FTTP On Demand Pricing

Openreach have now confirmed the rumoured price indication of £1,500 for an average “FTTP on demand” connection. This example includes £1,000 contribution towards the cost of running fibre optic cable for 500m, plus the £500 fixed installation fee. Once connected, stable download speeds of 40 Mbps, 80 Mbps, 110 Mbps, 220 Mbps and 330 Mbps should be available. At the lower end, monthly fees should be comparable to FTTC services, rising to perhaps around £80 per month for the fastest service (330 Mbps downstream and 30 Mbps upstream). This is how BT announced the price indication:

FTTP on Demand offers downstream speeds of 330Mbit/s and upstream speeds of 30Mbit/s, and will be available to premises served by GEA-FTTC enabled cabinets for the first time – not just from those exchanges that currently offer FTTP. FTTP on Demand is expected to be of most interest to small and medium sized businesses who may wish to take advantage of the faster speeds on offer. As Openreach has previously indicated, CPs will be charged a distance based construction charge for FTTP on Demand due to the extra work involved in providing a direct fibre connection. These charges are currently being finalised and will be released closer to the launch date. They will be based on a series of price bands relating to the distance between the premise and the NGA Aggregation Node. Premises are on average around 500m away from an NGA Aggregation Node and will incur a charge of around a £1,000. Those that are closer will face a lesser charge and those further away a higher one. This is in addition to an installation fee of £500 for the service.

The full text of the briefing can be found here, and more in depth interpretation by ThinkBroadband here. Openreach hope to launch the product soon after the phase 2 pilot ends in April 2013. Residential customers currently able to get “superfast” speeds on FTTC services are unlikely to be interested at those prices. But those more than 1km from their FTTC cabinet, who can afford the 4 figure costs, may finally be able to get the fast and reliable broadband connection they want, especially if working from home.

Meanwhile, all Surrey County Council (SCC) contacts have failed to respond to my request for details of what their contract with BT will deliver for those of us unable to get “superfast” speeds (e.g. 24Mbps) from BT’s FTTC services. All we have been told by SCC is that “nearly 100%” of premises will be connected to a FTTC enabled cabinet, and that they will investigate solutions for the few exceptions. This completely fails to address the large numbers who will have so called “fibre” services available, but are too far from their cabinet for this to be of much benefit. Will we eventually be told that we must each pay thousands for “FTTP on demand”, or be left behind?


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6 Responses to FTTP On Demand Pricing

  1. Walter says:

    Perhaps we now see the reason for putting the fibre distribution node near Sayer’s Croft. With the exception of the few properties down towards Slythehurst, all others with dire connection speeds will be significantly in excess of 500 m. There is also the small matter of ducting significant route-lengths currently directly buried as well as those on long overhead lines. As for the hapless Barhatch Lane etc. residents, their distribution node is opposite the Cranleigh show ground on Bookhurst Road.

  2. James says:

    So, how will the ‘distance’ charges be calculated if a few neighbours living close together each order a FTTP service? Will the £1k per 500m be shared between them, or would they each be expected to pay the full fee? It would seem logical for the costs to be shared, as only one duct will need to be installed along the route. Is this how it would work?

  3. David Nye says:

    According to the ThinkBroadband article at the link included above, “The pricing is such that it only pays a fraction of the costs of any one property connecting, so for the first property connecting in a cluster of a dozen properties, Openreach will be spending well in excess of these sums of money, with subsequent demand eventually paying off the balance of this initial construction cost. The result of this, is that even if you are the second or third property on a fibre manifold, you will still be paying the same sort of price. We will enquire as to whether there are possible bulk discounts if a cluster of properties sign-up at the same time.”

    Also, it seems to me to be unclear whether the distance related fee will be as simple as £1k per 500m. We may have to wait for product launch to get the exact pricing for CPs, and we may then have to wait for the CPs to figure out how to pass these costs on to customers.

  4. David Nye says:

    Here is a slightly more technical statement on FTTP from BT:

    “When we install a ‘head-end’ in an exchange, we use an FTTX head-end, which can support both FTTC and FTTP. In the majority of cases the bulk of the network deployment will be FTTC, as this allows greater numbers of people to receive fibre speeds and is therefore generally the most economically viable. However, we would expect that more exchange areas will see a mix of the two technologies being used over the coming couple of years, as we start to roll out FTTP solutions to MDUs [multiple domicile units] (apartment blocks) and then, from next year, to individual premises who request it via FTTP on Demand.”

