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FTTP Broadband.

Old 13th Jan 2021, 16:48
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FTTP Broadband.

We are considering FTTP as it has become newly available to our area - we currently have FTTC. With our existing set up the BT modem connects to our master socket (which has an integral filter) and obviously radiates the wifi signal. Behind the master socket the telephone cables then radiate out in a serial daisy chain fashion to a number of other sockets around the house so that we can plug any phone into any socket and it/they all work.

I understand with the FTTP provision we would have a new modem mounted inside our house nearby to where the FO cable comes up out of the ground by the front door and that new modem would be powered by a nearby electrical socket. I presume this new modem will radiate the wifi signal.

How does this system integrate with our existing analogue telephone provision around the house? Does this new modem have a cable going from it to the existing master socket? I don't really want to gain FTTP provision but lose our existing analogue telephone provision.

I note on the BT ordering website that I can choose to keep our existing landline or not. If I choose to keep it does the existing copper cable continue to be used for the analogue telephone provision and we just carry on as normal perhaps?
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Old 13th Jan 2021, 17:15
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When I looked into it, the setup was that the FTTP modem was just a modem, not a wifi router as well. It just had a standard Ethernet connector to connect to a router or whatever. I've no doubt that the various suppliers will bundle a router with the package, as they do with ADSL and FTTC. There is definitely an option to retain the copper pair, usually with that run inside/alongside the fibre. I believe that some packages may be more expensive if the copper pair is retained, though. Retaining the copper pair is a significant advantage if you suffer from power outages, as is having a phone that doesn't need mains power. One of our phones is a pretty ancient line-powered one, retained specifically because it still works during power cuts. We got caught out a few years ago by needing to make an urgent phone call when the power was out, and discovering that our very handy cordless phones don't work unless the base unit has mains power.

I wired our house using the assumption that we'd get FTTP if it became available, so included a cabinet where the duct comes in that, at the moment, just carries an underground phone cable. I have a separate modem in there, with cat 6 cable running from there to the router position in the centre of the house. I opted to power everything via PoE, to get rid of the plethora of plug-in power supplies, and also so I could supply PoE via a battery-backed system, to keep our internet connection up in the event of one of the (fairly frequent) power cuts we tend to get here. Good in principle, but we've found that storms that are likely to cause power cuts are even more likely to knock our FTTC service down - the fibre cabinet seems to shut itself down for 30 seconds or so, every few minutes in stormy weather.
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Old 13th Jan 2021, 19:40
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I'm due to get FTTP early next month and I understand that we will keep our old copper phone line for the moment. The modem that they install is called an ONT and basically converts light to electrons, and then this will connect to the wi-fi router to send out the signal. Not sure where it will be placed though, as the phone/FTTC connection is in the middle of the house right next to a socket, and the new one is usually placed on an outside wall. The wall near the phone connection has no power socket at all and the nearest one is about 10 feet away. Still, I'll wait and see what happens. Really looking forward to getting a decent speed as at the moment it struggles to get to 30Mb, so when we are all watching our streaming service of choice, it does struggle.
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Old 13th Jan 2021, 20:13
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Thanks for your replies. I’ve carried out a bit more research but it’s difficult not knowing what you’re looking for. I think now that I would be expected to plug my existing BT HH6 into the new FO modem and obviously that would provide the wifi signal throughout the house. It occurs to me that the limiting factor to overall connectivity and performance might/would be the wifi ‘data’ connection between my devices (which are few) and the HH.

