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Openreach’s First Demand Led N.Ireland CFP Extends FTTP to Edenderry

Friday, August 28th, 2020 (10:27 am) - Score 2,734
edenderry_village_northern_ireland

The entire village of Edenderry in County Down has just become Openreach’s (BT) first demand-led Community Fibre Partnership (CFP) in Northern Ireland, which has enabled the entire community to be covered by their 1Gbps capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband ISP network.

At present there have already been several CFP schemes in N.Ireland, which see both the community and Openreach contribute funding to help cover the costs of a fibre broadband upgrade. Such projects are most often used in rural areas, where existing schemes have yet to reach or won’t reach for a long time.

In a normal CFP the residents of a community will apply to Openreach and the scheme then covers a smaller number of properties around the neighbourhood of the person who initially raises the scheme. However, in this demand-led approach, the scheme was pre-registered with the Government’s (DCMS / BDUK) rural gigabit voucher programme (here) and the operator then worked with locals to encourage them to add their support.

NOTE: The vouchers are worth up to £3,500 for small businesses and up to £1,500 for homes to help them get connected.

Previously, homes in Edenderry were, on average, receiving home broadband speeds of less than 2Mbps but, as a result of the new demand-led approach, all 188 premises in the village have now gained access to a new gigabit capable “full fibre” broadband network.

Paul Taylor, a local resident, said:

“I’ve lived in Edenderry for nearly 20 years and have a background in mobile technology, so I’m very interested in the new technological developments and knew that Full Fibre would be beneficial for the entire community. This is especially true now. With many young families living in the area and more people working and studying from home, having reliable broadband is essential.

Now that we’ve Full Fibre broadband in the community, it is having an incredible impact. Even in my own home we can see the difference. I am an avid online gamer, and the difference it has made to my gaming experience is like night and day.

My partner is a nurse and during the pandemic, she worked at the Nightingale hospital with COVID patients, however she struggled to complete training online without buffering and interruptions. It was a strain to have multiple devices running at the same time, whereas now she can see a huge difference.”

Sadly, no details have been revealed to confirm how much the deployment cost or the value of the RGC vouchers raised, but Openreach has informed us that they have several more demand-led (pre-registered) CFP schemes planned for N.Ireland.

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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.
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34 Responses
  1. Avatar Matthew says:

    So with this approach BT already have the voucher money ? and then they approach the villagers to make up the rest of the money?

    1. Avatar Fastman says:

      the scheme was pre-registered with the Government’s (DCMS / BDUK) rural gigabit voucher programme (here) and the operator then worked with locals to encourage them to add their support.

      so you x to cover it – so the residents needs to register and pledge a voucher to ensure X is met to enable the build to commence – dont meet X no build

  2. Avatar JamesP says:

    Reminds me of the days before ADSL, when Openreach would enable an exchange for ADSL based on demand!

    Think this method is the way forward personally, build a portal for customers to register demand (like you can on Openreach already – myself and neighbours have registered our interest) then build to those that will want it. Openreach should see a better ‘early’ return on their investment with this method.

    1. Avatar GNewton says:

      While it is good for Edenderry to finally have a FTTP network, the overall issue is this:

      The telecom company should have provided fibre on a wide scale anyway, in the first place, without having to ask for taxpayers’ money for it. BT will enjoy the whole profit from this new taxpayer-funded fibre network, and it will wholly own it, too. The public funding agencies won’t have a share in it. This can’t be right!

  3. Avatar Jat says:

    On my street there are two bt cabinets, one of them is a telephone cabinet with the cabinet number on it and 10m away is a BT ECI DSLAM FTTC Cabinet,

    what i dont undertsand is, is why there are two cabinets? Is the bt ftcc cabinet where my broadabnd comes from? Surely my broadband would come from the bt telephone cabinet?

    Also, there is a copper cable over my house connected to a bt pole?

    1. Avatar Gary says:

      There’s two cabs in my nearest village, one old rusty one that we were all connected to for phone then adsl, and a shiny new one with a pavement chamber installed by it that’s got all the FTTC stuff going on.

      I’ve no idea if the lines were all moved and the old one is now redundant, all i do know is that I’m still on adsl and the new cabinet makes no difference to me.

