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Hyperoptic Prep 1Gbps FTTP Broadband for 99000 Southwark Homes

Monday, March 19th, 2018 (7:45 am) - Score 4,513
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The London borough of Southwark has signed a new deal with 1Gbps UK fibre optic broadband ISP Hyperoptic, which should result in around 53,000 council homes and 46,000 other homes in the area (at no cost to the taxpayer) gaining access to their Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP/B) network.

As many people will know, Southwark has long been known as one of London’s weakest areas for fixed line “superfast broadband” (24Mbps+) – sitting at around 92% coverage – or even “ultrafast” (100Mbps+) services. This is partly due to the large number of Exchange Only Lines (EOL) that can be particularly expensive to upgrade.

Over the past few years both Openreach (BT) and Virgin Media have made some improvements to their local coverage of FTTC and Cable (DOCSIS) infrastructure but, as above, a big gap remains. In response the local authority has been trying to improve matters, which recently resulted in a deal to help Relish Wireless (Three UK) expand their fixed wireless broadband network around long suffering Rotherhithe (here).

The deal with Relish is expected to “supply up to 40Mb broadband speeds across 70% of the borough” but more is still needed. Meanwhile Hyperoptic has already deployed their urban FTTP and FTTB network into many parts of the UK (400,000 premises), including a big chunk of London, and they’re aiming to reach 500,000 premises by 2019, followed by 2 million in 2022; there’s also an aspiration for 5 million by 2025 (here).

Hyperoptic’s typical approach focuses upon connecting their fibre optic based network to large residential (Multi-Dwelling Units with at least 50 units) or office buildings in dense urban areas. This is likely to also form the basis for their new deal with Southwark Council. The agreement with Southwark Council will also aim to tackle some of the obstacles to planning, which could otherwise slow down their network expansion.

Cllr Fiona Colley, Southwark Council, said:

“Once again Southwark Council has shown how we can find innovative new ideas and partnerships to help deliver a better broadband service to our residents.

This new agreement with Hyperoptic will complement other projects we have undertaken around the borough and means we can get improved broadband into more of our council estates, increasing the choice for our tenants and making it easier for Hyperoptic to then extend their service to private properties nearby.

In addition, Hyperoptic has committed to providing every council-owned TRA Hall and community centre with free gigabit capable broadband connections and as we work towards getting everyone in the borough online, it is also fantastic to hear that Hyperoptic will be offering digital inclusion training to staff and residents on our estates so everyone can gain the knowledge and confidence to make the most of the new services being offered.”

Dana Tobak, CEO of Hyperoptic, adds:

“The role of local government in enabling the future of a full fibre Britain cannot be understated. Wayleaves are the number one hindrance to urban rollouts. Southwark has chosen not only to help, but also to champion a digital future for its residents.

Thanks to the hard work of Southwark Council and our team, we can now substantially invest in the area and quickly rollout our future-proof infrastructure across the whole borough. Unfettered Internet access has the power to revolutionise lives – we sincerely hope that other councils will follow Southwark’s example and empower us to deliver gigabit enabled fibre to more residents and businesses.”

Under the deal it’s suggested that 80% of homes in the borough could be covered by Hyperoptic’s FTTP/B network. This sounds about right because the GLA estimated in 2015 that there were just under 130,000 households in Southwark.

The first installation at the Osprey Estate is due to be live within six weeks and the rest of Southwark’s buildings will be connected over the coming year. As part of the installation process, Hyperoptic will install over 40km of cable in Southwark – on top of the 22km it has installed to date (their network already passes 22,000 homes in the area).

Last month Hyperoptic also made headlines after it demonstrated the “fastest home broadband the country has ever seen” (here) by testing a 10Gbps service at East Village (the London 2012 Athletes’ Village). Today, the ISP covers one in seven homes in central London. With this agreement and other planned deployments Hyperoptic will reach one in five homes by this time next year. If other London councils follow suit this number could be increased to one in three.

NOTE: The deployment also includes 1,000 commercial properties, which form part of Southwark Council’s housing portfolio.

UPDATE 9:17am

Added some extra details from the press release.

