Press Release

Fujikura Ltd is pleased to announce that an Openreach contract has been awarded to the technology company for the supply of a new innovative ribbon fibre cable "Air Blown Wrapping Tube CableTM" (AB-WTC). This is alongside a contract for the supply of Mass Fusion Splicers and associated accessories.

The contract award follows on from an extensive technical trial and subsequent competitive tender process.

AB-WTC has been developed by Fujikura utilising its "Spider Web RibbonTM"(SWR) fibre ribbon technology. SWR features an intermittently bonded 12 core optical fibre ribbon that forms a web like pattern and enables significant cable performance advantages over other ribbon technologies and traditional tube-based cable designs.

Combining the ability of the Fujikura Mass Fusion Splicer (70R+) to splice 12 fibres simultaneously with AB-WTC significantly reduces cable installation time required for the deployment of the Openreach full fibre or “Fibre to the Premise” (FTTP) network. The SWR ribbon format allows engineers to join up or ‘splice’ together 12 fibres simultaneously which results in a reduction of up to 80% in the installation time compared with traditional cables that require fibres to be spliced individually.

AB-WTC is specifically designed to be ‘blown’ into underground ducting – and therefore utilises duct space more efficiently. This is where the cable is pushed through on a current of compressed air, instead of a more traditional method of physically pulling it through, which takes longer, causes more disruption and means more work points in the street.

The technology will help Openreach, the UK’s digital network business, to make full fibre available to four million homes and businesses across the UK by the end of March 2021.

Openreach has built full fibre broadband technology to 1.5m premises across the UK and is reaching 20,000 homes and businesses per week.

Toshitane Nakatsuji, Managing Director Fujikura Europe Limited commented: “SpiderWeb Ribbon is a truly innovative technology that has already been proven to deliver important efficiencies and savings for our customers around the world. We are very happy that Openreach has decided to take advantage of this technology. Our new AB-WTC cables and our 70R+ splicer are leading edge products that will help Openreach significantly reduce the cost per home of building its FTTP network.”

Openreach Chief Engineer, Andy Whale, said: “We want to get full fibre broadband to as many homes and businesses across the UK as we can, and as fast as possible.

“To do that we need the right conditions to invest, but we also need to reduce our own costs and cut down the time it takes for our engineers to build the network without compromising quality.

“We can do that using innovative tools, techniques and network components like Spider Web Ribbon fibre cable. Its small compact size makes it perfect for using space that’s at a premium in our underground ducts. It’s also more flexible and easier to work with – so our engineers can splice multiple fibres at once – saving time and money.

“This technology, along with numerous other innovations we’re developing across our network build, will support our plan to reach four million households with full fibre by the end of March 2021.”