      When you say copper over your house does it actually come to your house from that pole ? should be easy to tell. What broadband do you have, if its an FTTC service then seems obvious it would come from the newer FTTC cabinet (though it might not, it might come from another one)

    2. Avatar Andrew J Campling says:

      The older cabinet (PCP) is used to provide the phone line plus physical connection to premises, as well as supporting any ADSL broadband connections. It is connected back to the exchange via copper cable.

      The newer cabinet (DSLAM) houses the FTTC electronics and is connected back to the exchange via a fibre link. The broadband signal is generated here and fed via the older cabinet in order to use the existing cabling to your premises.

    3. Avatar Peach says:

      There is the traditional PCP cabinet which houses all the copper cabling, the second cabinet is the DSLAM cabinet which is where the fibre and all the electrical equipment is housed to provide VDSL broadband. Openreach do also have VDSL/G.fast sidepods which are used when the DSLAM has run out of capacity. There are links between PCP and DSLAM to join the VDSL service to your copper phone line.

  4. Avatar Govind says:

    Also, can bt add extension pods to ECI DSLAM FTTC Cabinet (256 Ports) ?

    Ad, Is there way to oopen bt cabinets with a key? theres no cameras around it? im just curious….

    1. Avatar Andrew Campling says:

      The DSLAMs are alarmed so best not to open the doors as it will be picked up at the control centre.

    2. Avatar A_Builder says:

      Yes they can be expanded but not often now as BT are trying to move away from ECI.

      It is more likely to get a GFast style DSLAM on the PCP.

      If you are on a fibre first, BDUK or old commercial build path it *might* well stall expanding the cabinet as there is not a lot of point in providing FTTC investment when FTTP is arriving soon and the cabinet will be retired.

      The DSLAMs are alarmed – when they are open you can see the sensors on the doors. What the procedure is when the alarm goes off…..when they were first installed very few had access to them. I think things have relaxed somewhat by now. There used to be a call in before opening procedure in force…..don’t know if it still applies….

      Opening the DSLAM will tell nobody anything as all the cards are terminated to the connecting cable to the PCP at installation so linesmen don’t need to open the DSLAM for a simple punch and go installation. It is the end in the PCP that has spare pairs or not as the case may be….

  5. Avatar Gary says:

    No idea about the state of broadband really in NI but it seems odd that a village that size and fairly dense at its centre didn’t have an FTTC cab serving it.

    There’s plenty round here that don’t cover anywhere near that many people.

    Wonder what the drop off area is around the cluster, doing a village is one thing but likely still leaves the Islands of connectivity that we see with the BDUK FTTC build.

    1. Avatar Paul T says:

      @ Gary, We are connected to a FTTC cab but it is 1.3 miles away and we have a lot of aluminum mixed with copper so speeds were relatively poor for FTTC. I used to get around 16Mb download which was good for the area as others only got around 5. Trust me the FTTP was a longtime coming and it is superb 🙂
      I tried for years to get a cabinet in the village but was always told it was down to cost!

    2. Avatar Gary says:

      @PAUL t ,

      Aye doesn’t surprise me at all, its one of the big failings (relative) of the BDUK/Openreach choice to make the cabinet installs cheaper. Our nearest cab ‘could’ have provided a much better coverage but was installed right next to the old PCP in the centre of a very small cluster of houses for the obvious cost benefits of doing so, sadly that left everyone else out of range.

      always going to be a problem with FTTC range in rural areas, its just not capable of covering the necessary area. same with 5G i’m tired of hearing statements by people that should know better and people that just don’t understand the tech that 5G isn’t going to be the saviour for rural high speed internet, too short range and too expensive to to run the required power and back haul to provide the coverage.

      Great situation for the people in Edenderry I’m not bashing that.

    3. Avatar Andrew Campling says:

      @Gary
      “Our nearest cab ‘could’ have provided a much better coverage but was installed right next to the old PCP…”

      The new DSLAM will always be installed close to the existing PCP as the signal is routed from the DSLAM through the PCP to your property – they are usually within 50m or less of each other. So installing the DSLAM somewhere else would not improve coverage but would in fact reduce it as you’d have a longer cable run back to the PCP.

    4. Avatar Gary says:

      Indeed Andrew, My point there really is that provisioning FTTC based on the location of of a decades old PCP intended for telephone lines not broadband, wasn’t always the best position to get the most out of the new technology. I do also understand that the costs of re routing lines and power etc to a more ideally placed DSLAM would have been uneconomic.

