The opportunity arose to visit Huntingdon in September which is one of the FoD2/G.fast trial locations and while we did not do peeking into live pavement chambers a selection of the hardware was available to take a peek at and thus we are sharing our pictures and information from the morning. All the images are available in higher resolution if you want to get a closer look by simply clicking on them.

DSLAM with fibre splitter in pavement chamber

DSLAM with fibre splitter in pavement chamber

The Huntingdon trial areas have 22 live customers on G.fast already with the expectation to rapidly grow to 700 live customers, from a potential footprint of several thousand the first Premium Fibre customer has also been connected with we believe a second one going live on the Wednesday while we were in Huntingdon. The G.fast trial is Huntingdon is based around locating the G.fast hardware in pavement chambers and will make use of new connectorised fibre systems that are also part of the FoD2 trials. G.fast has several deployment options, i.e. in a pavement chamber, on a telephone pole or the simplest being co-located in an existing fibre cabinet. A lot of worry has been expressed over how the G.fast kit will be powered and in Huntingdon new power pillars are being used to send enough power down bundles of copper pairs to the remote G.fast nodes with ranges of 1200m for powering nodes suggested, further is possible if you increase the number of copper pairs used and will also vary according to how many lines are expected to be active on a node.

Fibre splitter, G.fast DSLAM, copper splitter on telephone pole.

Fibre splitter, G.fast DSLAM, copper splitter on telephone pole.

The pole mounted arrangement for G.fast can be seen above, with the white DSLAM on the left, a connectorised splitter in the middle and the copper splitter. The plastic hangers are actually for connectorised fibre drops to properties that may have ordered fibre on demand, i.e. the install of a G.fast node means FoD2 would become available. The differences in how the fibre will be deployed for FoD2 if a connectorised deployment is used is clear from the following diagram.

Difference a connectorised fibre roll-out makes

Difference a connectorised fibre roll-out makes

If Openreach is ever to deliver FTTP at any scale it does need to reduce the time taken to install the final drop to each property that orders the service and while FoD2 is still going to carry a premium price the hope is that it will be substantially cheaper than the original FoD product. One of the problems with the old FoD product was that the survey and planning phase seemed to take forever, improvements are promised complete with a new planning system to deliver orders faster and at a lower cost to Openreach.

While we have no price for the FoD2 Premium Fibre service we can tell you it is a 1 Gbps downstream connection with 100 Mbps upload.

Alas no peeks inside the G.fast hardware itself, it seems the units are still being referred to as virtual silicon, i.e. they are not final versions just yet and while end-users are reporting brilliant stability and speeds over 300 Mbps the final production silicon is not expected until 2016. Which shows how cutting edge the G.fast deployments are and while easy to criticise that Openreach is not bothering with just doing full FTTH/FTTP, it is their own commercial choice and leaves plenty of room for others to deploy full fat fibre. The G.fast roll-out if it does deliver 10 million passed inside the five year plan will mean that from 2025 to 2030 onwards the final push for FTTH/FTTP should be something Openreach can then manage, i.e. while a massive FTTH/FTTP network is given any official timelines to continuing push of fibre deeper into the local loop shows if the economics and requirements stack up in a favourable way it can be made to happen.

Slimmer pole mount G.fast DSLAM

Slimmer pole mount G.fast DSLAM

Connectorised Fibre Hanger with spooling to adjust drop length

Connectorised Fibre Hanger with spooling to adjust drop length

Power pillar to send power to G.fast nodes over copper pairs

Power pillar to send power to G.fast nodes over copper pairs

G.fast power pillar with FTTC twin just out of shot

G.fast power pillar with FTTC twin just out of shot

Larger version of splitter in pole pictures

Larger version of splitter in pole pictures

Pavement chamber fibre splitter

Pavement chamber fibre splitter. If the main fibre splitter needs to be pole mounted then a metal cased version is used, and can be seen in our older spotters guide to fibre broadband.

Single fibre tray from main passive splitter

Single fibre tray from main passive splitter

FoD2 Connectorised Splitter

FoD2 Connectorised Splitter

Different type of fibre for use in FoD2

Different type of fibre for use in FoD2

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4 Responses


  1. AndrewG on 24 Sep 2015

    Considering the usage of connectorised fibre plant I wonder how much of a difference there is between the cost of deploying FTTPdp and FTTP with overhead drop wires.

    I can understand the cost benefits of FTTPdp for underground DPs where there are more likely to be issues with blocked ducts in the final run to the premises, but I would have thought the cost benefit of FTTPdp would narrow by some margin with overhead DPs.

  2. Carl on 25 Sep 2015

    I’m waiting for the first complaints that the 1Gb FoD product isn’t symmetrical and/or is based on PON. :)

    Installing PON splitter alongside G.fast node should bring down the cost of the product’s a ton. Hopefully rental at retail level will be similar to that offered by Hyperoptic.

  3. Carl on 25 Sep 2015

    I’m waiting for the first complaints that the 1Gb FoD product isn’t symmetrical and/or is based on PON. :)

    Installing PON splitter alongside G.fast node should bring down the cost of the product’s install a ton. Hopefully rental at retail level will be similar to that offered by Hyperoptic.

  4. WWWombat on 25 Sep 2015

    That looks to be quite a change in the distribution architecture. Two levels of splitter; one splitter with trays, one with connectors; BFT used from the aggregation node, with 8F BFU’s. Very different from older architectures.

    When connectorisation was first mentioned, BT also mentioned use of a new style of distribution cable: SST (I think made by Corning, matching those splitters), strengthened to make it more likely to get through duct blockages.

    Any word on this? It looks like something new is shown in the FoD2-connectorisation architecture diagram, but the key label is hidden by a splitter sitting in front.

    Judging by the Corning website, the “Optisheath Multiport” can be delivered with a variety of SST cable stub lengths.


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