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UPD BT Demo 10Gbps Fibre Optic FTTP Broadband ISP Speeds in Cornwall

Friday, November 9th, 2012 (8:18 am) - Score 2,445

BT has used the latest XG-PON (i.e. 10G-PON or ITU-T G.987) hardware from ZTE to demonstrate its “hyper-fastFibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband service delivering speeds of up to 10Gbps (Gigabits per second) to a business in Cornwall (Arcol – based outside Truro), which equates to around 10,000Mbps (Megabits).

Cornwall is a logical test bed for BT as it’s the home of their joint public and privately funded £132 MillionBig Build” scheme, which aims to make superfast internet access available to “at least” 80% (ideally 90%) of premises in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly by the end of 2014.

At present the best that BT’s commercial FTTP solution can offer is 330Mbps, although they’ve planned to push this up to 1Gbps ever since the service was first soft launched three years ago (many expect this speed or something similar to surface in 2013). Unfortunately the latest Proof of Concept demo at 10Gbps isn’t likely to become a commercial product for a few more years and indeed the test itself wasn’t even connected to the internet, although it does show what will one day become possible.

Ranulf Scarbrough, BT’s Director of Superfast Cornwall, told V3:

At present the demo at Arcol doesn’t connect to the actual internet as there’s nothing on the internet that you need a 10Gbit/s link for, but it proves it can be done.”

At present BT’s specific FTTP solution has three problems – affordability, coverage (it’s only available to a comparatively tiny number of UK premises) and capacity costs. The issue of coverage is likely to be solved next spring 2013 when FTTP-On-Demand allows the service to be installed anywhere that the operators FTTC lines can already reach (i.e. 66% of the UK by spring 2014 or possibly 90% by 2016/16 with public funding).

Unfortunately affordability could be a problem for FTTP-On-Demand, with the installation costs likely to run into four figures (i.e. the cost of replacing an old copper line with fibre optic), although monthly rental should remain the same as a standard FTTP service (unless ISPs choose to push some of the setup cost into higher rental prices).

But the cost of capacity over BT’s fibre optic links will need to come down before ISPs can offer truly affordable service speeds of 330Mbps or even 1Gbps to home users. As the director of AAISP, Adrian Kennard, told us in August 2012, “the latest services from BT such as 330Mb/s FTTP are actually a major issue for any small or startup ISP as 330Mb/s back-haul in to BT is seriously expensive, only to be filled by one customer” (here).

Indeed so far only a handful of ISPs have pushed 330Mbps out to end-users and usually only to those with very deep pockets, although BT Retail did recently boost its 100Mbps package to 160Mbps by using 330Mbps products and, given enough time, competitive pressures should improve the situation. Meanwhile most people would struggle to get the most out of a 100Mbps service, let alone 330Mbps, 1Gbps or even the dizzy heights of 10Gbps. But times, they are a changing.

UPDATE 22nd November 2012

BT has now made an official announcement about the trial, although it doesn’t say anything new.

Ranulf Scarbrough, Director of Cornwall’s SuperFast Broadband Programme, said:

What is exciting about this trial is that these hyper-fast speeds have been obtained over the exactly the same fibre that carries BT’s fibre broadband services today. All we are doing is changing the electronics at either end.

This trial shows we are thinking and ready for the future even though there are no current plans to deploy this technology. A lot of this project is about future proofing – making sure that it’s not just the fastest speeds today but that we can continue to be at the cutting edge for five, ten, twenty years.”

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53 Responses
  1. Avatar DTMark says:

    This is a bit like watching Renault cars go round a racetrack or compete in a rally, then getting back into your own Renault should you be, er, fortunate enough to own one, and watching as another piece of it falls off in your hands, some piece of plastic that’s holding wires together in the engine bay catches fire, and then it breaks down again.

  2. Avatar FibreFred says:

    Proof again for that non-believer. GEA-FTTP is GPON, stick new bits on the end and its XG-PON

    He wasn’t having any of it but here it is in black and white.

