Dark Sees Light In UK…Sort Of

Created April 6, 2018
News and Business

UK network provider Openreach has launched the UK’s first high-bandwidth managed service that allows Communications Providers (CPs) to operate private data connections using ‘virtual dark fibre’. The service falls between the two stools of full access to dark fibre and a fully managed service. Its introduction follows last year’s failure by national regulator Ofcom to oblige Openreach to introduce a regulated dark fibre access product.

Once connected, Openreach customers will be able to significantly scale up capacity by adding channels – each able to support 100 Gbits/s – with a maximum bandwidth of more than 3 Tbits/s. According to Openreach, this virtual dark fibre service (branded Optical Spectrum Access Filter Connect or ‘OSA FC’) gives CPs all the key benefits of dark fibre – such as the freedom to control and increase bandwidth usage at no extra cost – without compromising on service and maintenance levels.

“We’ve re-engineered our high-bandwidth optical services to give our wholesale customers far greater flexibility at a fantastic price. OSA Filter Connect allows providers to grow their needs affordably, at their own pace and using their choice of innovative equipment”, says Darren Wallington, Openreach’s General Manager for High Bandwidth and Passive Products. “By innovating a virtual dark fibre service, we can give customers that extra flexibility whilst still being able to monitor our network and respond to faults and issues proactively. With a regulated Dark Fibre Access product, we would’ve literally been left in the dark with no monitoring capabilities and significantly longer service interruptions due to the reactive nature of fault reporting, but this means we can commit to a national five-hour response time.”

In other UK dark fibre-related news, the ISP Elite has announced its Next-Gen London Dark Fibre network and On-net exchanges – expanding its On-net reach by more than 100,000 postcodes in the UK’s capital. By increasing the Elite network footprint, the ISP says it aims to reduce its dependency on third party carriers and enable us to offer its channel partners and wholesalers the lowest-cost and highest-quality Ethernet connectivity in the UK. Next projected exchange roll-outs will be in Birmingham and Manchester.

“Our decision to expand our footprint nationwide, starting in London, is a result of understanding where the market is heading. With the increasing demand for high bandwidth connectivity, it became increasingly obvious that this could not be achieved using some of the third party carriers,” commented Elite CEO David Simmons. “We needed to be able to take control of the end-to-end delivery, avoiding backhaul capacity issues that limit the industry. By investing from the outset in the backhaul capacity, I am confident that Elite can deliver these high capacity services both now and in the future.”



John Williamson

This article was written
by John Williamson

John Williamson is a freelance telecommunications, IT and military communications journalist. He has also written for national and international media, and been a telecoms advisor to the World Bank.