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Biz ISP Commsworld is First to Deploy Openreach Dark Fibre X

Wednesday, February 5th, 2020 (8:28 am) - Score 1,447
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Scotland-based UK business ISP Commsworld today claims to have become the first operator to take advantage of Openreach’s (BT) new Dark Fibre X (DFX) product, which is only focused upon serving the limited inter-exchange connectivity market. As a result broadband speeds of 10Gbps may reach several Borders towns.

A normal Dark Fibre network typically allows external ISPs the ability to gain physical access to a particular operator’s existing fibre optic cable(s), assuming there are spare fibres present (i.e. enabling them to install their own equipment at either end of the fibre within cable ducts). However the Ofcom regulated DFX solution is different in that its restricted to catering for the connections between BT exchanges in different geographic areas (e.g. between towns and cities).

On top of that DFX has limited availability in the sense that ISPs can only order it from exchanges where BT faces no competition from rival backhaul providers being present or within 100 metres. Due to this Commsworld initially only intend to harness it for a 200km fibre backhaul upgrade into their enabled exchanges across the Scottish Borders, linking the region to its national Optical Core Network with new ultrafast connectivity.

The work should enable alternative, accessible and affordable broadband and data connectivity solutions for organisations throughout towns such as Jedburgh, Kelso, Duns and Peebles. As a result Commsworld says they will be able to provide organisations and homes with flexible connectivity speeds of up to 10Gbps.

Charlie Boisseau, CTO of Commsworld, said:

“Bringing this ultra-high-speed connectivity to more rural areas creates really exciting prospects for domestic and business users.

Businesses won’t be limited by location anymore – we’re looking forward to seeing more businesses with dramatically faster and more robust connections flourishing in rural areas. Anyone will be able to set up a high-tech business from anywhere.”

Katie Milligan, Openreach MD of Customer, Commercial and Propositions, said:

“Commsworld has embraced dark fibre and secured an industry first to embed it into their Borders network.

We’ve worked very closely with the industry to design the new product and it’s now out there being used to extend high-speed services and provide more choice to customers.

Access to dark fibre helps to address one barrier to a wider full fibre roll-out. An early priority for the new Government should be to remove other barriers like fibre tax rates and access to land and property, and mandate fibre for new-build homes.

Only by working together as an industry, with Ofcom and Government, can we crack the challenge ahead.”

Ofcom has also recently proposed to introduce a new requirement on Openreach, which if implemented would also require them to provide cost-based access to Dark Fibre (DFA) for the supply of leased line access (LL Access) in non-competitive areas, such as rural locations (here).

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