    This is why I don’t understand those that have a downer on FTTC and all this doom and gloom and that we’ll be looking back in 10yrs at the mistakes and sorry state of our broadband infrastructure

    The FTTC rollout is key better speeds via FTTC but also to bringing FTTP to the vast majority of the country (should they want it via on demand ordering) with the fibre they’ve pushed out to streets for FTTC comes the ability to use that for FTTP

    Ok the install cost for FTTP (via on demand) are unknown but once you have it you are totally set-up for the future

    Other than monopoly gripes I don’t understand why people are worried, FTTC is not dead end, the very fact that it is being rolled out means we have access to much better speeds via FTTP in the future and across a huge amount of the country

    1. Avatar DTMark says:


      1. The BDUK project was about delivering superfast broadband to homes and premises, not to street cabinets;

      2. BDUK only exists because of spectacular market failure. Ploughing all the money into one company not only distorts that further, but means we’ll need to have BDUK2 at some point, then BDUK3 and so on. All manner of widespread private investment has been killed stone dead. The signal sent by BDUK is: don’t go anywhere near this.

      3. Choice of only one provider for the bits which matter. Competition raises standards, monopolies lower standards. Which is why we are where we are. And why we will never make any significant leap forwards like this.

      4. “FTTP on demand” roughly translates us “pay us to be more than just a phone company” and is only available where a cabinet has a fibre twin. Leaving that massive issue aside, no costs have been announced for same, and I remind you of point number 1.

    2. Avatar FibreFred says:

      Ok but I’m not talking about BDUK. BDUK is a mess sure but all of its problems aside its about taking a small pot of money and doing what you can with it. FTTC seems to fit the mould as its relativity cheap (compared to FTTP) which means you get more coverage for your buck.

      So… BDUK is used for FTTC rollout, tick

      I’m talking about those that are beating down on the future of broadband in this country (like yourself 😉 ) saying investing in FTTC is a mistake (might not have been you specifically, probably Chris) etc etc

      What I’m saying is BT’s FTTC self funded rollout (and to a small degree BDUK funded areas) has a great future by way of FTTP on demand

      I don’t get point 4, why is that a massive issue when FTTC will be available to the majority of homes 66% or 90% ?

      Like I say… I’m not talking about BDUK here that’s a can of worms in its own right I’m talking about the technology. As I’ve been saying for ages now

      FTTC for now and near future
      FTTP (using the fibre FTTC laid) for the future for many many years

    3. Avatar DTMark says:

      I don’t have any issue with BT’s own money funding their own rollout. It’s how private companies are supposed to work 😉

      Having spent the last decade being unable to give any money to BT because all it has ever provided are telephone services and just maybe a narrowband ADSL service at a push, it is very welcome. (To be fair, I did get ~7Mbps sync on an 8Mbps ADSL connection once at one place about 350m from the exchange).

      Finally, there may be a competitor to Virgin Media cable worth even thinking about. Unless, of course, to get decent speeds needs a huge outlay to wire in fibre, whereas Virgin will do it for nothing. (Competition raises standards, lowers prices)

    4. Avatar Deduction says:

      LMFAO “the test itself wasn’t even connected to the internet”

      XGPON will require total new equipment about the only thing used will be the actual fibre cable.

      You need to terminate the equipment BOTH ends with total brand new equipment.

      About the only thing this has to do with any current BT product is the use of fibre cabling, the rest of the infrastructure if you want this is basically scrap, so god knows why you are babbling on thinking this in some manner shows current products are GPON.

    5. Avatar Deduction says:

      LMAO Mark he doesnt even realise FTTP in Cornwall was originally funded by the ERDF fund. Heck the equipment in this demo wasnt even BT based. Im at a loss what he or BT actually think they have done apart from take credit for this demo. Never the less ill keep him happy… Well done to BT they can plug cabling Europe funded
      into a new box which was paid for by another company. Only BT and its brain dead supporters could some how take credit.

    6. Avatar FibreFred says:

      The delusion continues, an explanation is wasted on you, if you cannot read and understand what is there now and what they have done to move it to XGPON then your lack of technology knowledge is worse than I thought

      “XGPON will require total new equipment about the only thing used will be the actual fibre cable.”

      Totally agree, the fibre PON network stays the same. The current OLT (which makes it currently GPON and the ONT are swapped out) then it becomes XGPON.

      What I’m saying is the current GEA-FTTP is GPON how can you dispute that based on what you’ve read and I’ve already proved to you countless times, lol indeed

    7. Avatar FibreFred says:

      @DTMark, yeah the cost of FTTP on demand is obviously key, its hard to compare to Virgin though I mean they enable a street so you can see why they would do it for free. In comparison I guess that would equate to fibre being on your pole already and just running a short length of fibre to the home and drilling holes in the wall etc. For that type of install I would expect it to be free or very cheap at least.

