benefit certainly comes out in favour of FTTP by simple dint that FTTC won't do squat for the farms if they're more than half a mile or so from the cabinet. FTTP will undoubtedly be more expensive, so the equation looks like:
FTTC - £ : Zero benefit over current ADSL, won't get past 1-2Mb anyway
FTTP - ££(£) : Future-proofed for the next 50 years
My parents were doorstopped by a cold caller from the firm that had just fibred up their village. The sales lady was laying it on thick with the benefits of the fastest package. My mum asked about the cost of the top package given a very expensive quote for (almost) gigabit fibre broadband. Apparently they had a nonstandard installation and a long distance from the road. This required specialist equipment and the quote for the first year including installation was £1k+. Mum asked if it would make her emails go any faster or shopping on Amazon faster? Lady mentioned streaming Netflix and mum said nope don't do any of that. Sales lady mentions gaming and mum confesses she does do that. Although is unsure how her games of Bridge will be improved by lightning fast internet speeds. Needless to say didn't get a sale from my parents.
mine is 1970s build and has underground phone cable, they would more than likely just "mole" it, ala what the gas installers do - basically dig a narrow short trench at each end and then the "mole" (hydraulic ram IIRC) pushes its way through to the other end
Only thing is my phone line comes in from the road, and the back of my house faces the road, there's also the matter of poured bitumen sealed foundations (even some of the cables and pipework is buried in the stuff)
>FTTC/FTTP - there is no business case to lay fibre to farms in the arse end of no-where.
However, with the government expecting everyone (and especially farmers) to be able to access their services digitally there is a need to improve connectivity to these places. which is why there has to be some government funding in the equation.
>Possibly compression means the quality is about the same
I think you're right. A good SD source (like a DVD) produces a surprisingly good picture, but the Freeview experience suggests that people would rather have the same programmes badly recut to provide more ad-breaks with added compression artefacts and dull, smeared colour available on more channels than have the opportunity to watch them in higher quality fewer times a day.
It's quite expensive to produce even good HD video as it picks up all the flaws in the scenery and lighting (not to mention the people) that older technology would overlook. It's why the major soaps have had to rebuild their sets (and presumably revarnish the actors). If the costs of video production and distribution exceed the amount of money people are prepared to spend, that's going to limit the bandwidth requirements.
On the other hand, there may be a market in sports and gaming: those customers seem to spend more and be less sensitive to price.
I don't need 100Mbts I have, but it is convenient. And, with given technology, such speeds are already over the top, BUT, sooner or later (forget the marketing scam of 4K), there will be other "applications" where bandwidth will matter. Probably some "3D" / VR skype calls.. nah, scrap skype calls, start with PORN. And those linux distros... And then, 100Mbts will feel... "constrained". Unless you're into bondage.
Prime has 4k stuff inclusive but I really can't tell much difference between it and and HD.
Might be because Prime is actually streaming in Standard Definition...
Because the Prime service complies with the High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) and/or Digital Rights Management (DRM) requirements, it checks the full signal paths for both video and audio and will only stream Standard Definition if it decides your setup isn't 'secure'.
On my setup, I've discovered that the only reliable way to watch HD/4K movies is to use a physical disc...
The laugh is with the growth of Prime/Netflix etc. there is less reason for people to pirate stuff and thus the raison d'être for much of the content protection that seemed so important 20 years back has gone away.
I've used 4k on Prime and also on iPlayer. The iPlayer stuff was this year's Wimbledon and their UHD test streams. Wimbledon was about 38Mbit/sec as measured by my ISP, so essentially raw bits on the line. The BBC UHD test streams come in at about 23MBit/sec, the difference being that they can afford to do a lot more processing in the encoding for recorded stuff versus live. 4k on Amazon is around 15MBits/sec.
But currently the only ISP's offering 'ultra fast' (Fttp to the rest of us who aren't 5) broadband seems to be BT or Zen.
I'm still waiting on certain others because I'm already signed up with them and get it cheap though work.
Once they're offering it... I'm there.
There are plenty of companies offering FTTP, you just arent looking.
TFB though, they nearly all use the BTOR network, so access is limited by what BT allows.
Outside of the BT network, you have the likes of Hyperoptic, who have a fairly small - city based footprint, but are expanding.
if I am allowed to include a link or two, have a trawl through
My own ISP (AQUISS), offer FTTP, although as BT havent installed the required hardware in my area (yet), I cannot get it.
Did you not spot the bit about getting it through work? If I moved to another ISP I'd be paying 2.5 to 3 times as much.
I'd rather wait thanks.
As for being limited, yes. It's only down to what open reach has installed and what the local council are willing to promote.
Do you need the speeds, or do you need the stability??
If your area offers FTTP, Aquiss are doing a package capped at 80/20 Mbps for almost the same as their FTTC package.
yes, I read that you are getting it through work, but as written, it implies you are having to wait, possibly for quite a while, for work to get around to arranging it.
