Virgin Media FTTH – Chatteris
Updated 20 Feb 18
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Timeline of my installation:
- June 17, Virgin Media (VM) started FTTH works in Chatteris.
- 23 October 17, VM started trenching in Farriers Gate outside Glebelands school.
- 24 October 17 , Letter pushed through the door from VM
- 25 October 17, Trenching and Toby installed.
- 26 October 17, Trench tarmacked and construction barriers removed.
- 5 November 17, I buried 20mm conduit from Toby to house wall and included a draw cord.
- 26 Nov 18, Cabinet AF0503 made live.
- 1 Feb 18, Virgin Postcode Checker now shows service available in my street.
- 4 Feb 18, Ordered VIVID 200 package for installation on Friday 23 Feb 18 between 13:00 – 16:00. Went through to the Virgin Media shop in Peterborough looking for some form of promotion or deal to reduce costs, this didn’t happen, in fact they suggested I could save money ordering in shop as they would waive the installation and F-Secure costs, this was incorrect as the online booking information has these as free, also they wanted £25 up front, £20 activation fee and £5 which would be returned once the service was active, online it is £20 only activation, so I booked online, as an aside, if I had ordered in the shop my statutory rights to cancel is reduced from 14 to 10 days protection which you get when booking online.
- 11 Feb 18, received two e-mails, the first containing e-sign contract, the other was what to expect on the day of installation.
- 16 Feb 18, received mobile call from Callum of the Virgin Media installation team wanting to come and install a microduct from the Toby to my house, fit the Omnibox and blow the fibre from the street cabinet to the Omnibox, this is done a week in advance of the engineers on the 23 Feb, I arranged for the following day to meet them as I was 180 miles away! (this part of the process was not known to me and came out of the blue, I assumed it would be a ‘one hit’ visit).
- 17 Feb 18, James from the installation team rang to cancel as Callums son had a fall and was needed at home, as the install is a two man job I returned his call and rearranged for Monday 19 Feb after 16:00.
- 19 Feb 18, James & Callum turned up at the appointed time to install the microduct, fibre and Omnibox.
The guys first photographed a laminated sheet showing my address, date and their names next to my open Toby, once this was done they threaded a black microduct pipe from the pavement Toby through the conduit I had previously laid to the house, the brown Omnibox was fixed to the wall with 4 screws and the microduct pipe clipped into place in the Omnibox, at the Toby a coupling was installed transitioning from the green microduct to the black microduct.
The distance was measured from the Toby to the street cabinet (72.5 m), while the measuring was going on, compressed air was blown down the microduct from the house, this caused the yellow protective cap to be blown off the end of the green microduct in the cabinet, identifying which tube out of many, as coming from my house.
In the cabinet a ‘fibre catcher’ was fitted, at the house end the fibre cassette containing 100m of was fixed on a device which enabled the fibre to be blown into the duct until it was caught by the cabinet catcher.
At the cabinet, the fibre catcher was removed and a protective sleeve was fitted over the fibre and terminated in a connection, this connection was then plugged into a breakout panel in the cabinet, at the house end, the surplus fibre from the cassette was wrapped within the Omnibox and the end also terminated, once this was done, a reading was taken of light losses (-0.13db) to check they were in an acceptable range, the reading was photographed with the laminated sheet used earlier as proof of service in advance of the technical install scheduled on Friday 23 Feb 18.
Chatteris Fibre To The Home (FTTH) Story:
As part of Connecting Cambridgeshire Virgin Media and BT are rolling out super fast broadband.
Phased civils started in June 2017 and by 12 January 2018 first subscriber activated.
I currently use TalkTalk Fibre to the Cabinet, this the same as BT Infinity, SKY, Plusnet etc, this means a fibre optic cable is brought from the local exchange to a street cabinet, from this the existing telephone copper cable is used for broadband and phone, depending how close you are to the cabinet will determine how fast your broadband is, in may case, I get a maximum speed of 62.79Mbps download, 17.34Mbps Upload and a Ping time of 17.34ms which is probably the best I can get (using Speedtest 15/11/17 @ 18:00).