      Its getting it to the road / pole from the aggregation node which will be the pricey bit I guess. I suppose the trial is there to work all of that out

    8. Avatar nicknick says:

      Actually that 10G is ultra slow look here (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18551284 ‘Twisted light’ carries 2.5 terabits of data per second) – yes 2.5Tb/s on a fibre !!!!!!!! WOW!!!!!!!!!

      But seriously this is just a bit of point to point fibre to a business. Put two DWDM devices on each end and you’ll get a lot more than 10G. Doesn’t give you anything more than a lab trial.

      There are actual real world trials of XG-PON already (for residential users and connected to the internet), although of course not in this backwoods country. These will probably come into service around the time BT is only just rolling out vanilla FTTH over here

    9. Avatar Ignitionnet says:

      FTTPoD is an excellent plan for BT. They get to have the cost of FTTP paid for by the end users up front.

      Either way this is another part of the ongoing willy waving with Virgin. Virgin do a tech trial of 1.5Gb over HFC, Openreach tech trial 10Gb over PON.

      None of it matters for those hundreds of thousands if not more in our large towns and cities who can’t reach 2Mb and have no prospect of doing so.

    10. Avatar Deduction says:

      Nope what you actually stated was “Proof again for that non-believer. GEA-FTTP is GPON” And as i stated this demo in no way shape or form proves current products are GPON

    11. Avatar Deduction says:

      @Ignitionnet, yep you have that about right, in fact this so called demo was not even fully paid for by BT. The fibre cabling in place was partly funded by a big 50+ Million ERDF for cornwall, and the equipment used in this demo which was connected to that fibre came from another organisation.

      Ive no idea what fantasy planet a certain individual is on in even thinking this is down to BT in any manner. I guess only they can explain how 50+ Million of government funds and another organisations equipment equates to a product which is anything to do with BT development.

    12. Avatar New_Londoner says:


      Quote “The fibre cabling in place was partly funded by a big 50+ Million ERDF for cornwall”

      For clarity, and in the interest of balance, do you want to provide the complete breakdown of funding sources for Cornwall, showing how much came from each of the EU, local authority and BT? IIRC the ERDF element from the EU was less than you suggest, was supplemented by further money from the county council and was rather less than the BT funding.

    13. Avatar TheFacts says:

      Superfast Cornwall is an ambitious £132 million programme

      Funded by the EU, BT and Cornwall Council

      The European Regional Development Fund is investing up to £53.5 million

    14. Avatar FibreFred says:

      I’ve no interest in the funding that is another ploy to move this elsewhere

      The article is about the current BT GEA FTTP PON network, which is currently operating as GPON having its OLT replaced (and customer ONT) to make it XGPON

  3. Avatar adslmax says:

    The future is bright! 🙂

  4. Avatar FibreFred says:

    So Mark a question direct to yourself

    GEA-FTTP is it currently GPON or direct point to point fibre?

    1. Avatar Deduction says:

      There is no such thing as “direct” point to point fibre.
      So thats a stupid question.

      There are AON and PON. Current BT FTTP uses layer 2 switching and that is powered not passive DUH!

    2. Avatar FibreFred says:

      Powered in the exchange again you fail to understand, you believe (or did believe) that GEA FTTP was point to point. I can provide a link if you wish

    3. Avatar FibreFred says:

      @Deduction, I see you ignored these from last time so I’ll jog your memory 😉

      “FYI it all started years back on a trial in ebbsfleet




      I could provide more links but… the point is already proven.”

    4. Avatar Deduction says:

      Layer 2 switching no matter how many multi posts you make does not happen in the exchange. The clue is in the number 2.

    5. Avatar Deduction says:

      Furthermore Ebbsfleet is a different product to the MASS FTTH/P product BT offer, thats why it has its own unique pricing as detailed here…

    6. Avatar Deduction says:

      This link (which ive finally found)
      shows clearly GEA and GPON products from BT are not the same. It is 2 different products. Hopefully now with it in SEPARATE diagram form any images you now see on the internet (and the frankly stupid combined one you continue to link to on openreaches site) with a PON and switch side by side wont continue to confuse you into thinking its a single product.

      A SWITCHED product is powered it is not Passive. A passive product uses splitters. GPON uses splitters, Ethernet uses switching. One is powered making it an AON. GPON is not powered within the CP network making it PASSIVE.