Sitting in front of my iMac I believe I am currently getting a 70mbps download speed, certainly we have no difficulty streaming TV services around the house. It occurs to me that by going FTTP whilst I might get a nice big ‘fat’ connection to the BT infrastructure outside my house the limiting factor would actually be my in home. It would not be practical to run Ethernet cabling around the house and to be honest we are satisfied with the quality and reliability of our current FTTC service. Maybe I am chasing something I don’t really need?
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Old 13th Jan 2021, 21:38
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If you are converting from either copper or FTTC broadband to FTTP then BT and Openreach regard your installation as a "brownfield site". It means you will keep your copper phone line - for the time being.
The Openreach modem (Optical Network Termination or ONT) is usually fitted to an outside wall. Sometimes this can be some distance from your existing main copper phone socket. The reason for this is that optical fibre cable is quite brittle and will not bend around corners like copper cable will. The thin glass fibre at the heart of the cable is likely to snap if bent too much.
If you move onto a new-build premise which has never had any copper network installed (a greenfield site) your phone service will be a VOIP service - known as Digital Voice.
Eventually Openreach intend to remove the copper network entirely. Existing copper phone lines will be converted to Digital Voice.
In the rare case where someone has no broadband,but a copper phone line only, it will be replaced with an FTTP broadband service which will be restricted to a speed which will allow only the VOIP Digital Voice to operate.
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Old 13th Jan 2021, 23:03
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One word of caution. Check how the fibre will be run from the road to your house. As noted above the fibre needs more protection than the old copper cable and if there is not an existing duct to run it in you may find some digging will be required.
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Old 13th Jan 2021, 23:06
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If you are getting 70mbps from FTTC, I would not bother with FTTP. It will probably cost more, and I am not sure you will get a higher speed at the point of consumption, unless you have a house full of gamers..

My desktop is linked by cable to the BT modem/router 6, and I never get more than 30-35 mbps in our FTTC set up.

That 30 - 35 enables stuff like Prime to work on 3 gadgets at once in different parts of the house. .

For those parts of the Mansion that can be a bit slow - The East Wing - we simply use Powerline adapters. Homeplug is the generic term.

The only thing wrong is that I still pay BT for the monthly line rental.
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Old 13th Jan 2021, 23:43
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OK so how do they actually get the fibre cable to my property from the inspection chamber without digging up my brick paved drive, or the concrete strip running across the front of the house?

We've had Trooli around here putting their FTTP into the Openreach infrastructure just before Christmas and they managed at one time or another, to disconnect just about every one around here by cutting through Openreach's cables (and even one of their fibre optic cables), or damaging them including mine. Fortunately my problem was damaged joints in two inspection chambers, but when fixing the first one didn't work and having looked at where my cable ran under my drive and into the house, the Openreach engineer, scratched his head, raised his eyebrows and said "if we have to replace your incoming cable, it's not going to be easy".

I get 39.99mbs and for less than half the £50 a month that this company want for their cheapest package (300mbs) and we have no problems watching Netflix and the iPlayer or Amazon at the same time. I canot begin to understand what their market is going to be around here? Why pay £50 a month when you can get a perfectly good connection for less than half that? Unless it's all being paid for by Government grants and that's where they are going to make their money



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Old 14th Jan 2021, 02:24
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When my neighbor's copper connection died, Openreach just came along with a sort of 4" bullet shaped, 2 ft long barrel, creeping pneumatic ram affair, They set it up in the inspection chamber carefully pointed it in the right direction and fired it up. 10 minutes later it had reached the foundation wall of the house and it was then easy to just run the copper through the new tunnel to the BT junction box on the wall. It helped that our subsoil is clay but I was told it would go through most stuff and stay straight, except in rock. This was at least 6 years ago, they are probably better at it now. The new connection was free.

PS Come over to France, I get FTTH, 1Gb down and 750 Mb up, for €35/M

IG
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Old 14th Jan 2021, 10:09
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What happens when that ram device comes up against a water pipe or gas pipe?
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Old 14th Jan 2021, 10:33
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Originally Posted by Sallyann1234 View Post
What happens when that ram device comes up against a water pipe or gas pipe?
One of the key thing to check before using a mole is to run a CAT over the planned route, and for a metre or so either side, just to be sure there are no services in the way. I hired a small moling rig to run a cable out to the detached garage at our old house (one of these: https://www.speedyservices.com/08_2500-h-mole-45mm) and borrowed a friends CAT to check all was clear on the route. Longest part of the job was digging the pits needed at either end of the run, plus messing about setting the mole up to run in the right direction at the start.
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Old 14th Jan 2021, 11:44
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Also, the engineers have access to the lower layers of the street plan on the CAD diagram, so they should know where any pipes or cables are present.

A "Cat" scan will generally find anything but not always.

IG
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Old 14th Jan 2021, 12:04
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I took advantage of FTTP 12 months ago - we had a trench dug from the fibre pole (which took Openreach 2 years to install!) to the home office. Outside there is a grey box which takes the fibre cable into the property. Inside Openreach will install a large white modem. It's then up to either your ISP or yourself to install a wireless router which your devices will connect to.
The copper line is then redundant as you can use VOIP for phone. The only downside to this is if there is a power cut - you won't have a working phone.

