330Mbps fibre: coming soon from British ISPs

330Mbps fibre: coming soon from British ISPs

Summary: BT Openreach has formally launched its portfolio of up-to-330Mbps FTTP products for other ISPs, which will then resell them to homes and small businesses

TOPICS: Broadband, Fiber, BT

The market for fibre-to-the-premises services in the UK is set to become much more competitive, after BT Openreach formally began offering other ISPs access to its full-fibre network.

The vast majority of BT's fibre services are fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) services, which still use the old copper connection between the street cabinet and the premises and are therefore slower than fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP). BT's FTTC currently has a maximum speed of 80Mbps, while its somewhat-delayed FTTP can go up to 330Mbps.

As of Monday, rival ISPs can now properly launch their own FTTP services, based on BT Openreach's infrastructure. Those ISPs had already been able to offer the services to their customers on a pilot basis, but the official launch means they can offer them with BT-backed service levels agreements and support — albeit only in 15 areas around the country for now.

"The commercial launch of FTTP is a major milestone," Openreach managing director Mike Galvin said in a statement. "Whilst we believe that FTTC will provide speeds that are suitable for consumers for some time, these FTTP products will allow CPs to offer SMEs and other bandwidth-hungry users the option of even higher speeds — some of the fastest in the world — and build propositions which help to grow the market for these higher-speed services."

BT's own retail arm does already offer FTTP, but only up to 110Mbps and only in Ashford, Bradwell Abbey, Highams Park, Chester South, St Austell and York.

The launch of up-to-330Mbps FTTP should be coming in the next week or two. Again, that will be a limited rollout for now, but BT is also piloting a scheme called 'fibre on demand' that will let customers in FTTC-enabled areas have fibre run to their premises for a cost.

Fibre-on-demand is set for a full launch in Spring 2013, but until then it will be trialled in St Agnes, High Wycombe, Bristol South, Edinburgh, Watford, Cardiff, Basingstoke, and Manchester.

The Openreach products launched on Monday will let ISPs offer services ranging up to 330Mbps on the downlink and 30Mbps on the uplink. There is a range of tiers leading up to those speeds, so the move should lead to a broad portfolio of different commercial products.

The 15 sites where BT's rivals can now roll out FTTP based on its infrastructure are:

  • Ashford
  • Bradwell Abbey
  • Chester South
  • Exeter
  • Falmouth
  • Forest Hill
  • Highams Park
  • Ilford
  • Leytonstone
  • St Austell
  • St Agnes
  • Liskeard
  • Truro
  • Wembley
  • York

Topics: Broadband, Fiber, BT

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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  • fixed costs...

    This could be another 'homes passed' scenario. It will be interesting to find the fixed costs charges levied on the fttp lines. If its anything like the hundreds of thousands quoted for a single leased line a long way from an exchange it won't have many takers.
  • they could use existing cable

    the road I live in was cabled years ago, I saw the contractors doing it. But in all the takeovers in the UK cable industry, nobody now knows it is there. If I remember, it was laid for Telecential, which was taken over by TeleWest, who were taken over by Nortel, who were taken over by Virgin (may have got that wrong, it's a bit like an Old Testament genealogy). At the moment the best BT can offer me is 20M through "Infinity", I get 14-15M through my standard Orange line (which is supposed to be 8M)