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BT Link 1000 Apartments at New Capital Quay to 300Mbps FTTP Broadband

Saturday, December 21st, 2013 (7:49 am) - Score 1,532
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BT might have dramatically scaled back its national plans to deploy 300Mbps+ capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband technology across the United Kingdom (here) but it hasn’t completely stopped and the next area to benefit will be the huge New Capital Quay development in South London.

New Capital Quay, which is being developed by Galliard Homes as part of a project to regenerate London’s Greenwich peninsula (i.e. it was previously used for heavy industrial storage), will soon become a waterside village of 1,000 apartments in 12 blocks and this will be accompanied by a huge new Waitrose supermarket, shops, restaurants and cafés.

As part of this effort Galliard Homes has also selected BTOpenreach to connect all of the related premises up to the latest fibre optic (FTTP) connectivity, which can deliver download speeds of 300Mbps+ and uploads of 30Mbps.

It’s interesting to note that the original 2008 plan was to use an “all-copper infrastructure on the site” but this changed when the project was restarted in 2011 and Galliard found that FTTP could now be delivered from the local Greenwich telephone exchange. On top of that Openreach were able to blow the fibre optic cable to the site using their existing cable ducts, which saved a lot of time and digging.

Arthur Hughes, Galliard’s Utilities Manager, said:

It seemed incredible to us that Openreach FTTP could serve 1,000 apartments at truly superfast speeds, using a single cable the same diameter as my forefinger. It took us a while to get our heads round that one, but we still needed some convincing about the technology and its reliability.

We visited the Openreach R&D centre in Ipswich where their futurologists gave us an insight into the kind of communications services that would be available in 10 years’ time. That was a real eye opener! We also visited the Openreach FTTP deployment at Ebbsfleet.

Those trips convinced us that Openreach FTTP really was the way to go. We were sold on it. The solution wasn’t just fast. It was future proof and almost indestructible. Here at Galliard, we love resilient, long-term utility solutions.”

The FTTP equipment for each apartment consists of four boxes – one to connect the fibre to, one for the electronics, one for the power supply and one for battery backup. Thankfully all of this has been discretely hidden away in a service cupboard.

As it stands today the Galliard development is nearing completion and the first tenants will soon be moving in, although sadly the support for FTTP connections among major retail ISPs remains poor. Neither Sky Broadband, TalkTalk nor EE offer an FTTP package, which only leaves BT itself and a selection of smaller but typically also more expensive providers like Zen Internet and AAISP etc.

However BT isn’t the only game in town. Hyperoptic are also busy connecting up larger apartment blocks to their similar 1Gbps capable FTTP/B service, which tends to focus on the areas that BT itself has missed.

Admittedly some people might look at such work and say, “well if it’s so good then why can’t the rest of us have it?“, but deploying to new developments and MDU / high rise apartments is a considerably easier case to make than connecting up existing homes in more remote areas. Time and money remain the biggest obstacles.

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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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