We've only had one outage and that was due to a tree falling on the line. As others have said - check the fibre routing. Squirrels also like to chew through fibre cables - unsure why!

We then have the "local" fibre companies which the government have asked to roll out fibre. I personally wouldn't go this route - having seen the installation of cables, I can see this being a headache in a few years time. Stick with BT/Openreach run fibre.
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Old 14th Jan 2021, 12:16
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Many thanks for the very informative replies, I'll try and answer a few where I can.


EGTE. I believe the FO terminates in something called a CSP (Customer Splice Point) on the outside of the house, a small hole is then drilled through that wall and the CSP is then connected to the BT modem on the other side of the wall by short cable ( a short piece of FO?) where it further connects to a nearby mains power point and possibly a small battery back up unit which powers the unit up in the event of a local power failure. I could then connect my existing BT HH6 to the modem to form my local ethernet switch point/hub point and radiate wifi throughout the house. Does that sound about right.


SA1234. Luckily we are on a newish estate. I saw the Openreach chaps digging up around my neighbours house opposite (our houses are exact mirror images of each other) and noted holes being dug. The route passes underneath his drive and they were clearly having trouble getting across it which is the only possible physical route. Eventually they got across/underneath his drive and then started to dig yet another hole - they were using professional hand-held cable detection kit. Having an interest in FTTP myself I went over and chatted to them. They said the existing ducting was little more than household plastic pipe used in everyday plumbing and parts of it were broken and blocked. I asked were they likely to have the same problem at my house? Without any further ado they kindly offered to 'rod' my ducting to see what's what. (What gentlemen they were to offer to do this, I often find BT/Openreach engineers to be very knowledgable and helpful and it's one of the reasons I stick to BT). They rodded the ducting on my property and with no difficulty whatsoever the end of their rod popped up in the local underground chamber where the FO cabling was recently installed. They withdrew their rods and naturally pulled through a bright blue pulling rope for when I do decide to go FTTP.


I said to the BT chaps that the drive was in fact brand new and recently relaid by the house builder with 'special' buff coloured tarmac that came across country on the day of laying as it is a specialised product - if they could not get under it satisfactorily how would they do it? He said there were two options: 1. BT would dig a small trench which would be backfilled with black tarmac (horrified looks all round). 2. We could opt for a pole, but since we are on a new development that would not have been a welcome addition as there are no others. I did ask about using an underground mole but he scoffed at the idea and said BT wouldn't do it. Of course I suppose that wouldn't preclude a customer from hiring their own 'mole team' to carry out the work privately in advance of BT doing their part of the install. The existing cabling did not appear to be that deep perhaps no more than 18" that I could see in the holes they had dug.


So, currently I have a pulling rope from my house to the FO chamber and my neighbour has an actual cable pulled through and it is curled up outside his front door. His installation is expected to continue in March when hopefully Covid restrictions have eased. I would ask my neighbour more about it but he is shielding at the moment and I don't want to give him the third degree. I am still unclear in my mind how any newish FO modem kit would interface to my existing BT analogue wiring around the house in the event the existing copper provision was removed as speculated above.


As to costs. Strangely I have had no contact from BT who I would have thought would've been in touch ASAP - but the development wide FO FTTP rollout is very new and still on-going in some parts. I have looked at BT's website and the pricing does not seem to be very different to the existing FTTC provision we currently have.


Do I need it? Do I want it? Is FOMO driving this?

Last edited by yellowtriumph; 14th Jan 2021 at 12:31.
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Old 14th Jan 2021, 12:18
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Originally Posted by Imagegear View Post
Also, the engineers have access to the lower layers of the street plan on the CAD diagram, so they should know where any pipes or cables are present.

A "Cat" scan will generally find anything but not always.

IG
Experience 'here' has shown that the ground works contractor did not follow any of the approved routes for any underground utilities, paperwork exists - but it is only good for toilet paper. The BT chaps were relying on experience, common sense and cable detectors.
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Old 14th Jan 2021, 12:24
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Originally Posted by 787-1 View Post
I took advantage of FTTP 12 months ago - we had a trench dug from the fibre pole (which took Openreach 2 years to install!) to the home office. Outside there is a grey box which takes the fibre cable into the property. Inside Openreach will install a large white modem. It's then up to either your ISP or yourself to install a wireless router which your devices will connect to.
The copper line is then redundant as you can use VOIP for phone. The only downside to this is if there is a power cut - you won't have a working phone.

