Openreach’s new OSA product – filling a hole in the backhaul business

The launch of a new Optical Spectrum Access Filter Connect product

Point Topic attended Openreach’s briefing and was able to gain some initial responses from interested customers.

What is the OSA product

Openreach’s latest Optical Spectrum Access Filter Connect product (FSP3000 & XG210) was launched on 18 July 2018, providing enhanced features such as greater flexibly on optical filters, ability to cope better with high temperatures in street cabinets, and provision of synchronisation/timing across the network for mobile applications. It updates the first version released to customers back in April 2018, and is described by Openreach as the UK’s first high-bandwidth managed service that allows communications providers to operate private data connections for broadband backhaul using ‘virtual dark fibre’.

OSA Filter Connect forms part of Openreach’s Optical Spectrum Services portfolio and offers a solution under which communications providers can connect their own active equipment alongside Openreach’s managed wavelengths on a common OSA bearer. The OSA equipment enables the stacking of different coloured wavelengths of infrared light to deliver very large payloads of data. Typically these wavelengths can be 10G, 100G and beyond. Essentially OSA Filter Connect extends the channel filter configuration and combines a minimum of one managed wavelength while the other wavelengths are managed by the customer.

There are now two variants of the product – OSA FSP3000 and OSA XG210 – and both are available nationally. The so-called ‘virtual dark fibre product’ provides managed wavelengths of 2.5Gbps, 10Gbps, 100Gbps, is scalable with up to 32 filter ports, and is said to provide an end-to-end fibre route distance of up to 103km.

Openreach says the product is the result of a consultative process with industry to find a means of combining the service assurance and response times of a managed service with the scalability and flexibility sought from dark fibre access. The infrastructure provider has also received input from mobile network operators preparing for the increase in fibre provision required by 5G technology.

According to Chris Bailey, General Manager Commercial for Openreach, the context is growing bandwidth needs and challenged service provider ARPUs. He says there was a market steer for a flexible and configurable Very High Bandwidth (VHB) solution with low incremental scaling costs. Openreach responded by presenting its Filter Connect product concept, of which feedback was largely supportive says Bailey, with clear direction set by the mobile network operator (MNO) community.

What are the benefits

Openreach promotes the OSA Filter Connect product on a number of benefits:

  • Scalability – Openreach provides the optical bearer and includes the initial 10G of managed capacity by lighting the first wavelength. After this customers are able to access additional managed capacity or use the remaining capacity, managing it themselves.
  • Price – there are two important elements here. Openreach says customers can decouple the cost of connectivity from bandwidth scaling. And crucially with regard to fibre tax, Openreach assumes responsibility for non-domestic rates.
  • Flexibility – customers can add their own equipment through optical filters using upgrade and certification options to convert their existing installed OSA FSP3000 base. Communications providers can use other channels/ports as they like and scale up bandwidth without any need to go back to Openreach.
  • SLA provision – service level agreements are the same as they are currently on existing OSA products but with increased resilience options also available. Customers can buy additional Openreach managed wavelengths if they prefer not to manage their own optical electronics.
  • Space – Openreach says there is a low footprint base build of 2U (rack unit) excluding ancillary equipment. The design of the product has been about minimal space usage.
  • Support for evolving technology – Openreach says the XG210 supports phase synchronisation, which is vital for 5G technology, as a chargeable option.

The product could be the “next best thing” for communications providers looking to build their own networks but with limited access to dark fibre in much of the country, especially given Ofcom’s aborted mandated dark fibre access product. Point Topic attended Openreach’s briefing on the product and was able to gain some initial responses from interested customers.

Get the full analysis

If you found this free sample useful and think you would benefit from our full report which includes more information about the benefits and customer response to Openreach’s new product, please telephone +44 (0)20 3301 3303 or e-mail simona@point-topic.comThe full report is also available to subscribers of Point Topic’s UK Plus service.

Table of Contents

  • What is the OSA product
  • History and context
  • What are the benefits
  • Customer response and plans
Please follow and like us: