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BT Openreach UK Culls Old FTTP Superfast Broadband ISP Products

Sunday, September 1st, 2013 (1:25 am) - Score 3,787

After plenty of warning BTOpenreach has today withdrawn from new supply a selection of its first truly fibre optic (FTTP) based broadband ISP products including the 40/15Mbps, 100/15Mbps, 110/15Mbps, 100/30Mbps and 330/20Mbps options (download / upload speed in Megabits).

The move, which is intended to streamline Openreach’s product set, was first announced last year so as to give ISPs plenty of time to adapt (here). As a result the above named products can no longer be offered to new customers but existing users will continue to be fully supported, at least they will until March 2014 when they must be “removed from the product portfolio completely“.

Openreach’s Simplified Fibre-to-the-Premises Product Range

• 40/2 Mb
• 40/10 Mb
• 80/20 Mb
• 220/20 Mb
• 330/30 Mb

The new 220Mbps service, which officially launched at the start of June 2013 (here), is designed to replace the old 100-110Mbps FTTP products and adopts a similar level of pricing i.e. (£92 +vat to install and annual rental price ranges from £187.32 +vat per year if you take the Transition Product with a phone line). Retail ISPs will of course need to add other costs on top of that.

Sadly none of this will have a huge impact on the market because only a tiny number of UK homes and businesses currently have access to a native FTTP service, while BT’s new FTTP-on-Demand (this makes FTTP available via FTTC lines) product is simply far too expensive for most residential consumers and has yet to complete its national rollout (details).

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43 Responses
  1. Avatar Phil says:

    Not surprise really!

    1. Avatar Ignitionnet says:

      Given it was announced months ago per Openreach’s regulatory requirements it isn’t really, no.

    2. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      Nope it’s just an update.

  2. Avatar Ignitionnet says:

    If FTTPoD were available with the 220/20 product variant I’d tear an operator’s hands off to get it.

    1. Avatar Roberto says:

      Is there any providers actually selling FTTPoD of any speed and if so which ones and how much?

    2. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      Most ISPs will usually wait until after the Early Market Deployment phase is complete.

    3. Avatar JNeuhoff says:

      We have asked BT several times: Fibre-on-Demand won’t be around for a long time to come. And even if it eventually does appear, it will only work for areas which have fibre-cabinets. It won’t work for exchange-only lines, for some strange BT doesn’t won’t to do for EO lines, even though most exchanges already have fibre-backbones. The whole BT strategy is weird, to say the least.

    4. Avatar Roberto says:

      Thanks thought for a minute i had missed something and it was an actual available product.

    5. Avatar FibreFred says:

      JNeuhoff,

      Don’t you understand why EO lines are more of a problem than cabinet fed lines?

  3. Avatar NGA for all says:

    I know Ofcom seem desperate to keep the current LLU/WLR price review (2014-2017) to a hypothetical copper only network, but given their Table 6.8 shows £72 of the £82 cost recovery is for capital in the Drop Wire/ D-side and E-side copper, you must wonder why the transition to fibre cannot be progressed in this round of cost recovery.

    The Drop wire/NTE (£17.25 of the £82) has a life of 10 years in their model. If new drop wires do not include fibre then the Ofcom proposal acts as a deterrent to a more progressive transition plan.

    Happy to be proven wrong.

  4. Avatar Phil says:

    BT EO (Exchange Only Lines) will never get any fibre to the cabinet but they can do fibre to the property but it will cost expensive if the customer want it.

    1. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      Never say never in the land of Internet technology and telecoms :). BT’s on-going Network Rearrangement trial means that some EO lines will get FTTC by having new street cabinets installed so that they function more like a traditional service.

    2. Avatar JNeuhoff says:

      @Mark: There are many towns whose local exchanges are already hooked up to a fibre backbone. Hence, the costs per metre of installing fibre from the the exchange to the premise are similar to lines going from a cabinet to the premise. I have never heard of so-called EO line issues in other countries, that seems to be a BT-specific issue only.

    3. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      I don’t think I’d dare simplify the costs for something that could vary dramatically between one location and the next, especially since the public information about EO lines in the UK is currently less than sparse.

      IMO I can perceive situations where FTTP might be more viable but others where FTTC could still be a better fit.

    4. Avatar FibreFred says:

      “Hence, the costs per metre of installing fibre from the the exchange to the premise are similar to lines going from a cabinet to the premise”

      How on earth did you come up with that?

      You are basically saying FTTP costs the same as FTTC to deploy, which we all know is simply not true.

    5. Avatar JNeuhoff says:

      @FibreFred: I know you are a loyal believer in everything BT says. I have personally seen cable ducts for both EO lines and those from cabinets, also seen how they go on poles and then to the final premises, and there is basically no difference. The amount of work of blowing fibre per metre through the ducts is the same in both cases. I suggest if you don’t believe me ask a Bt engineer. Also rest assured most exchanges already have fibre backbones, in many cases dark fibre between exchanges has been there from well before ADSL was even enabled on exchanges! I have not seen BT digging up roads in order to put more fibre in between towns in our district for many years because they were already there.

    6. Avatar FibreFred says:

      Agreed I’m sure most exchanges do have fibre.

      So… back to what I said.. you are saying it costs the same to deploy FTTP as it does FTTC, please expand on that.

    7. Avatar TheFacts says:

      @JNeuhoff – There are fibre products available to you, what’s the problem?

    8. Avatar FibreFred says:

      Actually reading it back you are saying the costs for fttp on demand are the same as running fibre direct from the exchange for eo lines ?

    9. Avatar JNeuhoff says:

      @FibreFred: “fttp on demand are the same as running fibre direct from the exchange for eo lines?” In both cases lines use similar ducts below the street surface, and poles. Hence, the costs per metre for blowing fibre through the ducts and then running them up to the poles are similar. Even the network topologies for EO lines (exchange to premises) and the usually further away cabinets (cabinet to premises) is quite often similar in principle. And not even that, in many cases there is plenty of space in a local exchange hence the same equipment located in a fibre-cabinet could also be installed in the exchange, or very nearby, there are not even VDSL crosstalk issues. The distinction between FTTP for EO lines and FTTPoD for lines from cabinets becomes blurred.

    10. Avatar FibreFred says:

      What equipment in a fibre cab ? There is none for fttp on demand, so are most eo lines within 2km from the exchange?

    11. Avatar Roberto says:

      Phil are JNeuhoff are partly right. FTTPoD pricing is actually based on radial distance rather than actual line distance, so costs can be cheaper. FTTPoD also runs to an aggregation node which in some case can be located in a cabinet, buried right under it, or even the complete opposite and several KMs from a cabinet, even right next to an exchange.

      Again it does not seem to affect pricing though as its radial based not line length based. So unless BT are going to make a loss on say every other FTTPoD install it must be possible to do cheaper.

    12. Avatar FibreFred says:

      It is based on Radial Roberto you are right, which is why I asked about the distance to the exchange for the majority of EO lines. Distance is only one part of the issue when comparing the two models though.

      With FTTP On Demand (non EO) uses GPON, what would the EO version of FTTP On Demand use? point to point fibre like the FTTC cabs? If so you would have to stand up some fibre equipment in the exchange to terminate the connections on which would obviously be expensive and how could you justify that? How many people would buy FTTP on demand on EO lines at a cost of £1 – 1.5 – 2k to install?

    13. Avatar JNeuhoff says:

      @FibreFred: I know for sure that the EO lines in our area are usually no further than a few hundred metres at the most away from the exchange. And with a network topology similar to lines from cabinets GPON would be a suitable choice for fibre EO lines.

      As I said, this issue with so-called EO lines is fairly unique to BT, I have never heard about it in other countries. I think BT has no genuine interest in fibre-on-demand products in the short term because it would intefere with its leased-line business.

    14. Avatar FibreFred says:

      JNeuhoff, to be fair why would you know about any EO line issues in other countries?

      Ok so I suppose you could still use GPON and collapse it all back to the exchange, but the question still remains who would actually buy it at the FTTPoD costs?

