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BTOpenreach Maps Out its UK Telegraph Pole Locations for ISPs

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015 (10:47 am) - Score 7,955

Alternative network providers that make use of BTOpenreach’s pricey Physical Infrastructure Access (PIA) solution, which allows ISPs to share the operators network infrastructure in order to deploy new services (e.g. faster broadband), can now access an up-to-date map of the overhead network (telegraph poles).

According to Openreach the new overhead network data report, which comes at an unspecified cost, will help related AltNet ISPs (i.e. the few that are actually using PIA) to “understand the location of Openreach Poles and whether they could be used as part of CPs network build plans as defined under the permissible use of PIA.”

The information could make it easier for some providers to deliver new ultrafast fibre optic broadband infrastructure. In the past some have complained that Openreach’s approach to PIA is too cumbersome, while others have preferred to install their own poles rather than use BT’s.

In any case such reports may be better suited to larger deployments, since smaller projects can usually develop a basic understanding of local infrastructure options by doing a simple on-foot engineering survey.

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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.
Leave a Comment
6 Responses
  1. Patrick Cosgrove says:

    Still not much help if it’s prohibitively expensive, or because the pressure is on regarding Openreach separation, does it herald a softening approach to working with other providers on the rural fringes (yes, I do believe in fairies).

    1. Steve Jones says:

      I think if people do the research, they’ll find that in building a network, the most expansive part and therefore the greatest investment, is in the passive element. poles, ducts, footboxes and so on. It’s a significant part of operating costs, and especially in rural areas with long runs. Any charges are bound to be significant, but they are meant to be cost-orientated (so based on internal costs to BT of the same facilities).

      One of the more costly elements of Openreach’s PIA is that it’s very possible to incur excess construction costs following a survey (blocked/full ducts and so on). That’s probably less of an issue with poles, but even there I suspect there may be issues about load capacity. These unpredictable costs also impact OR’s internal projects as well (witness the FTTC rollout and installing fibre backhaul). Unpredictable costs are a big disincentive.

      Ducts are only checked when required for access for the obvious reason that it’s very costly to go round clearing ducts on a regular basis when access might only be required once every few decades (not to mention the traffic disruption that might be caused). The cost Ofcom builds into regulated pricing is not based on pre-emptive work like that.

      It’s probably much more of an issue on rural lines that in busy urban areas for the obvious reason they are likely to be accessed much more frequently, have shorter runs and there are probably fewer large trees.

    2. DTMark says:

      ^ This is why the idea that BT is about to deploy fibre to distribution points on any kind of scale by 2020 is hilarious.

  2. Neil says:

    Is this info not already shown on ordnance survey maps?

    1. Alasdair says:

      OS maps have high voltage powerlines but I’ve never seen telephone wires or poles mapped. There was a rumour that their most detailed mapping was going to start including street cabinets though.

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