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Openreach Switches On ADTRAN’s UK Gigabit GPON Solution

Wednesday, February 10th, 2021 (4:33 pm) - Score 8,400
2019 openreach fttp chamber and engineer

Last year saw Openreach (BT) select ADTRAN’s Software-Defined (SD) Fibre Access Platform to help support the rollout of their new 1Gbps Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband ISP network (here), making them the operator’s 3rd strategic supplier. Today the first live subscriber has been connected via this platform.

At present Openreach’s “full fibre” network, which already covers around 4 million UK premises (rising to 4.5m by March 2021), is being backed by an investment of £12bn to reach a total of around 20 million homes and businesses by the “mid – to late-2020s” (here). Until recently Huawei was the dominant supplier for this, followed by Nokia, but the Government’s move to restrict the Chinese firm has changed all that (here, here and here).

In response Openreach went on the hunt for a third strategic supplier and, during May 2020, they found the solution in ADTRAN (here), which is already a familiar name to many UK networks (a lot of operators are using their kit).

Under the deal ADTRAN’s SDX Series of Optical Line Terminals (OLTs) and their Mosaic Cloud Platform were to be deployed by Openreach in order to help achieve their ambition of making “gigabit and multi-gigabit” services available to homes. The first live subscriber has now been connected to this new platform.

Peter Bell, Director, Network Technology, Openreach, said:

“We’re fully committed to building the UK’s leading ultrafast, ultra-reliable Full Fibre broadband network and to reinforce our vital role in keeping the nation connected. We’re confident that our new network will help deliver a host of social and economic benefits to the UK – from boosting productivity to enabling more home working and fewer commuting trips.

Our engineers have been building faster than ever during the pandemic, and we’re working closely with strategic partners like ADTRAN to help us innovate, extend and accelerate the build even further, without compromising on quality. Our partnership with ADTRAN gives us the ability to scale the build and deliver on our commitment to reaching 20 million homes with FTTP by the mid-to-late 2020s.”

Today’s announcement also hints at the “future introduction of higher speed symmetric services,” although we’re currently only expecting to see this for business FTTP customers, but a similar product for homes may follow eventually (not least because many of Openreach’s altnet rivals can already offer this).

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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
21 Responses
  1. NW London Person says:

    Community Fibre are using ADTRAN ONTs already for XGPON deployments as hinted re altnets.

    1. A_Builder says:

      True, they do.

      Our logistics hub houses one of them! So I have seen it with my own eyes.

  2. Neb says:

    Are Openreach not deploying ADTRAN XGS-PON at all?

    1. Bob says:

      Not yet no. They pulled the trial late last year.

  3. Mike says:

    It all sounds very impressive and hunky dory unless of course you live in the sticks like me. My internet speed matches a sprinting slug on cocaine and is about as reliable as a modern day politician. All the whizz kids in these communication set-ups do very nicely with their mega salaries and generous bonuses, leaving us lesser mortals with a pitiful service. Worse still is when we complain about the lack of service we have to listen to ‘fudge cake’ assistants groomed to cover the backsides of their iniquitous bosses.

    The whole communications system in the UK is a rip off and dictated to by the ‘cowboys’ calling themselves ‘Open Reach’, Open to what I wonder and certainly it is not communications. Many of their engineers, and I use the term engineers loosely, sit in lay by areas for hours upon end stuffing their faces full of fast food and well known coffee brands rather than do their job.

    Money for old rope springs to mind.

    1. Tom says:

      alright mate no need to rip on the engineers they are people too you know!

    2. Matt says:

      He’s right thow still waiting for my 1gbps insed of hurrying up with there loyal customers thay tend to forget us iv been waiting for 1 gbps for 2 years so begs the questions wtf are thay doing with there time anyone can do that job virgin weres my 1gbps grrrr

    3. Rich says:

      Mike, you are so right regarding broadband networks in rural locations. What people forget is that in the mid to early 1990’s the broadband technology was based on copper because the copper BT network was already in place. Extensive fibre trials in Colchester had already been undertaken by BT and the maintenance costs made it a non starter (yes fibre does need maintenance). BT never progressed what’s known as sun loop unbundling which is placing the equipment for ADSL not in the exchange but at a point nearer to the end user or customer. Reduction in copper line length means higher speeds and no civil costly work making the areas look ugly. This using ADSL2+ would have seen speeds approx. 30-54mbs in rural areas. BT had already run tests on bonded services (using multiple copper pairs to the home) reaching speeds of well over 100mbs so the technology and methodology has been around for many years. The fibre to the cabinet options talked about is a variation on the above so all the broadband players know they need to get nearer to the end user in order to get a faster service.
      As for getting high speed back haul links to rural areas, radio has been used for years and was part of BTs main core network, so it’s all possible, just needs BT and others to stop chasing the ‘fibre is the answer’ marketing line and of course this is not helped with the government fibre funding based on homes past not connected, refocus on service for customers and use the right technology for the environment.

