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Thread: UK full fibre grows but it remains third from bottom in Europe

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    Re: UK full fibre grows but it remains third from bottom in Europe

    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    The copper and aluminium cabling actually startes deteriorating over time and was made for phone audio not internet. It is very thin,and some can be closing on 70 years old. During the 60s and 70s due to cost cutting many places used even worse aluminium cabling. The main issue is that our internet infrastructure is pigging backing onto telephone lines never made for it. So whether you like it or not,at some point 1000s of miles of phonelines and junction boxes will need to be replaced and that alone will cost billions of pounds,unlees you want large sections of the country to have no functional phone lines,let alone internet in another 10~20 years.
    Hence why the copper network is beginning a phased retirement now. It starts with POTS and E-side copper, leaving D side and street cabinet DSLAMs for VDSL. That frees up exchange space and removes the maintenance requirement for the aging copper network. Phone services are being switched to VoIP services operating through the modem, and this is true of both Openreach and Virgin now.

    Where extensive works were necessary to repair the copper network, it makes financial sense to just bring forward the fibre rollout for that area, as there will be no need for any copper in the network going forward.

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    Re: UK full fibre grows but it remains third from bottom in Europe

    Quote Originally Posted by watercooled View Post
    Hence why the copper network is beginning a phased retirement now. It starts with POTS and E-side copper, leaving D side and street cabinet DSLAMs for VDSL. That frees up exchange space and removes the maintenance requirement for the aging copper network. Phone services are being switched to VoIP services operating through the modem, and this is true of both Openreach and Virgin now.

    Where extensive works were necessary to repair the copper network, it makes financial sense to just bring forward the fibre rollout for that area, as there will be no need for any copper in the network going forward.
    Copper if you are lucky! Aluminium in some parts of our local area,because of the cost cutting in the 1960s/1970s and old cabling being not properly mapped. So you had workmen doing council mandated works,cutting through some of the old underground stuff which should have been put out to pasture already. Its not like this area is really that rural or uninhabited either!

    The issue is the cost of replacing all of it,which means only big population areas are going to really be deemed for investment. Even in our area,Openreach managed to get fibre to cabinet only sort of working reliably in 2015~2018 but the local junction boxes and phone cabling handling the last leg was the problem for us. One look in the junction box and you can see why. Its one of the biggest issues we seem to have locally and you can sometimes see a few Openreach engineers huddled around the junction box,as no doubt there have been callouts from difference people to fix a connection problem.

    It was surreal my phone was faster and more reliable than my home internet connection. For example when I did my GTX1080 review,I actually uploaded the videos to YouTube using my phone as a tethered internet connection.

    I think my main issue with concentrating just on high speed is that its going to make it too expensive to recable lower population,further flung areas.

    The issue is once you start going outside the major population areas - I really am not sure how long it is going to take especially with the need to dig up trunk cables which could be decades old,and maybe not even properly mapped due to age. I do think the government needs to think of other ways of doing things. Concentrate on higher speeds and more capacity to highly populated areas,whilst using a mix of technologies to other areas. If not by the time they have done the larger areas,it could be another decade before they attempt to target the rest of the country.

    As much as people don't like the idea of wireless networks,I think they certainly make sense for some of the more detached,lower population density areas of the country,especially if the nodes can be self powered. They won't be as fast,but then if these places are stuck on dial up,or a 2MB connection,a faster wireless connection is still a giant upgrade.
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 14-05-2021 at 07:14 PM.

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    Re: UK full fibre grows but it remains third from bottom in Europe

    Yes I broadly agree with what you are saying - but again wireless IS NOT a replacement for wired for many reasons in this country. Almost impossible to guarantee a speed which means it's a nightmare, shared access which means that as said above if everyone in an area jumps on the speeds and reliability would be terrible. Can we not all remember the days of NYE and the networks going down so texts would be delayed by hours. Also if you are a streamer or a gamer the latency jumps around all over the place, again with no way of really regulating it.

    Reports like this don't show the true scale of what it's like. I have been doing livestreams for people (music livestreams) and the sheer amount of people who say I have excellent internet and when I check the stream quality it is extremely poor is around 70%, from anywhere. This includes Scandanavian countries with 1 gig FTTP where the latency is huge and the jitter makes livestreams glitchy. Or they have great speed but also great packet loss, again making a livestream all glitchy (I won't bore you with the livestreaming debacle where most are transmitted via a protocol that hasn't been updated since 2012 and was out of date before it was actually brought into use)
    Germany is down near us. Most of the German artists I speak to have poor internet because their infrastructure is poor like ours. Poor doesn't mean useless, just poor from a livestreaming point because it's new (!) and the providers don't plan for that kind of useage

    We're not a capitalist society and the govt step in? Of course they do, but of course some places still miss out... if they cannot make the figures work even govt help isn't always applicable!

