BT: 'Fibre' broadband can be as slow as 5Mbps

BT: 'Fibre' broadband can be as slow as 5Mbps

Summary: The company's wholesale division has created a new fibre-to-the-cabinet service that will have a minimum speed of 5Mbps, down from the previous minimum of 15Mbps


Customers who sign up for fibre-based broadband connectivity via BT's national rollout could get downloads speeds as low as 5Mbps, BT Wholesale has announced.

On Wednesday, the company's wholesale division told its ISP customers that they could resell a new fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) service with a minimum assured downstream speed of 5Mbps. Until now, the minimum speed for BT Wholesale's FTTC products was 15Mbps, which is still offered as the slowest speed in other products.

The move to a lower minimum threshold will make it possible for wholesale customers such as TalkTalk to sell more end users services that can be described as 'fibre'.

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"Consumers and businesses that have previously been unable to order fibre broadband over BT's network because their line was unable to support the minimum speed of 15Mbps will now able to do so via their ISP," BT Wholesale said in a statement. It added that the move was a reaction to customer demand, but also said that none of BT Wholesale's customers have signed up to resell the new product.

"While these customers' lines will be unable to support the super-fast speeds of up to 40Mbps offered by BT's FTTC service, the option of a lower minimum assured speed for FTTC means that some customers may see an improvement in their broadband speeds compared with the existing speed they receive over the copper network," the company added.

BT Retail will not itself be selling services with a 5Mbps minimum speed under the Infinity brand, as such services would not reach the up-to-40Mbps speeds that Infinity offers, a BT spokeswoman told ZDNet UK.

Customers who subscribe to the slower product will count as 'fibre' customers, the spokeswoman added.

BT Wholesale's announcement came a day before the European Commission published statistics on rising average broadband speeds in Europe. According to the Commission, in July this year 29 percent of EU broadband lines had speeds of 10Mbps or more, up from 15 percent a year before. Annual growth in mobile broadband stands at 45 percent.

However, the Commission said in a statement, "there is still a long way to go before EU reaches its targets of giving every European access to basic broadband by 2013 and fast and ultra fast broadband by 2020 as outlined in the Digital Agenda for Europe".

Topics: Broadband, Networking

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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  • OK, we are already Rip Off Britain so why should we not also get ripped off with sub standard broadband. This country is or soon will be a laughing stock if we continue to accept second best. When the existing bt wired infrastructure does not support decent fibre speeds so lets water down the broadband to fit what we have got. Brilliant another UK cop out!
    John Nettleton
  • I would be happy with a broadband speed of 5Mbps either fibre or copper wire. My connection as I type this is 113Kbps. It has been this speed since at least July 2010. Today's date is
    13 December 2010. My ISP is The Post Office. The lines are 'managed' by BT Out Reach. I have made dozens of phone calls to Post Office complaining. BT have been out to the house numerous times. I have been thru' the business of new master socket, try it with the plate off, change filters, it must be your internal wiring or your router(s). I have more than one but use only one at a time, there is nothing wrong with them. Nobody has climbed the poles outside in the street to check connections on the overhead telephone wires nor have they looked at the box attached to the side of the house.
  • I should add regarding the above that the person who is taking my money to provide me with this 'broadband service', the Post Office, do not attach any sense of urgency to this matter.
  • This 5Mbps fibre speed discussed above it nothing but a trick. It means users who obtain very highs current speeds of 6.6Mbps at the moment will be on a slower speed but with the kudos of being 'on fibre'. Which means a statistic can be rolled out eventually saying 85% of household broadband users are on 'fibre'. Even though they are on a slower speed than if they had stayed on copper. This is spin to come.
  • It really makes me laugh when I read about 'fibre broadband'! Oh dear, the folks that sign up for BT's latest package will have to put up with speeds as low as 5Mb/s. I agree with mnevis. You city folks don't know you're born. I would be extremely happy with a constant speed of 5Mb, 4Mb, 3Mb, 2Mb or even 1Mb! As it is I, like most rural dwellers I suspect, have to be content with constant breaks in connection and speeds as low as 100Kb/s. This has been the case since I signed up with Demon internet over 10 years ago.
    Politicians are great talkers but the worst doers. They promise and promise to improve the deplorable state of broadband in rural areas - particularly around election time - but actually NOTHING EVER GETS DONE