Anyone connected to CityFibre infrastructure yet?

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Stargazer
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Anyone connected to CityFibre infrastructure yet?

Post by Stargazer »

After a bit of puff a few years ago (mentioned in this forum - the 'Gigabit City' stuff) I notice that CityFibre contractors have finally started appearing around Reading, with a lot of Tilehurst apparently connected up now and plenty of digging going on around the Oxford Road area. It seems the fibre optic cable is connected to new junction boxes on telephone poles, so I guess you would get a new fibre optic cable from the pole across to your house.

In our area (off Cardiff Road) we've recently had a leaflet through the doors to the effect that CityFibre are on the way, so it looks like our area's next to be dug up - and I've already seen some digging going on in the industrial estate around Milford Road.

I believe CityFibre sells its services through third parties (notably Vodafone, with some other providers starting to get on board). Has anyone in the forum got a CityFibre connection yet, and if so what's the experience like? If it works well this might be particularly good news for Cardiff Road residents, where Openreach have decided that it wasn't worth connecting their cabinets to fibre. Any takers?
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OLDMAN
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Re: Anyone connected to CityFibre infrastructure yet?

Post by OLDMAN »

Nothing around East Reading AFAIK
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God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to hide the bodies of the people I had to kill because they annoyed me........................

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Stargazer
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Re: Anyone connected to CityFibre infrastructure yet?

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As far as I can tell they started in Tilehurst at the beginning of 2021 and have been working their way eastwards through West Reading, and other parts of the town are supposed to be connected eventually but most areas haven't been planned. You can put your address into https://www.cityfibre.com/residential/ and find out - as far as I can see parts of Tilehurst are live, West Reading is due to go live soon and their build is moving towards the central area next starting with our area.
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Re: Anyone connected to CityFibre infrastructure yet?

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Digging has begun in Caversham Road by the corner of York Road. We await their arrival in the back streets...
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Re: Anyone connected to CityFibre infrastructure yet?

Post by Stargazer »

Resurrecting a topic from last year as it's hopefully becoming more relevant...

CityFibre has recently gone live in our area so we finally have access to full fibre broadband. Has anyone tried CityFibre yet (there appear to be 4 providers using its network - Vodafone, TalkTalk, Giganet and IDNet)? Would be interested to hear from anyone that has tried them and what their experience has been like. Among my hobbies is playing with an online band (cheesy covers, in case you were interested :-P ) so ping times and jitter are just as important as connection speed.
Last edited by Stargazer on 10 May 2022 13:57, edited 3 times in total.
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OLDMAN
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Re: Anyone connected to CityFibre infrastructure yet?

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Still nothing around East Reading AFAIK
Oldman........

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to hide the bodies of the people I had to kill because they annoyed me........................

I hug everybody –
It’s not affection, I’m just measuring up how big a hole I need to dig for the body!
Stargazer
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Re: Anyone connected to CityFibre infrastructure yet?

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I believe CityFibre are working from west to east - they've just finished the central area where we are and are now working in Caversham and Whitley. I wouldn't expect them to reach the east until next year.

I notice that parts of East Reading including Newtown have some Openreach fibre installation going on so perhaps Openreach are working in the opposite direction and will get to you first.
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OLDMAN
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Re: Anyone connected to CityFibre infrastructure yet?

Post by OLDMAN »

If they (OR) are going the opposite direction i.e. East - West then they’ve missed us out as further East than CJ / Newtown etc
We are as farthest East as you can get in Reading
Oldman........

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to hide the bodies of the people I had to kill because they annoyed me........................

I hug everybody –
It’s not affection, I’m just measuring up how big a hole I need to dig for the body!
Stargazer
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Re: Anyone connected to CityFibre infrastructure yet?

Post by Stargazer »

OLDMAN wrote: 10 May 2022 15:32 If they (OR) are going the opposite direction i.e. East - West then they’ve missed us out as further East than CJ / Newtown etc
We are as farthest East as you can get in Reading.
I'm not sure what Openreach's strategy for Reading is, only that it seems patchy and erratic so far. Their website shows Reading being connected "between 2021 and 2026" so I'm not expecting their build to be quick.
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OLDMAN
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Re: Anyone connected to CityFibre infrastructure yet?

