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SSE Telecoms to Unbundle 40 BT Exchanges and Use Openreach Dark Fibre

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017 (3:00 pm) by Mark Jackson (Score 3,272)
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The enterprise division of SSE Telecoms has announced that their on-going ‘Project Edge‘ fibre optic network expansion in the United Kingdom will soon unbundle another 40 BT Exchanges in “prime business areas” and leverage Openreach’s new Dark Fibre Access (DFA) service.

At present around 265+ Point of Presence (PoPs) across the United Kingdom can already offer access to the operator’s 10Gbps (Gigabits per second) capable “enterprise-class” and 13,700km long fibre optic and Ethernet network, which connects into 75+ commercial data centres. Technically it can also go much further than this following last year’s major network sharing deal with Updata and Capita plc. (here).

However the operator now hopes to use Openreach’s new DFA service to provide connectivity into a further 40 exchanges, which reflects the third phase of their network expansion plan and one that will bring the total number of exchanges served by its national network to 140. The total number of postcodes in prime business areas that are served by the full Edge service will thus increase to 300,000+.

DFA gives rival ISPs “physical access” to Openreach’s fibre optic cables (i.e. allows them to “take direct control of the connection“), which means that they can then install their own equipment at either end of the optical fibre within Openreach’s cable ducts. TalkTalk are also looking to use DFA and the first trials are due to begin during August 2017.

Colin Sempill, MD of SSE Enterprise Telecoms, said:

“The decision to extend our network even further demonstrates just how committed we are to supporting the connectivity ambitions of the UK business community. We understand that to function in today’s economy, businesses need reliable, high capacity connectivity in all corners of the UK. It is through detailed analysis of LIVEQUOTE data as well as ongoing dialogue with direct customers and service providers, that we have selected these additional exchanges to which we will expand our network.

We are also excited to be part of the Openreach Dark Fibre Access (DFA) trial and believe that this marks a turning point for the UK’s digital economy. For those that are agile enough, DFA will rapidly lead to more competitive services in an ever more competitive marketplace. With our track record of providing high performance, high availability connectivity to the most demanding businesses, we’re well placed to translate the cost advantages of DFA into more affordable services designed to reach ever wider business markets.”

The operator notes that their plan, which must already be fairly advanced otherwise they wouldn’t be shouting about it so loudly, is however still “subject to the satisfactory outcome” of the DFA trial. Nevertheless the 40 additional exchanges will all still be unbundled over the course of the next 9 months.

It’s worth pointing out that the current DFA solution is based off Openreach’s 1Gbps capable Ethernet Access Direct (EAD) service.

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3 Responses
  1. whowhatwhere

    Sadly even their own PR offers few clues as to which exchanges are amongst the lucky 40..

    https://ssetelecoms.com/insights/press-releases/sse-enterprise-telecoms-unveils-plans-extend-network-reach-55000-additional-business-postcodes/

    “The 40 exchanges will be unbundled during the course of the next nine months and will be named in batches as they come on-net.”

  2. eM

    I have to admit, I’m struggling to understand what is meant by term “unbundle” the exchange – must be some professional jargon I’m not familiar with, and the article doesn’t expand on it. Is unbundling good or bad, and what was in the bundle in the first place?

  3. New_Londoner

    Let’s hope that LLU isn’t used as an excuse by Ofcom to delay real network investments. Despite their rhetoric, the likes of TalkTalk and Sky were against the original investments in fibre, will no doubt oppose anything that disadvantages their LLU assets, irrespective of the benefits to us poor customers.

    Ofcom should put ISPs on notice that LLU assets are liable to be defunct as other technologies are deployed so that they are clear that they cannot delay progress. More creative use of network frequencies would deliver real benefits in terms of higher speeds and longer reach, LLU is holding this back at present.

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