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Openreach releases ISP pricing for London fibre trial

The company will charge ISPs an annual fee of up to £255 per customer for access to its new fibre-to-the-home technology
Written by Andrew Donoghue, Contributor

BT has released details of the fees it plans to charge other ISPs in a new fibre-to-the-home pilot in London.

In a statement aimed at other service providers, posted on the BT Openreach website on Friday, the company announced that access to its Generic Ethernet Access Fibre to The Premises product would cost ISPs between £175 and £255 per annum for each customer line.

"This price range will apply to product bandwidth options up to and including the [100Mbps downlink and 10Mbps uplink] product with standard grade service repair response times," the company said.

The IT and telecommunications giant has already tested a greenfield deployment of FTTH at the new Ebbsfleet development in Kent, but the Highams Park pilot will mark BT's first brownfield fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) deployment in an existing residential area with an installed copper-based telecoms infrastructure.

News of the pilot in Highams Park first emerged in August and, although pricing information has now been released, the company is still refusing to comment on when the trials will take place. BT says the trials will involve up to 40,000 households.

A BT spokesperson said that comparing the Highams Park pricing to other broadband products provided by BT was not straightforward, given the large number of services available, but suggested that pricing for fully unbundled ADSL lines (£86.40 per annum) and partially unbundled lines (£15.60 per annum) would provide some comparison.

A source at a rival ISP told ZDNet UK on Tuesday that Openreach's charge of up to £255 a year was quite expensive, given that service providers would need to charge end-users at least 20 percent extra in order to generate a profit.

However, BT's spokesperson said the charge included services that would ordinarily be the responsibility of Openreach's ISP customers, so it had "extra value" when compared with Openreach's other products.

FTTH is the most expensive way of deploying high-speed, next-generation broadband connectivity to homes and businesses, particularly where a copper infrastructure already exists. BT's fibre rollout will therefore mostly entail fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC), where fibre-optic connectivity is extended as far as the street cabinet, and the connections between the cabinet and buildings remain copper-based. Trials of FTTC technology are taking place in London, Cardiff and Glasgow.

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