BT to fibre-up another 114 exchanges
'Local monopolies benefit no one' thunders exec
BT is upgrading a further 114 exchanges – the majority of which will receive fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) technology.
The telco said this morning that the latest rollout would serve one million homes and businesses in the UK. The latest exchanges earmarked by BT are listed here.
Its Openreach division said that it planned to complete the upgrades by the end of autumn 2012.
BT has committed £2.5bn to its plan to bring "superfast" broadband to two-thirds of homes and businesses in the UK by the end of 2015.
Along the way, it has been upsetting rival ISPs. Last weekend, TalkTalk's commercial boss David Goldie claimed that BT was trying to regain "the monopoly position that it lost many years ago" courtesy of its provision of fibre optic broadband.
That's a claim BT has repeatedly batted aside.
"Unlike other companies, BT will offer access to service providers on an open, wholesale and equivalent basis thereby supporting a competitive market," said BT in a statement announcing the exchange upgrades today.
BT is hoping to "pass"* 10 million homes and businesses during the course of 2012.
It is also ambitiously pursuing more investment from the broadband cash recently handed out from central government to local authorities in the UK, in an effort to get its fibre into 90 per cent of homes.
“There is no substitute for experience when it comes to fibre deployment and we have more experience than anyone," said Openreach managing director Mike Galvin.
"We are also committed to offering open and equivalent access so that customers can benefit from a competitive market. Local monopolies benefit no one and no public funds should go to supporting them,” he added.
The FTTC installs should eventually offer download speeds of up to 80Mbit/s and upstream speeds of 10Mbit/s, while fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) will completely replace old metal lines. Customers connected to them can expect to receive about 100Mbit/s downstream.
But as The Register was first to report in May this year, BT was forced to delay the rollout of its FTTP tech, after roughly a quarter of its trials found engineers taking two days to blow cables into customers' homes.
Trials were taking twice as long as anticipated due to duct blockages that needed to be cleared. Some people who had dug up their gardens presented problems for BT engineers, who have found the infrastructure troublesome. ®
*BT uses the "passed" terminology to point out that its infrastructure sometimes passes homes that don't have a copper line.
> remind me, why did we hand BT a virtual monopoly, and then put next to no actual requirements on them?
No actually we had a virtual monopoly from the good old days of state ownership. We then sold this state owned monopoly to get a bankrupt government some much needed cash.
Having taken the dosh for this monopoly it was decided to stop it being a monopoly.
But rather than allowing it to compete, they then had their hands tied behind their backs for the first 10 years. Otherwise we'd have seen fibre to most houses back in the 90s. But the law only let them offer Video on Demand as a easy cash winner, they were not legally allowed to do cable TV, so encourage competition from other companies, who it was hoped would invest it laying cables. VOD only escaped because when they write the law no one thought about it.
But back then the technology for VOD didn't exist. I think they tried it out in Colchester. Being BT of course they wouldn't do the obvious thing to make money and sell pron, so the market research suggested that the main money winner which would have paid for it all was sados who had missed the start of Corry or East Ends etc... and couldn't bare the thought of not seeing it and would happily have paid BT what ever they asked for to be allowed their fix.
But hey, it didn't work. So BT were left with no way of funding a high speed network back in the days when Internet access was for us weirdos and El Reg was a news letter (OK they might have become a website by this point)
Now I can sit back and watch all the down votes come in. I'm not a BT fan, they've screwed up a lot of things, but that is the history of how we got into this mess.
yay, more uselessness from BT. i'm guessing they'll, yet again, be 'succesfully supplying super-fast broadband' to the 90% of homes that can already get it from other providers, rather than doing what they're supposed to and supplying it to people currently doing without, out in the country and such.
oh yes and then bitching about the low take up rates, as though its some sort of surprise that the people who already have perfectly good broadband dont want to pay BT more money...
afterall, god forbid that BT should actually have to replace someone's 30 year old phone line to supply them with decent broadband - that would actually take some sort of effort, rather than just flipping a switch at the exchange and swapping some settings in the cabinet.
remind me, why did we hand BT a virtual monopoly, and then put next to no actual requirements on them?
One More Time
I've said it before and no doubt I'll say it again, but BT are spending fortunes upgrading exchanges to fibre when there are still loads of exchanges which haven't been upgraded to ADSL2.
We keep being told that BT are comitted to improving "rural" (ie anywhere that isn't a densely populated urban area) broadband speeds. We have also been told that fibre to the premises is prohibitively expensive in rural areas. However fibre to the cabinet would not improve matters in many rural areas since there is no cabinet. The long cable runs straight from exchange to the premises. ADSL2 would at least give some improvement over these long lines.
So for these people with either no broadband or painfully slow broadband nothing will change because BT can't be arsed to install ADSL2 because it doesn't grab headlines like fibre does. They won't install FTTP and FTTC isn't even an option.
But guess what - these people are still paying the same bills as everybody else. So the poor saps with slow broadband are subsidising customers who already have ADSL2+ to be upgraded to even faster fibre.
Both BT and the government tell us they are committed to providing "fast broadband" to everybody but I see no evidence of this. Com on uk.gov put your foot down and tell BT that they MUST cease upgrading people to fibre when they already have fast broadband until such time as every home in the country with a BT provided line has a minimum connection speed of 2Mb/s.
And while you're at it guys make broadband billing pro-rata on speed. People getting a 1Mb connection should only pay 5% what the people with 20Mb/s pay. That's one thing that would make ISPs pull their fingers out. After all if you are connected to a crappy exchange most ISPs (BT excluded) will actually charge more than if you were on a good exchage.