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Openreach Set Earlier Full Launch for New Dark Fibre X Product

Saturday, November 23rd, 2019 (6:06 am) - Score 7,333

Openreach (BT) has announced that their new Dark Fibre X product, which is only focused upon serving the very limited inter-exchange connectivity market, will now get its full launch (national UK availability) a little earlier than expected on 20th December 2019.

A Dark Fibre network will typically allow external providers the ability to gain physical access to a particular operators existing fibre optic cable, assuming there are spare fibres present (i.e. enabling them to install their own equipment at either end of the fibre within cable ducts).

Openreach’s new Dark Fibre X product, which is regulated by Ofcom and began a phased launch back in August (here), is a bit different in that it’s only focused upon catering for the inter-exchange connectivity market, which means the connections between BT exchanges in different geographic areas (e.g. between towns and cities).

DFX also has limited availability in the sense that comms providers will only be able to order it from exchanges where BT faces no competition from rival backhaul providers being present or within 100 metres. The plan was to have this fully launched across the UK from January 2020 (Ofcom requirement) but they’re now able to go live a little earlier.

Openreach Statement

We’re pleased to announce the Full Launch of Dark Fibre X (DFX) from 20th December 2019. From Full Launch, CPs will be able to order DFX nationally. [Service Level Guarantees] will also apply to orders placed after Full Launch.

DFX features include:

* Available from ‘BT only DF’ (where there are no competing backhaul providers at the exchange or within 100 metres) exchanges to any other exchange.
* Can be ordered as either a single fibre or a fibre pair.
* 86km route limit.
* 19-inch patch panel termination in an exchange.
* 30 working days provision lead time (subject to survey and deemed consent).
* 12 months minimum contract period.
* Option of RO2 resilient routing.
* Completion by CCD provision SLA and 18 hour repair SLA.
* SLGs to apply from Full Launch.
* DFX is available for CPs to order via our Equivalence Management Platform (EMP)
* CPs will need to complete our DFX establishment process before they can order.

View DFX product information on our DFX Portal page and the price list on our Pricing Pages.

The new product may be interesting to broadband ISPs who are based in BT’s exchanges and want to backhaul (capacity supply) between them, which could also complement Openreach’s own multi-Gigabit virtual (grey) dark fibre style solution called OSA Filter Connect (FSP3000). Suffice to say this won’t be of much help to UK providers that aren’t based in such exchanges (e.g. B4RN).

Obviously this is a much more restrictive Dark Fibre solution than the one that Ofcom tried and spectacularly failed to force into existence a couple of years ago (here and here). Nevertheless the regulator has suggested that they may try again in the future but for now the best they’re able to push through is DFX.

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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.
Leave a Comment
5 Responses
  1. Avatar A_Builder

    “Suffice to say this won’t be of much help to UK providers that aren’t based in such exchanges (e.g. B4RN).”

    Hmmme but it doesn’t stop the like of B4RN giving SSE (or anyone of the multitude of backhaulers) a call. Or getting a private link back to Telehouse XYZ.

    I supposed that this is really aimed at, medium term, filling gaps in people private networks where they need PoP in an exchange but don’t really want to use BT Technology for the whole backhaul piece?

    Although I suspect the reason this was ‘rushed’ out was because the competition is now so fierce BT didn’t want to loose more of the pie?

    • Avatar Marty

      Pretty much hit the nail on the head. Plus I reckon BT openreach want to be seen to be doing something now just in case Labour get into power. So it’s better at the negotiation table when discussing openreach’s future.

    • Good luck getting easy access to a “multitude of [fibre] backhaulers” in remote rural areas, you often still have to build a fair bit toward them if not using BT.

  2. Avatar Jonny

    Has there been any indication of how many exchanges this would be available at? My understanding was that the backhaul market was quite healthy in terms of competition.

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