Ewhurst-Cranleigh Fibre Optic Link

The fibre optic link between Cranleigh and Ewhurst was apparently completed by 4th October 2012. The first Ewhurst FTTC cabinet, PCP 19, was activated on 12th October 2012.

Walter’s photo, at Canfold Cottages, illustrates blowing the fibre bundle between Sayers Croft and the Show Ground. He reports that Sayers Croft was blown direct off the cable drum, but then the Show Ground bundle had to be off-spooled to avoid an additional fibre joint.

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14 Responses to Ewhurst-Cranleigh Fibre Optic Link

  1. PhilT says:

    2880 fibres ? Wow. I thought an FTTC cab used 12 ? (6 * 1GB)

  2. Walter says:

    This is the one part of the Ewhurst implementation that is satisfactory, except that the major termination node is near Sayers Croft. What a pity BT could not have completed the job properly with more fibre bundles close to both the other two cabinets. It’s also unfortunate that the former blocked ducts where they damaged the existing cables near the garage are at capacity.

    Each FTTC contains only a quad core fibre tube with, I believe, only one fibre bundle of unknown (to me) size. There are four fibre microtube jumpers fitted to the white termination box and I believe the ECI DSLAM card contains 8 fibre ports.

  3. David Nye says:

    Phil’s comment above refers to Walter’s estimate of work required on fibre joints, as follows:

    “It is just possible that the sub-duct and the fibre bundle could be installed in one long day. At least another day is required for two fibre splicers to connect some of the 240 x 12 fibres at both ends. If most of the fibres are to be spliced, then two days at each joint would probably be required to make two splices for each of the 2,880 fibres. This figure can be reduced somewhat, because three sub-bundles are already connected to local Cranleigh FTTCs, and Ewhurst would only need 3 sub-bundles to be connected, at minimum.”

    Since we have no way of knowing how BT plan to allocate the resources required, or exactly what has already been completed, I have moved this estimate from the main article so that it can be read in context.

  4. Walter says:

    I agree that we have little or no influence over BT’s work plans but it does seem that some elements within the BT group are keen to have some services for a maximum of 100 users available at each of the three cabinets. It is still possible that all three cabinets could be completed in October. (There is uncertainty over cabinet 6 still and nothing appears to be under way at present.)

    Following that there has to be an individual installation time. Some installations will proceed without a hitch and others make take some time to resolve if there are difficulties with the line quality, particularly for those on longer lines from each cabinet to the houses. Given that the BT Wholesale checker has effectively condemned some sections of cable, not everybody will be able to obtain a VDSL service, just as a small number now can’t obtain an adequate ADSL service and a very small number have no service at all.

    Any that currently obtain the words in the next paragraph from the BT Wholesale checker are probably excluded from current installation plans, as are some with speed estimates just above 100 Kbps. All with estimates over 15 Mbps should be able to get a VDSL service.

    “Your cabinet is planned to have WBC FTTC by 30th September 2012. Our test also indicates that your line currently supports a fibre technology with an estimated WBC FTTC Broadband where consumers have received downstream line speed of 100Kbps and upstream line speed of 100Kbps.”

  5. Walter says:

    We are pleased to report a little more progress in Bookhurst Road with another short section of ducting being installed today. It’s also encouraging to see that a Wanborough Lane road crossing is planned presumably very shortly now. The photographs in the following links show white spray paint indicating a possible route, hopefully avoiding other utilities.

  6. Walter says:

    Most of the works, including the Wanborough Lane road crossing seem to have been completed by Saturday. It remains to be seen if there is to be a crossing at Parkhouse Green which, in all probability, is the final section required before the sub duct is pulled in and fibre bundle blown allowing the fibre links to be completed.

  7. Walter says:

    There is generally more fairly good news, despite BT and their contractors seemingly ignoring the Highways Authority notifications procedures. The final expected road crossing at Parkhouse Green is underway today. See a photo at:

    The bad news here is that the contractors were not aware of a gas service pipe so it’s fortunate that their digger didn’t create a spark at that time. The slightly better news is that this isn’t the first time, so they were equipped with a temporary pipe clamp. As it was only a small service pipe it is hoped the delays won’t be too severe. See a photo at:

    The remainder of the work in Bookhurst Road is nearing completion too with just three short lengths of duct required to enter the two joint pits which have all been core-drilled. Following the hiatus, it seems that the trucks with the subduct and fibre bundle should arrive quite soon now.

