Fibre optic rollouts in low-density areas
In the UK, approximately 17% of the population lives in rural areas while the UK geographic landscape is still predominantly rural. The work required for the installation of fibre optic isn’t the same depending of the population density of the area. Indeed, in low density areas the fibre optic rollout is less profitable for operators and telecommunications networks must be shared. To better understand these differences and the solutions that may exist, we are going to study the particular case of France. ￼Indeed, in France the ￼French Ultra-High-Speed￼ is split in two distinct parts: high-density areas and low-density areas. These low-density areas are also divided in two categories :
The Private Intervention zones, also called AMII zones, are areas where one or several private operators show their interest in investing in the rollout of fibre networks following a call for tenders organised by the Very High Bandwidth plan. In this case, the major French operators Orange and SFR deploy a large part of these optical networks and, as they are shared, other internet providers such as Bouygues or Free come to connect to the existing networks. In France, there are more than 13 million people in these areas.
The PIN zones (Public Initiative Networks) are areas where no private initiative has been shown to deploy FTTH networks. These areas are generally the less densely populated of France. Therefore, the local and regional authorities take action to achieve the objective of the France Ultra-High-Speed Broadband Plan (PFTHD). There is a request for proposals to assign the public works contract to and infrastructure operator.
What are the different Fibre Distribution Hubs?
In concrete terms, in low-density areas the fibre distribution hub street cabinet is located in public area. Only one infrastructure operator is in charge of building the fiber optic network that will be deployed from the street cabinet to the subscribers’ dwelling. Once the optical network is rolled out, other operators can sublet and operate on existing infrastructures by connecting to this access point which must enable open and non-discriminatory access to competitors.
The localisation of the fibre distribution box depends on the area:
For buildings of more than 12 dwellings, the access point is mounted at the ground floor of the building or in the basement: it is a Building Entry Point (BEP).
For buildings counting less than 12 dwellings or for detached houses, it is a Street Cabinet as it is located in the street.
However, in low density areas we mostly talk about a Shared Access Point as this hub enables to connect one or several neighbourhoods to optical fiber networks.
When a Shared Access Point has less than 1,000 optic lines a Shared Remote Access Point needs to be installed. Usually, it is merged with an access node (or central office).
Fibre optic rollout into SDUs
The FTTH rollout starts from the fibre distribution hub. The latter is connected, directly or indirectly, to a Distribution Point. There are two types of Distribution Points:
The Indoor Distribution Point or Floor Distribution Box is installed in buildings in high-density areas and located at each landing.
The Optical Distribution Point (ODP) is the one installed for connecting single dwelling units.
Thus, in low-density areas, to connect SDUs the ODP is either located underground in a telecom manhole or overhead on facade or on a utility pole, like ourODP Eline® for example. An ODP is a box enabling the wiring with the indoor/outdoor drop cables directly connected to the Optical Telecommunication Outlet (DTIO)or an Optical Telecommunication Outlet (OTO), both located inside the house. In France, new houses must be equipped with a DTIO: it is a terminal outlet for FTTH networks which enables the connection of 1 to 4 optical fibres. It serves as an interface point between the drop cable and the subscriber cable. It can be integrated on a data enclosure or wall-mounted and avoids the need to roll out optical cables from the shared access point or street cabinet to the customer's premises if they wish to be connected to the optical fibre network or to switch operator. The OTO (or DTIO) will then be connected to the ISP box provided by the network operator, giving subscribers access to very high-speed internet.