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Rural ISP TrueSpeed Prep Dedicated 10Gbps Broadband for Homes

Monday, June 17th, 2019 (10:22 am) - Score 3,420
truespeed fibre optic cable install on road

Rural full fibre UK ISP TrueSpeed, which is busy rolling out a new Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband network across parts of South West England (e.g. Somerset), has today announced somewhat of a first by pledging to offer an Active Ethernet network that delivers a “dedicated” 10Gbps link to every individual customer.

The provider said their new product is different from 10Gbps PON-based networks “where the fibre-optic beam is split between customers on a segment of the network causing contention.“Assuming we’ve read this correctly, TrueSpeed seem to be proposing a product that is almost akin to giving a leased line to ordinary consumers; although these are usually also supported by a business class Service Level Agreement (SLA) and we suspect domestic users won’t see that.

Nevertheless the ISP said they’ve just completed a small “pilot deployment” with the new 10Gbps-capable residential fibre Ethernet switch from Danish vendor DKT A/S and they plan to offer it to residential customers alongside the current 1Gbps box, although the 10Gbps product isn’t expected to officially launch until “later” in 2019.

Truespeed’s “data centre-grade, Active Ethernet network” is already said to be 10Gbps-capable, with all customers already connected to a 10G SFP+ port as standard in every cabinet. This gives them a good advantage over some of their rival ISPs in the full fibre space, which might first need to upgrade the 1Gbps customer-facing ports in their cabinets to support 10Gbps.

Josef Karthauser, CTO of Truespeed, said:

“Our full fibre network was built to be future-proof by design with all customers connected to a 10Gbps-capable port in every cabinet as standard. Offering a 10Gbps box for residential customers was always part of the plan and is a natural next step.

The 10G NTE pilot went perfectly and we are now looking forward to offering residential customers speeds of up to 10Gbps before the end of the year, giving them the ultimate in high-performance, highly reliable full fibre connectivity that will satisfy their bandwidth needs for decades.”

The ISP currently hopes to cover 75,000 premises in parts of rural South West England by 2021 and holds an aspiration of reaching 200,000 by 2025 (this is a demand-led deployment where 30% of a community needs to sign-up). TrueSpeed is being supported in this effort by an investment of £75m from Aviva Investors (here). So far most of their initial deployments have focused upon communities in and around the Chew Valley area but they also have plans to go well beyond that over time (here).

We should point out that one other ISP (Black Fibre) has recently started offering a 10Gbps broadband connection, although at present the only ones lucky enough to receive this have been wealthy owners of some very expensive apartments in the new Manhattan Loft Gardens (Stratford Lofts) skyscraper. Both B4RN and Hyperoptic have also tested 10Gbps broadband connections to homes but neither is officially offering this.. yet.

As usual the catch with 10Gbps, and even 1Gbps for that matter, is with the challenge of actually being able to make use of all that speed and making the service affordable (i.e. many internet servers and even hardware / WiFi will struggle to harness it). A family of four all streaming a 4K video still only need about 100Mbps and many routers/computers only ship with 1Gbps LAN ports, while even so-called multi-Gigabit WiFi often delivers much slower speeds in the real-world (i.e. a few hundred megabits unless you’re sitting directly on top your router).

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27 Responses
  1. Avatar Charles Smith

    Rather than focus on port speed; it would be so much more useful if the news media reported on the latency and exchange contention. I’m currently attached by Franken-Fibre (FTTC) with a reported speed of 69 mbps, yet at busy times(weekends at 7pm) I get video “buffering”. The ISP insist I’m only using 4 mbps of capacity, so what is happening to the other 61 mbps?

    The same could happen with these 10 Gbps ports to the home, if there isn’t enough grunt at the Exchange people might be happy with the results.

    • Avatar Andrew Ferguson

      The increase from 1 Gbps to 10 Gbps is not going to change latency.

      Exchange congestion – providers are very coy and often seem to just make it up anyway.

      Also exchange congestion is just one small part of the picture, e.g. the problems with Vodafone that are nothing to do with exchange a lot of the time but core network devices.

    • I remember having an ISDN line that gave me a latency of around 4-8ms. As Andrew hints, Latency is really less of an issue with modern connections. I’m also unsure how we or anybody else could be expected to report on “exchange contention” given that reliable and readily available public data on that doesn’t exist.

    • Avatar Phil

      Hi @Mark

      Presumably the marketing rules should mean they can’t advertise at 10Gbps, but will have to sell it at the average speeds achieved, or is this still a voluntary code of practice?

      I agree with others and they are essentially advertising the port speeds which can be a world apart from the speed of the data.

    • Avatar Mike

      @Charles

      Many possible reasons behind the latency/slow downs which are not your ISP’s fault, be wise to check before blaming them.

  2. Avatar FibreFred

    10Gbps to the home 🙂

    Is there a use case for this?

    • Right now, mainly marketing. Same deal in other countries where FTTH/P became the norm, once you’ve got FTTP in the ground then 1Gbps, 2Gbps, 5Gbps, 10Gbps and even 20Gbps.. many people overlook the real-world limits and utilisation. This isn’t a bad thing though, I’m happy to see it, just so long as people recognise that past a certain point they may not see as much of a difference.

    • Avatar Mike

      Rewind 10 years ago and people said the same about FTTC…. /smh

    • Avatar FibreFred

      Not really Mike, I understand what you mean but this is a much bigger leap.

      If you consider some of the networks I’ve worked on are served by 100Mbps bearers, set at say 50Mbps CDR and they can have 100+ staff working on them happily running business apps, voice, video calls etc etc.

      Some data centres handling 1000’s of voip calls and data might only have 4 or 5 10Gbps bearers. And your trying to tell me that 10Gbps is going to get some serious use in a home?