      It’s a similar scenario to what we’re now getting with the sub headends potentially going into the cabinets, yes it utilises the existing fibres etc and yes it will bring the fibre connection point much closer for many many people, but its still building where it was rather than where it logically should be. Openreachs network is awash with crazy routes that no doubt made sense way back in the past as the network was being built , but no longer do. It’s why we see people within a few hundred meters of FTTC cabinets but cant get decent connections because their line runs miles back to the exchange and they cant get that connection point moved. FTTP from cabinets near the PCP should help resolve this though as we don’t have the range issues and I’d hope they’re running fibre in the most economical direction rather than just following what was there before.

    5. Avatar NGA for all says:

      Paul T Congrats…are you in a position to outline how many vouchers BT needed? They had in an another piece of PR claiming BT funding for 500k FTTP in NI which more than the commercial FTTC.

      There is still no public record of BT’s matched funding for some ~2,100 subsidised cabinets in NI. Apart from the fibre run in, the unit cost for your work will not too diferrent from the £300-£400 per premise being quoted by BT for the commercial build.

  6. Avatar Boatymcboatface says:

    My area in Randalstown is on EO lines so they are using CFP rather unfairly to push the EO customers to campaign for fibre. Where as the rest of the town is getting FTTP because their ‘viable’

    1. Avatar Dom says:

      Unless I’m missing something I don’t get why that would be unfair?? You’ve said you are EO (?) so there must be something different that makes it more difficult than the other areas you mention to deploy FTTH or the alternative is they are just leaving you out on purpose.

      It sounds like you have a way to get FTTH that others would love to have and I assume you are not being asked to pay – that sounds like they are trying to help or am I missing something? If you don’t think it’s fair don’t sign up but personally I’d sign up if they offered this in my area.

    2. Avatar Gary says:

      CFP can require payment, depends entirely on build costs and level of vouchers etc, So yes you’re missing something there, The per property contribution could be relatively low or very high and depending on the financial ability to pay or desire to contribute will vary a lot between CFP installs.

      Personally my feeling about the fair or not side of all this is the poorest of connections were abandoned by BDUK so other better value for money areas could be done, and excluded by cost from private company expansion and now again are not viable in the commercial roll out of FTTP. Its all very well knowing the reasons why you’re being left out, that doesn’t make it any less frustrating.

    3. Avatar Fastman says:

      EO is you are all in one cluster its proably likely that the CFP gap require for the EO FTTP would like be less that to build a new FTTC cab (dependant on the number of premises and network build required – there will be no more FTTC build (except in some circumstance under BDUK) but certainly no more in CFP

    4. Avatar NGA for all says:

      @Fastman, so why did BDUK or OR push so much FTTC Cure? It looked a waste when it started particularly so much in Town centres!

    5. Avatar Dom says:

      @Gary is the scheme above (and I assume Randalstown) not an all or nothing approach? If enough people sign up it’s free and if it never hits the mark then no one has to pay but equally you don’t get FTTH?

      I can’t agree on the value for money stuff though – health warning in that I have benefited from the last one so might be biased. If the government spends £100 and can fix 5 people or 1 really difficult one it should be the 5 all day long.

      That said if your scheme gets to whatever level of interest it needs it is effectively a BDUK scheme in that government plus openreach money is combined to deliver better speeds and there is no cost to the residents. I hope it gets there and you get better speeds soon

    6. Avatar Fastman says:

      NGA – BDUK is about 5 – 6 years ago if you are referring to contract phase 1 areas so you are trying to compare an Apple with a Carrot

      because that was then (and large EO cabs in town centres would have been cheaper than large cab EO clusters – hence cab outside the exchang) and the cost of fttp was through the roof and this is now (small EO cluster as FTTP will be much cheaper than FTTC (due to the cost of FTTC and the number of premises involved)

    7. Avatar Gary says:

      @Dom, I know Dom, there’s always a need to do the most with the available, and it’s our taxes being spent, but the Gov spouts on and on about the digital divide and the connectivity disadvantaged but in reality for reasons we both understand don’t actually do what’s necessary to solve it, It’s Hot air and soundbites.

