BT promises 300Mbps FTTP by 2012


BT Openreach has launched its Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) product, pledging it will offer downstream speeds of 300Mbps by spring next year.

At present, the service can hit 110Mbps downstream speeds and will be available in just six locations from the end of October.

These are significant announcements and good news for the UK.

More locations will be added and speeds will rise, however, with a 1Gbps service currently being trialled in Kesgrave, Suffolk.

The six initial locations which will enjoy FTTP services are Ashford in Middlesex, Bradwell Abbey in Milton Keynes, Highams Park in North London, Chester South, St Austell and York.

"These are significant announcements and good news for the UK. High-speed broadband is essential for economic growth, which is why we want the UK to have the best superfast broadband in Europe by 2015," said communications minister Ed Vaizey.

"Improving the UK's broadband infrastructure will help our high-tech, digital industries grow. It will ensure the UK is an attractive place to start-up and base the businesses of tomorrow."

BT is looking for public funds to expand its fibre reach beyond the two-thirds it has pledged to cover.

"As always, we want to go further and faster and so our journey doesn't end here," said Olivia Garfield, CEO of Openreach.

"We can turn up the dial should there be demand and so we can look to the future with confidence."

Other service providers will be able to rent Openreach's FTTP lines and offer their own services, although there has been industry in-fighting over BT's pricing of its fibre products.

Earlier this year, telecoms companies including Virgin and TalkTalk sent a letter to the Government complaining about BT's pricing. BT responded by saying it was offering prices below the European average.

The war of words continued last month, as TalkTalk raised concerns over a potential monopolising of the fibre market. BT responded by saying it was listening to other providers as the roll-out progressed.

For the new FTTP services at 100Mbps downstream speeds and 30Mbps upstream speeds, BT is charging providers 436.32 a year for those with an existing wholesale line rental (WLR) or metallic path facility (MPF - essentially the copper a service provider pays for) service. Those wanting to pay for the same services without WLR or MPF deals will have to pay 537 a year.

Meanwhile, BT said it is improving its FTTC service and has been given permission to roughly double speeds at some point in 2012.

Despite the emphasis BT is placing on fibre, the majority of its customer base will be on copper for at least the next few years.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.