I was delighted when I saw that the Virgin Media cable enabling works was scheduled for installation via Roadworks.org, bringing up to 300Mb speeds to Chatteris, this will give people an option, rather than be tied to telephone line provided services, so I thought I’d start this blog.
The infrastructure in my area was due to start on 4 August 17, expecting to last until the 14 August and I registered my interest in advance using Cable My Street.
My roads infrastructure work was carried out very swiftly and with minimal mess considering the civil work required, the works was undertaken during school holidays to minimise any disruption, the crew were respectful of any request to get on and off the drive, also in my case I wanted the ‘Toby’ to be in a particular position, this wasn’t a problem and on the pictures below you can see the original point marking has been crossed out, and the new position marked as a red box.
Time lapse video of Virgin Media installing FTTH infrastructure.
The latest update on advance planning is: FEN 16-28 Feb
The system we are getting from Virgin uses RF over Glass, with the infrastructure being installed by John Henry Group. This comprises of a fibre optic cable laid in a trench which is blown through a microduct tube from the nearest cabinet to the home after your order is placed.
The image above shows the three sorts of microduct which are being installed:
- The wrapped Red and Green double tube is installed from the VMVH1 hub cabinets to the Level 3 (L3) street cabinets. Each tube has an Outside Diameter (OD) is 12mm one tube is used to transport 24 core fibre optic cable, the other bore is spare.
- The single Red and Green has an OD of 8mm and carries 12 core fibre optic cable from the L3 cabinet to the Level 2 (L2) distrubution board. The L3 cabinets are identified by having only two letter and two numbers stencilled on them.
- The Green microbore is 8mm OD and is ran from the L2 cabinet to each ‘Toby’ outside the property.
The image below shows the microduct couplings in use within a pavement trench. Top picture taken at the junction of Dock Road and Bridges Street, bottom picture taken by the library shows a larger 12mm OD striped microduct.
Larger size microduct and coupling, (possibly for a multicore fibre, rather than a single fibre?).
Standards for reinstatement can be found HERE.
The marker tape which is put over the buried Virgin Media infrastructure and serves two purposes, the first is to allow detection using a Cable Avoidance Tool (CAT), the marker tape has two metal wires bonded to it, so the route of the tape can be found and traced from the surface without excavation, the second purpose is to warn that you are about to unearth or hit cables should you be digging.
VMSDI Level 4 Open Cabinet Picture – undergoing second-fix.
Click Map Pin on the corner of Ash Grove and High Street for more images of cabinet AF0113.
One of the towns two VMVH1 Nodal Cabinets
Inside VMVH1 supply pillar:-
Within the distribution board above is a smart RCD from Tii-Tech which is rather clever as it performs regular operational self tests to avoid the need for a person to visit the cabinet to do them. This write up from Gewiss explains how they work.
End of Line Termination Boxes
From the street termination box, a microduct coupling is used to extend the duct from the street cabinet to your outside wall, the fibre once blown through is connected to a media converter within the externally mounted Omnibox
The media converter changes the fibres optical pulses of light into electrical data which a coaxial cable then takes to the Super Hub 3 Router and connectivity to the internet.