    4. CarlT says:

      Matt: waiting for a gigabit for 2 years – the horror.

      Mike: you’re in the sticks. You’re expensive to cover. You’ll likely never be profitable. What entitles you to taxpayers’ money to deliver you faster broadband? If you were profitable to deliver to you’d be on a plan.

      The venom towards Openreach engineers is utterly unreasonable. Even if they are sitting on their behinds doing nothing that’s very different from the hundred quid a metre digging through concrete to reach Mike who lives in the arse end of nowhere but thinks he’s entitled to fibre to the premises.

      FTTP cost me nearly £400k.

      Came with a free house, though.

      Sorry you’ll be late in the deployment. Unfortunately charities and the taxpayer subsidising your broadband means your timing is unpredictable. You’ll actually probably be ahead of many urban households as their taxes subsidise you.

    5. Phil says:

      I live in Leeds and can only get 2mpbs ADSL. I dream of getting even FTTC when open reach can be bothered. I’m realistic, though. Leeds is only the third largest city in the 6th largest economy, so I can’t expect too much, can I?

    6. Tothekey Boardwarrior says:

      Like one of the other replies mentioned, if you live out in the sticks, what do you expect? Sparsely populated, you are going to be the last to receive FTTP… Obviously! Openreach are a business… And not a charity. You try to be clever and pithy in your post, but came across as stupid and uneducated…

  4. Interested says:

    Anyone have a picture and spec of the new ADTRAN ONTs

    1. John says:

      If it’s the SDX series then there’s a couple options I can see.

      ADTRAN SDX 6010-16 GPON only OLT
      https://adtran.com/web/fileDownload/doc/34374

      ADTRAN SDX 6320-16 Mixed GPON/XGS-PON OLT
      https://www.pulsesupply.com/images/pdf/adtran/6320-16_SDX_Series.pdf

      Rather than a large OLT with multiple PON line cards the SDX series looks like a 1U OLT with integrated PON ports.
      To add more ports you just add another OLT.

      Looks like a very flexible and scalable solution.

      Of course I’m probably a mile off what they are using.

  5. Nick Roberts says:

    The next “Poverty” of broadband speeds areas, after rural, are those city and suburban locations where it’s been deemed by Openreach/BT that FTTP is to be “On Demand” because of the existence of older co-ax cable systems. These can’t compete with FTTP speeds . . National levelling-up programme required to accommodate the huge change in remote working that’s occurred since the pandemic.

    1. MrTruth says:

      What are you talking about? FTTPoD is “available” to anyone who has VDSL (FTTC) available to them

    2. CarlT says:

      The presence of cable systems is more likely to make Openreach build FTTP.

      Get a customer to move from FTTC to FTTP you get a few £ a month more than you were before, minimal incremental income.

      Get a customer to move from cable to FTTP and you get all their £ more.

    3. GNewton says:

      “FTTPoD is “available” to anyone who has VDSL (FTTC) available to them”

      FTPoD is virtually a dead product. Only a very limited number of orders per year are accepted, with order fulfillment times of a year or more not uncommon. Not to forget, it is a hopelessly overpriced product.

    4. FibreFred says:

      “FTPoD is virtually a dead product. Only a very limited number of orders per year are accepted, with order fulfillment times of a year or more not uncommon. ”

      You’ve been saying for years its dead but it still remains.

      How do you know how many orders are accepted and how long they take?

  6. Paul T says:

    Gigabit would be lovely, but I’ll not hold my breath. I live about mile outside a city in a residential area. I have FTTC. Sounds good so far. My top speed is 16Mbps bacause I am so far from *the* cabinet that I have another cabinet in between. Sadly this is the wrong sort of cabinet to be *the* cabinet as it is an extension cabinet. I know this is faster than many rural areas, but Openreach class me as in a superfast area already, and there’s no plans for FTTP yet. I also had a friend with faster ADSL, which is frustrating.

    1. John says:

      There’s no such thing as a “SuperFast area”.

      If you have anything to suggest your “area” is marked as SuperFast I’ll happily retract that.

      Individual addresses are marked as SuperFast.
      Areas can have a percentage of properties that are SuperFast, but they don’t check off whole areas as complete.

      Your address will still qualify for any future public subsidy that’s aimed at sub SuperFast addresses. It is not excluded because you are in a “SuperFast area”.

  7. Phil says:

    To tothekey Boardwarrior.

    I said I live *in* Leeds, not ‘near Leeds’ or ‘some miles from Leeds’. No sticks, only tarmac and concrete.

    I am realistic as to what is available in a large city. Or maybe that’s Should be available in a large city…

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