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BT Begins £1.5bn Fibre Optic Broadband Roll-out

Gordon Kelly


BT Begins £1.5bn Fibre Optic Broadband Roll-out

They may have sounded like words of unrealistic hope last week when Ofcom demanded greater fibre optic broadband investment last week but low and behold: British Telecom listened!

Just eight days later the former monopolist has leapt at the challenge announcing a £1.5 billion fibre roll-out programme which it hopes will bring 100Mbit connection speeds to 10 million homes by 2012. Even better, the infrastructure would then secure far easier upgrade paths to the 1Gbit and 10Gbit connections of the future.

"Broadband has boosted the UK economy and is now an essential part of our customers' lives," said Ian Livington, BT's CEO. "We now want to make a step-change in broadband provision which will offer faster speeds than ever before. This marks the beginning of a new chapter in Britain's broadband story. "This is a bold step by BT and we need others to be just as bold. We are keen to partner with people who share our vision for the next phase of the broadband revolution. We want to work with local and regional bodies to decide where and when we should focus the deployment. Our aim is that urban and rural areas alike will benefit from our investment."

All terribly positive noises here and it should give the company the platform to hold off rival cable and even WiMAX technologies in years to come - even if the country's biggest cable proponent, Virgin Media, is set to hit us with a 50Mbit offering before Chrimbo. Expect more details from all parties soon.

After a fairly dormant 18 months it seems the broadband speed race is back on.


In related news BT is also prepping a new Home Hub featuring wireless N (802.11n) - about time. Other benefits of the bat wing-esque model include WPA wireless security, a 15-20 per cent power saving on the previous iteration and four Ethernet ports for wired connections. So the Home Hub is now where other products were 18 months ago, which is actually about as close as it's been...


http://www.btplc.com/news/articles/showarticle.cfm?articleid={efd7b1fa-52ed-45bb-b530-734fac577e94 Press Release}


July 16, 2008, 5:40 am

This is great news, but people who live too far away from exchanges will still have to suffer the low speed connections. It'll be interesting to see how quickly this begins to hit homes, and how the speed compares to Virgin's 20Mb and 50Mb connections.

Tommy K

July 16, 2008, 6:02 am

here here I say


July 16, 2008, 3:34 pm

Take a look at the site below and you can check when your exchange is scheduled to be upgraded: http://www.samknows.com/bro...

The line you are looking for is 21CN WBC status under BT Wholesale.


July 16, 2008, 4:24 pm

Thanks CRTC! That's my local exchange on the list for Feb 2009 ;) Joy, joy!


July 16, 2008, 4:44 pm

An interesting web link, thanks! Reading the website though, BT's '21CN' programme was announced three years ago, so how is this development different? Is it suggesting that we'll all get FTTP (fibre to the premises)? Hope so!


July 16, 2008, 6:18 pm

It may have been 'announced' a fair while ago, but it is only now that we are seeing some concrete action. Part of the action is this announcement with the rest being exchanges being converted to allow provision. This is what the website above shows you. Incidentally, it shows 18 November 2008 as the date for my exchange so hopefully not long to go! ;)

I'm not jumping to BT's defense, but I'm glad we're seeing things moving.


July 16, 2008, 8:29 pm

Reading the samknows article about this, it looks like what it means is that new homes may get the 100mbit service but the best the rest of us will get (if we're lucky enough to be in the 1/6 of the population covered) is 40mbit.

Unfortunately no mention of upload speeds, although I can't be the only one hoping it'll be something decent this time (10mbit would do for a start).

WBC seems to be the ADSL2 24mbps service that Be already offers, are you sure that marks the fibre rollout as well?


July 17, 2008, 11:58 am

Sorry - you are quite right. The Samknows website shows the date for the faster ADSL2 technology and not fibre optic cable which is in a limited rollout. I must stop taking what I read on other forums as being necessarily accurate! Having said that - it's a step in the right direction.

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