TBH, I get around 50/15Mbps on my uber-cheap backup mobile connection; if 5G fixes 4G's latency issues, I may well drop my landline entirely.
>Did you not spot the bit about getting it through work?
Well that would most probably rule out the majors (Sky, Virgin, etc.), given they don't really support business use/home working. Suggest might be worth while you and your colleagues giving the company sponsored ISP a call..
I have a 100/100 service over fttp. Easy to find, bit of an effort to get installed. 3 and a bit km of fibre. The openreach guys were great - interactions with the local cou council meant it was 6 months from orser to go live.
CPE is good for 1gpbs but scaling linearly would by 4K per month
Gigaclear are currently laying FTTP throughout my village. In fact, my fibre connection point (POT) was installed in the bottom of my driveway this week.
They are promising 1Gbps. Not sure whether to go for it yet: A&A over VDSL is working well and A&A do not partner with Gigaclear. In fact the Gigaclear home service is fairly restrictive (and their less restricted enterprise service is eye-wateringly expensive).
As a networking geek I will almost certainly go for it sometime, but keep the A&A VDSL as well (cancelling my current ADSL backup connection which comes over a separate overhead line).
Yes, but it doesn't help at all. A&A won't allow 1Gbps of traffic so I still have the complexity of having to split traffic between the two routes (important traffic via A&A, bulk volume traffic via GC) and I lose the backup of having two lines, going to two separate ISPs (I would have to keep my existing backup line and end up paying three subs).
I may as well keep the A&A line and the GC line completely separate, and avoid any potential issues with the L2TP traffic.
IIRC Gigaclear are the ones who did the fibre to my parents village (from >1MB dsl to 100MB fibre), and it works ok for them. The prices for full GB looked pretty reasonable as well (£60-80/month IIRC), although my folks have their cheapest tier.
They also moved to the bundled Vonage VoIP phone which is pretty crap to be honest.
My new build came with FTTP (no copper at all) and I'm getting a lovely ~70mbps. I could upgrade to get 300+ but I'm nowhere near my limits at the moment and to be fair I wasn't near the limit on my old FTTC speeds of 32mbps even with 3 kids on yootoob and streaming stuff all over the place.
I agree that the choice of FTTP ISPs is woeful, very little competition with only BT and Zen really offering a residential package. At least I've been able to play them off against each other to get my BT price down though
Is that a contract limit, because I get ~70Mb/s from FTTC? (Zen, speed test using fast.com.)
I'd imagine so. Gigaclear came through my uncle's village 18months ago. He gets 100Mb, but being FTTP he could opt for 250/500/1000Mb if he wanted to pay the money. The difference of course is FTTP connections tend to be synchronous unlike FTTC.
This is a quick and dirty pull of the ISPs Open Reach list as FTTP sellers. It isnt complete as O know of at least a dozen others; but then OR always have been 2-3 years late in updating lists of anything.
Andrews & Arnold Ltd
The following is a list of ISPs offering 100+ Mbps, so not all fibre, there are a few cable company offerings and wifi mesh services included.
Once again, this list is already out of date; I know of at least a dozen other ISPs offering FTTP.
Quite why people seem to think ZEN is the only alternative to BT, I dont know. When I was thinking of giving them a try 4 years ago, I could never get a response via phone, contact form or email from them. Even their own ISPR rep was getting frustrated with them.
I don't. Don't need it.
Same as I don't need a car that can do 200 mph. Or a 12 bedroom house.
But the cheapest broadband I can get is 70mpb/s . I don't need it, ISP should offer me bargain basement option of 10mbps so I can save money, instead of spending it on stuff I don't want or need. I monitor my bandwidth use, rarely get near 10mbps.
It's the same as TV providers bundling packages together to make it look like good value, but instead you end up paying for a load of channels you don't watch just to get the one you want.
And fumb ducks just keep paying up which enables them to carry on doing it.
I don't need it either, I cancelled Virgin Media because they kept upping my broadband speed and prices, and I just didn't need the speed. There's just me and my wife at home, no kids, and we watch the same Netflix stream, so the ~20Mb we now get from Plusnet is more than enough, VM wouldn't sell me less than 70.
I'm looking at changing to Vodafone 4G Broadband next.
I certainly do, for the reliability of fibre over 40year old breaking down insulation.
Openreach say I can have it now, and even suggest BT as an isp.
But BT say nope!
The GPO were going to upgrade the entire system to fibre back in the 80's but were stopped by Thatcher as it would kill Redifusion, who went bust anyway due to Sky........
Virtual desktops are not good for every use. Good if you have to administer a remote system, some programming, or some office work. Dreadful for heavy tasks that require the full local hardware power and features.
And still you may need to upload files to a virtual desktop.
@AMBxx: "only 1Mb up. That's a real pain seeing as I work from home"
Depends what you do I guess. I used to WFH doing security stuff on Windows based servers, and 1Mb was fine for RDP to our terminal server, and running mail and instant messaging etc. Used a landline for confcalls, as the VOIP solution we had made people sound like Metal Mickey even when we were on the office LAN.
