Innovative solutions are required if installers and service providers are to keep up with the increased need for high-speed fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) broadband connections, says a leading telecoms expert.
With 46.6% of people in employment worked from home in some capacity, according to findings from the Office of National Statistics last year, demand for fast internet speeds has skyrocketed and placed further stress on the UK’s telecommunications infrastructure. Yet obstacles to FTTH deployment, such as skilled technician shortages and difficulties coordinating homeowner appointments to set up connections, are preventing millions from accessing this transformational technology, says Paul Churm, Fibre Optics Specialist at REHAU.
“The events of 2020 have shown that fast internet speeds are not a luxury for UK homeowners, but a necessity.” Paul explains. “Ensuring fibre optic broadband for all, in line with Government’s targets of large-scale fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) uptake by 2025 will not only be crucial to ensuring the UK workforce are not impeded by slow connections, but also the wider nation’s post-pandemic economic recovery.
“However, with only 15% of the country currently connected to fibre-optic broadband, steps need to be taken to ensure a faster rollout. Tackling issues surrounding the blowing-in process will be key to increasing uptake and ensuring the country is future-proofed against the increasing levels of data transfer it continues to experience.”
It is with these concerns in mind that REHAU has launched RAUSPEED EasyConnect, a new cable blowing-in box to streamline the process, saving ISPs and installers both costs and time.
“FTTH installations have traditionally needed two people – one to operate the blowing-in device at the exchange, and crucially, another requiring access to the home to receive the cable,” says Paul. “This has required the homeowner to be present throughout, so trying to co-ordinate installation across multiple homes can quickly become a logistical nightmare.
“However, by externally or internally installing EasyConnect boxes at the end of the micro duct, a single installer can quickly connect multiple homes from the cable distribution point. This means only one technician is required to carry out work without downtime between individual units. Additionally, the previously supporting installer can be redeployed to additional projects, further speeding up rollout while providing greater convenience to the homeowner.”
The EasyConnect is designed with a house connection micro duct that is automatically sealed and water and gas-tight up to 0.5 bars of pressure, and slows down the cable as it enters the box. It also contains a sponge catcher to ensure the micro duct is kept free of contaminants during the blowing-in process, with humidity and excess lubrication stored within an included water tank. Excess cable lengths are available for splicing, which can be done at a later date.
Paul concludes: “If ISPs are to promptly meet the nation’s ambitious fibre optic installation targets, new innovations must be considered. A one-visit, one-technician approach could greatly assist in this, so any solution that can reduce work required for blowing-in to a minimum should be welcomed.
“As such, the innovative design of the EasyConnect box, combined with our existing RAUSPEED micro duct solution, means it is well-placed to do exactly this. Because RAUSPEED also satisfies all requirements for government grants and subsidies, these installations can be carried out alongside already-scheduled underground construction work, leading to an even more efficient process.”
For more information on fibre broadband and REHAU’s new EasyConnect system, visit: https://www.rehau.com/uk-en/telecommunication