    Yes the infrastructure is poor. Bit like owning an EV isn't it - we cannot have a charger in our flat, the car park is 50m away and the nearest charger is a mile away. No point in having an EV as it stands - and yes I understand people still have that sort of issue with broadband.
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    Re: UK full fibre grows but it remains third from bottom in Europe

    I seriously doubt if you are already only getting dial up or 1MB/2MB speeds you will be playing games on it or watching 8K videos? Even a 20MB wireless connection will be leagues ahead and it will work fine for this country as even in Asia,ME,etc wireless internet connections are pretty much the only way many get internet. But its not like wireless networks can't provide higher speeds if required.

    The fact is most people in the world(especially the younger generations) are using phones and tablets as their primary internet devices and most of them are powered by wireless connections outside the home.Most of these involve media usage. The biggest and most profitable platform for gaming are smartphones,not desktop PCs or even consoles. Most of these people are playing these games on the go. Good wired connections mean diddly squat if the wireless infrastructure is useless. The future for most consumer internet usage is shifting to wireless technologies because PC usage habits generally are favouring mobile devices now.

    The issue is that it will take yonks to replace a 100 years of telephone cabling to most of the country. Its no point saying you can get 1000MB/S with a wired connection if it takes 10 years or more,for every part of the UK to get the cable rewired:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-56543069
    https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.ph...nd-delays.html
    https://www.fwi.co.uk/news/rural-are...years-mps-warn

    Even the government is dragging its feet on the whole issue most likely being the issue. Its gotten to the extent some rural communities had to crowd fund their own fibre lines to even get proper internet! They even had to use volunteers to dig the trenches,etc. This is how bad it is in many parts of the country.

    People are worrying whether they can watch 8K movies,and download 200GB games - how many of these connections are good enough even to watch YT? I can't even get 100MB/S and this is not even some remote area. So how do people expect far flung areas to get higher speeds if even the population dense areas,which are reasonably wealthy haven't even got that far in 2021?? We won't get fibre to home for a few years still.

    I think people are not realising how much of an effort this is going to take. Its not just the trunk cables,but the exchanges which need to be rebuilt. Then the infrastructure from the exchanges right to the local boxes,and then from the local boxes to the house. It progressively gets worse and worse when you get to more far flung and rural areas. This is why rural broadband gets pushed further and further behind in completion time. All its going to lead to tech poverty. There is apparenly 75 million miles of copper wire which all needs to be replaced.

    People seem to underestimate why places like Africa are moving away from cabled connections - it takes way too much money and time to lay down new cables or replace the infrastucture. Also for the most part when my internet was not working fine,my 4G connection on my phone was fine for watching YT,etc. My wireless connection has been consistently more reliable than my landline connection and in many times has been faster.

    Also rural areas are far less population dense then a city so contention is nowhere as big a problem as in crowded areas. People need to stop thinking wireless connections are like what they used to be decades ago - if anything it comes down to companies again not wanting to spend the money and being stuck on getting a return on investment on old infrastructure. In the UK we also had many companies merge with each other - for example Orange,T-Mobile together formed EE,who then shut down some masts.

    This is what has happened over here - our old infrastructure should have been slowly upgraded even with newer cabling,but as usual we left it until the last minute.

    The reason why so many countries in the world have managed to push out faster wired and wireless infrastructure is because they now only are thinking outside of the box. The rest of the world is using a mix of technologies to widen and cheapen internet access and we are still stuck using 2 stroke engines in an electric age!

    This is the problem over here,our companies and governments promise the moon and usually fall short. There needs to be realistic goals set,which means we can explore a wider range of appropriate technologies.
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 15-05-2021 at 01:29 PM.

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    Re: UK full fibre grows but it remains third from bottom in Europe

    In South Africa,they have employed local mesh networks as a cost effective way to bring broadband to many areas which didn't have proper connections in the past:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_...unity_networks

    Another system was tested in Scotland before being delpoyed to the Congo:
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...ngolese-island

    A Congolese king has introduced a specialised Wi-Fi network to a remote island after testing it in a similarly rugged and windswept environment: an estate in Scotland managed by a representative of Queen Elizabeth.

