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BT Enlarges Roll Out of 'Super Fast' Broadband

Gordon Kelly


Is BT getting back in the game?

Nearly two years on from announcing its £1.5bn Fibre Optic broadband roll-out plans the telco has confirmed it is ploughing another £1bn into the project. This will see it expand coverage from 40 per cent to 60 per cent of the population and provide customers with speeds of up to 40Mbit per second.

"We are investing in the future of our business," said BT CEO Ian Livingstone. "Assuming an acceptable environment for investment, we see the potential to roll out fibre to around two-thirds of the UK by 2015. This will take our total fibre investment to £2.5bn which will be managed within our current levels of capital expenditure."

Interestingly BT has also revealed an exclusive UK deal with OnLive, the streaming games developer, to deliver high-end gaming through this network. Dubbed 'Cloud gaming', OnLive allows users with relatively modest hardware to play games for any platform through their PCs with the heavily lifting done by OnLive data centres.

OnLive has previously said a reliable 5Mbit connection is required to play these games at HD resolutions, so it should be just fine on the new fibre network. When will BT launch this service? Sadly it didn't say. So can we expect streaming game rival Playcast to launch something similar? I'd expect so and Virgin Media would be a good fit...

Speaking of which, this is the biggest hurdle for BT: cable. Virgin's service is already offering 50Mbit connections (which actually perform at and above this speed) and it has plans for a 200MBit service as soon as next year. Consequently while BT is definitely improving, the bigger question may be: is its main rival still pulling away?


Via BBC News

Via Times Online


May 13, 2010, 11:00 pm

Of course, the key word here is 'population' as opposed to area. It's very likely that this is just a few more exchanges in built up areas where there's already a wide choice of 24Mbps services and Virgin's FTTC service. Pretty dull news really and it's be far more exciting when they announce plans to get over the 90-95% mark.

As for onLive they must really be struggling if they're willing to give an exclusive to BT (Retail I assume?). They are the biggest ISP but with not even a quarter of the market and a poor reputation for good service it seems like exclusivity may well harm onLive's chances unless they've managed to negotiate an aggressive marketing campaign using BT's resources.


May 14, 2010, 1:00 am

"Virgin's service is already offering 50Mbit connections (which actually perform at and above this speed)"

i have virgins 50meg, but on speedtest websites, it never shows 50meg download. I do get 2.5 Mbps on transmission - can someone convert this into the 'meg' used by virgin?

Joseph Middleton

May 14, 2010, 1:04 am

Seriously, I could cry like a little girl on the state of my internet at home and the thing that really makes my skin crawl is that its BT's monopoly and i can do nothing about it. Even Ofcom is on their side.

Totally powerless. Don't know how BT get away with it?! There should be riots.


May 14, 2010, 2:11 am

Sounds like an advert for Sex Panther. BT Broadband. 100% of the time it works for 60% of the population.



May 14, 2010, 3:38 am

Why can't OnLive just die? The last thing I as a gamer want to see is even less ownership of the games I "buy": Steam and other modern DRM is bad enough, and now this?


May 14, 2010, 4:57 am

@boringg - about 20Mbit. That's extremely low, but the bottleneck could be on site - I believe on ThinkBroadband is endorsed by Virgin to deliver correct speed results on 50Mbit. Otherwise try downloading an Ubuntu image - they tend to be very quick. I get about 60Mbit on my 50Mbit connection.

@Greg - love it!

@kaworu1986 - it's the future, no-one will own anything physical: music, film or games. You'll end up on the losing side.

Tim Sutton

May 14, 2010, 5:07 am


Don't take the lack of physical ownership lying down, fight the system!

I personally carve a hard copy of everything I download from Steam in binary 1s and 0s onto big stone tablets.

OT: BT will never run fibre to 95% of the population, it's just not worth it. For anyone not urban based, truly high speed connections will have to be some variety of wireless.


May 14, 2010, 5:29 am

@Tim - I think you mistake me for being ON the side of physical ownership!

Personally the idea of hoarding mountains of discs only to see them a) take up lots of space, b) need to be endlessly categorised only to c) see friends mix up the discs and d) then watch them become redundant as yet another new format evolves isn't something I care to keep on repeating.

The future is digital ;)


May 14, 2010, 6:04 am

I like the idea being able to see any film ever made via a flat rate monthly fee, but I also like blu-ray with it's lovingly compressed 36Mbit/sec pixels. So I think premium content stored on plastic will last for at least another 20 years.


May 14, 2010, 12:14 pm

jopey said on 14th May 2010 "I think premium content stored on plastic will last for at least another 20 years."


It wont even last another 5 years. and thats a good thing.


May 14, 2010, 12:24 pm

@Gordon - You could alway buy some hard drives (either external ones or just build a small file server to put on your home network) and keep the physical media out of sight/other people's hands after you ripped their content on them for usage. I've been doing just that for the past 5 years now and haven't looked back.

Energizer Bunny

May 14, 2010, 1:09 pm

Ahh sitting here in good old zone 2 central London on <1mb broadband. BT are upgrading Poplar exchange in 2013 so every chance I might get speeds well above late 90's dial up by then. Fingers crossed!


May 14, 2010, 1:42 pm

As good as 50 / 100 / 200Mb Broadband sounds, there's a problem with Virgin.

When I called them to ask about their service (as Virgin laid Fibre down my road ages ago) they told me that "Fibre wasn't put into my block of flats at the time it was rolled out".

I said "no problem - can you do it now please".

They said "Nope. Not done then means it can never be done either now or in the future, no matter what you want to pay for it".

So to be honest BT don't have too much to worry about, competing against a company that can't expand to new customers !

Chris Marsden

May 14, 2010, 5:15 pm

@AJ - Our estate was built at the time cable was being laid across the country (Telewest at the time) but did it get put on our estate? No! Are there any plans to put it down? No!

Why is it that when new estates are built that only BT get to put in the service and nobody else seems to get a look in?

Is it because they are not allowed or they can't be arsed?

BTW my BB is 1.3Mbit as I am too far from the exchange to get anything else.

A new exchange was not deemed necessary for the 1000 or so house being put up in the area! Well done BT for having foresight!


May 14, 2010, 7:31 pm

And so we see the death of OnLive in the UK before it has even started. When will companies realise that exclusive deals with one carrier is the worst thing they can do? Did they not learn from the huge mess of Palm with the Pre, where the take-up was appalling because only one network had it and they didn't want to promote it! Or that O2 had a very hard time because all the UK iPhone owners were hammering the network (and AT&T in the US).

In the case of OnLive, they've screwed themselves by tying to BT. Unless BT blocks their wholesale customers from accessing the fibre network (good luck!) then every other "piggy back" ISP is going to be a better deal. I'm with BE and even though it's on the BT network, I get 4 times faster net than BT currently and it's cheaper...


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