      Explaining to you there is more than one product is like trying to explain to a monkey there are other food groups apart from bananas.

      For all your BT supporting no matter if others correctly point out you cant read a diagram (see prior news items) or Openreach staff (again prior news items) point out you are wrong, you persist, its frankly pretty funny.

    7. Avatar Deduction says:

      Ill also repeat again and again place quotation marks around the word you messed up on…… There is no such thing as “direct” point to point fibre. GEA is a P2P product it is not a “DIRECT” P2P product. It goes through switching from the CP on the way to the end user. For it to be “DIRECT” there wouldn’t be anything in between. This demo was DIRECT, as it was basically just a bit of fibre cable with and XGPON and termination point…. Thats why it wasnt connected to the internet DUH! This demo has nothing to do with current BT or any companies products, about all it had in common was it used a bit of fibre cable, it didnt make use of any other existing to the market infrastructure. I dont know if you really dont understand what was done or you are just pretending to be stupid?

    8. Avatar FibreFred says:

      Thanks for this http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/telecoms/policy/whitley.pdf

      It actually proves my point but as you cannot read it you still fail to understand?

      How many references are there to GPON but you still claim GEA FTTP is not GPON? 🙂

      The L2 switch you are so obsessed with is just the handover point in the exchange to the ISP (BT, Sky etc etc), in front of it is the GPON OLT , and then the splitters (which you can clearly see) which are the passive elements

      Your complaint about the L2 switch being powered is like saying the GPON OLT can’t be GPON as its powered.

      Again no technical understanding is your failing, I can’t solve that for your 🙁

    9. Avatar Deduction says:

      Well i guess we all know now even with separate diagrams you can not comprehend ther are 2 products.

    10. Avatar FibreFred says:

      Describe me the two products available then if you would

    11. Avatar FibreFred says:

      Still waiting on this one, what are the two BT GEA FTTP products that are available ?

    12. Avatar New_Londoner says:

      Quote: “shows clearly GEA and GPON products from BT are not the same. It is 2 different products”

      Actually The slides you’ve linked to show GEA can use GPON for the physical network layer, just as it can use other network options.? Slides 8 and 12 clearly show GEA can de delivered over GPON, odd you think differently as you provided the link to the slides!


  5. Avatar Darren says:

    Speedtest or it did not happen. Hehe

    Good to see things pushing forward though. Hopefully it will make backhaul cheaper so ISP’s don’t have to cap products (330Mbps to 160Mbps).

  6. Avatar zemadeiran says:

    Again, I always look forward to the Friday FibreFred vs Deduction debate… 🙂

    When you discuss “Passive Optical Networking” bare in mind that the wavelength’s are passively split/combined by an optical comb which the GPO/BT may have developed way back when(Please feel free to confirm).

    In reality, there is no bandwidth limit between a BT exchange and a cabinet due to a fiber’s capacity to carry Tbps. This is old news and nothing to really to get excited about: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qH0s_Myd1o

    BT of course will not come out and publicly state that they have 100Gbps+ to each cabinet as this would without doubt cause an uproar.

    Seriously guy’s think about it this way, if the UK public find out that we have unlimited bandwidth how the fuck are service providers going to make any money charging us and each other based on said bandwidth???

    Fiber SFP’s for 10 kilometre+ gigabit are less then $100 retail.

    I would love to know how much B4RN are getting their fiber per meter without labour, Chris?

    And by the way, why are BT saying they developed bend insensitive fiber when corning was there first? http://www.btplc.com/Innovation/Innovation/Bendyfibre/index.htm

    1. Avatar Deduction says:

      QUOTE ZEMADEIRAN “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iy55drBjbec&feature=related”

      Yep and the diagram displayed for most of that video showing how all the products connect and co-exist is basically what you have with BT at this very time. He just cant understand there is more than one type of FTTP/H product from them.

    2. Avatar FibreFred says:

      No Deduction that isn’t a BT video, it is showing how you can have different types of connectivity for FTTP, no disputing that at all.

      What I’m saying is that GEA FTTP from BT is GPON as can clearly be seen here by the word GPON http://www.openreach.co.uk/orpg/home/products/super-fastfibreaccess/fibretothepremises/fttp/downloads/GEAFTTPFactsheet.pdf and on countless other sources I’ve provided, even ones you’ve provided yourself

      I can provide even more links with clear diagrams but you’ll still fail to grasp it

    3. Avatar Deduction says:

      I didnt say it was a BT video i said “the diagram displayed for most of that video showing how all the products connect and co-exist is basically what you have with BT at this very time.”
      Again you can not comprehend there is more than a single product.