This configuration will give data transfer speeds of up to 300Mbps, a basic outline of how it connects together is below, the VM Datacentre is in Wisbech and Chatteris is fed by a direct fibre from their:
In advance of Virgin installing the infrastructure in the street I have put a conduit through the wall into a dry lining box with a blank please and installed a length of 20mm flexible conduit from the pavement Toby to the house wall, bit premature, but hey ho :-)
Links to latest and archived Planning Permissions containing Virgin Media works:
- FEN 1-15th May
- FEN 1-15 Jun
- FEN 16-30 Jun
- FEN 1-15 Jul
- FEN 16-31 Jul
- FEN 1-15 Aug
- FEN 16-31 Aug
- FEN 1-15 Sept
- FEN 16-30 Sept
- FEN 1-15 Oct
- FEN 16-30 Oct
- FEN 1-15 Nov
- FEN 16-30 Nov
- FEN 1-15 Dec
- FEN 16 – 31 Dec
Project Lightning Chatteris Roll Out Map:
The Pin map shows the position of street cabinets, hovering over each pin will show its location and cabinet number, the see images of the cabinet, click the green circular cross below the map:
- GREEN pins are completed VMSD1i Street Cabinets (identifier stenciled on cabinet);
- RED pins are installed Street Cabinets;
- PURPLE pins are Main Node locations (VMVH1);
- BLUE pins are VMDD3I Double Cabinet;
- RED CROSS pins denote photographs need updating.
|Harold Heading Close||Cabinet||52.448121018332074,0.04368046531453729|
|Boadicea Court||To Photograph||52.45552500281696,0.05083794007077813|
|Huntingdon Road||To Photograph||52.45143126569499,0.03976444015279412|
|Fairbairn Way||To Photograph||52.44454485429467,0.04348466405645013|
|L3 Cab - London Road||Cabinet||52.44649137084246,0.046309721656143665|
L3 Cabinet - London Road
|AG0204 - St Martins Close||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.454489434738356,0.05618457798846066|
St Martins Close
|West Park Street||Cabinet||52.45327917458896,0.04735509166494012|
26 Jan 18 fibre being blown to AG0108
L3 - West Park Street
|AG0104 - Wimpole Street||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.45311980469666,0.045556670520454645|
|AG0112 & AG0113 - Burnsfield Street||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.45488696489861,0.04322786349803209|
L4 - Burnsfield Street
|Blackthorn Close||Cabinet||52.44743850429926, 0.04452536115422845|
|AG0206 - The Shrubbery||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.45351605745769,0.052048349753022194|
L4 - The Shrubbery
|St Martins Road||Cabinet||52.454264215856476,0.05503494758158922|
L3 - St Martins Road
|AG0203 & AG0213 - Birch Close||VMDD3i Cabinet||52.45408337078587,0.05743751535192132|
L4 - Victoria Street
|AF0502 - St Francis Drive||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.45656719921685, 0.05488474387675524|
L4 - St Francis Drive
|AG0207 - Church Walk||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.45364519958683,0.05185750429518521|
L4 - Church Walk
|AG0101 - Station Street||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.45376054988989,0.0439473451115191|
|South Park Street||Cabinet||52.45162974492057,0.04827716387808323|
South Park Street
|AF0403 - Queensway||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.457581943678406,0.06257126340642571|
L4 - Queensway
|AF0401 - New Road - Middle||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.45731413104696,0.06130327004939318|
L4 - New Road
|AF04 - New Road - Top||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.45742573048203,0.06275036372244358|
L3 - New Road
|AG0102 - Haigh's Close||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.4535684907657,0.042545890901237726|
L4 - Haigh's Close
|AG0202 - The Elms||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.45336662346431,0.05824083695188165|
|AG0201 - The Elms||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.45384623557197,0.0606475118547678|
|AF0304 Slade Way||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.45833235687413,0.047755432315170765|
|AF0302 & AF0303 Slade Way||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.4582424662961,0.04716802854090929|
|AF0505 - Farriers Gate||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.454876110793315,0.06032089004293084|
L4 Farriers Gate
|AF0501 - St Peters Drive||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.45625338600299, 0.053717982955276966|
St Peters Drive
|AF03 High Street||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.45652937728379,0.04874849924817681|
L3 - High Street
|AF0311 Wesley Drive||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.45801015448342,0.05575979361310601|
Highway termination box
|AF0305 Lindsells Walk||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.4572340448707,0.049254787154495716|
|AG0103 - Clare Street||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.45310018990083,0.04034245619550347|
L4 - Clare Street
|AF0406 - Green Park||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.45603028306109,0.06079901475459337|
L4 - Green Park
|AF0507 - New Road||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.456626626320876,0.051002895925194025|
|AF0301 Ravencroft||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.45917055214363,0.046117252204567194|
|AF05 - New Road||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.45672877843942,0.05324254045262933|
|AF0504 - Bridle Close||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.45577262533811,0.058989173267036676|
L4 - Bridle Close
|AG0106 - Park Street||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.45388010116374,0.049190414138138294|
L4 - Park Street
|AF0407 - Green Park||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.456531241566196,0.06180484313517809|
L4 - Green Park
|AF0503 - Bridle Close||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.45572649964174,0.05767252296209335|
L4 - Bridle Close
Work commenced 26 Oct 17 completed 3 Nov 17.