    An estimated 250,000 people live the island of Idjwi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which has been referred to as a “forgotten population” by the world’s media.

    There is no broadband infrastructure. Its benefits would be limited in any case: fewer than 10 homes on the island in the centre of Lake Kivu have a computer, while the cost of 3G and smartphones mean mobile internet is too expensive for most citizens, many of whom live on just a dollar a day.

    But since May, 10,000 islanders have been able to access the free Wi-Fi being beamed across the lake by a powerful antenna. It’s a system otherwise known as “mesh Wi-Fi”, which starts with one connection – in this case in the town of Bukavu on the mainland 40 miles (60km) away – and then the signal is transmitted by a series of masts.

    The new Wi-Fi supplies a kiosk in Bugarula, the island’s biggest village, which has five tablets and four computers. People can also pick up a signal within 100 metres of each mast. Unlike broadband, mesh Wi-Fi doesn’t require cables to be installed and people can make homemade antennae out of scrap metal to share the connection.

    The system was recently heralded Kevin Kelly, executive editor of Wired magazine, as a technology to “shape our future”.


    The Scottish test

    Fjord, the innovation consultancy company based in the UK and Ensemble Pour La Difference, a social incubator based in Bukavu that are delivering the project for the Idjwi king Gervais Rubenga, wanted to test the system before shipping it out to east Africa, which is where the Brahan estate near Inverness comes in.

    It was the ideal testing ground, thanks to the remoteness and limited interference from other signals, and the fact that the nephew of Lord-Lieutenant of Ross and Cromarty, who manages the land, had already set up a mesh Wi-Fi system for her community.

    The wind, rain and terrain were similar too, so much so that Patrick Byamungu, who leads the project in Idjwi for Ensemble Pour la Différence and travelled to Scotland for the test, says he could have been back in DRC. “It helped that the people were kind, friendly and keen to help,” he says.

    After successfully setting up a mesh system that delivered fast internet, the Fjord team drew up a plan to install a tower that would take the internet from Bukavu across the lake directly to the centre of the island.
    The system is tested in Scotland.

    Up and running in May, the new connection has has brought many changes to Idjwi. An online public display system in the local market has been installed and shares up-to-date news, health information and messages, all sent directly by Rubenga from his Android phone.

    Traders have to travel to the mainland to sell coffee and fish, the island’s two biggest exports. Now they look up which markets will give them the best price and, crucially, check the weather forecast to see if it is safe to cross the lake.

    Idjwi is not the first place to benefit from mesh networking. It has been set up in villages in Brazil, in rural areas from Scotland to Italy, and in Hong Kong, where protesters have used it to communicate out of the reach of government censors. It’s “particularly scaleable” in the developing world where people can’t afford individual connections, Millar says.
    https://www.bizjournals.com/newyork/...-overview.html

    At its core, a mesh network is two things. First, it's a way for as many as about 30 different people to use untapped bandwidth from a single traditional ISP gateway through a system of nodes that broadcast wi-fi as far away as about a mile in an open field. And second, a mesh network is a self-configuring, highly resilient Intranet that exists completely independent from gateways, even including websites that are only accessible to connected parties.

    So long as the nodes, which start at about $20, are within reach of one another, the connection remains, making it especially useful as a backup communication during disasters. This happened in Red Hook, Brooklyn during Hurricane Sandy when a small collection of nodes provided service while much of New York was in the digital dark following the 2012 superstorm.

    On a larger scale, the mesh network that symbolically started the growing global movement, is called Guifi, in the Northern region of Spain known as the Catalan.

    In the early 2000s, Spain’s dominant ISP, Telefonica, hadn’t yet bothered to provide Internet to vast swaths of land in the mostly rural Osona County, forcing the people who lived there to come up with an alternative, according to the Cook Report on Internet Protocol

    Ramon Roca, now an enterprise architect at Oracle founded Guifi in approximately 2002. By 2008 Roca kicked off — and vested legal ownership of the network in — the non-profit Guifinet Foundation, creating “the legal basis of an infrastructure that could be shared and invested in by all who used it,” according to the Cook report.
    Mesh networks are decentralised too,so it makes them far more resilient too.

    In the UK some smaller companies are now investigating use of highspeed mesh networks:
    https://www.businesswire.com/news/ho...ireless-Access

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--ADTRAN®, Inc., (NASDAQ:ADTN), the leading provider of next-generation multi-gigabit fibre and fibre extension broadband access solutions, today announced that Talk Straight is leveraging the ADTRAN MetNet 60G solution to create a new path to Gigabit broadband connectivity in rural regions of the UK. The internet service provider (ISP) tested ADTRAN’s mmWave fixed wireless access (FWA) solution as part of a proof of concept that could quickly and cost-effectively extend gigabit symmetric broadband services beyond the reach of existing fibre networks. The successful project paved a new path to revenue for Talk Straight, off of which it will expand its concept into a formal deployment to reach more locations in the UK.