We've only had one outage and that was due to a tree falling on the line. As others have said - check the fibre routing. Squirrels also like to chew through fibre cables - unsure why!

We then have the "local" fibre companies which the government have asked to roll out fibre. I personally wouldn't go this route - having seen the installation of cables, I can see this being a headache in a few years time. Stick with BT/Openreach run fibre.
Always fan of BT.

So how would your VOIP signal get from the white BT modem on your inside wall to your existing analogue phone sockets round the house (assuming you had more than one)? I don't just want to end up with one phone - although I appreciate I could get a wireless system for my house phones but that would involve cost. I believe some satellite boxes also require a hardwired connection to a telephone circuit?
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Old 14th Jan 2021, 15:13
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Originally Posted by yellowtriumph View Post
Always fan of BT.

So how would your VOIP signal get from the white BT modem on your inside wall to your existing analogue phone sockets round the house (assuming you had more than one)? I don't just want to end up with one phone - although I appreciate I could get a wireless system for my house phones but that would involve cost. I believe some satellite boxes also require a hardwired connection to a telephone circuit?
A DECT base connected to the hub, and cordless phones around the house would be the answer, but you'd have to pay for that.

All the providers are moving to VOIP over the broadband connection, but be aware that in a power cut your modem stops working and so does your phone.

There should be accurate records of utility runs under the roads, but I don't think they extend to routes under private property. For historical reasons our water and gas pipes run across the front of the house, at unknown depths. Our water stopcock is actually outside the neighbouring house. I'd be rather concerned about a mole being driven across their route. Can the detector tell the depth of plastic pipes? Fortunately our Virgin broadband already comes from the road in coax buried in a flower border, and we know not to dig too deeply above it.
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Old 14th Jan 2021, 15:34
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Yes we too have the "snake oil boys" in our part of East Anglia promising all sorts of performance boosts if we buy into the fibre route. my argument is they are 18months too late with 5G starting to roll and the point you make about the quality of the fibre being used and the standard of installation needs to be borne in mind as well.
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Old 14th Jan 2021, 17:48
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Originally Posted by Sallyann1234 View Post
A DECT base connected to the hub, and cordless phones around the house would be the answer, but you'd have to pay for that.

All the providers are moving to VOIP over the broadband connection, but be aware that in a power cut your modem stops working and so does your phone.

There should be accurate records of utility runs under the roads, but I don't think they extend to routes under private property. For historical reasons our water and gas pipes run across the front of the house, at unknown depths. Our water stopcock is actually outside the neighbouring house. I'd be rather concerned about a mole being driven across their route. Can the detector tell the depth of plastic pipes? Fortunately our Virgin broadband already comes from the road in coax buried in a flower border, and we know not to dig too deeply above it.

Yes, in the end I think a DECT system would have to be the answer. I am aware of the loss of power etc and the affect this would have on the internal phones etc. The www indicates that some BT installs have a short term battery back up system but searching via Google etc does not show a consistent answer. Having said that we very rarely use the landline phone, perhaps I just need to get over it? Any thoughts on the fact that I believe some satellite boxes (Sky?) need a permanent connection to a telephone socket - tricky? We are currently Freesat and it is not a concern, but in the future?

I donít know if professional cable detectors can ascertain the depth of a cable, the BT chaps did also say they had a camera available to them to look down ducts etc but gave me the impression it was a bit of a faff and a last resort tool if itís use was applicable to any particular situation they faced.

Thinking about 5G and the impact it might bring. We are in an area where it would likely be rolled out quite quickly. My wife has a new iPhone 12 which is 5G enabled and of course it can become a wifi hotspot. Questions, questions.
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Old 14th Jan 2021, 17:51
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Hi tanks everyone for the answers. Having been in construction and had a replacement gas pipe moled into the back garden, I was familiar with this technique but on a much bigger scale than a telephone line and I wasn't sure they could get a macine small enough into one of their chambers that would do the job.

I'll stop worrying about in now........ did I mention the power lines running through my front garden

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