>Biggest problem is backups and keeping onedrive all nicely in sync.
Well if you do insist on treating the WAN as if it were a LAN - but then that has been the case for decades - remember the early problems with websites developed and tested over LAN connected systems failing when put into production and real users tried to access them over 56kbps dial-up.
>I've just uploaded nearly 3TB of ISO files. Took over 2 years!! Finished today.
Yes, it is frustrating just how much daft software exists, probably due to too many developers working in offices with fast LAN connections and little real-world experience... Back in the late 1980's we were using software to produce deltas and thus effectively transmit multi-MB files over 9600 dial up connections...
I had imagined that businesses were like ours, nothing comes down to the remote PC, it all stays within the business network for security. I only have a virtual desktop, it's exactly the same in or out of the office.
It's just like if you left your office computer on a desk in the offices, and remoted onto it.
In can stay within the business network for security by the magic of VPNs. Actually, you'd need a VPN anyway even for a terminal session to avoid to expose the endpoint directly. When i,work on a laptop which hosts my full working environment, why should I use a terminal on another machine which I would need to keep in sync?
Anyway there are several use cases where people need upload speeds over of 100Mb/s. People creating contents locally and uploading them, i.e. photographers, videomakers, etc.
>Anyway there are several use cases where people need upload speeds over of 100Mb/s. People creating contents locally and uploading them, i.e. photographers, videomakers, etc.
And you can buy these services today, just that they have a price tag which isn't in the commodity bracket. Although in saying that I've been quoted £265 pcm for a 500/100 FTTP service, which is significantly cheaper than the £3,000 pa I paid back in the 1980's for a Megastream.
I've been quoted £265 pcm for a 500/100 FTTP service, which is significantly cheaper than the £3,000 pa I paid back in the 1980's for a Megastream.
<pedant>£265 pcm is *more* than £3,000 pa</pedant>
(Yes I know: inflation, and many more bits per second for almost the same price, etc etc)
Our biggest issue is trying to share large collections of 5 MB photos and 1-3 GB videos with family. We're paying extra for 25 Mbps down just to get 5 up (actual; I think advertised as 6). As I've said many a time here in the Forums, I'd be fine reducing the downspeed if I could have equal upspeed.
Previous tiers from our provider:
1.5 / ? (sometimes 0.5, sometimes 1) -- base tier with access
6 / 1 (as tested; supposed to be 1.5, 2 or 3)
My biggest peeve: just because FTTN (neighborhood node aka cabinet) then copper to the house/premises brings a capability of 25 - 100 Mbps doesn't mean it automatically comes free, at least not in the States. If "full fiber" meant higher BI-directional speeds, let me have it!
Unluckily most consumer broadband technologies are designed to be asymmetric, privileging download speeds inside the available bandwidth. That's true also for many fibre deployments using GPON. But the could be still far higher than VDSL.
There are some GPON versions which are symmetric up to 10Gb/s but I don't bet they will be deployed soon, or anyway made available to consumer users.
They could lead to saturation issues over the backhaul network, which would need upgrades as well.
94% availablity? Not quite. There may be coverage for 94% counted by BT (sorry, the puppet OpenRetch's) exchanges, but in many areas high density (urban, suburban) areas there is still a wait list as the street cabinets are full and BT are still dragging heels adding more, using every excuse possible to avoid capital investment. In those same areas there is still too much low quality, badly routed local loop to provide the line quality required to get more than the minimal signal.
That may be the recommendation, but in my last home I had a 12Mbps ADSL line that was rather good and stable, and I hated watching TV over it so much that I installed a satellite dish. You couldn't watch half an hour of anything without getting a frame freeze with the sound continuing merrily behind (sound costs nothing next to image, so obviously) that could last from a blink to a full second. And that was before HD streaming. Very jarring.
Today I finally have a 1Gbps fiber line to the house, and it's paradise. Now I can watch TV over that line and not have any image freeze or stutter. At the same time I can also have Torrent downloading the latest Mint release, my daughter on YouTube and my wife on Pinterest, and nobody complains. So yeah, now things are fine. But watching HD TV over an ADSL connection ? I tried that and I never want to try it again.
EDIT : the link to the article in the footnote is broken.
A lot of connectivity issues are up stream from your access line to the pop. If you are with el cheapo isp (like Talk Talk or previously Virgin) then its more likely you will have your streams cutting out as they don't pay for good peering with major providers or are over subscribed in their peering.
All networks have contention, bigger providers often pay for more higher bandwidth uplinks from exchanges and peering to others at places like LINX and other peering places so you see less buffering overall. Your 1gb/s provider is either not busy or currently has adequate peering.
Apart from a few people (who will be present in bigger numbers on this site I suspect), it's not currently necessary. If your current link can provide a couple of streaming services and a bit of browsing without falling over then that suits most families.
I think 5G is a bit pointless for most people for similar reasons.