      If EO lines are all a few hundred meters away from the exchange (not sure if that is the norm, there’s not much info about EO) then it would make more sense financially to put a cab outside the exchange for FTTC which is what I believe BT are touting, because it will cost the customer a lot less than having FTTPoD installed

  5. Avatar Roberto says:

    “BT’s on-going Network Rearrangement trial means that some EO lines will get FTTC by having new street cabinets installed so that they function more like a traditional service.”

    Any idea on they areas or even a road that applies to? I have read of no such thing happening, thus far or being planned, i think the most i heard was a “WE MIGHT” do that from BT 2 or more years back.

    1. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      Yep..

      http://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2012/06/bt-preps-new-uk-superfast-broadband-cabinets-for-exchange-only-lines.html

      I did also ask for an update on this recently but Openreach didn’t have anything to add.

    2. Avatar TheFacts says:

      Happening in Cornwall?

    3. Avatar Roberto says:

      Interesting read lets hope it actually becomes a reality beyond the trial.

  6. Avatar Roberto says:

    “It is based on Radial Roberto you are right, which is why I asked about the distance to the exchange for the majority of EO lines. Distance is only one part of the issue when comparing the two models though.

    With FTTP On Demand (non EO) uses GPON, what would the EO version of FTTP On Demand use? point to point fibre like the FTTC cabs? If so you would have to stand up some fibre equipment in the exchange to terminate the connections on which would obviously be expensive and how could you justify that? How many people would buy FTTP on demand on EO lines at a cost of £1 – 1.5 – 2k to install?”

    Only that is the exact case, if you scroll down the news item you will see Mark Jackson has already informed us all EO lines may well get a cabinet.

    This then makes even less sense to pricing as if that happens for them to have a FTTP based product (FTTPoD) the cost of the install will be based on radial distance rather than line distance which they would currently have to pay.

    It also makes a bigger mockery of the costs as before they offer customers that cheaper solution BT would actually have to spend money on a cabinet and switching the EO lines to the cabinet. This makes little sense as that would mean BT are spending more to provide a potential FTTP based solution to EO lines but then charging the customer less to have a FTTP based product installed/connected.

    I can thus only conclude the pricing models from BT are in no way logical but more a case of what they can get away with. Or to be kind just not thought through very well.

    1. Avatar FibreFred says:

      I’m not sure I get you Roberto and to be honest its hard to even discuss accurately as the EO info is so scarce.

      But… lets go with JNeuhoff’s own set-up, how is putting a fibre cab outside his exchange any different to putting a fibre cab near a PCP? Wouldn’t they just site it outside and then run a copper link between the fibre cab and the exchange?

      I think for me its more about “take up” than actual tech, if you can get many EO customers onto FTTC and then have them gradually move to FTTPoD that is less of a financial risk than going straight to FTTPoD?

    2. Avatar Roberto says:

      I am not agreeing with all what JNeuhoff has to say, what i am saying and have demonstrated is the pricing structure and charging structure does not make sense.

      Imagine a home that has BTs current FTTP product available and a home closer to the exchange by say only a road or two that does not and is an exchange only line.

      FTTPoD would be cheaper for the customer on the EO line as the pricing is based on radial distance, however the amount of cable used in a FTTPoD solution would be the same (OK NOT EXACT but there abouts) as the amount used in their other current FTTP product for the EO home.

      However before BT could give that user FTTPoD they would have to fit a cabinet somewhere or somehow connect them to a cabinet in the vincinity of their home. That is extra work and equipment that equates to extra money, BT then allow that person to have FTTPoD rather than just supplying them with a straight FTTP product in the first place, which makes no sense as it would had cost BT more as a company to not only make that FTTPoD product available to that customer but then they also charge them less than it would the current gen FTTP to connect them.

      Sure that is great for the consumer but with regards to a business making money its bonkers.

