Fast broadband in Rural Yorkshire (FAIL)

Discussion in 'Broadband' started by Martin Brown, Mar 24, 2015.

  1. Martin Brown

    Martin Brown Guest

    Latest news on North Yorkshires rural broadband initiative is not at all
    promising. Basically they conclude it can't be done!

    One village has been successfully put on FTTRN but it isn't cost
    effective. Worse still they have contrived to install FTTC in another
    village so that those closest to the exchange do not get it!

    Not surprisingly they are more than a bit upset after having OpenReach
    vans parked outside the exchange for ages. The hardware cost per cabinet
    £30-40k seems a bit high. Are they really *that* expensive before
    installation or is someone playing fast and loose with the figures?

    The recent story about Askrigg's woes is online here:


    The other about the FTTRN being uneconomic appears to have been censored
    online although it appeared immediately under this one in the print
    edition. Only the positive spin one from Feb 20th remains online:


    The missing one was titled "Plans for high-speed broadband is (sic)
    unlikely to materialise due to rising costs in rural regions".

    The problem seems to be that the cost per premises installed has risen
    sharply from £150 each to £750 and is set to reach £1500. Basically they
    are set to abandon the dales completely and expect the residents to be
    glad if they get any kind of service however bad. Plenty don't even get
    the official (and uselessly low) basic 2Mbps ADSL.

    They won't contemplate wireless (microwave) internet because apparently
    it doesn't meet some EU standard or other (presumably to qualify for a
    grant). The problem is in remote areas only line of sight wireless or
    existing 3G services stand any chance at all of being cost effective.
    Martin Brown, Mar 24, 2015
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  2. Martin Brown

    Richard_CC Guest

    I suppose its a good time to write to every candidate for the next
    parliamentary election (and local elections if you have them this year),
    asking them if they unequivocally support fast broadband where you live,
    but I wouldn't expect a very positive response unless you have the
    luxury of living in a marginal constituency where a few votes matter.
    Richard_CC, Mar 24, 2015
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  3. They will undoubtedly 'support' it. But if BT don't want to do it, they're
    limited in what they can do (hitting BT with a big stick being a somewhat
    blunt instrument).

    It appears the FTTRN problem is one of power supply:
    sections 4.6-4.8

    It would seem to me that power isn't an impossible nut to crack - there are
    power feed solutions out there, it just depends on finding one at acceptable
    cost. For instance:

    Driving up the volume and integrating these with the RN will drive down the
    costs further.

    Theo Markettos, Mar 24, 2015
  4. Martin Brown

    NY Guest

    This aspect of FTTC - that people close to the exchange don't go via a
    cabinet and therefore don't get FTTC - is one hell of a cock-up. Why can't
    they install the same equipment at the exchange as they do in all the remote
    cabinets and make the exchange into a "virtual cabinet" for the purposes of
    FTTC. "Too close to the exchange" sounds an incredibly lame excuse when it's
    normally being too far away that is the problem.

    It needs an organisation that is independent of BT to impose the "virtual
    cabinet at the exchange" solution on them if they won't do it themselves.
    After all, they have the monopoly on the hardware/wiring for most people,
    irrespective of which ISP customers use, so normal rules of competition
    driving the spread of technology don't apply.
    NY, Mar 24, 2015
  5. Martin Brown

    Rodney Pont Guest

    As I understand it crosstalk is the problem with too many cables coming
    out of the exchange in a bunch. With the cabinets it's only a couple of
    hundred but an exchange will have several times as many and that really
    limits the speed. If you are limited to ADSL speeds there is no point
    in putting VDSL(fibre) in.

    Our small exchange has room outside for a couple of cabinets and that's
    what they have done so some of those who were in the exchange can now
    have fibre.
    Rodney Pont, Mar 24, 2015
  6. Martin Brown

    Graham J Guest

    I've been told of "green cabinets" being bolted on the outsides of
    exchange buildings ...!!!!
    Graham J, Mar 24, 2015
  7. Martin Brown

    Martin Brown Guest

    That sort of makes sense on large scale town exchanges but in rural
    North Yorkshire the whole exchange is likely to have a total line
    capacity that is equivalent to at most three to five cabinets worth.

    A lot of the oldest rural lines are exchange only with all the
    electrical properties of decayed wet string. The really unlucky ones
    have a section of badly decayed aluminium somewhere in the path.

    Taking NEEHL as a typical example it serves under 600 premises all up.

    I could find you even smaller exchanges like Goathland for 260.
    (for fans of Heartbeat)

    Or Jervaulx at just over 200
    Where they have enabled FTTC they do seem to have installed a new
    powered cabinet on the street. One local village got nothing because
    there was no mains anywhere near their existing one. Another quirky
    feature is that the guy who lives opposite our local cabinet cannot have
    a fibre service because "he is on the wrong side of the road".

    Another place they bust a gut to FTTC them and chop the legs off a local
    entrepreneur with a microwave based rival internet service.
    Round here they seem to put them at the roadside generally very close to
    somewhere that they can tap into for a mains supply.
    Martin Brown, Mar 24, 2015
  8. For places where FTTRN might be an option, are there usually spare pairs
    that might be used to route power? The solution I pointed to upthread
    delivers a few hundred watts using spare pairs at 175V. Something else that
    could be done is to terminate DSL at the remote node, then DACS the voice
    service back to the exchange on fewer pairs, which would leave spare pairs
    for power.
    This happened during early ADSL rollout too. OTOH I can see the reason why
    'state aid' is only available for >25Mbps service - it's possible to hack up
    a service that roughly works, at 3Mbps or whatever. But that's not a long
    term solution.