FTTC is a lot more reliable than bog standard ADSL, as several people upthread noted.
From the point of view of streaming, FTTC supposedly has a contention ratio guarantee of 15:1 rather than 50:1, although I'm not sure of the state of play today: this will impact heavy users.
As I understand it from discussions with cabling system vendors, BT only runs 4 pairs to each FTTC cabinet, which may prove a limitation long term.
You would think that provided you take a long enough view of the financials, fiber makes financial sense for BT: it's a lot cheaper to maintain. I know Verizon reacted to the destruction of half their copper plant in NYC by a hurricane by replacing the lot with fiber, and I know the fact that Russia's dire Soviet copper was the main reason their penetration is so good :-)
Galvanic corrosion and power usage also means that copper is way more expensive to maintain.. also almost no maintenance except when the JCB gods decide to ruin your day.
There are some challenges with water/dust ingress in connectors, but electric interfaces in my experience are more expensive to run.
As for laying the last mile.. I have seen the data for Spain, and it was more expensive to lay copper than to lay fiber. I don´t have the data for ALU, or steel, as those are horrible choices from a maintenance/quality point of view.
Some of it, possibly most of it - will be cable degradation.
Due to a nearby factory not trimming their trees often enough (Morgan Car Company); my line suffers regular branch strikes and I have to get the line replaced every 4-5 years.
Once the new line is up, my FTTC sync goes back to its original 100+Mbps, then gradually drops down, until it gets low enough to trip the minimum speed guarantee and get I a new line installed.
Back in the G.O.D. BT would trim back the trees and send a bill to the owners; these days they wont do anything, not even send a sternly worded letter; even though the trees regularly rip the junction box off of the pole in bad weather.
"I upgraded straight away to the full 80Mb/s service. At first, I was getting 76Mb/s. Now, I'm getting 55Mb/s"
This is likely to be caused by the automatic tuning of your connection - as bit error rates (BER) increase (typically due to either weather extremes affecting cabling in the ground or interference/crosstalk from other households in your street), the speed is dropped.
It is unlikely to drop below 55Mbps due to the minimum speed guarantee as engineers will likely carry out a health check on the FTTC cabinet to determine the cause if it is affecting multiple premises.
My personal experience was that I needed a quality VDSL2 router connected directly to a master socket at the point of building entry to get 80Mbps as the existing internal Cat4 cabling run to the master socket was affected by power cabling and even this dropped over time to 76Mbps due to BER spikes.
FTTC suffers from crosstalk. As more people are added and more cables from the cabinet to the final distribution point carry the higher frequencies, interferences occur, and speeds are reduced.
Vectoring can help to reduce them, but it has to be supported and implemented on both sides.
Another issue that can hamper FTTC speeds is ''derivated lines", when a cable from a cabinet has more than one end in different distribution points, only one actually connected to an end user (it is a costs saving technique used in less populated areas, when is not known well how many lines will be actually connected and where). The open ends reflect the signal and create interferences, and depending where you are actually connected the signal strength may be reduced as well.
That can happen even inside your home if the VDSL carrying cable has more than one phone plug connected. It's advisable to disconnect them - of course if VoIP is used, or use a splitter.
Both are problems created by the fact the telephone cables were never designed for such uses. Fibre deployment doesn't suffer from such issues.
"You would think that provided you take a long enough view of the financials, fiber makes financial sense for BT: it's a lot cheaper to maintain."
Any figures to back up fibre being cheaper to maintain? I'm aware that telco's are saying newly installed fibre is cheaper to maintain, but that's versus 25+ year old copper installations so not quite like-for-like.
My experience with in-building cabling is that 10+ year old fibre (both single and multimode) is much less forgiving than equivalent copper installations.
'As I understand it from discussions with cabling system vendors, BT only runs 4 pairs to each FTTC cabinet, which may prove a limitation long term.'
The cabinets aren't fed by fibre pairs, they use 1000BaseBX. With that in mind not sure how seriously you can take the rest of what you were told.
I believe the VDSL2 platforms OpenReach use (Huawei/ECI chassis) have one of the following uplink configurations:
- 2 x 1Gbps
- 4 x 1Gbps
- 2 x 10Gbps (this isn't supported in all ECI platforms)
These uplinks are shared between anywhere from 96 (7.7Gbps maximum throughput) to 384 (29.2Gbps) VDSL2 ports. This is potentially mitigated by actual cabinet utilization, but 55Mbps would allow all ports to be utilized with little upstream contention...
4 fiber pairs would allow upto 8 x 1Gbps connections which would exceed the capacity of a single chassis using BX or non-BX optics, so i suspect the issue is actually the older ECI platforms delivering 4Gbps for upto 256 users.
24 Mbps is just not true.
I have many friends who are, officially at that speed.. and actual one varies from 6 to 12.. plus uploads are terrible.
OFCON knows it, the network providers know it and The Reg of course knows it..
As for lower speeds being more reliable.. no. And FTTP is way more reliable than FTTC as it doesn´t use electrical interfaces, hence no galvanic corrosion, etc.