    “Students are going back to the classroom and offices are reopening, but at-home connectivity demands continue to increase. We still need to get rural residents and students on a level broadband playing field”
    Tweet this

    A recent report from Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulator, estimates that 190,000 properties across the UK still cannot access an acceptable broadband connection and more than 880,000 children live in a UK household with only a mobile internet connection. When the pandemic hit in 2020, this need for broadband connectivity was underscored as the digital divide expanded even further.

    Talk Straight took the initiative to start closing the local digital divide. The ISP was historically focused on providing internet and communications solutions to schools across UK when it successfully deployed a proof of concept using ADTRAN’s 60GHz mesh fixed wireless network to extend broadband to Garnett Wharfe, a neighborhood where many homes lacked access to high-capacity broadband. Built on the industry’s first self-organising, 60GHz mmWave fixed wireless technology, Talk Straight delivered a fixed wireless multi-gigabit network that is powerful enough to support residential, campus, smart city and business customers.

    “Students are going back to the classroom and offices are reopening, but at-home connectivity demands continue to increase. We still need to get rural residents and students on a level broadband playing field,” said David Tindall, CEO at Talk Straight. “The ADTRAN MetNet 60G solution is very easy to install and offered speed and ease of deployment. Additionally, ADTRAN is extremely helpful and committed to our success. As a result, we have the confidence we need to build a business case for expanding this deployment to more residents and businesses that need a better option for high-speed broadband.”

    “ADTRAN offers the most complete and open gigabit fibre access and fibre extension portfolio so that our customers gain the right tools to build their best networks. For Talk Straight, that meant extending connectivity as quickly and cost-effectively as possible, and our MetNet 60G solution is perfect for that,” said Stuart Broome, Vice President of Sales, EMEA, for ADTRAN. “Unlike other mesh technologies, ADTRAN’s solution is self-configuring, self-optimizing and self-healing so it lowers the total cost of ownership and cost per subscriber add. This allows non-traditional service providers, like Talk Straight, to easily expand the types of services they can offer and increase revenue opportunities.”

    The ADTRAN MetNet 60G solution is part of ADTRAN’s broad fibre access and fibre extension portfolio. For more information about ADTRAN’s fixed access wireless solutions, visit adtran.com/fixedwireless.
    The advantage of using mesh networks is that it avoids having to replace all the cabling and you replace the last legs with the wireless network. Since the mesh is decentralised,you don't need to have tons of masts - just low power repeaters which can potentially be solar powered. There is also redundancy built in,which as shown in the past means even if nodes are knocked off line,others will still function.

    Plus the other advantage is local mesh networks can act as a backup to the local cellular networks too.
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 15-05-2021 at 01:30 PM.

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    Re: UK full fibre grows but it remains third from bottom in Europe

    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    Copper if you are lucky! Aluminium in some parts of our local area,because of the cost cutting in the 1960s/1970s and old cabling being not properly mapped. So you had workmen doing council mandated works,cutting through some of the old underground stuff which should have been put out to pasture already. Its not like this area is really that rural or uninhabited either!

    The issue is the cost of replacing all of it,which means only big population areas are going to really be deemed for investment. Even in our area,Openreach managed to get fibre to cabinet only sort of working reliably in 2015~2018 but the local junction boxes and phone cabling handling the last leg was the problem for us. One look in the junction box and you can see why. Its one of the biggest issues we seem to have locally and you can sometimes see a few Openreach engineers huddled around the junction box,as no doubt there have been callouts from difference people to fix a connection problem.

    It was surreal my phone was faster and more reliable than my home internet connection. For example when I did my GTX1080 review,I actually uploaded the videos to YouTube using my phone as a tethered internet connection.

    I think my main issue with concentrating just on high speed is that its going to make it too expensive to recable lower population,further flung areas.

    The issue is once you start going outside the major population areas - I really am not sure how long it is going to take especially with the need to dig up trunk cables which could be decades old,and maybe not even properly mapped due to age. I do think the government needs to think of other ways of doing things. Concentrate on higher speeds and more capacity to highly populated areas,whilst using a mix of technologies to other areas. If not by the time they have done the larger areas,it could be another decade before they attempt to target the rest of the country.

