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A mini island of FTTPoD in an FTTP sea

NotPaying10K

Casual Member
Apologies for the length here (scroll down for the tl;dr) - wanted to avoid dripfeeding and list all that I've tried - new poster but long time lurker who has really appreciated the advice shared on here!

I moved a few weeks ago to a fairly rural property, leaving a Virgin 500Mbit+ line behind (though trying to get them to behave logically over this house move is a whole other infuriating story)

Both of us work from home in tech, and we have four children who are very much that way inclined, so our bandwidth requirements are far in excess of the 12Mbit generously offered up as our fastest option (yep, checked the BT Wholesale Checker) with the only fibre-like option being FTTPoD.

I assumed it would only be a matter of time until our small cluster of houses, just half a mile away from Virgin and FTTP territory, would be consumed by one or the other. However, when scoping out the house a few months back, I spotted "fibre overhead" on nearby poles, at odds with what I'd been seeing on various maps. More recently, Openreach HAS shown up on those maps, suggesting the install is relatively recent.

Anyway, it's obvious why I'm posting here, it's a story I've seen many times. The pole outside our new house does not have fibre on it - the closest pole with fibre is around 200m away. It appears the entire hamlet, bar our three houses, has FTTP available. From what I can tell there is a standard copper line running from the poles with the fibre on to our property via a few more poles - a route exists. We are all on the same exchange.

Hoping for a database error, I firstly tried the BT Openreach "my neighbour has FTTP" approach, which eventually resulted in a friendly email literally telling me "you can't have it because 'technical reasons'" which was somewhat non-enlightening. We didn't exchange on the house until very late May, so I was reluctant to order a field survey pre-exchange in case the engineer decided to knock on the door of a house we weren't yet committed to buying. Cerberus said as long as we ordered the field survey before 31st May, we'd still qualify for the FTTPoD discount, which might just about make it worthwhile to fork out for the install, so we got in before the cut-off.

We got the field survey results today - they want £10K including VAT, no discount applied. No clue whether Cerberus was wrong (maybe the FTTPoD actual order needed to be in 31st May, not just the field survey application) or if the £600 "civils" cost makes the whole thing ineligible - the language is somewhat vague on the FTTPoD Openreach press release. We'll follow up with Cerberus over that and see what they say.

Anyway, we're not willing to pay £10K and then waiting at least a year in top of that. My worry is that because properties 200m in one direction, and 500m in the other (found fibre even closer than the previously suspected half a mile) have FTTP, no provider will bother with us now as it won't be worthwhile. Three properties are "passed" with our field survey, one is our new neighbour who is quite happy with Three 4G broadband, and the other I have no clue about, but I suspect wouldn't be happy forking out £5K. It's just our three properties missing out, it's fields between us and the properties with fibre.

TL;DR: Anything more we can do? Are we likely to be rescued by Project Gigabit and get infilled, and if so, how long would it likely take? Anything we can do to speed matters up on that front? We're in Bucks, for the record.

In the meantime, we've now got Starlink professionally mounted on the roof (100-150Mbit most of the time, with occasional higher or lower spikes) but the low upload (5Mbit usually) is frustrating and does impact on my work. We have Three 4G broadband as a backup, that maxes out at around 30Mbit, again, very low upload. Tested all the other mobile providers with Network Cell info app, played with Cellmapper, checked local planning for masts - this was our best bet, 5G isn't likely any time soon here. We can hang on like this for a year or so, but not forever, especially as having FTTP will become more of an expectation rather than a luxury!

Thank you for reading!
 

plunet

Regular Member
Thinking outside of the box... Is it worth considering a conversation with the neighbour who is closest and has the option to order FTTP and then run a fibre back along the verge/hedge/field... There's quite a bit of detail to consider, they would need to run a router that gives you a SFP port, but I would be surprised with some conversations and amenable neighbours and field landowner if turned out to be excessively expensive.
 

Mark.J

Administrator
Staff member
ISPreview Team
I doubt it's much of a consolation, but you're not the only one being quoted thousands to run fibre that sort of distance. It's pretty much par for the course, particularly with Openreach:


You seem to already be doing everything I could possibly recommend, although is your 4G link done via an external antenna or just the indoor mobile router? If you haven't tried an antenna on the roof then that would be worth testing, but I'm somewhat expecting you've already done this.

