EXFO to Help UK ISP Gigaclear Test and Monitor FTTP Network
Rural broadband ISP Gigaclear, which is investing GBP700m to reach 500,000 rural UK premises with their full fibre network by the end of 2023 (they've so far completed 300,000), has appointed test and monitoring firm EXFO to help reduce the time and cost associated with fault-finding, repairs and truck rolls during operation. The focus on "first time right" deployment is a fairly common one for a network of Gigaclear's size and future ambition. Indeed, other operators in the market also have similar solutions, and EXFO has been supplying the same service to Openreach since early 2021.
In theory, EXFO's technology will help the ISP to "substantially reduce network deployment and turn-up time" as part of their rollout. The company usually uses a centrally and remotely managed OTDR (optical time-domain reflectometer) instrument for auditing, troubleshooting and continuously monitoring the optical fibres. The aim is to assured its build, thereby accelerating the programme and avoiding costly return visits to fix connection problems that could otherwise increase an operator's testing costs.
James Harrison, Chief Engineer of Gigaclear, said:
"It isn't often that you see an opportunity to do something both faster and better, but this is certainly one of those cases. We are pleased to be adopting EXFO's centralized test system as our primary method of network assurance in our next-generation network areas. Combined with our proprietary and tightly integrated test and network data management systems, EXFO's fiber monitoring technology and iOLM test units ensure our planned network is built accurately and to the quality standards we expect.
We're also able to proactively monitor our network, helping ensure a reliable, dependable service for customers. As we grow, speed and simplicity of work in the field becomes more important, and we have been able to dramatically increase our speed of test by using EXFO's solution, while eliminating manual data handling for our office and field teams, reducing the risk of errors. Gigaclear has been on the leading edge of optical assurance and test data automation for some time, and we're always keen to stay ahead of the pack."
At present Gigaclear's Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network is already present in over 650 rural communities - covering more than 22 counties - across the South-West, the Midlands and the South-East of England.
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