Post by OLDMAN »

I heard on the radio this morning that RBC are taking CityFibre to task about all the traffic problems / disruptions they are causing across the town

TBH I doubt we will change from SKY for TV etc, but it would be nice to get fibre cables for the phone line side of it
Oldman........

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to hide the bodies of the people I had to kill because they annoyed me........................

I hug everybody –
It’s not affection, I’m just measuring up how big a hole I need to dig for the body!
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MickEdge
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Re: Anyone connected to CityFibre infrastructure yet?

Post by MickEdge »

I’d love to see CityFibre’s project plan, which appears to be moving randomly about Caversham for no obvious reason. Disrupt traffic and close pavements for a week or two, sometimes returning to do another bit of the same street weeks later. They told us they’d soon be digging our street in January. They put some coloured markings down and disappeared. Returned a couple of weeks ago, just after the road had been resurfaced by the Council and dug up one small bit, filled it in and disappeared again.
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Voiceoftreason?
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Re: Anyone connected to CityFibre infrastructure yet?

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Aaaaand left random bits of fencing, and signage to be collected, piece meal, at random times, followed by a ‘man with a van’ loaded with dirt which he shovelled out then flung a handful of grass seeds down (let’s not bother to cover it up eh?) ......on top of the existing earth, without digging it over first. And let’s not mention the detritus of fag boxes, water bottles and crisp wrappers chucked into the holes whilst they were here.. 🙄
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MickEdge
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Re: Anyone connected to CityFibre infrastructure yet?

Post by MickEdge »

To be fair to the guys who did our street, they worked like demons to get the road open again quickly. Mind you, yesterday I saw a guy lounging in his van while his colleagues busied themselves. They were working hard. I guess for not much. The other week I overheard a “manager”, who whilst standing over a nicely smooth flat pavement told his gang, that’s where it’s got to go, how you do it is up to you.
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Re: Anyone connected to CityFibre infrastructure yet?

Post by Stargazer »

In our area they were pretty quick and didn't have to close any streets at all (although when they were working in Caversham Road they took out a lane in the daytime, which caused queues).

Compared with Openreach full fibre the CityFibre offer looks better - you get a symmetrical connection so no artificial cap on your upload speed, unlike Openreach, and it seems the like-for-like prices where an ISP uses both networks are lower for CityFibre. For what you get it seems good value - the cheapest offers are currently £25 per month for 100Mbps (Vodafone) up to £40 for 900Mbps (Giganet).

In the meantime, back to the original question - has anyone got a CityFibre connection yet (or do you know anyone that has), and if so what's the performance been like? Because I play in an online band regularly I'm also particularly interested in ping and jitter performance as well as speed.
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chris_j_wood
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Re: Anyone connected to CityFibre infrastructure yet?

Post by chris_j_wood »

In my road they seem to have put their purple cables into the existing ducting. Lots of taking up the concrete man-hole covers and heaving cables through, but the only digging up they have done is in two places to install their own cabinets. It is possible they havn't got round to the digging yet, but if so why all the work at the existing man-holes.

I'm hoping that as my road was only laid-out in the very late 1990s, maybe by then the UK had started doing something sensibly European like pre-installing sharable ducting. But that is probably wishful thinking.
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MickEdge
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Re: Anyone connected to CityFibre infrastructure yet?

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I’ve been puzzling how it’s connected up from one side of the road to the other, because mostly, but not everywhere, it’s only laid on one side. I suppose, as Chris says, on some sides of the street they can use existing ducting. Does it all go back to those green cabinets, so loved by Openreach engineers, or are they BT only?

Then some streets have a small plastic triangle cap, like the Virgin Media ones, buried in the tarmac next to each house, but not all?

I assume the small purple cables that are taped to telephone poles are waiting to be connected up later. In some places several small cables are in a bigger cable. How many houses can one cable do? I just don’t get how it all works.
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Re: Anyone connected to CityFibre infrastructure yet?

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They claim to be using Openreach's ducting and poles wherever possible. To minimise digging they also run a lot of cables across from one pole to another if they aren't too far apart (the pole outside our house is fed overhead from the next one up the street), so you may find that they just run an overhead cable across the road to connect up a pole on the other side.

