FTTC Street Access to Help Supply UK Mobile Operators via Street Furniture - ISPreview UK
BT’s up to 80Mbps capable Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) technology now comes in a new flavour – GEA-FTTC Street Access. The service appears to be targeted at mobile operators that want to improve local wifi and 4G coverage by utilising council street furniture (e.g. payphones) but can’t get or don’t need a full fibre optic line for the capacity.

A lot of local authorities, especially in cities where the Government’s Urban Broadband Fund (“Super-Connected Cities“) scheme is being used to fund the roll-out of “high-speed public wifi” services, are already signing agreements with ISPs and mobile operators that allow street furniture (payphones, traffic lights etc.) to act as service distribution / access points.

Related deployments often also adopt the dual purpose of being used to improve local 3G and 4G (LTE) based Mobile Broadband coverage, although as with all such things you still need access to a viable capacity supply and BT appears keen to muscle in on the action with its new service.

How will it be delivered?


The delivery solution is driven by:


• A sequential WLR3 Premium Non Served Premise – NSP + GEA-FTTC PCP Only product types (a SIM delivery is unavailable)

• A mandatory survey to understand the routing – this will align to the existing NSP process
• Key Telegraph Pole and routing information being passed back to the Communication Provider
• The service being presented and terminated via a ruggedized NTE

Unfortunately ISPreview.co.uk aren’t privy to the costs of specific capacity supply solutions used for existing deployments and thus we don’t know precisely how the new FTTC Street Access product compares with the alternatives, although we have heard of some street furniture being linked by ADSL2+ or DOCSIS (cable) lines in the past and others using a dedicated fibre. The technology choice often depends upon how busy the local area is and predicted network demand.

Similarly many of FTTC’s notorious distance based performance issues are likely to be less of a hindrance in urban areas where people tend to live closer to their local street cabinets, although at the same time interference (cross-talk) from higher uptake might equally become an issue. BTOpenreach hope to solve this with Vectoring technology but we’re still waiting for a clear roll-out plan.

A little more detail about the FTTC variant of BT’s Street Access product can be found in last year’s SIN 498 document on page 22 (here). In theory this could prove attractive in areas where BT can already reach but it’s rivals would struggle to deploy (i.e. outside of cities), which would no doubt have been more difficult for them to achieve without public funding from the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) scheme.