BT Stage 1 and 2 contracts
The County Council's Stage 1 & 2 plans with BT are largely based on Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) technology, with Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) also being deployed in some localities.
FTTC brings fibre out from the telephone exchange and closer to the premise via the installation of a new fibre cabinet supporting download speeds of up to 80Mbps for those located closest to it. Fibre is 'pulled' or 'blown' through underground ducts. The fibre cabinet (known as a DSLAM) is then connected to the existing copper cabinet. The last leg of the service is delivered over the existing copper network. In general the closer a premise is located to its serving cabinet, the higher speed uplift it will get. Speeds experienced will drop off more quickly the further away a premise is located. Because there are other dependencies on speed, there is no absolute 'distance to speed' rule. However as a general guide, superfast broadband should be available within distances of about 1.2km from the cabinet to the premise served; for greater distances of c.1.8km or more, there may be little or no speed uplift benefit at all from a particular upgrade. The quality of the copper line may also be a factor affecting speed performance. Many premises served by FTTC will be able to access superfast broadband services. For those that don't benefit from a cabinet upgrade, it is expected that solutions will continue to be sought through the Superfast Northamptonshire project.
Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) is much more costly to deliver because, for Openreach network, it involves laying new fibre all the way from the telephone exchange to a premise, which means more civil engineering works, but it can support much higher speeds, currently up to around 330Mbps. Other telecoms providers as well as BT use and specialise in these and other types of technology. More basic services can be provided by wireless and satellite broadband.
For more information on how the BT network is built please visit the Building the Network page.
Gigaclear Stage 3 Contract
Gigaclear provide a pure Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) network solution as standard. This provides supports the provision of ultrasfast services from 50Mbps up to 1Gbps. It involves laying new fibre all the way from a backhaul point (providing significant bandwidth and capacity) then into grass verges, footways and carriageways and then finally to each individual premise. Exchange areas are not relevant to Gigaclear's roll out as Gigaclear do not utilise Openreach's network. Customers can purchase a range of services from 50Mbps to 1Gbps dependant on each individual requirements. For more information on how the Gigaclear network is built please visit the Building the Network page.
In summary, some of the main technologies deployed by the wider telecoms market for superfast and basic broadband include:
Fibre to the Premise (FTTP)
Up to 1Gb
High cost to deploy
Significant amount of civil works
Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC)
Up to 80 mbps
High premise coverage
Distance from Cabinet
Serve remote areas
Contention (peak hours)
Signal obstruction e.g. trees, hills
Up to 22mbps
Weather, tree cover
Latency ('ping' time)
Cost for data consumption