      At the end of the day people are still being told they’re not worth bothering with. Fortunately this is easier to swallow for broadband than for say NHS treatments.

  7. Avatar Fastman says:

    nga

    abinets in NI. Apart from the fibre run in, the unit cost for your work will not too diferrent from the £300-£400 per premise being quoted by BT for the commercial build.

    the nub exacatly because if the fibre run is all in direct in ground or buried (in soft or footway or carriageway- your number miltiplies b X or y or Z – you wont know what it is until you understand the specifics of each area – such generalistion are not helpful , misleading and could actually cause a communty lead a significant issue in trying to get a project even started – – the fibre run is a massive dependacy – its like saying its cost 100k to buy a house in middle of nowhere that not great if it cossts another 100k to provide water and electricity to it and you have rebuild it because it not structurally safe and that costs 250k

    1. Avatar NGA for all says:

      @Fastman .. always trying to seek to price around some exceptional cost is poor. You should publish the actuals.

      ‘Then’ and ‘now’ is unlikely to be the case. The network is made of uniform elements and sizes. Then and now is only a 3 year gap so the argument is weak. The numbers need to be published and any corrections made if they are needed.

      A white paper on the £788m Capital Deferral in BT’s accounts intended for work like this is needed.

  8. Avatar Paul T says:

    @NGA
    I am unsure of final cost but the article states there are 188 homes and I believe we had approx 130+ registering. It was a win win as Openreach is the only available infrastructure in the village. At one point Virgin showed an interest however they were too slow and Openreach offered a better deal in my opinion due to the number of CSP’s joining the openreach FTTP network.Also, approx half of the homes in the village are served by pole so in theory a much easier install keeping the costs down. There has been one install that found broken ducting to a dwelling that has involved diggers and additional work to get the fibre inside, so the cost from the pole installs can supplement, any additional costs for further build work.
    I am just over the moon have amazing speeds (900 down) as it has changed how we use streaming services or zoom calls whereas before it was very hit or miss!
    Ps I know there are haters of Openreach and BT but all I can say is they have been very professional and supportive to have us up and running in such a short space of time and even more so to have given us the opportunity to get the fibre:)
    If we hadn’t reached the required number it wasn’t going to happen so if anyone else has the chance for something similar be prepared to canvas your neighbourhood and explain the benefits of having full fibre!

    1. Avatar NGA for all says:

      Paul T, I admire OR but this does not excuse gaming costs and capital. How many £1,500 vouchers were needed? Could BT collect 133x £1500 or some lesser sum?

      As a part regulated service, BT contributions and costs should be transparent so the subsidies available can stretch to as many as possible.

      Thanks for the reply.

  9. Avatar Paul T says:

    Sorry I created a typo it was 150+ of the homes in the village at £1500 residential and £3500 per business. There were a small number of registered businesses that availed of the vouchers. I am unsure of the exact target to hit but I am guessing at 90% of the homes had to register to make it happen!

    1. Avatar NGA for all says:

      Was there any reconciliation or evidence of BTs capital contribution to a service where the regulator assumes a uniform contribution from BT in terms of cost recovery?

    2. Avatar Fastman says:

      NGA the above is nothing to do with CFP – the community fund the gap over and above the commercial case for deployment (in this case with vouchers) hence its a Gap fund (gap being difference between commercial case and build case –

    3. Avatar NGA for all says:

      @Fastman you reference gap funding so models ought to be consistent. A BT contribution of £300-£400 per premise would mean very few vouchers would be needed.

      On this example, Fibrus should be able to register all of Magherafelt and use vouchers instead of its own capital to complete the works.

    4. Avatar NGA for all says:

      Thanks Paul, While delighted for Edenderry, in this case BT may have collected 150x £1,500 = £225,000 to repair a duct or lay a cable 1-2 miles. Repairing duct is _£10 a metre.

      BT have already taken £80m+ of subsidies in Northern Ireland, DETI (£15m), DARD (£11m), NIBIP (£47m) SRP2 (£12.5m). We should be able to see a £40m direct contribution for works to date from BT but this has not been reported upon. Stratum will put another £165m into the subsidy pot.

      A little transparency and another few vilages like yours could get the same upgrade from the monies already collected for Edenderry.

      Enjoy your upgrade, but it is for everybody.

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