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Connected to two Telephone Exchanges?

MrPotatoHead

Casual Member
Good evening,

I wondered if it was possible to be connected to two different exchanges?

I was looking at different ISPs and came across Vispa, which gives details of the exchange the service would be provided from.

for ADSL, it gives Newick, which is my local exchange, but for FTTC it gives Uckfield.

how would this be possible? On searching the internet on the cabinet I am connected to, the following
Gives the location in the middle of a new build estate which has full FTTP and is connected to the uckfield exchange.

I had always believed that the cabinet was located at the Newick exchange due to being on a previously exchange only line.

is it possible it has been moved? Currently Openreach and the large ISPs indicate FTTC is not available which I believe to be due to a full cabinet (waiting list on the BT Wholesale checker)
 

Dassa

Casual Member
Openreach's fibre network (to which both FTTP and FTTC services are connected) has been built separately from the copper network (which serves phone and ADSL) and therefore a specific location might have copper services connected to one exchange and fibre services connected to another.

This is because the fibre network will need significantly fewer exchanges to cover the country. It is likely that the exchange which serves you with phone / ADSL will be closed some time in the next 5-20 years.

Note that whilst both FTTC and FTTP will be served from the same exchange and share the same fibre infrastructure, FTTP doesn't (except in rare cases) pass through the cabinet. The long term plan is that cabinets will mostly disappear.
 

Ajax

Member
Re, the long term plan for cabinets to disappear, I note that in our Pembrokeshire rural build area, the AltNet is locating new cabinets in each district hub.

What equipment is the cabinet likely to contain ?
 

MrPotatoHead

Casual Member
Openreach's fibre network (to which both FTTP and FTTC services are connected) has been built separately from the copper network (which serves phone and ADSL) and therefore a specific location might have copper services connected to one exchange and fibre services connected to another.
This is because the fibre network will need significantly fewer exchanges to cover the country. It is likely that the exchange which serves you with phone / ADSL will be closed some time in the next 5-20 years.

Note that whilst both FTTC and FTTP will be served from the same exchange and share the same fibre infrastructure, FTTP doesn't (except in rare cases) pass through the cabinet. The long term plan is that cabinets will mostly disappear.
Thanks for the reply.

if the BT Wholesale checker states I am connected to cabinet 7 which is part of the Newick exchange (which is FTTC enabled in 2015) how can I also be connected to the uckfield exchange via a housing development built in 2018? As far as I am aware my current FTTC Broadband is coming from the Newick exchange. An Openreach engineer told me (last year) that cabinet 7 was placed just outside Newick exchange (it’s not possible for me to confirm this as it isnt visible from the street.

I have checked the housing development and can’t see any green cabinet.

I am wondering where Vispa and the cabinet lookup website get their information.

if I am connect two different lines exchanges how do I confirm if this is correct? Does this mean I have two different lines going up to my property given that Newick exchange and the housing development are on opposites sides to where I live.
 

vcommsmind

Top Member
Re, the long term plan for cabinets to disappear, I note that in our Pembrokeshire rural build area, the AltNet is locating new cabinets in each district hub.

What equipment is the cabinet likely to contain ?
Depending on what they're installing, it could be where the OLTs are being put. There are various bits of kit to be used for GPON deployment.
 

Dassa

Casual Member
Re, the long term plan for cabinets to disappear, I note that in our Pembrokeshire rural build area, the AltNet is locating new cabinets in each district hub.

What equipment is the cabinet likely to contain ?

Ooops, apologies for the overly sweeping statement. It should have said that Openreach's long term plan is for its cabinets to disappear.

Other network operators will have different approaches for a number of reasons:
  • They have adopted a more "distributed" network architecture with active equipment spread about
  • They don't have (or want the cost of) buildings to put their equipment in.
  • They don't want to put their equipment underground (e.g. Cityfibre has installed a number of small cabinets in a roll out local to me, so far as I can tell they will only contain passive optical equipment, Openreach would put that underground).
Of course, the downside with active equipment in the field is providing power to it. I can see a point in the future when Ofcom realises that various networks are insufficiently resilient to power failure (Openreach's FTTC network is on the cusp of unacceptable for example) and forces their operators to spend money fixing that (I'm talking about the network, not the equipment at customer premises which is a whole different story).
 

