Openreach—BT's local access network business—has unveiled details of its plans to deploy fibre-optic cable instead of traditional copper to connect homes on a 1,000 acre new build project in Kent.
From August 2008, Openreach will offer a fibre based broadband product at Ebbsfleet Valley that can support data at speeds of up to 100Mbit/s—the fastest headline speed available to residential customers in the UK.
According to BT, this would allow multiple HDTV channels to be watched simultaneously, HDTV gaming, and near instant music downloads. Openreach will offer all its products on a wholesale basis to all UK communication providers allowing for competition at a retail level. BT already provides some 120,000 businesses across the country with fibre connections.
Steve Robertson, chief executive of Openreach, said: "This is our first deployment of fibre rather than copper to residential customers on a new build site. It will enable communication providers to gauge what demand exists for very high speed broadband, and to assess what commercial models may be appropriate in the future."
BT has expressed a desire to make greater use of fibre in suitable new build sites, pointing to the significant opportunity presented by the Government's plan to build 3 million new houses by 2020. According to BT this investment depends upon an agreement with Ofcom which is currently engaged in consultation about how best to extend the regulatory framework to accommodate future fibre deployment. All current regulation is based upon BT offering wholesale products over copper.
BT has also promised to increasing broadband speeds over copper, introducing services of up to 24 Megabits from Spring 2008.
DTG Staff | 10.01.2008