  8. Walter says:

    Also today there should be no great cause for alarm & despondency. Even though the BT Wholesale checker now announces all Ewhurst RFS dates have been postponed to 31st December as shown for one of the unfortunate outliers in the final paragraph below. (This estimate is actually below the normal lowest limit most ISPs will accept.)

    However experience elsewhere suggests that the first sentence is removed as soon as a cabinet is fully tested and commissioned. This is often a few days after the final installation task is complete, including the fibre link to the exchange. Our best guess is still early October for cabinet 19 and slightly later in October for cabinets 18 and 20.

    “Your cabinet is planned to have WBC FTTC by 31st December 2012. Our test also indicates that your line currently supports a fibre technology with an estimated WBC FTTC Broadband where consumers have received downstream line speed of 4.6Mbps and upstream line speed of 900Kbps.”

  9. Walter says:

    The gas main rupture has only caused a half day delay, as the second half of the road crossing was well underway this morning as shown in the picture below.
    N.B. you will see cabinet 6 in the background which is not included in the current works. The joint chamber for the fibre run just happens to be in front it. Cabinet 6 is still in limbo as far as we know. Even if it were provided with a FTTC, none of the houses I’ve tried above the stream in Barhatch Lane can obtain a VDSL service, as confirmed by the BT Wholesale checker. I suspect that BT have condemned the direct-bury cable as the speed estimates are all 100 Kbps up and down which is well below the still poor speeds obtained now.

  10. Walter says:

    The cabinet 6 FTTC might be back for an installation starting on 5 October according to the SCC Highways notifications web site. Extracts are shown below:-

    Description:Install 8m of 1 way poly duct in Verge

    Location:BARHATCH ROAD
    Description:Install 5m of 1 way poly duct in Verge,Provide 1 Cabinet and base (NGA cabinets)

  11. Walter says:

    We note the final sections of sub duct and fibre bundle are now installed in Cranleigh but we have yet to see the fibre splicers at work. Given the electricity supplies to the two remaining cabinets should be completed by 5th October a minimum of 64 VDSL services should be available at each cabinet.

    However only a maximum of 100 services can be provided without significant additional engineering. E.g. if the maximum possible of 256 services were required at the Bulls Head, yet more roadworks to install another duct and additional IDC connectors would be necessary in the cabinet to support two pairs of 100 and 50 pr cables. That still leaves 88 subscribers and about 250 lines out, assuming all the cables can be replaced everywhere and that all will eventually require the faster VDSL services.

    This will not be an immediate difficulty but could well become so if the 12 year pay-back period is correct. Perhaps reality will dawn before then with full-speed symmetric noise-free fibre services installed everywhere, especially if we can organise another provider to compete.

    See Peter Cochrane’s presentation on “Why Fibre To The Home?” at:

  12. Walter says:

    Today, Mon 1st October, there has been much activity. What we expect to be the final main fibre splice was underway in Bookhurst Road near the show ground. The two sections of quad tube near the school were being connected. Meanwhile BT were preparing to blow more fibre from the distribution node near Sayers croft to the remaining cabinets. It seems like a race to the final operation either from BT or UK Power Networks who have yet to appear.

  13. Walter says:

    Wednesday 3 October saw the last fibre bundle from the FTTC cabinet 20 near the Bulls head blown to the distribution node at Sayers Croft. This was not as straight forward as it should have been as the air compressor was too small for the length of 1,300 m especially as the tube seemed not to run as freely as it should. The fibre gradually slowed down from around 30 m per minute to around 11 m per minute before I left with under 500 m of fibre blown. A more powerful compressor was ordered from Bracknell and it was expected to arrive in about 90 minutes. I was a little amused by the comment on the very poor mobile signal. The Bulls Head engineer had to text his colleague at Sayers Croft to phone from there !

    Matters were even more complicated by UK Power Networks installing the power to the cabinet at exactly the same time after it was brought forward at BT’s request. As they were working over the entire pavement, four way lights were put in place.

    It is still not possible to order any VDSL services yet, but I hope we would not have to wait more than say another couple of weeks.

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