    4. Avatar Deduction says:

      LOL someone else has already pointed out to you that openreach diagram shows more than one product is available, you just can not read or understand the bit that states “existing product” under it. What happens after the existing infrastructure in that diagram is very clear in…
      GEA is an Ethernet P2P product GPON is a product that is split by optical splitters. It is now clear even with separate diagrams you can not comprehend there is more than a single fibre product and means to deliver is.

    5. Avatar FibreFred says:

      Sigh no. The slide deck shows “fibre choices” point to point and PON and for the rest of the deck talks about PON ( their choice ) as reflected in the diagrams showing the splitters as per the BT Nga video showing splitters , your own links condemn you 😉

    6. Avatar Deduction says:

      Your BT video shows an aggregation node not a splitter. They are not the same thing.

    7. Avatar Fibrefred says:

      3min 06 shows the aggregation node , 3min 26 shows the splitter with audio to back it up.

      How you like your egg in a morning ? On your face it would seem 🙂

  7. Avatar Deduction says:

    LMAO its misnamed, typical BT. Each splitter splits 32 times, if the thing on the left is a splitter its clearly splits more than 32 times. He talks as if an aggregation node is a splitter (like you do when it isnt) in fact just before your 3.26min (3.21-3.23) part he actually says is fed to “ANOTHER” splitter, so obviously he thinks its split more than once and BEFORE that splitter. LOL
    He then goes on at 4.03 to mention another “distribution point” Clearly thats also out of date equipment or completely wrong unless from the pole its going to serve less that a dozen people per “distribution point” when before that point its been “split” 32 times. The trouble is he like you doesnt understand theres more than one product or more than one method used in their FTTP/H product. In short like you… clueless.

    1. Avatar FibreFred says:

      The splitter is the one with the label “splitter node” it’s very easy to see and hear , your replies get even more ludicrous , even faced with a very clear easy to follow video you still deny that it is Gpon 🙂

      Mislabeled , lies , the guy doesn’t understand his own product line, do you realise how stupid you sound ?

      What that video shows is exactly what your previous link shows gea Fttp a gpon network

    2. Avatar Mike says:

      Id give up deduction he obviously can not read a diagram correctly. Clearly does not know what an aggregation node and a splitter looks like. Does not realise just as you point out that BT guy does indeed clearly say “another” splitter and thinks like him an aggregation node is a point things are split rather than collected. If all that was not enough he has no explanation using his own example why Ebbsfleet is priced differently if the product range is the same. BT and its workers once again look morons.

  8. Avatar Deduction says:

    Indeed mike, clearly he has problems.

    1. Avatar FibreFred says:

      No problems, just more proof that BT GEA FTTP is GPON http://iwcs.omnibooksonline.com/data/papers/2010/1_8P.pdf

    2. Avatar Fibrefred says:

      I’ll assume your silence means you have caught on now and that realise it is indeed GPON 🙂

    3. Avatar Deduction says:

      No you can assume you are still thick as pig poop as on page 11 of your very own PDF they refer to aggregation nodes and splitters both as (AN) for short, guess what that actually stands for numpty.

    4. Avatar De_duction002 says:

      You can assume you are still thick as pig poop as on page 11 of your very own PDF they refer to aggregation nodes and splitters both as (AN) for short, guess what that actually stands for numpty.

  9. Avatar zemadeiran says:


    Another long interesting thread on how light Pulses are delivered…

    You guy’s never let me down 🙂

  10. Avatar zemadeiran says:


    Whatever you want to call it, Fiber PON is point to multi point.

    You can of course run General Ethernet Access through it and provide synchronous download/upload speeds with a simple onu/router change (laser upgrade) as per specs.

    The OLT line cards control the flow between itself and however many onu’s/routers are connected to it.


    1. olt in the exchange > main fiber goes to cabinet from olt > passive splitter in cabinet > 10gbit is split between cabinet users.

    2. olt in the exchange > splitter in cabinet > splitter in each black of flats

    3. olt in exchange > splitter in first cabinet and splits to other cabinets in the area > cabinets split to homes.

    4. olt in exchange > cabinet > onu/router in my flat no fucking splitter….

    10gbps for zemadeiran and I will shut the hell up 🙂

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