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Openreach Blocking Copper Broadband at UK New Build Sites

Monday, December 23rd, 2019 (7:10 am) - Score 20,838

A clash between a property developer and Openreach (BT) in Buckinghamshire has confirmed that the UK network provider is “not fitting copper anymore to any larger sized developments” (defined as anything above 30 plots / homes passed). The move reflects the industry’s growing focus on “full fibre“.

For the purpose of this article we aren’t going to name the developer. The situation came to our attention after a property developer got in touch to express their “dismay” at Openreach’s refusal to connect copper at two sites (both Multi-Dwelling Unit builds of a little over 30 plots), which are in the late stages of build and all the interiors have been fitted copper only.

Openreach have been pushing 1Gbps capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) technology for new build developments since around 2016 (see here and here) and they’ve introduced various discounts to support this. Indeed sites with 30+ plots can get the work done for free, provided the developer notifies them early enough (retrofitting fibre at a later stage of the build is more expensive).

All of this is in line with the Government’s policy toward fostering “gigabit-capable and full fibre broadband,” although for the past few years they’ve been encouraging developers to factor faster connectivity in during the planning stages. Likewise Ofcom are even in the process of consulting on the eventual withdrawal of copper services in areas where full fibre dominates (here).

Since the end of 2016 – Broadband Cost Reduction Directive (2014/61/EU) – it has also been a requirement that all new developments must be built to facilitate “high-speed broadband” (e.g. empty fibre ducts to homes). The Government are also aiming to mandate gigabit-capable broadband for new builds (here). Due to all of this it’s unwise for new build firms to be adopting a copper mindset.

Back to the new build developer..

In the aforementioned case the situation is a little more complicated. The developer claims that their first application was for a “fibre” service, although following an initial site visit it was agreed to go with a copper solution and subsequently all correspondence with Openreach was based around that. As such the developer proceeded to build copper everywhere.

On the flip side Openreach generally asks developers to notify them at least 8 weeks before Site Start Date and / or 6 months to the First Service Date (Virgin Media gives similar guidance to developers). This is to ensure they have the necessary lead time to build the main fibre ‘spine’ cable in the off-site public highway (sometimes requires lengthy noticing periods) and to do the on-site work with minimum fuss (internal wiring etc.).

However as we understand it the developer may have only given Openreach around 6-9 weeks’ notice prior to the First Service Date and, given the limited time, this left the operator with little choice but to agree a copper solution. But since April 2019 Openreach has confirmed that they’ve begun adopting a different approach and are now refusing to fit copper to sites with 30+ plots. Instead such developers are given three options.

The Three Options

1. Install the correct fibre internals.

2. Arrange to overlay the copper internals with contractors fitting a discreet product called InvisiLight, which would be paid for by the developer. The cost would be around £150 per plot (subject to survey – it may come in at a little more or less than that).

3. Use a different service provider who may be willing to use the copper, or have a different solution.

Obviously, once copper is installed on-site, developers are often very reluctant to retro fit fibre and interfere with the final interior finish to the plots (more work and cost). The discreet InvisiLight solution is one way around this but it does mean running fibre down walls and alongside skirting boards, which could expose it to a greater risk of accidental damage in the future. We believe the approach is similar to this video below.

At the end of the day if Openreach were to continue rewarding late registrations with a Copper outcome then they might never stop installing it. Likewise any 30+ new build sites getting copper today would still only end up needing to upgrade to FTTP in the near future. The fact is that both policy, regulation and network operators have spent the past few years moving toward a “full fibre” future and most property developers have already adapted to that.

Openreach informs that they are still in negotiation with the property developer concerned. Just to put this into some context, only a tiny fraction of the 30+ sites that they have contracted this year (likely less than 1%) are in the same boat. Still we do appreciate the developer’s position on this one too, particularly after having reached a prior agreement to do copper, spending the money, and to then be told that copper won’t be done after all.

Leave a Comment
74 Responses
  1. Avatar James W

    I think BT or any other supplier should stick to there guns on this.

    The builder knows full well fibre is the way forward and has been for the last few years.

    Unless they have had there head in the sand.

    • Avatar Leex

      Its very typical of house builders to leave what they call less important services right to last moment, what the site builders said is probably not true and most likely rang open reach as late as possible and assumed they get copper install when 30+ house has been FTTP for some time now

      I seen some new estates (5 years ago) left with adsl only that can barely do 0.3mb when it’s working (now they have 8+ FTTC cabs on site because the instead of asking for 100-200 DP central cab install they was made live in 20s so phone lines was pulled from different places off the estate)

    • Avatar Leex

      I do hope that open reach don’t budge on this one, the cost for copper and fibre has been the same cost for over last so years (as long as more then 30 houses) so should be no reason to not go FTTP any more

    • Avatar John

      You need to actually read the article..

