We are pleased to announce our plans to trial our Metrohaul network in a key central London location in November this year.
We believe that Metrohaul is a game changer that can unlock the potential of small cell, so we can start to see small cell deployments on the scale that is needed to support the UK’s ambitions for digital infrastructure.
Providing the connectivity between the small cell and the mobile network operator (“MNO”) core network (often referred to as “backhaul” or “transmission”) has been a significant barrier to deployment. The traditional approach has been for the MNOs to buy managed links from providers who install a fibre to the site, which they light it up and manage using their own platforms.
It is widely accepted that this approach is not feasible for small cells. Ofcom, DCMS, the Small Cell Forum and the MNOs themselves have all emphasised this. Simply put:
- the costs are too high.
- the time to market is too long.
- it is too disruptive.
- the solution is not future proof: MNOs will need more capacity and lower latency soon.
- the solution is not resilient: if the fibre is cut then the small cell has no alternative route.
Metrohaul will have a hybrid fibre / wireless architecture. We are investing in:
- a dark fibre ‘core’ that will connect our fibre nodes in rings.
- carrier grade optical equipment that will provide very high capacity to each fibre node.
- the latest wireless equipment that will provide high capacity, resilient connections from each fibre node to multiple small cells.
Our costs will be lower and our time to market will be shorter: because we do not need to install fibre to every small cell. Our solution will be future proof: we will provide high capacity, low latency ‘transparent’ links. And our solution will be resilient: our fibre will be deployed in independent “rings” that will allow traffic to be rerouted if the ring is cut.
We are deploying the first phase of our Metrohaul solution in central London and we will offer it to the MNOs as part of a free trial so they can experience it first hand.