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EXFO to Help Openreach Test and Monitor their FTTP Network

Thursday, January 7th, 2021 (10:04 am) - Score 3,480
fibre optic night cable openreach

A competitive tender process has resulted in Openreach choosing the monitoring and analytics firm EXFO to supply optical test heads and test access switching, as well as monitoring, to help support the rollout of their 1Gbps capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband ISP network across the UK.

At present Openreach is already on-target to cover 4.5 million UK premises with FTTP by March 2021 (current build rate of c.40,000 per week), which will be followed by 5.8 million come September 2021 and then 20 million by around 2025-30. A max build rate of 3 million per year is envisaged.

As part of that the new deal will also see EXFO deploy their cloud-based “Nova Fiber” solution, which is a centrally and remotely managed OTDR (optical time-domain reflectometer) instrument for auditing, troubleshooting and continuously monitoring FTTP optical fibres. The aim is to assured its build, thereby accelerating the programme and avoiding costly return visits to fix connection problems that could otherwise more than double an operator’s testing costs.

Following installation, Openreach will also be able to remotely monitor its fibre infrastructure, thus effectively supporting the in-life operations of its new “full fibre” service.

Peter Bell, Openreach’s Director of Network Technology, said:

“We know that now more than ever that being connected matters. We’re convinced that our new Full Fibre network can play a crucial role in keeping the nation connected. This year, our build has been gathering pace and momentum, and we’re determined to match that rapid speed of deployment with the highest standards of build quality build and customer service.

EXFO will help us get there. As a long-term Openreach partner, EXFO was selected thanks to its proven ability to provide fast, automated qualification of fibre builds, and for its unique iOLM OTDR technology. We’re committed to working with the best-in-class to maintain our position as the UK’s leading Full Fibre builder and we’re excited to lead the way as we continue to deliver high-quality network connections to homes and businesses across the UK.”

EXFO’s VP of Sales, Wim te Niet, said he believes that “network operators across Europe will soon follow Openreach’s lead to ensure first-time-right installations, reduce turn-up failures, and substantially reduce truck rolls for service calls.”

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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
6 Responses
  1. Phil says:

    They really need something to get their act in gear, i.e. Openreach. I recently migrated ISPs on FTTP and lost the existing ISP connection as expected but the new one didn’t work. It was pretty obvious it was nothing my end, no LOS and I was getting a default PPPoE connection into Openreach diagnostics and could reach their holding page so I was connected but not to the ISP. Eventually it was sorted remotely by recreating the account somewhere and bang I was straight online. A week later an Openreach engineer was calling my mobile to check I was in to repair the fault. So not only should it have been obvious there was no physical fault my end needing an engineer, once they sorted it remotely they didn’t bother cancelling the engineer appointment that had been raised.

    1. Peach says:

      That would be down to the CP not Openreach

    2. JItteryPinger says:

      @Peach – I’ve heard this story many times with people switching between ISP on FTTP, does seem to be an openreach problem if the system isn’t working as it should.

    3. A_Builder says:

      Yes, but in all fairness a proper system would have a fault flag and then a periodic auto retest against that flag. In this case it would not be very hard to test that that ONT was talking to the network and that the correct device was registered and that traffic was passing.

      So if the issue appears resolved then the customer gets a “do you still have a problem, if so I will come to you to resolve it call” which is less of a waste of time and might actually look like good customer care. Rather than a poor overworked linesman being sent out to do a non job.

      You know it might even save OR some money by clearing non issues from the queue.

    4. Migration says:

      Openreach would only be involved in this one if you moved from a BT Wholesale provider to Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone or, maybe, Zen.

  2. Samuel says:

    Managed to get Openreach to complete a custom FTTP build at end of last year, they completed it within a month and now live!

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