    Theo Markettos, Mar 24, 2015
  9. Martin Brown

    Andy Burns Guest

    Solved round here by installing a fibre cab about 100m away from the

    OTOH the people close to the exchange will have benefited from >20Mb
    speeds for several years, let them go to back of the queue for a bit
    while the poor sods struggling with <2Mb see some improvement.
    Andy Burns, Mar 24, 2015
  10. Martin Brown

    Andy Burns Guest

    Andy Burns, Mar 24, 2015
  11. Martin Brown

    NY Guest

    20 Mb/sec even over ADSL? I thought the maximum was 8 Mb/sec, with either
    448 Kb/sec or 900-odd Kb/sec upload depending on ages of exchange. Or does
    ADSL 2 give you faster speeds? Both houses where I've lived since having
    broadband have only had "ADSL 1" at the exchange so I wouldn't know.

    With the increased use of cloud storage which requires data to be
    *up*loaded, something that ADSL wasn't designed for, the biggest improvement
    with FTTC/VDSL is fast uploads for cloud, FTP or sending large emails.
    NY, Mar 24, 2015
  12. :)

    I note they also have solutions where the DSLAM is powered from the
    customer's end over their copper pair - makes sense since the distribution
    point is probably nearer to the customer than the exchange.
    (this seems to envisage 'basement' installations, but 'pole' installations
    aren't much different except for environmental conditions)

    Theo Markettos, Mar 24, 2015
  13. Martin Brown

    Andy Burns Guest

    yes, ADSL2+ gives max. 24Mbps at close range, with annexe M (for
    providers that support it) allowing up to 3.3Mbps upload, at the expense
    of some download speed, but I've never seen it go faster than 2Mbps up.
    Andy Burns, Mar 24, 2015
  14. Martin Brown

    Martin Brown Guest

    Not a chance. They have been DACSing grannies since forever round here.

    They typically break an existing ADSL connection for every two new ones
    they install. In theory FTTC should help but in practice disturbing the
    old connections has resulted in major service outages (mine included).

    It got so bad a couple of years back that they had to bus engineers in
    from Lancashire for a couple of weeks to try and sort out the mess after
    large chunks of the village had outages that incurred penalties.
    Everything that can be DACS'd already has been. They have been on
    borrowed time for nearly two decades. Real copper was already an issue
    where I live back in 1996. Prehistoric post about "new" DACS is here:!s...own$2056k/uk.telecom/9kThSLquLBY/r5J86WyrUR8J

    The clueless muppets in BT sales tried to install my Redcare service on
    a DACSd line - that was how I first found out about this problem.
    A solution that works anywhere at 4-5Mbps (ie one HD video channel on
    demand would be OK for most ordinary users) anything less is pointless.
    A universal service of 2Mbps is not enough in this digital era.

    The way things are going city dwellers will be able to stream 20
    channels of HD video simultaneously whilst some unlucky rural users will
    be lucky to stream even a single radio channel without stalling.

    Some in a neighbouring village would be better off with bonded ISDN than
    with the pathetic unreliable sync rate they get on ADSL. My own domestic
    wired connection is slower than my 3G Three Mifi (but 3G data charges
    sting a bit) and I am lucky to be on top of a hill.

    Only Three has a 3G signal in my region, EE has a 2.5G and O2 nada.

    Subsidising the 3G network to cover ribbon developments would make a lot
    more sense than giving BT pots of money to shaft its competitors.
    Martin Brown, Mar 24, 2015
  15. Martin Brown

    Rodney Pont Guest

    We only had ADSL MAX (8meg) on our exchange before the FTTC arrived.
    The FTTC missed me as it went down the road and I would be extremely
    happy with ADSL2+ since I do get the full 8meg with ADSL MAX.
    Personally 8meg is fine and I wouldn't pay extra for more speed but
    neither would I complain if ADSL2+ came :)
    Rodney Pont, Mar 24, 2015
  16. Martin Brown

    Andy Burns Guest

    Does that power delivery system require spare pairs dedicated to power
    delivery? Any reason it couldn't provide phantom power *between* pairs?
    Andy Burns, Mar 25, 2015
  17. Martin Brown

    Andy Burns Guest

    Presumably party lines can be ignored at this point?
    Andy Burns, Mar 25, 2015
  18. Martin Brown

    Andy Burns Guest

    I do remember seeing power over fibre systems, but the available power
    was quite paltry, only a handful of watts IIRC.
    Andy Burns, Mar 25, 2015
  19. Martin Brown

    Martin Brown Guest

    I think there is a technology mentioned in the thread above that does
    phantom power down the copper wire but at the distances involved and
    with the ropey state of the insulation on rural conductors I would not
    want to be an OpenReach engineer if they were actually adopted!

    Life expectancy of engineers in a wet trench with the sorts of voltages
    mentioned by the proponents of phantom powered FTTRN will be very short.

    The crazy thing seems to be that they don't have a right sized PSU for a
    single FTTRN node and have to fit an over specified full cabinet PSU!

    My instinct was that the killer would be running a fibre to each remote
    node but apparently the PSU hardware costs are allegedly the problem.
    Martin Brown, Mar 25, 2015
  20. FTTC_Remote_Power_Feeding_Aethra_Telecommunications.pdf

    The problem isn't the availability of power, the problem is that these
    cabinets run off of unmetered supplies and the cabinet is billed by the
    power company according to the size of the PSU.

    Whether the cabinet is supplying 20 or 200 premises, it uses the same
    size PSU, and so has the same power bill from the electric company.

    The cost of power supplied to the cabinet is usually offset by the
    revenue generated by providing services from the cabinet. However, in
    this case the cost of power per revenue earning line is effectively 10
    times the cost at most other locations, because of the low number of
    premises served by the cabinet.
    Denis McMahon, Mar 25, 2015
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