      These are MDU’s.

      The line does not enter the “house” straight to the master socket.

      They will enter the basement then run inside the walls up to the flats/apartments.

      If it was as you described there wouldn’t be such an issue.

  2. Avatar Bill

    What exactly are the copper internals? Faceplates? Twisted pair running to a central point?

    In that case Oar should do some form of FTTB.

    • Avatar Leex

      Typically the master phone socket is right next to where the line comes in from outside so open reach should be able to just ignore the dodgy internal phone sockets (they seem to never get them done right) and place the fiber socket next to it or replace the master socket with a fibre one, they can just ignore the copper line (like when farm area gets fibre they just ignore the copper and install the FTTP stuff as it doesn’t use the phone sockets)

      Maybe they are mad that they wasted there money installing 2-3 phone sockets per house and are wanting copper phone line installed

  3. Avatar MrNew

    I can’t believe a developer is complaining that Openreach are pushing to install Full Fibre.

    • Avatar Pezza

      Probably because somehow it’ll affect their profits… which is all they care about. Build em cheap on mass and at speed, sell for massively inflated pricing and provide zero improvements to local infrastructure to cope. Pocket the huge profits pay the investors, big ones these days are Russian or Chinese..

  4. Avatar fastman

    not fitting copper anymore to any larger sized developments” (defined as anything above 30 plots / homes passed). The move reflects the industry’s growing focus on “full fibre“.

    that been in place for quite some time now

    assume developer has not done what they were supped to have done and not looking for way out of their predicament

  5. Avatar A_Builder

    I think OR are doing the right thing.

    Using hybrid here would be wrong.

    • Avatar Meadmodj

      As you would guess I disagree. Yes FTTH as the first choice but once retrospective then it should be the most expedient/cost solution. Its becoming the norm elsewhere in the world so my view is OR should support hybrid especially as their chosen suppliers support it..
      The OR contract will be quite specific. It is a shame these types of dispute only ending up filling the pockets of lawyers. Hence the plea to OR not to be too dogmatic regarding the engineering options they will support. This won’t be the first of this issue.
      Internationally it is the way forward https://www.nokia.com/about-us/news/releases/2019/02/04/kddi-deploys-nokia-gigabit-gfast-solution-to-bring-new-services-to-its-high-speed-internet-au-hikari-customers-in-japan/
      VM will be selling their hybrid options (with help from DOCSis Extended on existing for years to come. So it comes down to what the common objective is and whether it is FTTH or Giga capable broadband.

    • Avatar CarlT

      This is not about what’s happening elsewhere to retrofit existing premises. You want Openreach to pay for the G.fast DSLAM, power, etc, alongside providing fibre and copper to the basements.

      Openreach have done FTTB. There are apartment blocks with VDSL DSLAMs in the basement. However this isn’t an in-life upgrade.

      This would also force everyone in the building to subscribe to ultrafast. Openreach can’t offer different products without Ofcom agreement and that would set an unfortunate precedent.

      I doubt all the residents would be very understanding about being told that all the 40 and 80 Mb products are closed to them.

    • Avatar Meadmodj

      @CarlT. I was envisaging a Multi-Dwelling Unit (MDU) ONT with G.fast or similar rather than a DSLAM. I do appreciate this does add unnecessary support issues to OR and ISP however in this case the dwellings are very close to completion whatever the circumstances. If not OR then perhaps option 3 is the one for the developer. It could take months to install the FTTH.

    • Avatar CarlT

      I’m not sure what you’re talking about now. ONTs are CPE equipment. They connect to OLTs.

      Something that has a bunch of G.fast transceivers and is dedicated to terminating those DSL circuits and multiplexing them into an optical feed is usually considered a DSL Access Multiplexer: DSLAM.

    • Avatar John

      You miss Carl’s point.
      G.Fast isn’t sold at 40 or 80Mb and 40Mb is mandated by Ofcom to be available from OpenReach.

      Having G.Fast only on a tiny amount of selective sites across the country would be a bit of a nightmare to adjust availability checkers and ordering systems.

      It would need deployed from a PCP alongside FTTC.

      Technically they could install it in the basement or nearby and use the new combined VDSL2/G.Fast Huawei DSLAM’s, but it would need to be numbered as its own PCP for availability reasons.