24 Mbps is just not true.
I have many friends who are, officially at that speed..
I doubt it. They will have signed up to a product advertised as capable of connection speed up to 24Mb/s on some lines. However the retailer will have taken details from the customer at sign up and given a specific speed for their line. Unless many of your friends live within a hundred metres of their telephone exchange (which seems unlikely) they will not have been told they will get a connection speed of 24Mb/s.
This should not still be confusing people, especially patrons of this web site! FFS - it's been nearly two decades now and 'up to' should not be confusing anyone!
'Up to' in this context does not mean 'your speeds will vary and could sometimes be as high as 24Mb/s' it means 'The quality of a particular telephone line will dictate what actual speed it supports and the highest quality lines will connect at 24Mb/s'.
As it happens I did used to know someone who got full speed on ADSL2+. They lived about 60 metres from the exchange. When last I heard from them they were moaning because their line was EO (meaning no cabinet) and therefore they had been left out of the FTTC upgrade. Now that's sad.
As noted above; there may be some people who have a genuine need for all of that bandwidth but they will be a small minority.
I got by happily for several years with ~20Mbps ADSL but when the opportunity arose to switch to FTTC/VDSL I took it. I currently get ~45 down/15 up but with myself and wife and two 'young adults' in the house there is no noticeable contention and, with a business contract, we typically get through north of 400GB/month.
Mind you none of us are 4K-dependent so I'm not saying everyone would be satisfied with this but I don't need the 70Mbs+ 'enhanced' service and 1Gbps would make no difference at all.
(Gigabit ethernet internally plus Wifi for tablets and vistors).
"the proliferation of connected devices might change that, with Ovum predicting an average household will have about 50Mbps by 2024"
So, Netflix HD streaming requires 5Mbps, UHD presumably no more than 4 times that (double resolution in 2 dimensions) = 20Mbps. Just what sort of data are these "connected devices" going to be downloading (and also, more worryingly, what sort of data are they going to be uploading??)
Any 'smart' device* SHOULD basically just receive commands from / send telemetry to a users' smartphone, possibly through a central service, not consuming gigabytes of data (and certainly not SENDING gigabytes of data unless you're live streaming your UHD home surveillance cameras to your phone). So that "50Mbps by 2024" AVERAGE seems total bollocks
* Why they should be avoided like the plague is already a common enough topic here not to have to go into it again...
"Any 'smart' device* SHOULD basically just receive commands from / send telemetry to a users' smartphone, possibly through a central service, not consuming gigabytes of data (and certainly not SENDING gigabytes of data unless you're live streaming your UHD home surveillance cameras to your phone). So that "50Mbps by 2024" AVERAGE seems total bollocks"
The next "upgrade" to the so-called smart speaker, is to have a camera which follows you around the room analysing your facial expression to help work out your mood to support the voice recognition and so improve the "user experience" by anticipating what you want to do next. So there's a constant video stream back the mothership. Probably one in each room each room, in addition to the one in the "smart" TV constantly checking to if it should switch on and show you something to cheer you up. Oh, and the fridge will need a constant connection to send back opening/closing times and duration of the door, temperature monitoring to track optimal food expiry dates for re-ordering,probably with a camera inside the fridge using image recognition to identify what goes in and out.
I couldn't live without 1gbe synchronous. I'm planning to buy a house in the area of the country I'm from (as opposed to London) in the next few years and the downside to that is I've had to spend time coming up with ways to achieve that and the conclusion is right now it's pretty expensive. There's so many ways to solve this problem and given the volume of money that's been thrown at BT by taxpayers it should have been solved by now. This stuff is absolutely trivial to fix with the volumes of cash floating around.
Work from home, gaming, 4k video, regularly move vast sums of data around etc. It's cheap so why the hell wouldn't somebody?
Also it's not just a bandwidth question. You might only use say 50 litres of water a day, doen't mean you want it delivering in buckets or through a straw. Stability, knowing it's there when you need it, not using idiotic technologies not designed for and not fit to do the job..
Something this article failed to mention is the extra costs that the ISP will charge you for FTTP over ADSL/FTTC which might put people of upgrading as they don't feel it is worth the extra cost.
I was on an ADSL service for 18 months and paying £17.99 and that was the cheapest fixed line broadband I could get but was happy enough with the speed as I could watch HD iPlayer, Youtube and web surfing and email.
I upgraded to a 35Mb VDSL FTTC service as I could get it for just £2 more a month on an 18 month contract, FTTP isn't available yet in my street but I can get VM 300Mb service for £45 but for me I that is paying over double the price for more bandwidth that I will rarely use.
If the price goes up when my 18 month VDSL contract is coming to an end I will look to switching, even if that means I have to go back to ADSL to keep the price at £20 pm or under as price is more important for me than bandwidth.
I think the OFCOM research saying most are satisfied is probably spin and selective interpretation from them to prevent them from having to actually get the ISPs and Openreach to do anything drastic.
