Paul Churm, Sales Manager for REHAU’s Fibre Optic Division, addresses the queries surrounding REHAU’s latest development in fibre optic rollout, RAUSPEED EasyConnect. Here, Paul comments on the many problems facing Fibre-to-the-Home installation in the UK, and how RAUSPEED EasyConnect can help revolutionise the telecommunications industry.
The UK seems to be lagging behind its European counterparts in achieving full Fibre-to-the-Home connectivity, why is this?
“In countries like Spain and Portugal, it’s very common for large parts of the population to live in flats within larger, shared buildings. Unlike our continental neighbours, most Britons live in semi-detached houses rather than apartments. Understandably, installing fibre to a single apartment block is a much smaller undertaking when compared to many individual houses, but it’s a disadvantage that the UK is going to need to work hard to offset. Additionally, much of the UK’s existing network infrastructure consists of copper wiring, which isn’t capable of the data transmission speeds required for true Fibre-to-the-Home connectivity. It’s not just an issue of installing fibre, but replacing what’s already present to meet the modern world’s ever-growing data requirements.”
What issues does Fibre-to-the-Home installation face at present?
“Fibre-to-the-Home installation’s main downfall has previously been rollout speed. For each installation, two visits to the household are required, with the homeowner’s presence needed for both to provide access to the property. Two technicians are also necessary – one to feed the cables, and one to receive. This also results in a lot of downtime between the technicians, meaning that installation can often prove to be slow and inefficient. Extrapolating this process to entire neighbourhoods and factoring in shortages of qualified professionals in the sector, it’s easy to see why the UK is struggling to accelerate its rollout.”
What is RAUSPEED EasyConnect?
“The RAUSPEED EasyConnect blowing-in box is the latest in REHAU’s Fibre-to-the-Home installation technology. It can significantly simplify the fibre installation process, requiring a sole technician and a single visit to the property to be deployed effectively. The blowing-in box is fitted to the microduct within the home, and performs a similar role to what the second technician was previously required for, receiving the optical fibre cables delivered externally by their colleague.”
How does it work?
“A single technician visits the property to establish the house connection, simultaneously fitting the blowing-in box to the end of the microduct in the home. From here, no further access to the property is required, as the technician can blow-in the cables from an external distribution point in the street to be received by the EasyConnect box. All of this is able to be completed within a single visit, with any excess cable able to be safely spliced at the homeowner’s convenience.”
How reliable is RAUSPEED EasyConnect for blowing-in cables?
“RAUSPEED EasyConnect comes 100% factory tested to ensure a safe and reliable performance. There are no compromises during the blowing-in process, with sponge and lubricant available to further ease the procedure. Crucially, the fibre optic cable is slowed down before it enters the box, minimising the risk of any damage to the fibre within the sheathe. Before and after the blowing-in process the gas and watertight seal up to 0.5 bar is performed automatically, resulting in consistent blowing-in performance.”
What advantages does RAUSPEED EasyConnect have over existing installation techniques?
“EasyConnect reduces both the time and manpower required to arrange and complete the blowing-in of fibre optic cable. Primarily, property access is only necessary once, meaning that the logistical issues associated with planning appointments around homeowners are mitigated. Similarly, during the installation process only one technician is required to blow-in the cables from a singular, central point, with the blowing-in box performing the role previously occupied by the other. This method eliminates the downtime frequently experienced with existing techniques, allowing technicians to make more productive use of their time. Overall, the process is much faster and far more efficient, while halving the cost of labour.”
How can RAUSPEED EasyConnect help alleviate the issues facing fibre roll-out in the UK?
“RAUSPEED EasyConnect has the potential to accelerate fibre roll-out in the UK and bring us up to speed with our European counterparts. By minimising the time and manpower required to establish a successful connection, we have the capacity to install fibre to multiple homes in a shorter time frame and speed up overall rollout speed. Previously, a single installation would require the presence of two technicians, with subsequent downtime for each. With EasyConnect, only a single technician is required and downtime is eliminated, meaning they are able carry out more installations, faster. In theory, rollout speed could be doubled by halving the number of technicians necessary to complete a single installation.”
Is it future-proof?
“All RAUSPEED micro ducts have a design life of 100 years and fit perfectly with the complete RAUSPEED system solution, comprising duct, fittings and accessories. As well as a proven record for fibre optic blowing-in performance. Meaning there’s no risk of the technology breaking down or going out of date. The RAU-PP sheath provides increased tensile strength, and is available as a thick-walled RAUSPEED Xtreme variant for particularly heavy-duty applications, like horizontal drilling, and ensures that the connection remains secure well into the future.”
RAUSPEED EasyConnect will be an instrumental technology in ensuring that the UK achieves gigabit-capable broadband for all by 2025. By mitigating the weaknesses of existing Fibre-to-the-Home installation techniques, RAUSPEED EasyConnect reduces both the time and labour required to achieve full fibre connectivity in a given property, in turn accelerating the speed of fibre roll-out across the UK. Thanks to their superior quality, our RAUSPEED micro ducts offer a 100-year design life to ensure that every connection is future-proof.
About Paul Churm:
As an experienced and highly motivated Sales Manager at REHAU, Paul has a sound working background in the technical details and sales of services and products. As Sales Manager for REHAU’s Fibre Optic Division, Paul is responsible for offering technical and commercial support as well as tailored experiences to customers, including finding the best solution for them based on cost, installation and timing parameters. Currently, he is focused on bringing the REHAU RAUSPEED microduct system to market in the UK, following product success overseas.
His extensive technical and supervisory experience, strong leadership, organisational skills and proven track record in working well under pressure has helped to shape relationships with colleagues and customers alike, as he looks forward to continuing to promote the benefits of RAUSPEED in the UK.