Leave a Comment
18 Responses
  1. Avatar CarlT

    Outstanding.

    This is an excellent move by Southwark and one that I hope will be emulated by other boroughs within London and any local authorities with the appropriate population density.

    Apartment blocks of any size should be packing FTTB/P.

    Openreach usually have the option of competing via delivering a deeper G.fast product if they chose to, running fibre to basement, if they don’t want to go full fibre.

    Virgin Media, who have networks running into some of these already, could always try properly upgrading their networks with deeper fibre, smaller nodes and higher capacity active coaxial elements rather than taking every feasible step to dodge spending money on the network.

    Their parent has been running PR on ‘Gigaworld’ since 2016 so actually delivering it would be marvellous, though not the easiest thing when there are still areas stuck on 200Mb down, 20Mb up as a maximum even on business tiers.

  2. Avatar George

    Amazing what an upcoming local election can achieve when they suddenly realise they haven’t made good on their election promises from 4 years ago.

    This will, however, still leave many houses in Rotherhithe on ultra-slow EO lines, with no plans whatsoever to do anything for them.

  3. Avatar h42422

    This is good news for the area. Waiting for Openreach to rearrange EO lines has been extremely frustrating, and the results have not always been encouraging (SE16 5NZ can now enjoy a bit over 20MBps with their newly arranged FTTC line. Probably not suitable for G.Fast or any other improvements based on their aluminium line).

    I would not be too surprised if Openreach left the area mainly as it is. They would need to deliver FTTB, and Hyperoptic has much more fibre footprint in the area than Openreach. It would be a big investment for them, and as things currently stand, Openreach based products are not too competitive either.

    Only on the lowest tier there would be a reason to go for Openreach network if there was competition. Hyperoptic (30/1 for £22/month) is not bad, but with a couple of quid more a 40/10 or 80/20 would provide a more decent uplink, and there is usually someone peddling FTTC for about £25/month for the first year.

    No openreach based providers can match anything like Hyperoptic’s 150/150 for £35/month. Current G.Fast providers seem to be asking >£50/month for less speed.

    If nothing happens on the service pricing side, it would be an expensive upgrade with relatively small business benefit. I would not mind the competition but Openreach would do better spending their money in areas with no alternatives.

    Virgin completely puzzles me. It is too late for them now, but they have always had some infrastructure in Rotherhithe peninsula (School?). There cables are there, but they have never bothered to serve residential buildings from them. Had they started doing this five years ago, they would have 60% market share in the area, but despite requests from council and people registering their interest, they have never found it interesting enough. In few areas would there have been so many properties with so little real competition, but it does not matter anymore.

  4. Avatar spurple

    why does the article say “bring” like it’s a completed project, when it seems more like it’s more the beginnings of the contract to deliver the service?

    • Just simply a case of making sure the title is short, otherwise Google gets fussy and the context of the article itself clarifies everything. Couldn’t think of an alternative title at the time that I liked because I’m not a robot 🙂 .

  5. Avatar A_Builder

    Well it is good news for the residents that someone is doing something very positive.

    Not so good news for BT/OR who lose yet another area to the competition.

    There is a lot going on in Wandsworth at it isn’t BT/OR based that is for sure.

    • Avatar virgin

      BT/OR is very poor idea of rolling out g.fast as it not a good future. Other companies such TalkTalk/Sky/Virgin Media/Hyperoptic/CityFibre will soon have 1Gbps ultrafast FTTP. BT/OR will stuck at slower G.Fast or FTTC (many will not benefits from g.fast if longer than 350m or more)

    • Avatar h42422

      They are probably not too distressed to lose Rotherhithe. It would cost them a lot to upgrade it as the local aluminium cabling is not suitable for anything. They would need to do a proper FTTP/B installation, and Hyperoptic has already poached most of the larger blocks of flats. Aluminium lines rearranged to roadside cabinets would probably not be suitable for anything better than FTTC, where the Openreach line rental component is already under pressure and will go down over the years.

      Openreach based products cannot currently compete with them in pricing, which means they would get customers mostly from townhouses, and the bulk of the area would still evade them.

