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Prysmian and Openreach Trial New UK Fibre Cable Install Method

Monday, October 11th, 2021 (10:14 am) - Score 7,800
openreach engineer pulling fibre optic cable duct

The Prysmian Group, which specialises in the production of telecoms cables, has signed a 3-year extension deal to support Openreach’s (BT) national £15bn UK rollout of a new Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) based broadband ISP network to reach 25 million premises by December 2026. They’re also testing a new installation method.

As part of the framework for this renewed partnership, Openreach has recently undertaken a live trial using Prysmian’s “double overblow installation method“. This Karona installation technique enables the installation of high-density optical fibre cable into pre-existing sub-ducted routes, already containing legacy cable.

The trial took place at Stonehaven in Scotland. The cable used for the trial was Sirocco HD 144f with 5.0mm diameter, and the new installation method allowed to overblow 600mts of cable in less than 4 hours, increasing the capacity of the route to 432f (fibres). This installation technique was repeated at Bury St Edmunds, where a route of 730 metres was successfully overblown in less than 4 hours.

All of this is important because some traditional installation methods may require planning permissions and permits for civil work, which takes time to secure before work can begin. By comparison, installation with the Karona Overblow System does not require the same licences, eliminating this lead time. The actual speed of fibre deployment is also significantly quicker, which is another cost saving.

Matthew Hemmings, Openreach MD for Fibre and Network Delivery, said:

“Building a new broadband network across the UK is a hugely complex, nationwide engineering project – second only to HS2 in terms of investment. It will help level-up the UK because the impact of Full Fibre broadband stretches from increased economic prosperity and international competitiveness, to higher employment and environmental benefits by enabling more home working and fewer commuting trips.

We place huge importance in our partner network and seek long-term and strategic collaborations. Prysmian is a great example of this and this sustained partnership means we can benefit from its teams’ skills and innovation to help us build Full Fibre even further.”

At present Openreach’s network has already covered over 5.2 million premises and their build is continuing to ramp-up, thus anything that can help to both lower the cost and speed-up that deployment is always going to be a welcome addition.

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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
9 Responses
  1. Bob says:

    Wish it would blow my way! 🙂

  2. Ig Og says:

    What is mts?

    1. Metric says:

      Metres.

  3. Aidan Paul says:

    Is this using G.652 fibre?

    1. Ex Telecom Engineer says:

      Without researching it, I would say with 100% certainty that it will be single mode Fibre. I’d be surprised if you find any newly installed multimode fibres outside of a server room these days. I used the multimode comparison, since I’m not sure if Fibre’s like Hollow Core are commercially available yet.

    2. Ex Telecom Engineer says:

      Just took a look, for my own curiosity, and although I couldn’t find anything specific to BT, apparently G657 is recommended for FTTP networks. G657, has similar optical properties to G652, but is less bend sensitive.

  4. Ralph Sutehall says:

    G657 A2 200 micron diameter fibres

  5. Georgi Barzev says:

    What they mean by overblown as them length isn’t really something wow…. unless I misunderstood something….?

  6. Falco says:

    Will altnets be allowed to use this double overblow method using PIA?

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