Some of you will know that Walter has proposed a symmetric 1 Gbps (1,000 Mbps) fibre ring through soft dig fields and paths starting with the outliers around Ewhurst, and possibly including others not on the Cranleigh exchange. The concept follows many of the design aspects of the B4RN group in rural Lancashire who are already doing it themselves over a vast and sometimes inhospitable landscape. BROADBAND FOR THE RURAL NORTH
Another similar approach is possible following the Gigaclear model in Appleton (and a similar completed one in Hambleton in Rutland), although Appleton is probably a small denser area in close proximity to non-BT fibre routes. Note that Gigaclear have not yet shown any interest in Ewhurst. GIGACLEAR APPLETON PROJECT
Given that the BT Fibre-To-The-Cabinet (FTTC) systems in Ewhurst have apparently only been installed for a maximum of 100 services each, an alternative solution seems necessary for the outliers, without dependence on the ageing twisted pair infrastructure, much of which is buried without ducts. It follows that significant costs are involved if BT are to install a new Point-To-Point Fibre To The Premises solution. That could also compromise the investment in their current FTTC solution.
The BT FTTC solution (up to 80 Mbps at best) may be adequate initially for the first 100 central area properties on each cabinet. However, indications are that the solution is unsuitable for many of the outliers on poor quality longer lines, since fast FTTC connections depend on having a short and noise free wire from the cabinet. This is made much worse when end users are faced with overwhelming difficulties as illustrated in the article PEASLAKE ROAD FAULTS and this discussion on a similar topic FAILING CABLE REPLACEMENT.
BT has announced that a “fibre on demand” product will be launched next year, but there are no published specifications nor, more importantly, are any costs available yet. Furthermore BT does not appear to have installed a suitable infrastructure within Ewhurst and its environs to carry such services. A true point-to-point Fibre To The Premises service is already developed in Rural Lancashire and Appleton in Oxfordshire as shown above. It has many advantages (see WHY FIBRE TO THE HOME) and provides full business class facilities including symmetric speeds, is more reliable and is far cheaper to run. Thus it could be a significant relief to those suffering under the existing arrangements. However any such project has to overcome local inertia and some short-term Fibre-To-The-Cabinet competition from the current BT offering, at least for those in the central area.
The illustrated map link above shows the numbered stream culverts to provide a soft-dig loop over private land subject to free wayleaves (this being the least cost solution.) Thames Water installations have been illustrated to indicate suitable installation places for the small amount of powered equipment necessary, subject to agreement. “PS” indicates the three pumping stations and “TW” indicates a clean water facility. The red mast symbol is the Lambswood cellular network tower, which is one possible communications link.
It follows that nothing will be started without a strong local commitment, full co-operation from most landowners and say at least 100 firm pledges to use such a system. At that time the preparation of a business case would be the first activity, from which would follow cost estimates. In order to gauge whether there is sufficient interest in starting such a Fibre To The Home/Premises project, please get in touch using our contact form.