One other possibility is to research if any altnet are building FTTP in the same rough area. If they are, then you might be able to ask them about a co-funded extension. It's a long shot, but the worst they can do is say no.
 

Phil2021

Regular Member
Apologies for the length here (scroll down for the tl;dr) - wanted to avoid dripfeeding and list all that I've tried - new poster but long time lurker who has really appreciated the advice shared on here!

I moved a few weeks ago to a fairly rural property, leaving a Virgin 500Mbit+ line behind (though trying to get them to behave logically over this house move is a whole other infuriating story)

Both of us work from home in tech, and we have four children who are very much that way inclined, so our bandwidth requirements are far in excess of the 12Mbit generously offered up as our fastest option (yep, checked the BT Wholesale Checker) with the only fibre-like option being FTTPoD.

I assumed it would only be a matter of time until our small cluster of houses, just half a mile away from Virgin and FTTP territory, would be consumed by one or the other. However, when scoping out the house a few months back, I spotted "fibre overhead" on nearby poles, at odds with what I'd been seeing on various maps. More recently, Openreach HAS shown up on those maps, suggesting the install is relatively recent.

Anyway, it's obvious why I'm posting here, it's a story I've seen many times. The pole outside our new house does not have fibre on it - the closest pole with fibre is around 200m away. It appears the entire hamlet, bar our three houses, has FTTP available. From what I can tell there is a standard copper line running from the poles with the fibre on to our property via a few more poles - a route exists. We are all on the same exchange.

Hoping for a database error, I firstly tried the BT Openreach "my neighbour has FTTP" approach, which eventually resulted in a friendly email literally telling me "you can't have it because 'technical reasons'" which was somewhat non-enlightening. We didn't exchange on the house until very late May, so I was reluctant to order a field survey pre-exchange in case the engineer decided to knock on the door of a house we weren't yet committed to buying. Cerberus said as long as we ordered the field survey before 31st May, we'd still qualify for the FTTPoD discount, which might just about make it worthwhile to fork out for the install, so we got in before the cut-off.

We got the field survey results today - they want £10K including VAT, no discount applied. No clue whether Cerberus was wrong (maybe the FTTPoD actual order needed to be in 31st May, not just the field survey application) or if the £600 "civils" cost makes the whole thing ineligible - the language is somewhat vague on the FTTPoD Openreach press release. We'll follow up with Cerberus over that and see what they say.

Anyway, we're not willing to pay £10K and then waiting at least a year in top of that. My worry is that because properties 200m in one direction, and 500m in the other (found fibre even closer than the previously suspected half a mile) have FTTP, no provider will bother with us now as it won't be worthwhile. Three properties are "passed" with our field survey, one is our new neighbour who is quite happy with Three 4G broadband, and the other I have no clue about, but I suspect wouldn't be happy forking out £5K. It's just our three properties missing out, it's fields between us and the properties with fibre.

TL;DR: Anything more we can do? Are we likely to be rescued by Project Gigabit and get infilled, and if so, how long would it likely take? Anything we can do to speed matters up on that front? We're in Bucks, for the record.

In the meantime, we've now got Starlink professionally mounted on the roof (100-150Mbit most of the time, with occasional higher or lower spikes) but the low upload (5Mbit usually) is frustrating and does impact on my work. We have Three 4G broadband as a backup, that maxes out at around 30Mbit, again, very low upload. Tested all the other mobile providers with Network Cell info app, played with Cellmapper, checked local planning for masts - this was our best bet, 5G isn't likely any time soon here. We can hang on like this for a year or so, but not forever, especially as having FTTP will become more of an expectation rather than a luxury!

Thank you for reading!
There isn't much more you can do. I'm not sure how much the house cost, but if there was an identical house up for sale, one with FTTP and one with the connectivity you have now, how much extra would you have been willing to pay for the FTTP house? An extra £2K, an extra £5K, or even an extra £10K? I know £10K is a lot, but in the grand scheme of things perhaps not so much. Also you have the ongoing additional expense of starlink and 4G back up. Starlink is also ramping up your electricity bill, a hidden cost, adding about £25.00 a month. I would work out how much you are going to pay over 5 years for getting decent connectivity, compared to the costs over 5 years of FTTP, any savings come off that £10K initial outlay, making it more palatable. Also factor in the reduced hassle. FTTP is going to be more reliable than Starlink and 4G, especially over the winter when the weather is bad, and there is no guarantee Starlink will be around in a few years as many wonder on how they can ever turn a profit, then you have China threatening to shoot the satellites down!