I think the other issue is that although services like Netflix, Amazon, YouTube etc are in much wider use, most people still watch live TV through freeview or Sky so they don't need the higher bandwidth for streaming just yet. I believe Sky was looking at removing dish and pushing all its TV through your internet connection. If/When that happens, I would put my house on it that suddenly nearly all Sky customers with more than 1 person in the house would start shouting about how crap their internet is and they need faster fibre!
Also the cost of the higher speed FTTC packages is expensive and with no guaranteed speeds, people aren't going to be in a rush to change over and will settle with what they have.
I'd like faster internet that's for sure but then I'm a techy and work in IT (and work from home regularly), and I have 3 kids (2 of which spend painful amounts of time on youtube or online gaming. I'm sure the 10month old will be following suit as soon as she can!) I find on my 43mb/s (was 53mb/s but the super reliable FTTC lost 10mb/s out of nowhere...still better than ADSL though) that downloads can be a bit slow at times or videos can be a bit buffery.
I think I'd get by fine with 100mb/s for the time being. I'm a Sky customer though, which could change that to require faster connection if they go down the IP route. 1gb/s would be fantastic but as previously mentioned, a lot of services out there can't handle that speed yet. I've got most of my devices wired so could use the speeds at home, but again understand a lot of people using WiFi wouldn't be able to take advantage of 1gb/s.
Maybe they should consider building Cat6 into new builds with network points in each room going forward instead of TV ariels. Would make some interesting use cases for PoE as well!
We will shortly have FTTP available from GigaClear thanks to a grant-aided installation throughout our village.
If I still only had 3Mb* (on a good day) ADSL I'd consider upgrading to their service. As it is I've got 70Mb FTTC, which is available to most of the village, so can't see the point in spending significantly more for FTTP plus a VOIP service for phones.
*It's the connections from the exchange to the cabinet that are throttling this, not cabinet to premises. It took OpenReach / MJ Quinn about a week to complete the connection with vans seen at all points between house and exchange.
"Even then, a company like PlayStation will throttle it at about 40Mbps, because their servers only have enough bandwidth."
This sort of argument is made over and over again, and I just don't understand why. Even if a single person is unlikely to benefit from peak speeds above a certain level, most households contain more than one person, and often those people might want to do more than one thing. Even if PlayStation cap at 40 Mbps (don't know if that's actually true, certainly Steam doesn't appear to do so and easily saturates my connection), a person waiting for a game to download may well want to watch a video while it's happening, while the three other people in the house are also watching videos, playing games, and wanting some overhead for normal faffing around on the internet. A cap of 40 Mbps on a single activity means you actually want at least 80-100 to be sure that activity doesn't prevent your entire household doing anything else. Sure, you can get by with less, especially if your circumstances are different, but the idea that just because one activity for one person doesn't benefit from higher speeds, no-one could possibly ever want more is just ridiculous.
As for gigabit, that probably is usually overkill right now given the limited opportunities for most people to really use it all. But that's unlikely to remain the case 10 or 20 years from now. We have to install the infrastructure at some point, and given that the alternative is to install FTTC kit that is often barely adequate even today, it would be nuts to just stick with that and not bother installing anything that will actually be useful in the future.
But that's unlikely to remain the case 10 or 20 years from now. We have to install the infrastructure at some point, and given that the alternative is to install FTTC kit that is often barely adequate even today,
And the current deployment rates of BT/Virgin/Gigaclear would seem to indicate that the country will be FTTP in 10 years, just in time for those applications that we can only speculate about today. So the problem is what is the quickest way to deliver to the most people the data rates that are typically needed today, to which the answer is pretty much what has been happening: deploy a technology (FTTC) that extends the fibre network out to the street cabinet and then follow up with the much slower deployment of cabinet-to-premises fibre.
Full fibre please. I don't need the speed, throttle us to 100M-200M for now. It's the reliability, and better upload I want.
We use lots of Openreach ethernet circuits at work. 0 downtime in years.
VDSL at home - copper connection problems 2-3 times/year.
A team of 8 people put virgin fibre tubes all through the pavements in our town recently. Base infrastructure for hundreds of people/day.
Please, some more ISPs, just connect us all up with 1G commodity ethernet circuits. £10/transceiver. <£100/router. Forget the virgin DOCSIS stuff. Have a VLAN/MPLS per ISP and do something like unbundling.
Cabinets: 48Port SFP+ and 100G uplinks for about £100/port.
The number of VDSL copper faults openreach fix each day is incredible. You wouldn't get that with fibre.
They have thousands of vans and people fixing up this old infrastructure.
It's not going to happen. Most consumer fibre deployments are using some flavour of GPON to reduce costs. It reduces the number of ports required to gather traffic, while passive splitters are cheaper and don't require power, so they are easier to deploy.
Our exchange went to fibre about 4 years ago - village next door got FTTC at once. We stayed stuck on ADSL for 2 years more. Then we got FTTP - basically too much dodgy old wiring for FTTC.