    As much as people don't like the idea of wireless networks,I think they certainly make sense for some of the more detached,lower population density areas of the country,especially if the nodes can be self powered. They won't be as fast,but then if these places are stuck on dial up,or a 2MB connection,a faster wireless connection is still a giant upgrade.
    Yeah I use the term 'copper' to refer to the legacy networks in general of course, including the phase where aluminium cabling was used.

    Interestingly, laying fibre can actually be cheaper than replacing copper in some situations, sometimes significantly so. It's not always necessary to tear out old cabling to lay fibre, and where old ducting has collapsed or become obstructed it doesn't really help anyway. There is ongoing work to improve efficiency of laying fibre, and in many cases it can be blown into very small cross section ducting.

    An advantage of fibre over copper in rural areas (besides the obvious service improvements of course) is the ability to lay it over long distances without the need for any powered, active equipment along the way. In a small rural settlement with say a dozen houses, there may not be a great deal of cost/labour difference between laying fibre to a DSLAM which needs powering, or laying that same fibre but then splitting it out to individual houses.

    It is due to this distance advantage that a subscriber's FTTP headend is often not their local exchange. And in the long run, it will allow many smaller/rural exchanges to be decommissioned as the copper networks are retired, leading to significant cost savings.

    Wireless networks absolutely have their place in some scenarios, particularly sparse population centres where subscribers have good line of sight to a mast. But the inherent limitations of wireless need to be weighed up on a case-by-case basis, as it can end up providing a horrific quality of service if it's done badly, even if everyone technically has a strong signal. The very low altitude satellites like Starlink/Oneweb/etc are promising for more sparsely populated areas too. But again, still being a wireless technology, subscriber density can have a big impact.

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    Re: UK full fibre grows but it remains third from bottom in Europe

    Cat you seem preoccupied with using Africa and other countries as examples, yet they are nowhere near like us. Wireless works for them because they quite often lack ANY connection. There are very very few places in the UK that have no connection to a network even if it is a decades old telephone wire. On the other hand, places in Africa might not even have a power connection....
    Again you say people want 8k films and 200gb games - even in this country 8k content and massive games isn't the norm yet. We have had infrastructure problems for years, but at least we have a base, albeit a poor one to start from where the places you refer to have zero to start from. A localised mesh network still (usually) relies on a decent cabled network to get to somewhere to then do the last leg as said above. The UK cases you mention, if you really read it, usually use a decent cabled network backbone, quite often from the mobile network and then do a concentrated small area mesh network - a bit like a home mesh network to serve a small but dense area. That can work - but again usually needs a high percentage of people willing to pay for network access.
    My wife works for a government funded project to supply tablets to vulnerable people who need to use them for support and useage during and after the lockdown. They use a mifi box to supply internet access and then wireless to the tablet. Over 30% of the people complain about struggling to get a decent signal to the mifi box because the wireless network isn't that great, and 90% of those who complain end up having the mifi box replaced by a simple broadband router because there is a good enough access for them via the cabled network. I feel you are vastly underestimating that our cabled network is pretty good for the majority. And that right there is a massive part of the issue. If the majority get an ok service then there is a distinct lack of effort to change it
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    Re: UK full fibre grows but it remains third from bottom in Europe

    For the suspiciously-minded: there is a few billion pounds-worth of copper in the wires to UK telephones. If it was released too quickly, its value would be less.

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    Re: UK full fibre grows but it remains third from bottom in Europe

    Interesting thought, but the copper is not removed as part of the initial install. You can't tear out existing networks until their replacements are fully functional.

    Nonetheless, hopefully the scrap value (which is far less for scrap cables than solid copper BTW) is enough to encourage them to remove and recycle most of the cabling rather than just leaving it to rot or get stolen by cable thieves. I'm not sure of the economics of it, but in theory it could provide another few years of work/jobs once they are past the peak of the fibre rollout. Assuming it works out financially, everyone's a winner.

    That's another major advantage of fibre networks - the cable is practically worthless to thieves. It doesn't stop them stealing it by mistake sometimes, but you'd expect them to realise eventually. Plus a lot of modern cabling, fibre included, is laced with Smartwater, meaning it's easier to trace.

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    Re: UK full fibre grows but it remains third from bottom in Europe

    Quote Originally Posted by watercooled View Post
    Interesting thought, but the copper is not removed as part of the initial install. You can't tear out existing networks until their replacements are fully functional.