Definitely worth talking to your neighbour to see if you can get a small contribution towards it informally, and I would say definitely crunch some numbers. The only negative with all this, is the not knowing, i.e. could you end up getting FTTP from some source next year or the year after for no cost to yourself, so that is the main gamble.
 

Matt.Rowley.1990

Regular Member
Thinking outside of the box... Is it worth considering a conversation with the neighbour who is closest and has the option to order FTTP and then run a fibre back along the verge/hedge/field... There's quite a bit of detail to consider, they would need to run a router that gives you a SFP port, but I would be surprised with some conversations and amenable neighbours and field landowner if turned out to be excessively expensive.
As much as I would love to do this sort of thing myself (relatives live in the same road), I suspect it goes heavily against most ISPs T&Cs.
 

candlerb

Top Member
The only other option I can think of is a leased line. If you're lucky, the costs over 3 years might be comparable to your FTTPoD quote + 3 years FTTP service, but:
1. You'll likely get it installed quicker
2. You'll get a much better service (e.g. 1G/1G symmetric and SLA)
3. You won't have to pay for it up front

However, if native FTTP arrives within 3 years, you could be stuck in contract paying for a leased line you no longer need. Equally, if FTTP doesn't arrive within 3 years, you'll continue paying high monthly leased line costs until it does.
 

dabigm

ULTIMATE Member
Your FTTPoD quote is the same amount as mine was. FTTP exists on a house literally less than 100m across the road but they say they can't do my side of the street (which just magically happens to have G.Fast). OR told me their reasons were that it wasn't part of the same equipment that had been updated, and that yes G.Fast existed there so "most people are OK with that" but it didn't work for me.

So I think you're a bit out of luck i'm afraid. You could wait for an altnet. Is there 5G in your area? Otherwise is starlink an option? or sharing your neighbours wifi if they'll let you.
 

neil_

Member
As much as I would love to do this sort of thing myself (relatives live in the same road), I suspect it goes heavily against most ISPs T&Cs.
If running fibre is going to be challenging, you might look at a point to point wireless link, if there's line of sight. We do that for our neighbours, and they get about 650Mbit across the wireless link, and that is with entry-level UniFi kit.

If sharing a neighbour's connection is a problem (and, as others have said, it is not for all ISPs), you could see if your relative would let you have your own line installed to their house, so separate from their own connection, and then you route that (wirelessly or wired) to your house. That way, no-one is sharing anything, and the subscription is in your name, albeit to someone else's premises.
 

NotPaying10K

Casual Member
Thank you all! Lots of great responses. To answer a few:

It did occur to me to try a line of sight connection; ironically one of the two other houses in our cluster of fibreless properties does block the most direct route, but that's not to say it isn't possible. With line of sight, does that mean literally, as in you can't even have a tree in the way, or is there some scope for obstructions?

Interestingly, I spotted an Openreach engineer outside one of the fibre houses yesterday, and unsurprisingly decided to "make conversation". Sadly he didn't say anything useful other than "yep, that happens sometimes" when I asked him what he thought, but he did say he was putting fibre to the three holiday cottages that the farm there owns. Maybe there's scope for something there, when we get round to introducing ourselves to the farm's owners - maybe they'd be happy somebody was offering to subsidise their investment. It's something to consider anyway!

I am inclined to agree about the future prospects of Starlink. It is almost too good to be true that it exists, and I've seen many US users complain that speeds started out great, but have dropped as more people sign up. And yes, it could well go bankrupt or have satellites shot down! Good point about the electricity costs as well. Today I was needing to upload 300MB files in a hurry for work and it was... not optimal. Took 15-20 minutes which is fine if time isn't critical, but it would have been a couple of minutes, probably less, on our old Virgin line, and seconds on a 900/900 line like my manager has. Fortunately it's not a daily occurrence (or even weekly) to do it in a hurry, but it does happen as evidenced today.

