Feeds

BT fattens fibre customer pipes for free - with a contract extension

Requires commitment before coming across

Boost IT visibility and business value

BT broadband customers who subscribe to the company's Infinity 2 package will see their fibre download speeds nearly double from tomorrow, the national telco has promised.

Those punters will see current downstream speeds boosted from 38Mbit/s to "up to" 76Mbps on 12 April.

BT has said for some time now that its Infinity customers would soon gain access to a faster broadband network served via its fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) technology.

The company added that the increases, which include upstream speeds of "up to" 19Mbit/s, would not lead to cost hikes for its customers.

Those subscribers on BT's Infinity 1 package will also see their broadband download speeds swell to "up to" 38Mbps and with upload speeds that could reach 9.5Mbit/s, it said.

Here's the rub, though: Existing customers already signed up to Infinity will be required to agree a new contract – at no extra cost – with BT before being able to access the new speeds.

The Register asked BT to explain why this was necessary and to also tell us how long an existing subscriber would be required to be tied into that "new contract"?

A BT spokesman confirmed that such a customer would first need to order a "regrade" from the company before "extending" their contract to another 12 or another 18 months.

"The new term starts from when we upgrade [their] service," he said.

“Super-fast broadband is helping people enjoy the internet far more than ever before. However, many providers have forgotten about the importance of fast upload speeds," said BT consumer managing director John Petter.

"BT believes that fast upstream speeds are vital given how people now use the internet and so we are distancing ourselves from the competition by providing the UK’s fastest upload speed.”

Roughly seven million premises in Blighty can currently upgrade to BT's Infinity products. The company is hoping to "pass" 10 million homes and businesses this year as part of its £2.5bn investment in fibre upgrades for two-thirds of the country.

The company is also bidding for government funds from the £680m BDUK pot for rural and urban areas. BT is the only telco to have secured such an investment so far.

Of course, those theoretical maximum speeds could greatly vary for customers depending on how far away their homes are from the street side cabinets installed by BT's Openreach engineers that tie copper phone lines to BT's fibre optic tech.

The company is offering a "mixed economy" broadband network, with most of it being FTTC. The more desirable FTTP technology, that involves blowing fibre directly into a premises, is much harder and more time-consuming to roll out – as we discovered here.

BT recently talked up a product dubbed "FTTP on demand", that will eventually allow cabinets to carry faster broadband speeds of "up to" 300Mbps – at a hefty cost. Consequently, the company isn't punting that service to the consumer market, and is instead targeting businesses.

Meanwhile, seeing as BT mentioned its cable rival in its statement advertising the the Infinity upgrade, we thought it would be a good idea to get Virgin Media's response.

A spokesman at the UK's second largest ISP told us:

"This is good news for Britain that BT is trying to 'Keep Up' with Virgin Media ... We've now completed our roll-out of 100Mbit/s to 13 million homes and now we're boosting our customers' speeds up to 120Mbps – that’s some 50 per cent faster than BT's top speed." ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
Trans-Pacific: Google spaffs cash on FAST undersea packet-flinging
One of 6 backers for new 60 Tbps cable to hook US to Japan
Tech city types developing 'Google Glass for the blind' app
An app and service where other people 'see' for you
UK mobile coverage is BETTER than EVER, networks tell Ofcom
Regulator swallows this line and parrots it back out at us. What are they playing at?
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.