    Nonetheless, hopefully the scrap value (which is far less for scrap cables than solid copper BTW) is enough to encourage them to remove and recycle most of the cabling rather than just leaving it to rot or get stolen by cable thieves. I'm not sure of the economics of it, but in theory it could provide another few years of work/jobs once they are past the peak of the fibre rollout. Assuming it works out financially, everyone's a winner.
    I don't think it would take long for the thieves to catch on to cables no longer being in use, as I'd imagine that there would be some sort of announcement hinting towards it.

    Not that they really need hints though, as they tend to steal it while it's actually still in use too.

    I'm just not sure that once the news got out, there would be enough time to pass before the thieves went for it rather than it remaining there until the teams got around to removing it properly.

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    Senior Member watercooled's Avatar
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    Re: UK full fibre grows but it remains third from bottom in Europe

    I don't think it being in use vs not in use makes a great deal of difference to the thieves - like you say they routinely steal cables that are already in use, they're not interested in the disruption or impact of their crimes.

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    Re: UK full fibre grows but it remains third from bottom in Europe

    People are conflating mesh technologies with standard cellular masts. Not the same - it relies on loads of shorter range emitters in a mesh - its the same as having mesh emitters in your house. So you have tons of low power,cheap emitters covering the whole area. GB speeds have been demonstrated. If you don't believe me read the links I already showed about ADTRAN mesh implementations near Leeds.

    The problem again is that you need to replace every single copper cable down to the house. Its far easier to have fibre trunk cables to the main exchanges and then branch off mesh systems from them. Also because of the way mesh systems work you don't need massive masts,with mains power. You can have mesh repeaters on signposts,walls,buildings,etc which are solar powered.

    It also reduces manpower and training needs. Since these are self contained systems - they can be installed by people with relatively little training. Easier to upgrade as you can just change out the box,etc. This is why in places like Africa and other parts of the world they are using it - the whole process of setup is quicker and easier. Compare that to physically have do dig trenches to pull out the existing cabling and put fibre in - what about the fact that a lot of that cabling in rural areas is so old,that the maps might be out of date.

    Now think in another 40 years if we move to even faster technologies - you will need to dig out 75 million more miles of older fibre optic,etc and so on. Again we are back to square one as less population dense areas get pushed back. That is the issue rural areas have had to stump up their own cash to get a chance at decent internet. This is how bad it is.

    Look at the links I posted - some cities have mesh networks and during natural disasters these still worked,whereas the existing infrastructure failed,as its reliant on above ground telephone cables and does not have redundancy.


    75 million miles of copper cabling has to be replaced right to the house. Its not only cost but having to hire people to dig up and replace every single copper cable to every house in the country. Every single rural rollout has been delayed and pushed back and back. Instead of tech idealism which never delivers,you have to realistic in what technologies need to be implemented.

    Even things like Starlink,etc have to be considered. We technically own OneWeb,so maybe the government will actually use this?? But so far we have heard no plan about why they purchased it.

    This is the big problem with the rollouts in the UK,they get hyper obssessed with one thing and as a result as newer stuff comes along we are stuck implementing things which are not cost effective,or time effective. I predicted the rollouts would be pushed back years ago,and even now the coverage has dropped its promise to 85% of UK households. This is going to drop even more as reality bites:

    https://www.theguardian.com/technolo...watchdog-warns

    As a result, thousands of homes and businesses, particularly in rural areas, could be left with slow broadband for many years, MPs warned.

    The report has been released amid growing concerns that a “digital divide” is leaving many pupils adrift during the coronavirus pandemic. Ofcom estimates that more than 880,000 children live in a household with only a mobile internet connection.
    The reason this country is behind so many is because too many in government are stuck in old fashioned notions of how to do things. So instead of using various forms of technology to speed up access to affordable,decent speed internet to the whole country,people get stuck on the same old ways of thinking. Plus increasingly good wired connections are going to mean diddly squat if you don't have good wireless or cellular coverage. Smartphones and tablets are the most common internet capable devices in the country - I know plenty of people who essentially use their phone/tablet as their main computing devices on the move.

    Many on this forum are hardware enthusiasts who most likely have a decently powerful desktop as their main PC device which makes you more of a minority. This is why so many want to have megafast wired internet connections.

    The point is this obsession with wired home connections being the only thing we invest in,is longterm going to put as back as a country and increase the rural/city divide. Its simply fantasy to expect 75 million miles of copper cable to be replaced by fibre optic in a few years. It took decades to install those cables,so people are underestimating how long its going to take.

