Why can’t Exchange Only (EO) lines get superfast speeds?

Most properties are fed by copper wiring that runs from the exchange to a green cabinet, where it then splits out and smaller copper cables lead to every property that is fed from that cabinet. However, because broadband signals degrade over relatively short distances of copper, this is not a very efficient way of getting broadband to consumers and businesses.

Our project is bringing faster broadband by installing a new cabinet near to the original one. This is fed by fibre from the exchange, which brings faster broadband right into the communities, and considerably reduces the length of copper that is required, meaning that higher speeds can be achieved.

The problem with Exchange Only (EO) properties is that they are connected directly to the exchange – there is no green cabinet between the property and the exchange to upgrade with fibre cabling. This is unfortunately why superfast speeds cannot be achieved by these properties.

We have already upgraded some EO lines. However, this is more complicated (and more expensive) as there are greater engineering challenges. For instance, because EO lines don’t have the copper lines routed through a copper cabinet (PCP) there is no aggregation point to which we can connect the fibre cabinet (DSLAM).

Therefore we have to install two cabinets and this creates additional challenges in terms of location in addition to the ones that we face for all DSLAMs with regard to the availability of power, avoiding existing services, road safety issues etc.

Contract 2 included a considerably higher percentage of exchange only lines, and a lot more of the challenging locations that could not be brought into Contract 1.

It should be noted that because of the nature of the installation, it is not until the exchange only lines have actually been connected up to the new cabinets that we will know which properties will be able to benefit from the superfast broadband service.

This creates challenges for us in terms of letting people know that the service is available!

Posted in: Broadband in General