BT Openreach jacks up fibre-on-demand prices

BT Openreach is raising the price for residents who want to upgrade their fibre-to-the-cabinet service to a full fibre-to-the-home service by up to £2,625.

BT Openreach's user-pays model for fibre-on-demand upgrades from fibre to the cabinet (FttC) to fibre to the premises that Australian Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said could be replicated in Australia has seen its prices raised by as much as £2,625 (AU$4,943) for the service.

Openreach's fibre-to-the-cabinet upgrades to its wholesale network are due to be completed sometime this year. The company is utilising the existing copper line into each premises in order to deliver broadband services over the upgraded network, but customers on the FttC service who wanted a full fibre-to-the-premises service can order the fibre-on-demand service to get 300Mbps download speeds. Those customers could expect to pay between £200 (AU$376) if they live 200 metres from the node right up to £3,500 (AU$6,590) for the upgrade if their premises is located 2km from the cabinet.

The company has today announced that it is raising the cost of the install of fibre on demand from May this year. Starting at £300 (AU$565) for a fibre upgrade for a premises that is less than 200 metres from the node, right up to £6,125 (AU$11,533) for a premises close to 2km from the node.

Openreach estimates that 96 percent of premises reside within 2km of a node. The remaining 4 percent will be quoted charges for the installation when applying for the fibre-on-demand service.

The company told ISP Review that its original pricing for fibre on demand was based on modelled assumptions, but the rollout has shown that the cost of deployment is higher than Openreach had expected. Openreach also estimated that the average charge for customers ordering fibre on demand would be between £1,100 (AU$2,071) and £2,500 (AU$4,707).

The one-off fixed connection cost will also rise from £500 to £750, and the monthly rental charge will increase from £38 per month to £99 per month.

The price rise comes as the Australian government is considering moving to what NBN Co has termed a " multi-technology model " for the National Broadband Network (NBN), which would see the fibre-to-the-premises plans scaled back in many places and replaced with fibre to the node, or a reuse of the existing hybrid fibre-coaxial networks.

When asked about BT's fibre-on-demand service before the election last year, Turnbull indicated that he would support NBN Co having a similar product for premises in fibre-to-the-node areas that wanted the full fibre service.

"Absolutely. I don't see why you wouldn't do that. If you can offer fibre on demand, and the reason you've got that is you've got in these modern [full service access networks], you've got ports that are capable of supporting GPON and VDSL," he said.

"And so if you've got a customer that wants fibre for whatever reason, then there's no reason, technically, why you shouldn't make it available."