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BT Openreach Cuts Price for UK Long Reach VDSL Broadband Trial

Friday, September 30th, 2016 (4:18 pm) - Score 3,224
openreach fttc street cabinet engineer with beard working

Good news for anybody likely to be taking part in Openreach’s (BT) forthcoming trial of the new “Long Reach VDSL” (FTTC) broadband technology, you can expect to receive the service free for up to 2 years. Plus there’s an indication that the top download speed might be boosted up to 55Mbps.

The LR-VDSL solution is one of the potential options being considered to help with delivery of the Government’s future 10Mbps Universal Service Obligation (USO) and it might even be able to expand the availability of “superfast broadband” (24Mbps+) speeds.

The technology is a tweaked version of the current ‘up to’ 80Mbps Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC / VDSL2) service, albeit one that has been designed to use higher signal power and wider frequency ranges (see the technical details). In other words it should be able to deliver faster speeds over longer copper lines from your local cabinet (e.g. a 2km line might deliver around 9Mbps via normal VDSL2, while LR-VDSL could possibly do 24Mbps+).

At present Openreach is still testing the solution in Isfield (East Sussex) and North Tolsta (Isle of Lewis), although last week we revealed that a wider-scale trial would soon begin to roll-out in Ashcott (Somerset) and Peatling Magna (Leicestershire) from “early 2017” (full details). Overall some 1,500 homes are likely to be covered during 2017.

However LR-VDSL isn’t a perfect solution and works best if the older ADSL based connections are disabled first, which presents a headache for any future roll-out. Not to mention the need to enable both G.INP and also Vectoring to help tackle different forms of interference. This appears to be part of the reason why Openreach has just launched a new special offer for the trial.

Openreach Statement

LR-VDSL will deliver better speeds and extend the reach of the GEA-FTTC network particularly on long copper lines. LR-VDSL is however expected to affect existing exchange-based copper broadband lines on the selected cabinets. In order to minimise this impact and enable an early trial start date, Openreach is launching a special offer to facilitate the migration of all affected copper broadband lines onto GEA -FTTC;

* Free PCP-install worth £49.
* Up to 2 years free rental on 40/2, 40/10 and 55/10 worth up to £100.80 in rental saving per line per year.
* £30 subsidy per line to cover other minor costs incurred by CPs.

The trial will target selected cabinets in various locations. The first phase is planned to take place in Ashcott, Somerset (cab 2) and Peatling Magna, Leicestershire (cab 6), subject to discussions with impacted CPs in the trial areas. Additional locations will be announced in due course.

One other interesting aspect of this is the mention of a 55/10 profile (up to 55Mbps download / 10Mbps upload), which is a little higher than the initial technical documentation’s suggested 40/10 limit. Mind you this is a trial and no doubt Openreach will be interested to see what is actually possible.

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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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1 Response
  1. Avatar MikeW

    I think the discount is for all customers on the affected cabs, not just the ones who will benefit from the long-range profile.

    That helps BT persuade subscribers to shift off exchange-based ADSL services … which is a necessary step before allowing the LR-VDSL changes to be activated.

    I’d guess the 55/10 profile is more meant for subscribers who will stay on the 17a profile … but they still need to be shifted off ADSL first.

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