      The developer doesn’t want to pay to change some internal wiring. I can’t see them being keen on paying a 4 or 5 figure sum for a DSLAM to be installed.

      I’m with OpenReach on this.
      I see it from the developers side though.

      If the developer is to get the copper they want then it should be the same as every other copper deployment, wires only.
      You get what’s already installed at the PCP, wether that’s FTTC, G.Fast, or neither (in other words ADSL only).

      A developer has always had to pay if they want a DSLAM installed on a cabinet that’s not on a commercial rollout.

      Your suggesting OpenReach pay for this, and deploy it in a way they don’t do anywhere else in the country (G.Fast only).
      That’s not credible.

    • Avatar Meadmodj

      I am proposing a MDU ONT unit. A unit comprising of multiple ONTs in a single box with either Ethernet Extender or G.fast interfaces. They come in different sizes (4, 8, 16 ONT units) and include the optical splitter. This will connect to the same OLT used by OR for FTTP via (X)GPON. I am not suggesting connection to their FTTC/G.fast solutions. Many of the major manufacturers have these in their portfolio now.

      Using a multiple ONT unit the OR deployment technology stays the same, the MDU ONT can be powered from the power in the communal access areas. OR would then provide the same customer options as they do now on a standard ONT.

      The only difference is that the basement to dwelling connection would be via twisted pair either to a corresponding Ethernet extender or g.fast modem.

    • Avatar CarlT

      Okay I’m lost.

      Your idea couldn’t be much more different from how Openreach deploy right now. I think I get the idea of what you want to deploy, but why?

      Why would a company passing 30,000 premises a week install a unique device in the basement that is a PON to G.fast bridge that requires electricity?

      Why would they waste on a bespoke piece of kit alongside losing a PON port to feed it when they could put a VDSL DSLAM in much as they have elsewhere?

      They have wayleave as they are installing the bridge. Far better option for them is an FTTP build.

    • Avatar Leex

      My understanding is open reach has to install fibre to the premise any way and will fit a fibre port/socket for the house, why can’t they just ignore the master phone socket and place it right next to it

      Can’t see why this is a problem, I really hate estate builders who don’t care about broadband, as with other sites they have typically have done they place the order 6-9 weeks before service date even if it’s adsl only

      No reason why open reach should agree to wasting time doing a copper install they can leave it and have no Internet (good luck selling houses without open reach network access, they can’t get anyone els to do it as it take longer then 2 months to do it) or agree to it and increase the value of the houses by having FTTP, if they had a contract 6 months before for copper install then they have a legal leg to stand on but if it was just verbal then no (this will put these developers into place that they can’t just wait last minute to call open reach and expect next month service live)

    • Avatar Meadmodj

      @CarlT. I appreciate that there has been a valid debate between supporting multiple solutions or simplifying. AT&T in the US went forward with hybrid solutions for MDU where as Verizon (2017) said that was too complex and went simply for a strategy of 10GPON and fibre all the way to each dwelling. BT have probably come to the same conclusion.

      OR are trialling new installation techniques to improve FTTH in MDUs however the issue in the UK for OR is that they are seeking to replace their copper network with FTTH. Unlike other Altnet providers that do not have any obligation and therefore skip “too hard” premises, OR are seeking 100% coverage. The government says it will bring legislation forward to provide “reasonable” access. However there will be MDUs where the practicality of FTTH whether opening up risers or abseiling is not there or either delayed. Some may have restrictions such as Grade 1 listed building and the provider will have the liability to make good.

      Hyperoptic and Community Fibre successes are because of the co-operation and involvement of the landlord. I think we are heading for some adversarial situations going forward.

      So what I am saying is OR would be better to have a MDU solution that overcomes such difficulties that is compatible with their 10GPON strategy (whether New Build or FTTH roll-out). The solutions are varied and OR have the added complexity of having multiple ISP customers which excludes the most cost effective options. What we don’t need is protracted legal disputes between a provider and the landlord/freeholder where only the lawyers gain. OR also need to consider brand/reputation as they may wish to implement their FTTH plans in advance of customer expectation.

    • Avatar John

      OpenReach are seeking 100% FTTP coverage?

      Really?!?!

    • Avatar Meadmodj

      @John. In a given area yes, excluding New Build covered by other providers, if it wants to recover its copper. Its overall broadband market share will reduce and whether OR/BT chooses to cover/compete in specific areas is to be determined. Currently it still has telephony and soon USO obligations.

    • Avatar A_Builder

      @John

      “OpenReach are seeking 100% FTTP coverage?

      Really?!?!”