I'm not sure if the cables that run between poles have multiple fibres in them or just one that is shared between households connected to the pole (I think probably the former as the actual fibres are tiny and the boxes are pre-made with a cable so probably difficult to connect up in the field). The triangular covers are generally used where there aren't any poles so all existing telephone cables are underground. They have also installed quite a few small green cabinets which I believe contain passive signal splitters, and I heard their main connection centre for the area is in the Portman Road area so all cables eventually run back to that (although I think there may be another one in Whitley).

The purple 'cables' you see sticking out are actually ducting - they blow the fibre optic cables (usually black with a yellow stripe) through the ducts when the ducts have all been laid (using compressed air to blow the cables through is more efficient than pushing them by hand). This video shows how they do it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KfnIYtgyJQ. Each cable blown through the duct connects up one pole, I believe - I'm not sure how many connections can be made to one pole top box but would guess about 12. It looks like a pretty cheap and efficient way of connecting up a neighbourhood.
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MickEdge
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Re: Anyone connected to CityFibre infrastructure yet?

Post by MickEdge »

Thanks, Star. Interesting. It does explain the one side of the street thing and cables taped to posts. I found a link about a Europe wide survey of full fibre availability, and the U.K. seems to be way behind other countries. The excuse is the dominance and reliance on the old copper wires used by Openreach. All I want is a decent upload speed.
https://hexus.net/business/news/telcos/ ... om-europe/
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Re: Anyone connected to CityFibre infrastructure yet?

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The main reason the UK is behind many other comparable countries for full fibre is the government's strategy (or Openreach's strategy, agreed by the government) of getting as many homes connected up with an acceptable speed (as opposed to a really high speed) as possible, no doubt with cost considerations as well. Fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) with copper carrying the signal the last few hundred yards is much quicker and cheaper to deploy as it just needs the installation of a second cabinet nearby and a single fibre optic cable rather than fibre optic cables to all telephone poles and underground distribution points - so much less digging is involved. Priority could have been given to fibre to the home (FTTH), but this would probably have been at the expense of general 'acceptable speed' coverage across the country. I believe countries where FTTH has been rolled out faster are either small and mostly urban or have done this at the expense of having little or no broadband in rural areas.

My theory as to why the UK has taken this approach: consider the politics. Unlike most other countries the UK tends to have a lot of rich and influential people living out in the sticks. Imagine a large and disproportionately influential part of the government's electoral base being denied usable broadband while city dwellers all get FTTH. Somehow I couldn't see that happening (although one could also reasonably argue that giving 95% of the population usable but not fast broadband is fairer than giving half the population excellent broadband and the other half very little).

I do notice, however, that with Openreach and CityFibre now rolling out full fibre rapidly the UK's position in the league is expected to jump up fast in the next couple of years. This report shows a massive 3000% increase in FTTH take-up in the UK between 2020 and 2026, with the take-up percentage shooting up from near the bottom of the table of 39 Europe+ countries to third: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q ... 24ttFtHKoG
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chris_j_wood
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Re: Anyone connected to CityFibre infrastructure yet?

Post by chris_j_wood »

Stargazer wrote: 13 May 2022 15:39 ... Each cable blown through the duct connects up one pole, I believe - I'm not sure how many connections can be made to one pole top box but would guess about 12. It looks like a pretty cheap and efficient way of connecting up a neighbourhood.
Oh gosh, I never even contemplated that posts had a part to play in this 21st century cabling. I presume you mean what I, probably incorrectly, call telegraph poles. I don't think I've lived in a street with them since I left home to go to university in the 1970s. You are surely not suggesting that they are going to erect poles where none currently exist, are you.
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Re: Anyone connected to CityFibre infrastructure yet?

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I call them telegraph poles and a quick dictionary check supports that. CityFibre call them utility poles, which begs the question why would they want a pole that wasn’t useful. Check the OED. It’s a growing trend to apply non-specific adjectives to things, like civic amenity site for the waste tip.

It looks as though at my end of the street, the underground cabling they’ve done does go to an existing pole with a new green box nearby. The pole’s connected to one on our side, which serves several houses, so does the pole to pole connection carry a cable for each house, in which case that’s a much bigger than the copper cable there now. I hope they know the basics of the stress and tension expected, to say nothing about tree resting on it now.
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Re: Anyone connected to CityFibre infrastructure yet?