Various people (like me) have opted to upgrade to FTTP. Now, it seems (according to neighbours), Openreach are upgrading everyone whether or not they ask! Presumably very keen to decommission the old lines, and cut down on service calls?
A much better way of managing and marketing network connectivity is surely according to outcome. That is certainly what most subscribers intuitively want; it's just that they've been forced to learn about the technicalities in order to fight for those outcomes.
A national policy which defined certain levels of application service (from basic reliable web browsing up to multiple parallel 2 way video calls) would be a much more understandable framework for people to understand. It would also get around the inconsistency such as having a high bandwidth connection but with high packet loss being poor for voice or video.
Set a national target based on those outcomes (eg. legal minimum vs nice to have) and then compel Openreach / Virgin etc set up the connectivity that makes sense to achieve those in a certain locale, and subsidise accordingly.
Setting a national policy of 'FTTP everywhere' is going to guarantee only one thing: a massive amount of money spent unnecessarily.
Arguing about FTTC/FTTP versus Cu is simply pointless. Once you've got Cu laid, it's a lot less expensive to address the really big unmet demand - lack of decent upload speed - by investing in G.Fast. My conversations with OpenReach engineers suggest that Cu management is a lot more quality focussed than it used to be with frequent post-job QA inspections. Maintaining fibre is just as expensive once third-parties start opening up the fibre ducts...
But the key point that Gov and BT both miss is that Internet connectivity is the only sensible way to deliver cellphone coverage to rural communities. The penny is slowly dropping in their tiny minds now they've started to consider how many fibre backhauls they will need for 5G. Once you're into that scale of longhaul fibre laying you can consider a properly integrated service where a rural community, struggling to load animal movements into DEFRA's website via dial-up or ADSL, can have symmetrical fibre to the community - THEN you can sprinkle around femto-cells, FFTH for those who will pay for it, FTTC/G.Fast for everyone else and suddenly all of the major unmet need is taken care of.
My chums tell me that 5000 new fibre backhauls will be needed for 5G rollout in the Republic of Ireland. Think what that number might be for England. Or Wales. The locals don't want it in rural Scotland - it's been tried and they complained so loudly that it was stopped. But to be fair, if the detour for a closed road in the West Highlands is >100miles, I wouldn't want it either. Have to find a way to lay new fibre that doesn't close roads...
I would like better upload / download speeds, they are available, but at a substantial extra price that's not worth it when we only see contention issues in the household occasionally
(albeit helped by only 3 of us and a bit of basic traffic shaping at the router to stop any one device being too greedy - mainly see issues when download rates drop to below typical rates for a sustained time, e.g. when total incoming bandwidth has dropped below sum of max allowed rates of the devices at times when many / all connected devices are in heavy use )
If contention issues were more frequent I would bite the bullet and pay the extra to upgrade.
Of course I need 1Gb - my holodeck runs like a pig on FTTC.
But seriously, if I got a decent speed over copper (plated steel!) I wouldn't have FTTC. The exchange is so far away that full copper barely hit 4Mb so I opted for the exchange to effectively move to the end of my street. I get 10Mb up and 40Mb down (apparently 70Mb available). Don't really need it but I'm an impatient sod and like the fact I can download OSes and videos quickly.
For those in rural areas, or anywhere, with old and dodgy copper. Since they had FTTP installed, following a community campaign to fibre-up the hamlet up the road that barely had a phone service, I haven't had a phone call from the Olds in rural Devon complaining the Internet is broken. That's worth a lot in my view. From an unreliable 10Mbps ADSL, and being too far from the cabinet to benefit from FTTC, they have gone to a rock solid 40/10Mbps FTTP via Zen. Happy days.
"The only useful scenario of having those speeds is to download a very large video game."
No the usefulness is having a family all using the internet, in my case I have 5 people in my house. I have about 40-50Mbs, and it is too damned slow with all of us using it, one person downloading a game or an update will slow everyone down!
>I have about 40-50Mbs, and it is too damned slow with all of us using it, one person downloading a game or an update will slow everyone down!
Suspect your problem is with your providers equipment and probably also with the way your systems do or do not bandwidth limit downloads. As not seen the problems you're experiencing other than at some peak times when the issue isn't the line speed but the wider Internet.
Our village went FTTC last year with most houses on 0.5mb to 2mb before the upgrade. There was some publicity via the parish council minutes but there was no household notification process. It seems that quite a few people were and are simply unaware that they can switch to FTTC. Their lack of uptake is nothing to do with being satisfied with their existing speed, it's just ignorance of change.
I had a lot of problems with my new VDSL connection (low speeds and line drops) and eventually convinced my ISP to get Openreach to investigate. That was not a straightforward process and I suspect many people would not have seen it through - I eventually managed to provide evidence of heavy rain coinciding with crazy readings in DSLstats and provided a zoom lens photo of the ancient twin core drop line with lengths of cracked insulation.
