Home & Office

BT lines up 300Mbps broadband launch

The telecoms company plans to introduce super-fast broadband with download speeds of up to 300Mbps by spring next year, and is getting ready to wholesale 110Mpbs FTTP in six towns within weeks
Written by Ben Woods, Contributor

BT has set a date for the launch of its super-fast 300Mbps fibre broadband, as it gets ready to introduce 110Mbps service to six towns across the UK.

BT Openreach van

BT plans to use its full-fibre technology to deliver speeds of up to 300Mbps before summer 2012. Photo credit: didbygraham/Flickr

On Wednesday, BT laid out plans to use its full-fibre technology to deliver speeds of up to 300Mbps before summer 2012. It also invited ISPs to sign up for its wholesale 110Mbps fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) services before the end of October, and it announced it will start selling its own retail 100Mbps broadband to consumers from late November.

The first six towns to get 110Mbps FTTP broadband will be Ashford, Bradwell Abbey, Highams Park, Chester South, St Austell and York, where BT has been running trials of the technology.

"Improving the UK's broadband infrastructure will help our high-tech, digital industries grow," BT Openreach's chief executive Liv Garfield said in a statement. "All our fibre products are fit for the future, and these developments show that to be the case. As always, we want to go further and faster, and so our journey doesn't end here."

The wholesale side of the 110Mbps broadband is handled by BT Openreach, which will offer ISPs a maximum of 110Mbps downstream and up to 30Mbps upstream. BT Retail will sell the services to consumers under its Infinity brand. The company said it will announce pricing "shortly" and that a business 110Mbps FTTP service will be offered at a later, but unspecified, date.

BT said it will use the same FTTP technology to deliver download speeds of up to 300Mbps in 2012, and it noted it is trialling even faster speeds of up to 1Gbps in Kesgrave, Suffolk.

Its current fastest Infinity package uses fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) rather than FTTP. The company said it has received blessing from the relevant authorities to "roughly double" the speeds it offers on the Infinity service to 80Mbps. FTTP broadband uses fibre all the way from the BT exchange to the premises, whereas FTTC uses copper cabling for the final section between the cabinet and the building.

The fastest broadband package available to any UK home right now is the 100Mbps service offered by Virgin Media, although the company is now trialling 1.5Gbps connections at 'silicon roundabout' in Old Street, London.

Broadband expansion

BT's upcoming high-speed services are a part of the company's pledge to invest £2.5bn in the UK's broadband infrastructure, to bring fibre-based connections to two-thirds of UK premises.

"No-one is keener than us to extend these super-fast speeds to rural areas, and so we will be bidding for public funds to help extend these services even further," Garfield added. "The challenge is a tough one, but by working with the public sector, it is within our reach."

In mid-August, the Department for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport (DCMS) said it had allocated £363m of public money that councils in England and Scotland could apply for in order to improve broadband infrastructure. It aims to offer everyone in the UK minimum speeds of at least 2Mbps.

Get the latest technology news and analysis, blogs and reviews delivered directly to your inbox with ZDNet UK's newsletters.
Editorial standards