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Business ISP Evolving Networks Deploy Bonded Fibre Optic FTTP Product

Friday, September 1st, 2017 (11:57 am) - Score 1,368
blue fibre optic cable expansion

Now here’s a product that we didn’t expect. UK ISP Evolving Networks has deployed its first “bonded” Fibre-to-the-Premise (FTTP) connection to a business and they claim that part of the reason for this is because the existing network service is limited to an upload speed of 30Mbps.

At first glance this approach might seem a bit wacky because a single FTTP line should be capable of going a lot faster and even some residential ISPs are already offering a symmetric 1Gbps connections. As such we think that the reference to 30Mbps is a reflection of the cap that Openreach (BT) puts on their 330Mbps GPON FTTP tier.

Apparently the business client involved – Event Alchemy (an event and video production company) – needed more speed and so the ISP developed a bonded FTTP service using two fibre optic lines that are then aggregated using the provider’s proprietary network virtualisation software (Intelligent Network Fabric) and a software-defined multi-VNO access network.

The end result was a download bandwidth of 450Mbps, although they don’t mention the exact upload rate. A leased line is still being used alongside this but only until the contract with the carrier expires.

Nick Johnson, CEO, Evolving Networks:

“We’ve been providing aggregated connectivity to the market for the past 10 years. As a result, there isn’t a connectivity challenge we can’t solve. Whether it’s bonded ADSL, FTTC and now FTTP, our experience in the industry, coupled with our intelligent software that makes it all possible, means we’re able to deliver on our customers’ connectivity requirements in a cost-effective and streamlined way.

For this project, while FTTP did provide an increase in both upload and download capacity, a single connection was still not sufficient to meet the needs of the events company. For example, Event Alchemy would only have been getting an upload speed of 30mbps, which just isn’t good enough given the types of video and data they’re sending.

As a result, a bonded FTTP connection was the best solution, providing that added capacity, as well as resilience. Bonded FTTP connections are the natural next step for businesses craving more bandwidth and the resilience that a paper SLA can’t deliver in practice.”

The approach, which took two months to deploy, seems to be popular because the ISP says that they’re already provisioning a number of new bonded FTTP connections for other customers (up to four fibres). But this may also highlight another issue in the market because Openreach has recently launched two new FTTP tiers – 500Mbps (165Mbps upload) and 1Gbps (220Mbps upload).

However we’ve yet to see any ISPs offering those tiers, which is largely because suppliers (e.g. BT Wholesale) have yet to adopt the service and providers need to add a lot of capacity to support them. Not to mention the one-off connection fee being £500 vs only £92 +vat for the 330Mbps option. But if the 500Mbps and 1Gbps tiers were offered then we suspect that the need for a bonded FTTP solution might diminish, at least for now.

On the other hand Evolving Networks states that speed isn’t the only consideration and the extra resilience of two lines is another big selling point, even if the fibres do still go through the same cables / ducts.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he is also the founder of ISPreview since 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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30 Responses
  1. MikeW

    The existing Openreach NTE has multiple ports, and it appears feasible to order multiple FTTP (PON) services over the one fibre, each accessible through separate ports on the NTE.

    I imagine those services could be bonded using an appropriate router, but you wouldn’t get the resilience from multiple physical fibres.

  2. Jonathan Channon

    Would be interested to know if this could be done with multiple lines and FTTC and the cost they would charge for that

    • Bonded FTTC lines are nothing new, they’ve been around from various ISPs for awhile. Sometimes you have to ask an ISP specifically about it though as they don’t always promote the service.

    • Whereas multi-line, intelligent, resilient connectivity is all we have ever done. We don’t market single lines, only bonded solutions.

      Feel free to get in touch and we can look at bonded FTTC pricing for you.

      Nic

    • Jonathan Channon

      Nic,

      Have sent an email via your website’s contact us page.

      Thanks

    • MikeW

      Nic

      Was it hard persuading Openreach to deploy two fibres to the same place? PON fibres, that is, rather than EAD fibre.

    • MikeW – as you say, the NTE does have multiple ports, but runs on a single piece of fibre into the building.

      That said we learnt an awful lot with this installation.

      At one point we thought we actually going to get two pieces of fibre into the building (two NTEs were installed!), but the long and the short of it is that we now know the best method and timing of how to get more than one FTTP in and subsequent orders are going through a lot better this time.

      And what we learned this time was that BT systems were not able to cope – they had clearly never envisaged a need to ever do it. But we’ll happily go where the market points us. People always want more, and businesses need resilience, so we have designed our implementation project plan now to suit Bonded FTTP installations.

      Jonathan, a member of our sales team should already have gotten in touch.

      Thanks

      Nic

    • TheFacts

      @Nic – ‘gotten’?

    • MikeW

      Thanks Nic. I’m all for making resilience a more visible feature in comms, and getting more businesses (and people for that matter) to realise that it can be an important one.

  3. GNewton

    This article highlights the fact that big FTTP or cable providers like BT or Virgin don’t have the right products for certain customers. Symmetric fibre, or symmetric hybrid fibre, products should be added to the range of offers. In other countries, like Verizon in the States, symmetric fibre products have been around for quite a while now because there is a market for it. In the UK, only small niche providers like Gigaclear do it.