      Two things are being conflated

      a) 100% to allow copper switch off by area
      b) nationwide 100% fibre coverage

      The fist will happen as it is essential to crystallise cost savings G’s and the second might once I catch the pink fling pig that just went past the window…….

    • Avatar CarlT

      What Verizon and AT&T do is irrelevant. They don’t have to offer wholesale products.

      There’s also the minor point that AT&T sell G.fast using existing, building owned, coaxial cable, tad different from the Openreach scenario, and Verizon don’t deploy XGPON / 10GPON in production, still regular GPON.

      Verizon also completed the vast majority of their build before G.fast was a thing. Very different scenarios from the UK making the comparison unfair. As unfair as when I wrongly made it a while back.

    • Avatar Meadmodj

      What is happening elsewhere in the world is relevant to the UK. The technologies or the topologies chosen by the large corporates creates the scalability and cost effectiveness of the specific solutions. Many vendors design and propose products but the market determines which ideas succeed.

    • Avatar CarlT

      I am lost as to how G.fast running over pre-existing, landlord owned coaxial cable is relevant to the UK market given we’ve no G.fast over coaxial.

      Ditto what Verizon or AT&T may do. They could deploy fibre to the hindmost with no issues. Openreach would have to consult with their customers and the regulator.

      Swisscom are a better comparison, however they do the same things Openreach do.

      https://www.swisscom.ch/en/about/company/portrait/network/technologies.html

      Their FTTB is a basement DSLAM running G.fast, same as Openreach, however unlike Openreach they don’t have to provide capability to sell God-awful ADSL. FTTB, no copper from building.

      Until Openreach have regulation loosened they’re between rock and hard place. Innovation remains strangled, sacrificed on the altar of allowing TalkTalk, especially, but others too, to continue provisioning full copper.

    • Avatar Meadmodj

      There are lots of technology options, many vendors and approaches. All I am saying is that while we seek full FTTH other options exist and FTTB is far from dead despite FTTH being the best long term investment. Running Ethernet from the basement has now been overtaken by Fibre on the basis of cost but if the COAX, Cat5 or even Cat3 exists it can still be considered. Many vendors now produce either micro DSLAMS, GPON DPU or GPON Multi ONT (fabricated into one multi port product) and can easily change the interface from 1 GigE, Coax (DOCSIS), Cat3 (G.Fast) on their products depending on demand.
      If OR steer clear and go for FTTH (common and noncomplex customer demarkation) then so be it but more enterprising providers can utilise what is hitting the market outside of the UK.
      It is getting easier to get 1mm fibre into each dwelling but FTTB can be much cheaper and less disruptive in the short term.

  6. Avatar Meadmodj

    I don’t understand this. Normal developer agreements consist of the developer being provided with civil’s equipment to install and OR cable to the premises. So a change from FTTC to FTTP supply should not be a problem.

    All I can assume then is that as this is MDU that the landlord has block wired the development to a central location, has not provided trunking suitable for fibre and completed fire stopping etc so FTTH is now impractical. If that is the case then surely this is an ideal case where a Gfast unit (not street cabinet stuff) would be the solution. FTTP and Giga to the home.

    Yes copper was agreed but we also need to be pragmatic and differentiate between FTTP and FTTH, the latter isn’t necessarily essential, just desirable. The important thing is it can support Giga broadband until the next uplift of the MDU (mains wiring etc).

    • Avatar 5G Infinity

      Meadmodj,

      You say, “….and completed fire stopping etc so FTTH is now impractical.” However Community Fibre and others can deliver FTTH in MDUs, MSOs, etc even if the buildings are old and have been there for years.

    • Avatar A_Builder

      OR haven’t really done FTTB at scale.

      A few years back that was pretty mad but now makes sense. It was the one place using a GFast makes sense.

      Why would they want to get involved in a bespoke copper solution when they are tying to simplify and get rid of copper.

    • Avatar joe

      Tbh custom solutions and non standard rolllouts are just a waste of time and money at ORs scale and slow the overall rollout. If they want to go past the ~25k/wk up towards the 50k/wk they need to really full their max ambitions they need standard deployments.

    • Avatar A_Builder

      @Joe

      Totally agree.

      Distractions are not needed when 10k’s of passed need to be delivered.

      Although this is a new build and not a FibreFirst blanketed area.