Stencilled 23 Jan 18.
Made live 26 Jan 18.
|AF0404 - Newlands Road||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.45853910450727,0.062362742610275745|
L4 - Newlands Road
|AG01 & AG0112 - Linden Drive||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.45215644739025,0.044802320189774036|
L3 & L4 - Linden Drive
|AF0307 Curlew Avenue||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.458205335304854,0.05174257792532444|
|AF0310 Augustus Way||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.458938883645615,0.054393208120018244|
|AF0506 - Saddlers Way||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.45471765332056,0.057400959776714444|
L4 - Saddlers Way
|AG0205 - Juniper Drive||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.4532697758677,0.05541110644116998|
|AF0101 & AF0102 Doddington Road||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.46805554397529,0.03911750391125679|
|AF0103 Doddington Road||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.465405812381725,0.04259088076651096|
|AF0308 Mallard Close||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.4582530897376,0.05069245118647814|
|AF0402 - The Orchards||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.457115549750924,0.057328236289322376|
L4 - The Orchards
|AF0110 Latham Way||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.457632839896824,0.043042791076004505|
|AF0109 Marritt Close||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.45874631083253, 0.04325070418417454|
|AF0111 Quaker Way||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.45782779255462,0.04492976702749729|
|AF0112 Ash Grove||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.4576325845221,0.0467403419315815|
|AF0602 Horsegate Gardens||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.455337829300376,0.044648218899965286|
L4 Horsegate Gardens
|AF0603 Horsegate Gardens||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.45536398103069,0.04503445699810982|
|AF0605 Station Street||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.45433935279353,0.047861672937870026|
|AF0408 - Green Park||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.45596454715728,0.06386079825460911|
L4 - Green Park
|AG0109 - Huntingdon Road||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.4520640412153,0.04118833690881729|
L4 - Huntingdon Road
|AG0108 - Huntingdon Road||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.4522078862328,0.04434261471033096|
L4 - Huntingdon Road
|AF0601 Horsegate Gardens||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.455552661218405,0.047440314665436745|
|AF0206 - Gull Way||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.46061546495731,0.048162080347537994|
|AF0607 Station Street||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.453881684622154,0.04417095333337784|
|AF0209 Drake Avenue||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.460298922714486,0.0496611837297678|
|AF0104 Bridge Street||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.461956071200554,0.04530527628958225|
|AF0203 Lode Way||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.4618248723383,0.04829992074519396|
|AF02 Lode Way||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.46154868443245,0.04892755765467882|
L3 - Lode Way
|AF0204 Kingfisher Close||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.46205739383792,0.05023517645895481|
|AF0205 Lode Way||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.461073573853504,0.049655819311738014|
|AF01 Angoods Lane||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.46030219131336,0.04400172270834446|
L3 - Angoods Lane
|AF0208 Tern Gardens||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.459815167410554,0.04806795157492161|
|AF0108 Angoods Lane||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.45954014157026,0.04322249908000231|
|AF0106 Angoods Lane||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.460512555781456, 0.04489619750529528|
|AF0107 Angoods Lane||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.460576752749645,0.04488685168325901|
|AF0202 Dock Road||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.4618248723383,0.045861792750656605|
|AF0201 Bridge Street||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.46119078155108,0.045134914107620716|
|AF0207 Black Horse Lane||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.46029356016901,0.045218062587082386|
The cabinet backs onto a Grade 2 listed house and a black one was requested as it matches the surrounds a lot better than a grey one. A point to note is that the ground level in the house is lower than the pavement. The contractors started digging up in front of one of the windows put a grey cabinet and it was a foot above the bottom of the window and as the house is lower inside when you looked out the top of the cabinet was eye height. The owners asked if they could move it down the street more which they did but then backfield the hole they dug with hardcore they took out and left it. With have requested several times for last 2/3 months if it can be re-tarmac to stop water running into the house which is going to collect there.
