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BT Makes Progress with First UK Fibre Only Broadband Pilot in Deddington

Thursday, October 18th, 2012 (8:55 am) - Score 1,177

BTOpenreach, which manages access to BT’s UK telecoms network, appears to be making good progress with its first Fibre-Only Exchange (FOX) trial in the rural civil parish village of Deddington (Oxfordshire). The project aims to replace the old copper line products with ultra-fast fibre optic phone and broadband (e.g. 100Mbps+ FTTP) services.

The trial, which was first announced in March 2012, ultimately plans to remove the local telephone exchange’s copper loop that currently serves 1,400 lines (2,200 people) in favour of a Fibre-to-the-Premises based infrastructure. This could deliver a massive boost to the area, which is currently classified by Ofcom as a Market 1 (i.e. BT only) zone where only basic ‘up to’ 8Mbps ADSL services are available.

Jim Flux, Chairman of Deddington Parish Council, said in March 2012:

We are excited to be the first community in the UK to be piloting this latest innovation in telecommunications. Not only will our residents and businesses be able to take advantage of ultra-fast broadband speeds but Deddington is also helping pave the way for the services of the future.”

ISPreview.co.uk understands that the Managing Director of BT Business, Bill Murphy, met with locals earlier this month to update them on the trials progress. Murphy is understood to have said that the main fibre optic spine from Banbury (6 miles north of Deddington) has now been completed, as has the surveying work. Several large ISPs, including Sky Broadband and Zen Internet, have since joined the scheme.

Openreach has now moved on to deploying the fibre optic cable into individual premises, which is progressing well and should reach around 86% of local homes in December 2012 when the operator will reveal how close they are to the official roll out day (the service itself is predicted to go live during early 2013). It’s noted that the new fibre optic solution will apparently sit alongside the old copper based service (i.e. locals don’t have to take the new products).

An Openreach engineer will eventually visit each home to discuss where the terminal box is to be situated. After that it should be just a matter of ordering the service via one of the supporting ISPs, which might well require a second Openreach visit for the final connection process. Prices are expected to start at around £18 a month, which is cheaper than most FTTP connections, although at this stage we don’t know precisely what that actually includes.

Openreach’s trial experiences should help it to better understand any the future costs and complications that could arise if a similar development was rolled out to other telephone exchanges around the UK. However such work doesn’t come cheap, at least not for a big operator like BT, and it remains to be seen whether the pilot will be replicated elsewhere. Thanks to local man David for sending us some of the details (we also found a bit more via Deddington OnLine).

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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