      It’s hard to predict the future of course, but for me it’s very difficult to see how people would consistantly be using even 1Gbps in 10yrs time, never mind 10Gbps

    • Avatar TheFacts

      The selling point seems to be ‘download a 4k video in x seconds’

    • Avatar Mike

      I suspect the price will reflect the various issues of supply it, there was those luxury apartments which charged £200 p/m for it a while back.

      10Gbps would be handy for almost real time cloud file access regardless of the file type.

    • Avatar chris@ecom

      Ecom (disclosure: my company) has offered 10G ‘on demand’ for ages. It’s hardly rocket science: we just a change of SFP at the POP end and a different CPE to one that supports a 10G. In reality, although customers like the idea, we only have two circuits active at 10G and one of those is mine. Customers like the idea that they could go that fast if they wanted to but when it comes to the crunch they understand it’s not needed yet.

    • Avatar spurple

      Chicken and Egg.

      Netflix wasn’t feasible until always-on DSL or better connections became more common. You can’t presume to know what use cases will arise from the opportunity of assuming that many people have a very high bandwidth connection available.

  3. Avatar A_Builder

    The barking mad element of this is that a lot of the customers will be going from ADSL to 10Gb.

    But I suppose the wider point is that they way OR a deploying their network isn’t 10Gb point to point and as @CarlT posted a few weeks back 2.5Gb of upstream backhaul does not cut it any more.

    • Avatar TheFacts

      Does not cut it anymore for who?

    • Avatar A_Builder

      As a long term investment profile.

      Symmetrical 1G/1G is where all the Alt Nets are now. TBH the Alt Nets probably have more connected FTTP customers than OR do.

      OR are behind the curve on this as most of the others can upgrade what they are doing in software whereas OR would need to upgrade their physical kit (particularly our fav ECI gear).

      Don’t get me wrong I support Fibre First but the way it is/was implemented leaves a fair bit to be desired.

    • Avatar CarlT

      Think my complaint was about ECI equipment and the 1Gb backhaul on the OLTs. Whatever is on GPON I don’t describe as backhaul, that’s access network bandwidth and what’s connected to the OLTs into the network is backhaul.

  4. Avatar 125us

    Josef Karthauser! My first ISP contract was with his company Pavilion Internet in Brighton back in late 95 or early 96. 9600 baud modem attached to my Amiga 500.

  5. Avatar Phil

    Hi

    “Don’t get me wrong I support Fibre First but the way it is/was implemented leaves a fair bit to be desired.”

    Its easier for the altnets to deploy point-to-point as they can very much cherry pick where the installations will happen, and presumably with marketing get a greater degree of take up.

    Openreach however have to be ready and willing to cover much of the UK, and the targets are properties passed at the moment without necessarily worrying at this time in getting those properties connected. Therefore (like most telcos in other countries) GPON with one fibre shared between ~32 properties has much less costs involved, and considering for many years a fibre will be a long way from having 32 properties connected, they can get away with sharing the fibre in such a way.

    Also don’t forget that a point-to-point will aggregate somewhere with other customers anyway, and more than likely it’s a case of 30+ point-to-point fibres joining up at a switch connected to the back-end by a single 10Gig fibre!

    • Avatar Josef Karthauser

      Why would you assume that Phil? It’s easily to backhaul at N * 100G to meet demand. There’s no reason to contend at the edge any more, especially when you own your own fibre.

    • Avatar CarlT

      How many providers own their own fibre, Josef, and how easy do you think backhauling tons of 100G wavelengths are? There are a lot of caveats there. It’s far from ‘easy’ even now. The optics and transmission kit aren’t trivial.

    • Avatar CarlT

      Just re-read. I think I kinda get where you’re going, but what exactly are you planning on doing with the other end of that link? Your own fibre is only going to go so far. Unless you’re a major provider you’re going to need to lease fibre or wavelengths from someone else making it pretty futile having abundant bandwidth on the transport network. You might get better statistical contention being able to aggregate together multiple access networks but eventually you’re going to hit the point where you’re paying other people for dark fibre or wavelengths.

      I suppose another question is just how much you’re planning to pay for transmission kit and routers. Are you really going to place 100G+ equipment everywhere you have some switches? Given the switches may well be in the field what kind of equipment are you going to be willing to place in a cabinet? Assuming that expensive equipment is going to be in a building somewhere how’re you going to connect the cabinets to that building? Likely to be n x 10G LAGs.

      If you aren’t using cabinets then unless you’re going to be renting a lot of property to locate these you’re going to be forking out for BiDi10G or ZX optics you’re going to need to attenuate for each customer.

      All good fun but not exactly an easy formula.

  6. Avatar Eci moaner

    Come on truespeed.. please start building your network in central Frome.thanks!

  7. Avatar Fred

    I have no idea what I would use 10Gbps @ home for? The future is hard to predict and there may yet be applications that we simply have not even considered. I don’t even bother with 4K as my eyesight isn’t great but I know it is important for many. I welcome the news, especially as it looks like Truespeed might scrape up the numbers required to deliver to where I live soon.

    As it is the ~70Mbps I currently get is fine for me at the moment.

    Downloading 4K (and maybe 8K soon) films to watch offline in a handful of minutes will be of interest to some I am sure.

    • Avatar jason ross

      prob takes about 30 to 40 mins for you to download a 4k film on 70 mbps connection speeds im on 250mbps fttp and it takes me 12 mins

  8. Avatar jason ross

    i have a 250 mbps down and 300 mbps up fttp connection and thats plenty fast for me it streams 4k easily a 30gb 4k uhd film comes down in about 12 mins real time

    but while tech is getting more and more we will prob need it gb connections in few years time with 8k and 10k being launched also dont forget game downloads at 4k 120 fps etc these are like 100gb files needs a lot of download speed

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