    3. Avatar FibreFred says:

      Sure but there is no install cost for straight FTTP anymore they only made it available at certain locations and didn’t charge what they will do for FTTPoD in terms of installation costs. I firmly believe the FTTP deployment to date was just one massive trial to work out how much it costs to deploy, then they said right.. anyone else can pay the full costs

    4. Avatar Roberto says:

      It still does not make sense fred. For BT to make a EO line FTTPoD capable they would have to spend £20,000 or there about on a cabinet to give them FTTC first.
      Also add on the the cost of running fibre to that cabinet/aggregation node from exchange.

      EO lines are small in numbers if you say have 5 in a street and they all took FTTPoD (which is also unlikely) and BT charged them £2000 each (realistic middle of the road radius cost for FTTPoD product) to have it installed that is still £10,000 at least BT are out of pocket.

      Repeat that all over they UK for the splattering of EO lines and it soon mounts up to a pretty hefty cost.

      I admire that BT are at last trying to get this country faster speeds and better broadband services but as far as costs go and the choices BT seem to make at times it seems rather bizarre.

    5. Avatar FibreFred says:

      Why would they be out of pocket in your example Roberto, wouldn’t they also get revenue from FTTC customers on the cab they’ve deployed?

    6. Avatar Roberto says:

      Assuming the 5 people (to stick to the example i gave) with EO lines they fit a cabinet for actually sign up for FTTC in the first place.

      Then yep agreed they would eventually get that £10,000+ (again sticking to the example i gave) back, at a rate of £26 per month, per person.

      Not sure how many years exactly that would take but based on 5 people i put it at around 6-7 years. And that is assuming they go to BT retail for their service in the first place.

    7. Avatar FibreFred says:

      Not what I mean Roberto is that they install a cab, many sign up to FTTC as it should be a speed increase and the installation costs in minimum and your 5 people sign up to FTTPoD so they get revenue from both.

      I was trying to highlight that you wouldn’t put in a FTTC cab to serve 5 people no matter what they wanted to use

    8. Avatar Roberto says:

      If in an area BT place a cabinet for users which are currently stuck with an EO line there would not be many people on that new cabinet in most cases.

      It may be different for a village of a few hundred all in basically a singular location all stuck on EO lines and you just install a cabinet connect up the few hundred and job is done (ok simplifying it but hope point is made).

      For a typical large town though the number of people on a EO line will be small and scattered around the town. I wonder how they deal with that situation?

      Also unless they have come up with some way to do away with the cabinet copper runs from on a service to the users home, would they not also need one of them, IE the installation of 2 cabinets… A traditional one and a new FTTC one?

      I suppose the could somehow do an all-in-one cabinet job if they exist, even then though i imagine a dual purpose one comes at increased cost.

  7. Avatar JNeuhoff says:

    @FibreFred: VDSL for short EO lines is not an attractive option for many customers, they already get 15 to 20mbps speeds easily on their ADSL2+ lines, and can even use Annex-M. At least in our area, and perhaps in many other places, too, fibre-on-demand for small businesses makes perfect sense, they would be willing to pay for it. As Roberto pointed out, BTs current fibre-on-demand prices (assuming this will ever become available all over the UK which is doubtful) appear to be highly inflated. BT doesn’t even have to dig up roads, it can use exsiting ducts and poles!

    1. Avatar FibreFred says:

      So if VDSL on short lines are minimal cost are not attractive for many why is fibre at even higher speeds and cost more attractive?

    2. Avatar Ignitionnet says:

      Actually the FTTPoD costs aren’t close to the actual costs of the construction let alone inflated versions of it but no matter.

  8. Avatar FibreFred says:

    are minimal=for minimal

  9. Avatar palwers says:

    cant be bothered reading this lot.

    seems the discussion was all about cost and why fttp wasnt being delivered and when EO would be delivered.

    EO is being delivered now. the problem with EO is that it requires fibre network interception, and the erection of new cabs…

    the problem with fttp is only partly to do with cabling, its a colossal challenge and cost to provide to the customer. but the main issue is the civils work. the amount of full ducts, blocked ducts, collapsed ducts, joint boxes. its more than 10 times that in the eside network, which is already a mammoth challenge in itself.

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