Dassa

Casual Member
Hi,

Thanks for the reply.

if the BT Wholesale checker states I am connected to cabinet 7 which is part of the Newick exchange (which is FTTC enabled in 2015) how can I also be connected to the uckfield exchange via a housing development built in 2018? As far as I am aware my current FTTC Broadband is coming from the Newick exchange. An Openreach engineer told me (last year) that cabinet 7 was placed just outside Newick exchange (it’s not possible for me to confirm this as it isnt visible from the street.

The way that FTTC works is that from your house a copper cable will run to a nearby cabinet (presumably cabinet 7 (P7 on Codelook?)) the copper pair will then run from that cabinet to another very close by (usually within 10 metres) which contains the active VDSL equipment. At that point things split, the copper will then run back to the first cabinet and on to the local exchange (Newick) - this is the route that voice calls will take. Data will be carried from the second cabinet over fibre to wherever Openreach feel is appropriate (Uckfield in this case), this may not be the same exchange as voice calls will go to.

Eventually (sometime between 2025 and 2035) the cable from the first cabinet to the exchange (and the exchange itself) will disappear leaving just the FTTC cabinet and the fibre to Uckfield. A little later the copper to your home will be replaced by fibre connected to Uckfield and it will be like the Newick exchange never existed.
I have checked the housing development and can’t see any green cabinet.

I am wondering where Vispa and the cabinet lookup website get their information.

if I am connect two different lines exchanges how do I confirm if this is correct? Does this mean I have two different lines going up to my property given that Newick exchange and the housing development are on opposites sides to where I live.
To give a feel for Openreach's approach, the (potentially out of date) data from Samknows suggests that Newick exchange has around 1800 lines, this is tiny, the building probably looks like a large garden shed - I can't find it on Google Maps to confirm. Uckfield on the other hand is around 7000 lines (still small to be honest) - it makes sense to get rid of thousands of little exchanges in sheds around the country and consolidate in the larger exchanges.

Given the small size of Uckfield and the up to 60km reach of fibre, it wouldn't surprise me if there is more exchange consolidation than Openreach are currently planning and you end up being connected to somewhere like Crawley or Brighton. That might be a long time in the future though...
 

Dassa

Casual Member
PS: Even if the FTTC cabinet you are connected to is physically located in the grounds of Newick exchange, that doesn't mean that the FTTC will be provided from Newick exchange. As noted above, FTTC is provided from larger exchanges - it is likely that the fibre will run directly from Uckfield exchange to the grounds of the Newick exchange for FTTC cabinets located there but the fibre won't actually go into the Newick exchange.

The fibre network is separate to the copper and will have been installed with an eye to what happens when the smaller exchanges are closed.
 

MrPotatoHead

Casual Member
PS: Even if the FTTC cabinet you are connected to is physically located in the grounds of Newick exchange, that doesn't mean that the FTTC will be provided from Newick exchange. As noted above, FTTC is provided from larger exchanges - it is likely that the fibre will run directly from Uckfield exchange to the grounds of the Newick exchange for FTTC cabinets located there but the fibre won't actually go into the Newick exchange.

The fibre network is separate to the copper and will have been installed with an eye to what happens when the smaller exchanges are closed.
Thanks for the reply, starting to make a bit more sense to me!

FYI - the exchange is not really visible on google maps or in person on the road as it has had residential properties built up around it over the years, so it looks like an outbuilding as part of one of the properties. I don’t think there is even road access any more just a path somewhere, but haven’t ventured beyond on the road in case I end up in someone’s garden!
 

Dassa

Casual Member
PPS: I think I've found Newick exchange, basically in the back garden of number 11 just to the East of the green. A reasonably large building but I should imagine its owners (not BT, they sold most of their land and lease it back now) are looking forward to the time when they can sell it (and I suspect they probably own number 11 in front of it as well) to a property developer who will have no problem putting a multi-million pound house on the plot...
 

MrPotatoHead

Casual Member
PPS: I think I've found Newick exchange, basically in the back garden of number 11 just to the East of the green. A reasonably large building but I should imagine its owners (not BT, they sold most of their land and lease it back now) are looking forward to the time when they can sell it (and I suspect they probably own number 11 in front of it as well) to a property developer who will have no problem putting a multi-million pound house on the plot...
Funny you should mention that, as the land next to the exchange is already subject to a housing development planning application!
 
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