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SOGEA Standalone “Fibre Broadband” Showing on BT Wholesale Checker

Monday, May 16th, 2016 (9:10 am) - Score 1,732
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The official BT Wholesale Checker has quietly added a new column to show the availability of their future Single Order Generic Ethernet Access (SOGEA) product, which will eventually allow you to order a standalone superfast “fibre broadband” (FTTC / VDSL) line without needing a phone (voice) service.

At present anybody who buys a VDSL based ‘up to’ 40-80Mbps Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) service must also pay a separate line rental fee to cover the cost of providing and maintaining the physical copper line that enters your property (this usually includes a basic phone / voice service that most providers offer by default).

However the rise of mobile and VoIP mean that fewer people actually make calls via their land line and as such Openreach (BT) has been busy developing SOGEA, which will enable consumers to order a “fibre broadband” service without also needing to pay for separate line rental (aka – Naked VDSL).

But don’t get too excited just yet because the new single fee will still have to cover the costs of providing that physical line and as such the final price is not expected to be much cheaper than today’s line rental + broadband bundles.

Never the less the SOGEA product is already working its way through early technical trials and should soon move into the first of two mainstream broadband ISP trials, which means that BTWholesale has had to update their checker. But you shouldn’t expect to see any useful data in its fields, at least not for a little while.

sogea_bt_wholesale_checker

According to the most recent update (here) from February 2016, the first “alpha” ISP trial is now set to begin in October 2016 and a second “beta” trial will then follow in April 2017, with the final consumer pilot expected to go live during August 2017. The result is likely to be that a full commercial launch won’t now happen until around early 2018.

We know from an update posted last year (here) that the initial “alpha” trial will focus on locations in London, the North West (Manchester, Merseyside), Midlands (Birmingham), Yorkshire (Leeds, York) and Scotland (Glasgow, Edinburgh). A list of specific locations is not yet known and those that take part may need an engineer to visit in order to fit the new NTE5C master socket (necessary when voice reinjection around a customer’s existing home wiring is required).

We should add that Openreach are also developing a version of the SOGEA solution for their new G.fast technology, although so far as we are aware the initial trials will predominantly focus upon the VDSL based variant. The G.fast roll-out will also involve a need to install the new NTE5C faceplate, which should at least make life easier when it comes to offering SOGEA on related products.

The new advertising rules, which will soon force ISPs to combine the cost of line rental and broadband into a single price, should also come as a benefit to SOGEA as it will make it easier to compare related packages between providers and to highlight SOGEA’s small but useful cost saving.

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Mark Jackson
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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6 Responses
  1. Avatar MikeW

    It also looks like the changes are meant to account for G.Fast availability, as well as SOGEA. The text below the table now mentions G.Fast:

    For all ADSL and WBC Fibre to the Cabinet (VDSL or G.fast) services, the stable line rate will be determined during the first 10 days of service usage.

    For VDSL or G.fast Ranges A and B, the term “Clean” relates to a line which is free from any wiring issues (e.g. Bridge Taps) and/or Copper line conditions, and the term “Impacted” relates to a line which may have wiring issues (e.g. Bridge Taps) and/or Copper line conditions.

    That might explain why the top 2 lines in the table talk about “VDSL Range A” and “VDSL Range B” (instead of FTTC, as before), and the bottom 2 lines (related to multicast) no longer refer to “fibre” and “copper”, but “VDSL” and “ADSL”.

  2. Avatar Chris P

    That’s all great but when will we be able to order?
    My Cab has been marked as FTTPoD 330/30 for over a year now yet i can’t order it as no isp has that as a product option..

    • Avatar StevenNT

      I agree mine’s had FTTPoD for over 3 years I think, but hopefully G.fast will be not too far off as that’s a more financially viable option (i would hope)

    • FTTPoD is nothing to do with G.fast or VDSL. However the FoD2 trials have more or less come to an end and won’t form a part of this year’s G.fast pilot, so we should learn soon if BT Wholesale are going to officially reintroduce it by the end of this year.

    • Avatar GNewton

      @Mark Jackson:

      ” so we should learn soon if BT Wholesale are going to officially reintroduce it by the end of this year.”

      Why only at the end of the year? A widely offered fibre-on-demand product is long overdue, especially since there is hardly any genuine fibre broadband available in the UK.

    • Avatar MikeW

      It appears Mark was spot on: within 6 hours of posting his comment here, there was a whole new article showing that FoD was available from BTW again.

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