      Openreach has been reluctant to invest in the area for years without some kind of aid or intervention, and very little has probably changed. I do not blame them for not seeing a business case in this. The irritating part is of course that it is not the fault of current residents, either. Not even builders, as no one knew in late 80’s that it was a bad idea to install 2-3 miles long aluminium lines directly from Bermondsey exchange. As no one is to blame and motivated to pick up the bill, the area has been in limbo for years.

  6. Avatar virgin

    BT/OR should have invest in FTTP in thge first place as BT?OR will lose more money on G.Fast as no ones will not bothered to pay £59.99 a month for up to 314Mbps on G.Fast.

    • Avatar h42422

      How much of this pricing issue comes from Openreach? How much is the Openreach component in this £59.99 connection? I would have thought the bulk of the money goes somewhere else. I found only this: https://www.openreach.co.uk/orpg/home/products/pricing/loadProductPriceDetails.do?data=Wk%2B2hSVL2knF5F0Ve%2F1N80Sb00F3z%2BbXc2jXXV7o%2FKZQbovfA25dkZY9OhDK4oNde6YShZ82RgLOGLsH2e9%2Bmw%3D%3D that states the line rental as £119.40 + VAT. This is £11.95/month.

      Which means someone else charges £48 for providing the internet service, and that is a rip-off.

      Hyperoptic charges £35/month for 150/150 and it includes “line rental”. Even if the infrastructure component of Hyperoptic was just £5/month, it would still mean only £30 for internet service. Difference is even more obvious with 160Mbps G.Fast (£54.99), as this is directly comparable to 150Mbps service, albeit having a slower uplink.

      Obviously there is still very little competition in G.Fast and prices are likely to come down. But Openreach is not to blame of this. £11.90/month does not sound excessive for providing and maintaining the physical infrastructure to homes.

  7. Avatar virgin

    It’s all down to ISP to add on profits and pass onto customers at £59.99 a month for up to 314Mbps on G.Fast as BTWholesale G.Fast pricing could be more than Openreach pricing.

    • Avatar virgin

      BTw Estimated for my g.fast as planned will be 246 down and 35 up but I will NOT paying £59.99 for up to 314Mbps service, I might be better off stay with FTTC 80/20 at the cheaper £21 a month with PN. G.Fast is a waste of time and waste of money.

    • Avatar CarlT

      Okay, don’t buy it. Bet you will though.

  8. Avatar Joe

    Be interesting to know why HO think this works finantially – i’m not clear what the council is offering to them.

    Certainly be good if other councils did the same.

    • Avatar h42422

      I do not think there is any reason why it would not work financially as council blocks are already over their installation threshold. Council has probably just given them a wayleave to go ahead, permission to install equipment in premises and cable flats. If they have managed to agree on generic cabling principles, it will be much easier for them to do this than privately owned buildings. Hyperoptic cabled my building last autumn and it was partially a frustrating project, as many residents had a very strong opinion how cabling should under no circumstances be done. If all this has been agreed with the landlord (=council), it will save both time and effort. This will offset nicely the fact that most customers in council estates probably go for the cheapest bundle.

      They already have their fibre in the area and extending it does not require any digging.

  9. Avatar A_Builder

    The use of council traffic light control ducts to get between the council buildings can be a big incentive.

    This can chop a lot from the ongoing provision costs. So at least the backbone of the network is cheap to install and cheap to keep in place and the council get a revenue stream from something that otherwise is just a maintenance cost.

    This also cuts OR out of the PDA pie as well.

  10. Avatar James

    This is fantastic. I live on the same road as a Southwark council owned property so I assume the cabling will be coming down my road. However the council property is on the other side of the road from me. Does anyone know if each side of a street is generally cabled separately, or if there is just one cable down the middle for both sides? Would be agonising to see the other side of the road done…

    I guess even if Hyperoptic are passing your block, you still need to convince them to install – which is presumably still challenging if you live in a small block like me.

  11. Avatar Andrew jee

    I want to. registerer. with you.i have 4 months left with. talk. talk.which is rubbish. speeds

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