The Openreach engineer replaced the drop line on seeing it and we now have a completely stable connection. Current up time 46 days at 40mb for a cabinet 600m away with a max attainable of 57mb. Suddenly HD and 4K streaming has become useable and has transformed our TV viewing. Alright, its not FTTP but compared to intermittent 2mb, it's fine.
I suspect our old drop line also affected our adsl speed but we're far from the only household here with drop lines like it. They're not all nerds - how are they going to know what to do? As far as I can see, they simply accept low speeds and line drops as part of normal rural broadband issues.
Not everyone lives with in 1km of their green cabinet. I am talking of cable distance not according to GoogleMaps. This can lead to poor performance even with FTTC, I get just 12Mbps/0.5Mbps and latency can vary massively, peaking at over 1300ms to something like the BBC website. Online gaming can be interesting....
I am in the fortunate position to have watched Openreach lay Fibre to the pole outside my house back in May. I managed to contact Openreach through their website and asked when it would be available to buy. I was told that it would be July, Great! 2020, WTF? It takes 14 months to activate FTTP after laying the cable? Really? Why? This timeline assumes there is no issue with the cabling at all, which could add up to 6 months.
I seriously wonder how Openreach can make any money when it has to invest in cable so long in advance of selling it to customers and earning any income at all from it. It is really quite shockingly mismanaged.
Also 3 months down the line the fibre cable is still attached to the pole with some yellow plastic tape.and not behind the protective trunking.
"I seriously wonder how Openreach can make any money when it has to invest in cable so long in advance of selling it to customers and earning any income at all from it. It is really quite shockingly mismanaged."
Probably Govt. grant money to lay the cables, but their own money to add the equipment.
£30b is like £1000 per taxpayer, which would pay for several years of complimentary broadband per household. The last thing we should be doing is committing the taxpayer to non-essential luxuries like FTTP and HS2/ HS3, when we have the HUGE known and unknown costs of transitioning our economy post Brexit. Let the market decide: let people pay the true cost of FTTP / HS2 / HS3 if they think they need it.
With no EU trade deal, business conditions will change significantly, with both new opportunities and many unviable businesses closing. LOTS of investment will be needed to survive the economic shock. Please prioritise taxpayers money for that, rather than wasting it on services most people don't need!!
Yup, this article is not telling us pundits anything we didn't already know. Take-up of high-speed packages is low across the board. You see the same thing on Virgin where most people seem to be happy on the lower tier packages waiting for Virgin to upgrade them for free when Virgin decides it needs to make its averages look better and closes deprecated packages. Even where FTTP is available most people are opting for the lower packages. There's even people on Infinity 1 and 2 despite over FTTP.
Of course there's demand from some people and some people still have a shitty connection. But most people are happy with single digit speeds and just don't consider 'the internet' to be important enough to warrant anything better. And yes, several sites broadly agree with Ofcom based off their own data. Thinkbroadband does a monthly round up. There's graphs you can play with here.
Does the UK need FTTP? Yes, eventually it certain is the future and offers a lot of advantages, Is there customer demand? No. Or at least very little. That might annoy and surprise some people but that's the truth. Only a small minority of people actually want triple digit speeds and a vanishingly small number actually need them.
So I'm all in favour of FTTP but we should do so in the knowledge that we're well ahead of the demand curve. That's a good thing as long as we don't overstretch ourselves trying to achieve an arbitrary goal.
I live too far from the cabinet for FTTC and only get up to 5Mb/s where I live. I applied to Openreach for a community funded scheme to upgrade me and the dozen or so houses around me to FTTP. It took well over a year to get a quote and the final estimate was well over £50k to which, understandably, my neighbours said no thanks!
Scottish government has committed to 100% super fast internet by 2021 but somehow I don't see this happening.
If customers dont want fibre because 10mbps is enough then switch them to fibre for free and limit the bandwidth to 10mbps, what is so difficult with that !
Ah, they want the customer to pay for something they dont need or want at the moment - I bet they do, well that isn't going to happen and saying they will end copper at a specific date will depending how they do it will potentially mean some people will opt out of internet services due to the added expense of a service they don't want or require. Just reduce fibre packages to ADSL prices with a free bonus speed upgrade from 10mbps to 20mbps or 30mbps.
It will not go down well if you say look buddy your £10 a month unlimited ADSL at 10mbps is being discontinued so upgrade to fibre at 50mbps at £50 or lose internet services ! I know I would be pissed even if i was out of contract !
Its much better to use a carrot than a stick so do packages that make it enticing enough to make the jump to fibre or upgrade them as I said for free but limit their bandwidth to 10mbps or better still upgrade them for free to 30mbps and dont tell them what you have done !
I just want the option of not paying through the nose for fibre because I'm buying a new build.
I appreciate BT have laid the infrastructure for it and so must get returns on their investment, but the prices for speeds are ridiculous. Their current deals are 2 years, with a free Samsung Tab A or Xbox 1 all digital edition. Is it not enough that they've had billions of our cash already to get these upgrades sorted?!
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