  4. Det

    What was wrong with just buying the 1000Mbps / 220Mbps GEA FTTP product? Only £48 more per annum than buying 2x 330/30 lines.

    • We’re a multi-VNO. Only one of our carriers does 330/30, the others only do 80/20 if at all. Name the business grade carrier who sells it and I’ll start discussions with integrating them into our offering. We want to offer higher bandwidth services. As long as we can do it unlimited etc. FTTP isn’t that widespread among good ISPs.

  5. Surely this is where a 1Gb EAD/Ethernet circuit is actually better for the job if customers are needing more bandwidth, improved SLAs, and want something well proven?

    EAD/Ethernet based solution:
    Symmetric.
    Dedicated and uncontended.
    MPLS TE and QoS options across backbone/distribution layer.
    Ethernet delivery (no PPPoE overheads or similar).
    Active Fibre (between customer and exchange/POP).
    Unlimited.
    Doesn’t need complex bonding equipment.
    Usually superior SLAs.
    Very well established product and available nationally – ECCs may apply!

    GEA FTTP is:
    Passive fibre.
    Contended (unlikely to be a factor early on).
    Wholesalers such as BTW charge on 95th percentile making it very very expensive for ‘unlimited’.
    Some wholesalers don’t make all the FTTP varieties available for purchase.
    Usually weaker SLAs.
    Newer product so OR engineers/wholesalers less experiences – provisioning problems perhaps.
    Limited coverage.
    FTTPoD may be available, but very early days, provisioning nightmares, and actually may not price in less than a 1Gb EAD after bandwidth is factored in.

    Food for thought, especially as OR have announced from 1st October that the raw OR EAD 1Gb rentals are being reduced by a few £10s/mth.

    As with any fibre delivery, either GEA FTTP, FTTPoD, or EAD (or to be fair to non-OR suppliers such as VMB, Colt, CityFibre, Gigaclear and the like – their own Fibre products), the provisioning is generally a nightmare, expensive and very long!

    • baby_frogmella

      Well my FTTPoD installation certainly wasn’t a nightmare and neither did it take very long to install – took ~ 3 months from survey to going live with no major hiccups. Costs-wise when compared to a native FTTP 330/30 service, sure its expensive but compared to a 300 Mbps leased line service service costing ~£700 per MONTH (as I was quoted) its cheaper. Obviously I don’t get the same SLA & speed guarantees as a leased line but so far (touch wood), I’m getting the full 310/30 Mbps speeds day & night and very pleased with the outcome 🙂

    • baby_frogmella

      I should add that my FTTPoD installation is a recent one (in 2017 through Fluidone), not going back a couple of years when admittedly, FTTPoD was taking > 12 months even for a relatively simple install. So maybe, just maybe, Openreach have finally got their act together wrt bespoke orders.

    • cheapskate

      So you’re paying lots more than the 700/month if you use it much.

      Based on Fluidone 95% if you actually use that FTTPoD like a 300Mbps leased line it would cost approx 300*40=12000 per month

      That’s the reason many aren’t selling the higher speed FTTP, they are a good way to lose money fast. They are only affordable if you abuse someone else’s network which is easy if you tunnel and dress it up as bonding.

    • CarlT

      How does tunnelling change the amount of data in use, and how is this any different from reselling or using other networks on a wholesale basis?

      It actually slightly increases the data consumption, tunnels have overheads.

    • cheapskate

      Wholesale usually means paying for bandwidth used on 95%

      Tunnelling lets you resell someone else’s retail product and represent it as your own when the customer could as easily have bought the service direct from the actual provider.

      You can take advantage of others scale as BT retail their backbone for a lot less than you can buy it wholesale.

    • CarlT

      Don’t need tunneling to do that. John Lewis Broadband is white label Plusnet, Pulse8 and a few others are white label Talk Talk Broadband,, etc?

      Besides it’s not abusing anyone else’s network. No-one forces TTB / Plusnet / etc to sell white label packages on an unlimited basis, they could easily sell on 95th percentile.

      What you’re talking about is a perfectly common practice. Fully managed network services ride over other companies’ IP networks with the end user not needing to know the ISP providing the bearer.

      This isn’t abuse. It’s a white label business agreement. My ISP offers value through their superior technical support. TTB aren’t losing a sale, they wouldn’t have my business without the reseller.

    • CarlT

      As another thought wholesale doesn’t mean 95th percentile by default. Wholesale packages can come unmetered with the retailer purchasing a certain amount of interconnect capacity and deciding how to contend that interconnect. They pay for it whether used or not and flex it as they see fit.

      If I recall correctly BT Wholesale don’t charge on 95th percentile on the WBC products at very least.

  6. CarlT

    Interesting stuff. SD-WAN as a service as part of a fully managed WAN.

    Wonder which vendor’s SD-WAN solution this uses?

    Anyway, any more on that will be bringing work to ISPR.

    • Hi CarlT

      It’s our own software and hardware 🙂

      We built the network, we built the hardware, we built the software (and continue to). UK engineers and UK software developers, no reselling SD-WAN from the states that is designed for broadband across the pond. It’s all ours.

      Nic

    • CarlT

      Can’t speak for other solutions but the one I use doesn’t care which country’s broadband it’s connected to 🙂

      I wish you every success!

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