    • Avatar Fastman

      meadmodj

      there is a clear misunderstanding fro your perspective – the offer was copper it now Fibre (FTTP) you only got FTTC If you asked for copper and it was connected to a fibre cabinet which was fibre enabled but another programme (commercial or BDUK) you could never ask for FTTC. (some time developer lucky some times not) so a developer registering a large number of new homes prior to some time in 2016 would have a a copper site with a new PCP only

    • Avatar Meadmodj

      @Fastman. I am not advocating anything related to current OR FTTC/G.fast.
      I am proposing a MDU ONT unit that simply provides all the ONTs in the basement with twisted pair to dwelling. Same FTTP technology OR are rolling out with individual ONTs.

    • Avatar CarlT

      ‘I am proposing a MDU ONT unit that simply provides all the ONTs in the basement with twisted pair to dwelling. Same FTTP technology OR are rolling out with individual ONTs.’

      The units are wired with UTP phone cable. How do you propose this carry the electrical signal from each ONT to each unit?

      Openreach would need a fibre feed into the building and fibre splitters, all in the basement, then 30 ONTs in a row which will need powering by Openreach.

      Each unit then needs retrofitting with Cat 5e or better as twisted pair won’t cut it.

      Alternatively retrofit fibre and run their normal MDU FTTP configuration.

      I’m not actually clear what you’re suggesting here as it won’t work. Putting a load of ONTs in the basement is dicey and prone to issues and new cabling is needed to get their output to each unit so why not just do an FTTP build?

    • Avatar Leex

      No point using a hybrid setup for new houses like this, just a waste of time and money when they can do FTTP in one go (why bother dragging fibre and copper to the estate for FTTC when they can do FTTP and only have to bring fibre to a aggregation point and run off that to each house far simpler)

      the phone sockets inside the house should have no bearing on the FTTP install as open reach will just ignore them to install the fibre socket next to it

      (maybe they developers are angry that they wasted money installing phone sockets in the house that are not going to be used)

    • Avatar John

      Again, these aren’t houses where the line enters each property directly from outside.

      These are MDU’s, or flats/apartments of you don’t know what an MDU is.

      It’s not was easy as you suggest as the builder will have everything buried in the walls from the basement to each apartment.

  7. Avatar Pezza

    Whilst I would agree with Openreach’s stance here, I do t think I could ever comment on anything to do with new home builds without spitting fire!! Like where I live with 1600 homes, where they are building 130 new ones and have posted letters to us all gleefully advising they are pushing to build a total of 470 homes..
    And thanks to government (Tory) rigging their will be NO improvements to infrastructure to cope. So for a private company to actually want to improve communications I think is admirable personally.
    There is a lot of new building work being carried out in my area of North Dorset, but no new roads or hospitals or GP surgeries (they closed some instead), etc etc.. but with Boris’s promises of a million new homes in a few short years, I’m sure we will all enjoy that speed boost, whilst being overcrowded with a collapsing infrastructure….

    • Avatar JmJohnson

      “And thanks to government (Tory) rigging their will be NO improvements to infrastructure to cope”
      I think you’re applying blame in the wrong area.
      If that was the case where I live we wouldn’t have had 3 new play areas, upgraded roads (and junctions), additional street lighting etc.
      I believe the blame falls on your council/parish for not playing hard ball with the developer.

    • Avatar Gary

      How about the developer that’s profiting hugely from building those new homes pays to upgrade the infrastructure that their development needs, they are the ones creating the ‘need’. When you say The government should Pay what you really mean is that the nations taxpayers should pay.

      There are more and more developments where the building of roundabouts or junctions are needed where the developer is being made to cover or pay towards those costs as part of the planning application process.

    • Avatar Fastman

      really

      I would except the new holes to have FTTP either by Openreach or by another provider

      I would be very surprised if those new home will be anything other that fibre

    • Avatar Pezza

      @JM, the council DID play hardball, but the developers of the 130 homes currently being built, Barrot Homes who are also behind the push for the additional homes, went to the government planning department who overturned the councils decision and stated the houses will be built regardless what the council thought, it was in our local press. Hence my blame squarely at greedy developers AND the Tory government.

      @Gary, that’s my point, the developers SHOULD be spending money in the local infrastructure, but they don’t and no one forces them to. A million extra homes thanks to Boris…

    • Avatar CarlT

      I would look up Section 106.

      Local authorities playing hardball is fine. Local authorities rejecting based on the National Policy Planning Framework should also be fine.

      Local authorities rejecting to pander to NIMBYs and BANANAs worried about house prices or the view from their garden not so much.

      A balance has to be sought and the local authority has to get to their targets in the most responsible way possible.

      How many other housing applications has the local authority rejected for this one to be pushed through? Why was this one rejected initially? What were the grounds under which the appeal was won?