This evening I took a closer look at the poles near our house. I was wrong; a couple of the poles between us and the fibre look to be electricity only. From investigating the cluster of poles outside our property and the neighbouring property, they are indeed all wired together, and two of them have wires going to the ground, so I presume underground work is required. No idea where it goes underground, is there an easy way to find out?

The pole that connects to our house has "DP" on it which I assume means it's a distribution point, so we are indeed a different cluster to the fibre houses a short distance away. Particularly annoying when there's a HUGE length of fibre going about 750m down a track over dozens of poles off their distribution point to a distant property, though for all I know they paid a fortune on top to have it put in so shouldn't be too bitter!

Back to the FTTPoD quote - anyone have any ideas why it wouldn't have qualified for the Near Network reduction? Would needing to dig up the road be one of those reasons? (the statement about "requiring civils" seemed somewhat ambiguous) Can you appeal?

Sadly our nearest Altnets are about 4-5 miles away, where a bunch of them are falling over themselves to compete in a small village..! I don't think they'll be coming out this way.

It is a gamble whether to invest in this, or a leased line, or just tolerate it and hope for the best. I might go do the maths on the leased line and see how it compares. I assume it's impossible to guess when Project Gigabit might help us out, and that there's presumably no way we can flag ourselves up as a property of interest for it to get earlier attention.

Thanks again!!
 

baby_frogmella

Top Member
Sorry for stating the rather obvious OP and I'm not trying to be disrespectful in any way but shouldn't you have done more research before buying the property if broadband speeds were that important? You state you "assumed" you would be getting full fibre or Virgin in future given the close proxmity of these services at other properties but I'm afraid that's no guarantee of getting better connectivity, especially in a rural-ish area (you mentioned farmers/farms).

Moving forward, Starlink is your best bet as I very much doubt a leased line is going to come cheap (<10k) given your rural location - but of course it won't hurt to get non binding quotations. Have a look at linebroker.co.uk though take the online quotations with a pinch of salt, as they can sometimes appear be too good to be true versus actual quotations over the phone. Of course the drastic solution is for you to move again but i guess it all depends on costs involved (versus getting FTTPoD/leased line). Otherwise a crystal ball might come very handy :)
 

Matt_2k34

Casual Member
Have a look at linebroker.co.uk though take the online quotations with a pinch of salt, as they can sometimes appear be too good to be true versus actual quotations over the phone.
To add to that, if TalkTalk Business is listed as "not horrific" they've got 20% off leased lines until 25/7/22. Though I would expect it to be £250/mo for 3 years.... So not cheap.

If connectivity is important to your role it might be worth seeing if your company can do anything. I've worked places before where directors home connections were provisioned by our network and payment would be taken by salary sacrifice.
 

Pheasant

ULTIMATE Member
ECCs may kill it for you on a leased line, in a rural setting. Try a few providers - approaching the big guys directly I’ve found is often worse/more expensive than using a a more niche provider. Take care with linebroker. It’s not a broker at all.

I wouldn’t pin my hopes on Project Gigabit either.

There’s no guarantee that Openreach will infill you any time before 2026 either.

If the connectivity is important I’d consider the FTTPoD quote. It’s not that bad.
 

candlerb

Top Member
Back to the FTTPoD quote - anyone have any ideas why it wouldn't have qualified for the Near Network reduction? Would needing to dig up the road be one of those reasons? (the statement about "requiring civils" seemed somewhat ambiguous) Can you appeal?
A few possibilities: the details are in this article and the linked briefing.

The two most likely reasons are:

1. "Civils" = digging. Orders which require civils work, or where any part of the existing route has cables directly buried in ground, are explicitly excluded from the trial. Basically, you only get the trial pricing if they can pull cables along existing ducts or poles all the way.

2. FTTP topologies are pre-planned. If the splitter which is planned to serve your property has not yet been installed, then to get the (higher) trial pricing you still need to be within 500m of a fibre aggregation node. The locations of those nodes are not published, but it could easily be several km away.

There is no appeal.

This spreadsheet shows FTTPoD confirmed quotes reported by forum readers. There haven't been many for 2021 or 2022, but apart from two who got the trial pricing, £8K+VAT is the baseline these days even for a "simple" install.

