Stage 1 and 2 contracts with Openreach
Openreach has primarily deployed Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) technology to deliver contracted superfast coverage targets for these contracts. However, around 3,000 premises have also benefitted from Fibre to the Premise (FTTP), otherwise known as full fibre.
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 the Openreach network, it involves laying new fibre all the way from the telephone exchange to a premise, which means more civil engineering works. FTTP can support much higher speeds and is capable of gigabit performance. Other telecoms providers as well as Openreach 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 Openreach 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 is a gigabit capable network, supporting services from 50Mbps up to 1Gbps. It involves laying new backhaul fibre to connect into the wider network and serve access cabinets (green roadside cabinets) deployed for each Community Build. Fibre is then laid to premises within the cabinet area by digging new ducts along grass verges, footways and carriageways and then finally to each individual premise. Telephone exchange areas are not relevant to Gigaclear's roll out. Gigaclear sometimes utilise Openreach ducts via Passive Infrastructure Access (PIA) agreements.
Customers can purchase a range of services from 50Mbps to 1Gbps dependant on individual requirements, from either Gigaclear or partner Internet Service Providers. For more information on the Gigaclear network please visit Gigaclear's web site.