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Attempts to bring Fibre to remote locations

A village on the outskirts of Horsham will be the first place in England to test the new long reach VDSL technology. The idea behind this technology is to increase the attainable speeds for services provisioned on long lines. These usually cover remote locations such as farms, smaller villages or remote individual buildings/estates. Due to using the infrastructure that was originally installed years ago, most services to these locations suffer from poor speeds and high latency, leading to a poor internet experience.

Around 19 premises in Plaistow (population under 5,000) have been selected to take part in this pilot scheme and so far the results have been very promising. Openreach trialled similar technology last year with great success, so this is the next step. Currently BT Fibre coverage has reached 86% of the country, but with the long lines in certain places the speeds and service in general have not been up to par. Openreach are hoping, with the success of this Long Reach VDSL, to roll this out to similar locations by 2020. This should mean better coverage and faster services for remote locations happening over the next few years.

This new technology will be available to businesses and personal homes, so we are hoping this allows us to provide a better service to our customers in more remote locations.

How does it work?

Current Fibre service is provisioned as FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet), meaning from there you still have copper lines coming to your premises which affects the speed. Currently you can still achieve top speeds (40-80Mbps) at 300-400 metres of copper lines from the exchange. However there are locations running on upwards of 2km of copper lines, bringing the speeds down to 10-15Mbps.

The idea behind the Long Reach VDSL is to deliver the service on a narrower frequency and at a higher power, leading to less deterioration of signal when it finally reaches the premises. A Technical Proof Concept Trial has already been carried out on 200 lines in Isfield, East Sussex with amazing results. We expect to see the results of this new trial by the end of 2017.

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