    Wireless technologies are getting the most investment nowadays and if places like Africa can literally get internet access on the cheap,you have to appreciate higher end wireless technologies will offer better speeds and range too.

    Yet I am sat here having a great wireless connection on my phone which has been more reliable than my wired connection CONSISTENTLY when I have travelled around this area and London. I went abroad to various countries and had decent speed wireless internet which was significantly cheaper than here,and also better than most wired connections in those countries even in mountains!

    Plus this area is not far off London,and has investment earmarked for fibre to home. Yet fibre to home is still years away and even though there is fibre to cabinet,our local cabinet to home infrastructure is the problem. Its going to take years to get fibre to home here. If this part of the country is having these problems,then its total fantasy to expect even worse off areas to be able to get fibre to home.

    This total insistence on fibre to home is going to mean we will still have a two tier system,especially if the final leg is the big problem here. People need to be open minded,and not just think fibre to home is the only solution.

    We need to think outside of the box. The sad thing is I feel private companies will do this,and not the government.
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 16-05-2021 at 01:55 PM.

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    Re: UK full fibre grows but it remains third from bottom in Europe

    Mesh systems are still reliant on finite radio spectrum and as such have an upper bound on local, loaded performance according to the Shannon-Hartley theorem. Network technology continues to improve spectrum co-existence but the problem doesn't simply disappear. Licensed spectrum is expensive and finite too. Like some other technologies, mesh wireless are absolutely a way of enabling connectivity in some areas, but where fixed line fibre is financially feasible there's little reason to not use it. I'm not disagreeing with you in that respect, but I don't see wireless/mesh as an absolute replacement for FTTP into the future, however it can be a useful stopgap or interim solution where FTTP is not feasible and/or will not be built for some time. It's like FTTC/VDSL - they have enabled higher data rates to a majority whilst avoiding the cost and labour of a full FTTP rollout. As it happens, much of the E-side work carried out to enable FTTC carries across to FTTP e.g. ducting, the fibre spine network, and the move to fibre headends from small copper exchanges. G.fast was originally intended as another extension of that but that has since been abandoned; seemingly even BT/OR realised it was not worthwhile in the real world.

    The same fibre being installed today can easily handle many tens of gigabits/s per node with existing standards, with scope for substantially higher data rates in the future with development of optics. No technology can really be considered totally 'future-proof', but fibre has plenty of scope for development into the future. Some of the earliest transoceanic and transcontinental fibre systems are still in use today with upgraded equipment at either end managing many Tb/s *per fibre pair* through the use of improved optics and DWDM.

    In some areas, deploying wireless/mesh networks would be a case of kicking the can down the road again, ultimately buying more time to install FTTP. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing.

    Like you say it's not a binary debate, but from a financial point of view you can understand the incumbents not wanting to invest in a technology they're going to replace in a few years anyway.

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    Re: UK full fibre grows but it remains third from bottom in Europe

    The problem is that this country should have started replacing the old copper cabling with gusto decades ago. Instead the can has been kicked down the line to the extent the copper is disintegrating. I just looked at a piece of the copper cabling the Openreach engineer showed me - it had degraded to the level of a thin hair and all they could do is patch it up. The issue is that unless the government does something now,that infrastucture is going to fail entirely and its a matter of time. But that is the issue - do you wait for all the copper cabling to be replaced and potentially have lots of rural infrastructure fail?? The thing is modern mesh networks can provide gigabit speeds as shown by the trial near Leeds,and was much cheaper and cost effective than fibre to home.

    Just to quote again what ADTRAN said of the trial:

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--ADTRAN®, Inc., (NASDAQ:ADTN), the leading provider of next-generation multi-gigabit fibre and fibre extension broadband access solutions, today announced that Talk Straight is leveraging the ADTRAN MetNet 60G solution to create a new path to Gigabit broadband connectivity in rural regions of the UK. The internet service provider (ISP) tested ADTRAN’s mmWave fixed wireless access (FWA) solution as part of a proof of concept that could quickly and cost-effectively extend gigabit symmetric broadband services beyond the reach of existing fibre networks. The successful project paved a new path to revenue for Talk Straight, off of which it will expand its concept into a formal deployment to reach more locations in the UK.

    “Students are going back to the classroom and offices are reopening, but at-home connectivity demands continue to increase. We still need to get rural residents and students on a level broadband playing field”
    Tweet this

    A recent report from Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulator, estimates that 190,000 properties across the UK still cannot access an acceptable broadband connection and more than 880,000 children live in a UK household with only a mobile internet connection. When the pandemic hit in 2020, this need for broadband connectivity was underscored as the digital divide expanded even further.