12 Nov 17, ground under window not restored.
Black Horse Lane
|AF0309 St Stephens Drive||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.45916914763152,0.05403582472354174|
St Stephens Drive
|AF0210 Gull Way||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.45994218433571,0.04969332832843065|
|AF0211 Furrowfields Road||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.4591189426775,0.04989990033209324|
|AF0113 High Street||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.45769979910717,0.04722867161035538|
|AF06 & AF0604 Station Street||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.454221667146655,0.046456195414066315|
L3 & L4 - Station Street
|East Park Street||Cabinet||52.45278326160457,0.05068335682153702|
East Park Street
|Area AG - VMVH1 Nodal Cabinet Eastwood||VMVH1 Nodal Cabinet||52.44843322921627,0.049964357167482376|
VMVH1 – 1800 W x 1700 H x 650 D Nodal Cabinet (Virtual Hub)1 per 3000 homes.
The Nodal cabinets are connected to L3 street cabinets.
I asked permission of the road workers before I took the picture, the cabinet was unlocked and open.
Cabinet in the locked open position 18 Nov 17
|Area AF - VMVH1 Nodal Cabinet Furrowfields Road||VMVH1 Nodal Cabinet||52.45850483958044, 0.04997299511160236|
Work Commenced 14 May 17
Smaller cabinet is for electrical metering.
Nodal cabinet feeds L4 street cabinets
|AF0312 St Pauls Drive||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.45786374914649,0.05437650717794895|
Work commenced 28 Aug 17
St Pauls Drive
|AF0313 St Pauls Drive||VMSD1i Cabinet||52.45696809438717,0.054993415251374245|
Work commenced 28 Aug 17
St Pauls Drive
|Road||Start Date||Finish Date|
|Albert Way||24 Jul 17||11-Aug-17|
|Ash Grove||9 Jun 17||29 Jul 17
|12 Oct 17||26 Oct 17|
|Beckett Way||1 Sept 17||8 Sept 17
|Black Horse Lane||08-Aug-17||21-Aug-17|
|East Park Street||14-Aug-17||22-Aug-17|
|East bourne Road||10-Nov-17||30-Nov-17|
|Harold Heading Close||13-Nov-17||21-Nov-17|
|Hilda Clarke Close||23-Oct-17||27-Oct-17|
|James Gage Close||14-Nov-17||22-Nov-17|
|King Edward Road||03-Aug-17||09-Aug-17|
|Old Auction Yard||15-Aug-17||21-Aug-17|
|South Park Street||26-Aug-17||08-Sep-17|
|St Francis Drive||11-Sep-17||26-Sep-17|
|St James Close||21-Aug-17||30-Aug-17|
|St Martins Close||13-Dec-17||29-Dec-17|
|St Martins Road||08-Sep-17||12-Oct-17|
|St Pauls Drive||18-Aug-17||07-Sep-17|
|St Peters Drive||28-Aug-17||25-Sep-17|
|St Stephens Drive||18-Aug-17||01-Sep-17|
|West End Close||24-Nov-17||30-Nov-17|
|West Park Street||29-Sep-17||17-Oct-17|
|Willow Tree Close||02-Oct-17||06-Oct-17|