    • Avatar Pezza

      @Carlt, your post is a clear reflection of that fact you did not read my original posts, or failed to understand them, because you’ve gone totally off track and down a path, a childish insulting path, I never mentioned. Perhaps you should grow up and be more sensitive to people’s circumstances. And also it would help to read comments instead of advising others to read in your arrogance.

    • Avatar CarlT

      No, I read it. I simply, as a city dweller living in a deprived, densely populated area, have little sympathy. I’m fairly certain I also didn’t insult anyone but asked reasonable questions. If you took the references to NIMBYs and BANANAs so personally even though they weren’t aimed at you that’s your prerogative.

      Strain on infrastructure is nationwide. People need places to live. North Dorset isn’t exempt from this and I have far more sympathy for those utterly priced out of home ownership than those complaining about construction as a general rule, though of course there are exceptions hence my asking how many plans the local authority kicked back and why.

      If the local authority spent years refusing to give planning permission for no valid reason they’ve only themselves to blame. They know their target and know that if they fail to reach it it’ll be taken out of their hands.

      If it’s genuinely inappropriate development going against the NPPF there may be legal remedies.

    • Avatar CarlT

      PS Not remotely off track, you had a rant about house building.

      Anyway, Merry Christmas. I hope you’ve a secure home to spend it in. Ideally one you own.

      Secure accommodation is more than many, especially younger people, have. Perhaps I’m not the one lacking empathy and you aren’t the one deserving of sympathy?

  8. Avatar Bill

    I don’t get it. If you make an arrangement with company x to deliver y, and you make the arrangements to accomodate what’s been agreed, what right does company x have to change the agreement unilaterally? Should be legally contestable.

    Quite a different issue to the fibre vs copper argument.

    • Avatar A_Builder

      I’d agree with that but for the big but that if the civils were done correctly then wether the ducts have fibre or copper in then makes zero difference to the builder.

      And if the house is wired for copper, hopefully Cat5/6 then it makes zero difference. If the internals are not done with data cable the developer hasn’t got much of a clue.

      I suspect that what happened was that OR agreed to do copper yonks ago and all the OR offer letters I’ve seen have an expiry date for acceptance. The date rolled past for any number of good reasons but the developer expected the old offer to be revivable. Developer contacts OR – new offer – new rules. Dummy spat out. Pure speculation on my part…….

      There is a bit missing from this story – why is it a big deal for the developer to humour OR.

      My day job is getting this kind of thing done and we’d jump at the chance to use FTTP.

      We would go along with this to improve saleability.

    • Avatar Leex

      Generally estate builders like this tend to ask open reach at the last moment and don’t sign any agreement until they get within last 6-9 weeks of house wanting service

      most house builders don’t see broadband as important and would do without if they could but you never sell the house with out open reach connection or it would sure devalue the house

      What open reach should do thought is if they are planning on building say 130 houses total the plan should be for that (not 30 at a time) so open reach brings the required capacity ready for the batches of 30 houses for a total of 130

      I seen some screwed up estates that have been running phone cables from 3 different exchanges and 10 different DPs resulting in lines that are 3-4 miles away with adsl only with speeds of under 1mb (if it was working) when they should of brought a brand new 250 phone cable and placed a new DP right in the middle of the estate to serve all the houses from that,, as that estate has some really wonky FTTC cab placements like 1-2 FTTC cab only serving 10 houses and a bunch of other FTTC all over the place (i assume to cut into individual the cables that was comming in)

  9. Avatar Mike

    Almost all new build developers are scum, building garbage that falls to bits in a few years and ruining the local area, good to see OR sticking it to them.

  10. Avatar Chris Fiber for all Sayers

    I agree with OR approach, could it be that fibre is going to be cheaper in the long run, and more reliable than copper, I’m sure their installation teams are now trained and focused on installing fibre. It’s going to be great for the new homeowners, not so for the developers

  11. Avatar Matt

    I think this is so the right action to take by Openreach, I bought a new house on a development with 100 house on and we only had copper exchange installed and to get a Fibre cabent we’ve been quoted £10k to be split acrross the estate. This is a cost the builder should have contributed too.

  12. Avatar Gary

    All smells a bit fishy, developer claims they asked for fibre but OR said copper. Now OR say it should be fibre, But the build isn’t suitable !

    Someone is being economical with the truth.

  13. Avatar Roger_Gooner

    If the developer doesn’t budge will OR have to install copper in order to meet the USO for broadband? Or is the procedure for Ofcom to adjudicate in matters like this?

    • Avatar Stoat

      If OR don’t budge, then the builder gets either eat the costs of sorting it, or to sell houses with no broadband and _expensive installation costs_ – generally on premises which have covenants about “no damaging aftermarket work” locked in for a decade or more – meaning simply running a new fibre around the outside of the building is legally prohibited by the leasehold.

      Savvy buyers know they should be getting FTTB and how much retrofitting it will cost and how much the “making good” will cost (see covenants above), so this means it’s a severe blow on a builder that cheaped out, particularly now all the estate agents know and will be taking £20+k off the price of the flats – people WILL NOT BUY new properties without broadband access unless given a huge sweetener.

      I’m not at all surprised this is Barrett, or that they’re pulling the “Oh woe is ME” act.

      They messed up, now they have to make it right – something they’re _extremely_ experienced at dodging responsibility for after the sale.

      Incidentally if you look at press releases over time, you’ll see this is far from the first time Barrett have pulled this stunt – and that they’ve been pulling other antics which have prevented homeowners getting broadband _OF THEIR CHOICE_ such as exclusive lockin agreements at freehold level on sites which are of highly questionable legality.

      In the past Barrett have been able to bulldoze this stuff through regardless.

      Openreach is playing hardball for a reason – it costs them more to pander to Barrett and it costs them more to sort things out later on when customers want faster connections – most of those costs ending up having to be eaten by Openreach. That’s quite apart from the legal requirements being foisted on them by government wrt fibre access and deprecating copper.

  14. Avatar Brian Gregory

    In the only recent build that I have visited near me the builders have run CAT5e/6 to an RJ45 socket in each flat and that’s it! No TV aerial or satellite feed at all. I wouldn’t want that. There’s plenty I like to watch on TV that isn’t, as far as I know, available online. Ny smart TV has apps for the main channels plus a few more for watch again but if you want live TV from the Internet it’s not possible with these smart TV apps.

  15. Avatar Vicky

    This also is forcing people buying new build property to get internet with BT, as sky (as I have just found out) are currently locked out of offering internet. I would imagine other services are the same, which is wonderful when your internet bill goes up by £20 a month through BT and, before anyone says don’t get internet then..not gonna happen in this day and age!

  16. Avatar FibreBubble

    Unnamed developer with no quote, no quote from Openreach. No news here innit.

  17. Avatar Granola

    Is this the development that can’t get FTTC due to line length and if it were to be copper the speed would be abysmal and that is why OR say it is fibre or nothing ?

    • Avatar Rahul

      No, it is the mandatory transition from Copper into Full Fibre for newly built homes. FTTC is mostly geared towards existing homes that already have copper and for the sake of convenience FTTC was designed in mind for most old builds that have copper by default and have difficulty getting wayleave agreement passed for the installation of Fibre into the site premises.

      This is why 95% of the country has FTTC because it bypasses the wayleave barriers like in the case of so many developers.

      Most newly built buildings have Fibre to the Premises either from Openreach, Hyperoptic, Community Fibre, City Fibre, etc. It is definitely quite daft of the developers to attempt to deny permission for Fibre, it doesn’t make sense because ultimately Openreach have to install a line anyway & why would they install Copper, when with the same effort and money they can make it Fully Fibred directly from exchange. There’s no need for cabinets for new built homes as this will just slow down FTTP rollout coverage. In truth line length would never have been the issue as the cables will have needed to be built anyway.

  18. Avatar Annoyed Housewife

    I moved into a new build and the only two providers I can take service from is BT and Zen. Both of whom are expensive. OR installed the fibre infrastructure WITH an exclusivity deal to stop other network providers coming in. It’s a disgrace. I’m all for fibre only but only where residents can choose who they go for.

    Exclusivity deals should be banned.

    • Avatar New_Londoner

      Take a look at the ISP information on this site to find details of all of the ISPs that sell FTTP packages on the Openreach network – you’ll see that in reality you’ve got more choice than just BT or Zen. Like with most purchases, it pays to do a little bit of research to find out what’s available.

    • Avatar John

      Annoyed Housewife that is absolute nonsense.

      There’s not a single site in the whole of the UK where BT have some exclusive deal.

      No idea if that came from your developer but it is 100% incorrect.

      FTTP from OpenReach is available to Sky, Talktalk, Vodafone etc.
      They have simply chosen not to sell it until now.
      There’s no exclusive deal locking anyone out.

      BT and Zen are only 2 ISP’s who are available to you, there are more.

      Sky will be selling OpenReach FTTP soon, with Talktalk and Vodafone to follow later in 2020.

      Until now it has been entirely their own choice not to offer FTTP to you. They aren’t locked out.