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chris_j_wood wrote: 15 May 2022 20:39 You are surely not suggesting that they are going to erect poles where none currently exist, are you.
No, I wouldn't expect that. CityFibre's strategy is claimed to be to make as much use of existing Openreach poles and ducts as possible. So in areas where the existing telephone lines run underground I would expect them to run fibre optic cables through the Openreach ducting with new green distribution boxes connecting to the ducting as needed and the final distribution points in manholes. However, I have noticed in areas served by poles such as ours (generally older housing) they have occasionally put up an extra pole, presumably where they calculate that the existing poles are unsuitable.
MickEdge wrote: 16 May 2022 10:19 It looks as though at my end of the street, the underground cabling they’ve done does go to an existing pole with a new green box nearby. The pole’s connected to one on our side, which serves several houses, so does the pole to pole connection carry a cable for each house, in which case that’s a much bigger than the copper cable there now. I hope they know the basics of the stress and tension expected, to say nothing about tree resting on it now.
I believe the connection between poles is made using a single cable - that's certainly what I've seen here. From the ground it looks like a standard telephone cable, maybe slightly thicker. The fibres themselves are apparently tiny (similar diameter to a human hair) so you could potentially run hundreds of fibres in one modest-looking cable.
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Re: Anyone connected to CityFibre infrastructure yet?

Post by Stargazer »

A new twist to the tale that has certainly taken me by surprise. Like buses you wait ages for fibre broadband providers to arrive and then it seems two networks come along at once!

So CityFibre have recently finished their work in the area, and out of the blue an Openreach engineer has just arrived, taking up all the manhole covers again and pushing fibre optic cables through ducts and up poles. So far work has started on York Road and Newport Road - at this point I don't know if they plan to get as far as us round the corner. It seems Openreach's deployment strategy is every bit as haphazard as CityFibre's in Caversham.
[Edit] Talked to an Openreach engineer yesterday. The northern end of the area has now been completed and will go live in a couple of weeks, the southern end (Swansea Road/Cardiff Road area) will be delayed because they have blocked ducts and will probably need to dig them up. They expect to come back in about a month to cable up this area. At least this offers one explanation of their apparently haphazard work.

In the meantime, in this picture you can see that they seem to be playing a game of how much paraphernalia can you get on one pole! Looks like 3 original Openreach copper junction boxes, 1 CityFibre connection box (top right) to which have just been added 2 Openreach connector blocks (lower down). https://photos.app.goo.gl/17ge6stAULf2ibH49
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MickEdge
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Re: Anyone connected to CityFibre infrastructure yet?

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Openreach just popped into our road for a couple of days. Three vans and four high-viz jackets. Dug a hole big enough for one jacket to get in and the others to stand around, fortunately not mucking up the brand new tarmac too much, unlike CityFibre. A lot of yellow tubing was pushed and pulled into the hole, so easy to distinguish from the purple of CityFibre.

Does it really make sense to have both City Fibre and Openreach laying separate cables. I assume they are both getting tax payers’ money to do this, so now they can slug it out to see who gets the most customers and profits. I’m all for encouraging competition, but not at my expense.
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Voiceoftreason?
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Re: Anyone connected to CityFibre infrastructure yet?

Post by Voiceoftreason? »

The safety fencing used by one or the other of these companies, has been chucked up on the verge nearby for at least six weeks. It’s quite a pile. Even rigid plastic fencing has a value - I might put a ‘Very expensive equipment’ sign on it. It won’t be there tomorrow curtosey of our local unsigned white van brigade I’m sure 😉
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OLDMAN
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Re: Anyone connected to CityFibre infrastructure yet?

Post by OLDMAN »

MickEdge wrote: 22 Jun 2022 08:48 Openreach just popped into our road for a couple of days. Three vans and four high-viz jackets. Dug a hole big enough for one jacket to get in and the others to stand around, fortunately not mucking up the brand new tarmac too much, unlike CityFibre. A lot of yellow tubing was pushed and pulled into the hole, so easy to distinguish from the purple of CityFibre.

Does it really make sense to have both City Fibre and Openreach laying separate cables. I assume they are both getting tax payers’ money to do this, so now they can slug it out to see who gets the most customers and profits. I’m all for encouraging competition, but not at my expense.
Problem is around Widerness Rd area there’s Vodaphone laying stuff as well!
Oldman........

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to hide the bodies of the people I had to kill because they annoyed me........................

I hug everybody –
It’s not affection, I’m just measuring up how big a hole I need to dig for the body!
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