(Edit: £600 doesn't buy you much in the way of civils. It might only be ten metres or less)
 

NotPaying10K

Casual Member
Thanks all!

baby_frogmella - We knew the risks when we bought the house, hence having Starlink, and Three broadband both ready to use when we arrived. We can get by with this, just obviously we want better. With the lack of housing supply right now and not wanting to lose our buyer, this was by far the best house we'd seen for several months (and since we put our offer in too) - everything about it is perfect including location except no FTTP. It's rural, but not crazily so - we're only 5K from the nearest Tube station after all. I had hoped we'd qualify for the near network trial but hadn't realised the caveats would be likely to apply.

Speaking of the gotchas - thanks candlerb, it does sound like it was most likely the civils that caused the problems. I can well imagine £600 would not get very far, which makes it surprising it's that low as the wires must be buried for at least a couple of posts worth of distance. And it could well be that we're nowhere near the node as well, no way to know as you say!

We're 1.3km from the exchange as the crow flies - knowing very little about leased lines (having been lucky enough to never had to look into them) does this mean the prices might be reasonable? Obviously I'm aware the distance will be a bit longer as it'll need to go along the road (most direct route on the roads is 1.3 miles)

Both our employers do offer some rebate against Internet - never bothered with it before because it didn't seem worth the hassle of claiming given how little we were paying before, but we'll look into how high they're willing to go! It may make a leased line worth it, especially if we're talking installation in a few months max versus a year for FTTPoD and they'd never subsidise an FTTPoD installation but they would monthly payments.

From looking at a few leased line websites, am I right in my understanding that they'll bring fibre out to you, and the cost of that is usually (subject to excessive construction costs as mentioned by Pheasant) covered by the huge monthly cost and being tied in for several years? Annoyingly most quote "from XXX/month" giving no idea of what that would get you, or how it scales up in price. We'd be wanting 100Mbit as a minimum. I guess we will need to ring round!

And finally - we're not a business - do these companies mind that?
 

Pheasant

ULTIMATE Member
From looking at a few leased line websites, am I right in my understanding that they'll bring fibre out to you, and the cost of that is usually (subject to excessive construction costs as mentioned by Pheasant) covered by the huge monthly cost and being tied in for several years? Annoyingly most quote "from XXX/month" giving no idea of what that would get you, or how it scales up in price. We'd be wanting 100Mbit as a minimum. I guess we will need to ring round!
Yes they do - depending on who provides the physical 'tails' - that is the fibre from the local exchange or operators PoP.

In urban settings existing fibre networks (BT/Openreach, Virgin, SSE, Sky, etc) will have existing fibre in the ground and will have points of access (nodes) from which a circuit could be installed to your premises. Typically the distance from said nodes/ points-of-presence is not terribly large (several hundred meters or less) and is covered by a 'construction fund' usually in the order of around £3K from which the provider will 'swallow' the construction costs in return for a 3 year commitment. Beyond this and you are in the territory of ECCs.

In rural environments, there is not typically any serving fibre nearby and it has to be brought in - and this can be at HUGE cost sometimes; £10K, £50K, £100K, £200K - the sky is the limit.
 

NotPaying10K

Casual Member
Thank you! So given we do have BT Openreach fibre 200m or so away (and 500m in the other direction, including Virgin there as well), the chances of there being any extra constructions costs should be low? We're not down a dirt track or anything - it's a pretty standard house on the side of a well-used through road and only about 20m back from the road at most.
 

Pheasant

ULTIMATE Member
Thank you! So given we do have BT Openreach fibre 200m or so away (and 500m in the other direction, including Virgin there as well), the chances of there being any extra constructions costs should be low? We're not down a dirt track or anything - it's a pretty standard house on the side of a well-used through road and only about 20m back from the road at most.
Openreach: In the past EAD and FTTP (GEA) were separate infrastructures. Now there is some limited scope to use FTTP infrastructure to deliver EAD but not guarantees they will necessarily, as it depends on how the fibre infrastructure further upstream has been architected. Any decent LL provider however will be able to do a desktop search to determine if there are any serving T-nodes that could be utilised for EAD.

Virgin: There may be a virgin fibre node nearby which could be utilised for delivery of leased service.

The only way to find out for certain is to call some providers and get quotes.
 

candlerb

Top Member
And you might be surprised where some other networks go - e.g. COLT's map is here.

Getting quotes via a third-party reseller like Daisy (leasedline.co.uk) means you're more likely to find one of these networks if it happens to be nearby.
 
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