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Fibre to the home broadband - from the exchange to a box on your wall...
Very high speed broadband technology has been common in Far East nations such as Hong Kong and South Korea for years, but UK telco BT is only now taking the first steps to roll out commercial fibre to the home (FTTH) broadband services.
After installing full fibre in a new housing development in Ebbsfleet, Kent, a few years ago, BT has not rushed into a mass rollout of FTTH. Instead it has focused on limited trials - kicking the tyres of the tech in Milton Keynes and London this year.
Even though FTTH is the fastest of BT's upcoming superfast broadband offerings - it supports up to 100Mbps - FTTH will also be the minority technology in its rollout. A quarter of BT's planned fibre rollout will be FTTH versus three-quarters fibre to the cabinet (FTTC), which supports a 40Mbps service.
The issue is cost: FTTH is much more expensive to install than FTTC as the fibre has to be laid much further and all installed by hand. While FTTC terminates in BT's street cabinets, FTTH requires the line to run right up to people's doorsteps and on inside individual premises - requiring Openreach engineers to get on their knees and rod and rope cable through street sub-ducts - or hang it overhead from telegraph poles.
The telecoms provider says it is aiming for a mixed economy approach to fibre deployments - installing a mix of both FTTH and FTTC depending on what the local conditions at each cabinet are conducive to.
At its Bradwell Abbey exchange in Milton Keynes, BT showed off some of the extra kit and processes involved in FTTH network deployments.
Photo credit: Natasha Lomas/silicon.com