    Talk Straight took the initiative to start closing the local digital divide. The ISP was historically focused on providing internet and communications solutions to schools across UK when it successfully deployed a proof of concept using ADTRAN’s 60GHz mesh fixed wireless network to extend broadband to Garnett Wharfe, a neighborhood where many homes lacked access to high-capacity broadband. Built on the industry’s first self-organising, 60GHz mmWave fixed wireless technology, Talk Straight delivered a fixed wireless multi-gigabit network that is powerful enough to support residential, campus, smart city and business customers.

    “Students are going back to the classroom and offices are reopening, but at-home connectivity demands continue to increase. We still need to get rural residents and students on a level broadband playing field,” said David Tindall, CEO at Talk Straight. “The ADTRAN MetNet 60G solution is very easy to install and offered speed and ease of deployment. Additionally, ADTRAN is extremely helpful and committed to our success. As a result, we have the confidence we need to build a business case for expanding this deployment to more residents and businesses that need a better option for high-speed broadband.”

    “ADTRAN offers the most complete and open gigabit fibre access and fibre extension portfolio so that our customers gain the right tools to build their best networks. For Talk Straight, that meant extending connectivity as quickly and cost-effectively as possible, and our MetNet 60G solution is perfect for that,” said Stuart Broome, Vice President of Sales, EMEA, for ADTRAN. “Unlike other mesh technologies, ADTRAN’s solution is self-configuring, self-optimizing and self-healing so it lowers the total cost of ownership and cost per subscriber add. This allows non-traditional service providers, like Talk Straight, to easily expand the types of services they can offer and increase revenue opportunities.”

    The ADTRAN MetNet 60G solution is part of ADTRAN’s broad fibre access and fibre extension portfolio. For more information about ADTRAN’s fixed access wireless solutions, visit adtran.com/fixedwireless.
    There is the whole aspect of investment in R and D. More and more countries will find it easier to implement mesh like technologies,so as time progresses there is going to be economies of scale involved too,especially as wireless devices make up the majority of PCs nowadays.

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    Re: UK full fibre grows but it remains third from bottom in Europe

    Yeah I think we're debating from the same side TBH. It would have been nice for the FTTP rollout to have started sooner, however the FTTC rollout was a relatively rapid way of enabling mass access to tolerable broadband speeds for most. It's not just a cost thing, BT/OR and their subcontractors are effectively manpower limited too.

    Regarding that ADTRAN system, mmWave is an interesting approach but much like the high-band 5G, requires pretty much line-of-sight between antennae. In an urban setting, I imagine this would be a 'fibre to the pole' sort of configuration, perhaps with mmWave backhaul between poles too. I'll read more into their system actually, out of interest. Especially as ADTRAN are already one of BT's technology providers for FTTP.

    Where some sort of FWA is feasible and cost effective, it makes sense to trial rollouts.

    A friend of mine who lives near Burnley was telling me about some sort of FWA rollout in his area - I struggled to find much information about the technology on their website and have now forgotten their name, but I will post back if I remember. It's a curious place to attempt a rollout though given FTTC and Virgin are already available in that area!

    Edit: NVM, it is IXWireless and it's just conventional FWA by the looks of it.
    Last edited by watercooled; 16-05-2021 at 03:48 PM.

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    Re: UK full fibre grows but it remains third from bottom in Europe

    That is the thing with the mesh nodes,they are relatively short range and lowish power. Due to their size you just have a lot of repeater units around the area,hence there is redundancy too. Plus if they are solar powered,it also means more flexible mounting options away from power lines,etc. Another advantage is surplanting existing cellular infrastructure - I would imagine mesh systems would probably also work better in areas where traditional cellular systems have limitations. One example would be in mountains:
    https://inthemesh.com/archive/hyperl...twork-armenia/

    Large traditional cellular towers still need construction and ways to power them,so its one of the limitations of those systems. Heck,mesh systems should be less susceptible to inclement weather too. So many cellular towers have been hit by lightning!

    It does also appear the government is trying to use OneWeb to also supplant rural internet:
    https://eandt.theiet.org/content/art...ral-blackhole/

    At least it seems the government is trying to be a bit creative which I think is a good thing. I would imagine a mix of these systems should enable a quicker rollout of improved rural broadband.Also if they can be used to supplant rural cellular data services than is also a big deal too IMHO. There are still parts of the UK where you have no internet and no cellular services at all!
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 16-05-2021 at 04:01 PM.

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