    Read the full article on theregister.co.uk

  5. David Cooper says:

    At an Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) presentation last week at Surrey University an “honest” engineer (Simon Fisher) from BT Openreach research explained the fibre technology.

    The key things from the talk were:

    · NGA deployment has been built by Openreach mainly to accommodate their communication provider customers (Sky, Talk Talk and BT retail etc) whose priority is to deliver video (TV) – there was no emphasis during the talk on upload speeds or business requirements.

    · The deployment of Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) and Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) has pushed ahead of completed trials, using non-proven equipment and processes – urgency came from the commercial requirement driven by the BT Board and CExec.

    · Fibre to the Pole still under development (and an impression given that it was in difficulties).

    · BT plan long term to drastically reduce the number of exchanges, but this needs to be done with high collaboration of the Openreach customers, who have heavily invested in the existing exchanges.

    In an answer to a question, “How does Fibre on Demand work” the initial answer was the fluffy one about anyone on a FTTC (and Simon confusingly said even anyone not on a FTTC service) being able to “ring up” and ask for a full FTTP service. When pushed with, “where does the fibre from the premises connect to”, the answer was to the head-end, which we think is in the exchange, but certainly nowhere near the local cabinet. Others in the audience had by now concluded that with such long fibre distances the price for “Fibre on Demand” would be similar to the BT Ethernet product. Simon did not disagree, but said the aim was to make it cheaper. From this we may conclude that we have yet another example where the BT marketing has led the engineering with as yet no announced technical / commercial solution. Simon concluded this rather muddled answer saying said that the Fibre on Demand product would be launched this year in the south, and next year in the north.

  6. Walter says:

    Here are some informed guesses as to what fibre-on-demand might involve for Ewhurst’s existing inadequate fibre backbone delivery solution.

    The fibre cable from the Cranleigh Exchange has at least two intermediate distribution nodes at Nuthurst Avenue and Bookhurst Hill in Cranleigh before being terminated in the joint pit near Sayers Croft entrance. The cable purports to have 240 bundles of 12 or possibly 14 individual fibres. The cable is marked:-


    The intermediate nodes in Cranleigh will consume some of the fibre bundles so the whole compliment will not be available in Ewhurst. If the Swallowfield development is to be installed with FTTH then a substantial number of fibres will be required there.

    From the Sayers Croft Ewhurst distribution node termination a smaller cable consisting of seven micro-tubes is routed to cabinet 19. Three of these tubes already contain fibre bundles of 4 fibres each which supply the existing FTTC equipment. All fibres are connected in a small box within the FTTC to the final jumpers in the electronics rack so none are available for use elsewhere. The FTTC is quite unsuitable as a major fibre distribution node. There is also insufficient space and power distribution for new fibre routers. In any case the fibres would then have to be routed back to the nearest joint pit with a fibre tube joint, assuming there is sufficient room left in the single duct. That duct should also be destined to have two 100 pr and two 50 pr copper cables added to increase the VDSL service capacity to 250 which is probably an impossibility in any case.

    The remaining four micro tubes at Sayers croft are available for further bundles which perhaps might contain 12 fibres each. However the 7 tube cable becomes a four micro-tube cable after cabinet 19 thus providing only two tubes, one of them empty, each for cabinets 18 and 20.

    It seems clear that if an entirely new “fibre on demand” service is to be provided it requires a major expansion of the infrastructure but there are places with insufficient ducts some of which are partially blocked. In the case of PCP 18 the existing duct was used for the 2 * 100 pr tie cables, the telemetry cable and the fibre cable. It took at least two visits to get the tiny telemetry cable into the duct, possibly damaging other cables in the process.

    Further down the distribution route from cabinet 18 all the cables are buried directly in the ground so very long new duct runs would be required in any case. Given that “Fibre on Demand” will be at significant extra cost I guess that there might be around a dozen properties interested so the economic case for major duct installation down Horsham and Somersbury Lanes must be very weak indeed. Is this perhaps another case of the marketing department being in blissful ignorance of the actual infrastructure yet again ?

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