      The likes of Virgin and Hyperopic may technically be “blocked” for a period of time on a new development but that’s not necessarily down to exclusive deals.

      That can be down to thing like the “New Roads and Street Works Act” preventing digging up brand new roads immediately after construction.
      These rules differ across different parts of the UK.

    • Avatar CarlT

      As John mentioned there’s usually a 2 year period after construction. This isn’t some arcane exclusivity agreement, it’s simply that the developer wants the local authority to adopt the roads and before that happens they will want a year of stability then a year of provisional adoption.

      Until this is done the only way, most of the time, that any work would be permitted would be if the full width of roads or pavements were reinstated. This is expensive.

      There is nothing stopping Sky, TalkTalk or anyone else that wishes to reselling Openreach FTTP beyond their own commercial choices.

      Openreach literally are not permitted to show favouritism. If BT can sell FTTP any BT Wholesale customer can.

    • Avatar Fastman

      annoyed you are incorrect

      the offer openreach is to all consuming service providers – it is up to them whether they choose to consume the service. in this case the service providers have chosen not to consume ther service — I assume you are complaining about an FTTP site

      – had that been an infl or GTC provided site then Openreach would not have access to that site

  19. Avatar Rian

    To be honest, not sure why it’s such an issue. Surely there is more disruption if they proceed with copper then have to dig everything up once everyone has moved in :/

    Obviously with the limited coverage of Alt-nets there may not be much choice for a lot of people at present but this is changing daily.

    • Avatar Fastman

      they wont they will leave it as It is — this is an issue where process as not been followed developer looking for the cheapest easiest way out rather than the right way

  20. Avatar Redraw Internet

    The GTC/OFNL network is open to all ISPs. OR and VM typically will only supply to end users over their own wholly owned network therefore generally choose not to utilise fibre owned by others, we on the other hand will install our own fibre in buildings and private estates as well as over OFNL, Gigaclear or any other carrier fibre as well as our own UK microwave network

    • Avatar New_Londoner

      Quote “ OR and VM typically will only supply to end users over their own wholly owned network“

      Well Openreach is a network operator and not an ZiSP so that is not surprising! Virgin Media does use third party network for its business services, only limits itself to cable got its consumer offerings.

  21. Avatar Stoat

    “Virgin Media does use third party network for its business services”

    Usually a BT interface, with inherent issues.

    Speaking as a _business_ customer who _had_ a 1GB/s intercity ethernet service from Virgin, the factor of them taking 3-5 _days_ to fix each problem (and taking at least 24 hours to show up after reports were filed) was a big factor in getting rid of them for…. Openreach.

    That said, Virgin’s problems were _always_ caused by Openreach equipment – there was a particular set of kit that was constantly locking up and BT just never bothered replacing it because the Virgin techs would reset it – and when they showed up (24 hours later still!) “no fault found”, job closed.

    This is how an incumbent telco exerts anticompetitive pressure on the smaller players and _why_ New Zealand forced a total cleaving of lines and dialtones services into two separate companies when Telecom New Zealand offered the BT solution to solve the monopoly abuses there – the New Zealand regulators (not just their Ofcom, their Ministry of Commerce was also involved) investigated what was happening here, documented the ways BT were still manipulating the market and the GDP damage being done to the UK and said “I don’t think so, sunshine”

    Unlike the damage BT is continuing to do to the economy here and the handbrake it places on Openreach, the split into separate companies with separate shareholdings, boards of directors, etc etc and no fake “chinese wall” electrified the New Zealand communications market.

    Imagine Openreach offering to lease duct access to VM for that last mile access, or a situation 2 years into this split where the former incumbent telco is crying about how the lines charges are too expensive and it can’t possibly pay them, whilst everyone else is over the moon about having their rates halved….

    (The whole spiel about pensions liabilities and credit ratings put out by BT is undermined by what happened in New Zealand too – the lines company had its credit rating upgraded the day of the split (and several times since) whilst the former dialtone/services company has seen its credit rating get steadily degraded.)

  22. Avatar Redraw Internet

    Trying not to wander too much from topic, my point is that as an ISP of over twenty years, with our own core network, we use multiple carriers as well as our microwave network to feed in and around urban and rural cities towns and villages, so that should one carrier have a problem, we have another Layer 2 connection in from our core. That way we know we are doing all we can to cost effectively supply our service and not get involved in politics of the individual carrier, it is also a warm feeling when on sites like OFNL that it is true fibre to the home not to a nearby cabinet, finishing in copper made for PSTN or coax initially laid for cable TV, then labelled “fibre”, the end business user can have a microwave link/LTE as well for belt and braces.

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