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October 31, 2011

BT Fibre broadband rollout moving faster

BT’s roll out of fibre broadband is set to be completed a year ahead of schedule as they take on a further 520 engineers to accelerate the roll out.

fibre optic cable BT Fibre broadband rollout moving fasterBT had originally planned on having two thirds of the UK covered with fibre optic broadband by 2015, but they are taking on all these new engineers, most which are ex-armed forces, to help with the fibre deployment and will mean that BT hope to have this target completed by the end of 2014, a year ahead of schedule.

BT are investing £2.5bn into their fibre network, the majority of which is done as FTTC (Fibre To The Cabinet) for most of the country. Although FTTC is not classed as full fibre as it only has the fibre optic cable going form the exchange to the street-side cabinet and then requires standard copper wires to take it the remaining distance to the premises it does represent a huge increase in broadband speeds over what is available by standard broadband lines which are based on copper all the way. Currently the FTTC solution offers broadband speeds up to 40Mb, although this is set to double by next spring along with the headline speed for the full fibre (FTTH) being increased to a huge 300Mb.
Due to their speeded up roll out it will also see BT bringing forward £300 million of the investment forward to help fund the progress.

Currently around 6 million premises has fibre optic broadband available to them, with this figure likely to reach 10 million in 2012 and then to hit the two thirds of UK premises by 2014.

Only a few days ago the UK were ranked in 25th position on global broadband speeds based on the results from “Akamai’s State of the Internet report”, it is news of this accelerated rollout which should hopefully see the UK quickly rise of the world rankings, especially as the UK government has aims to have the best super fast broadband network in Europe by 2015.

BT markets their own fibre broadband solution as BT Infinity.


October 27, 2011

54% of new Virgin broadband customers take 30Mb+ broadband

Virgin cable broadband service is continuing to grow in popularity according to their latest set of results with most new customers taking broadband with a speed of 30Mb or above.

virgin media logo 54% of new Virgin broadband customers take 30Mb+ broadbandVirgin have just released their Q3 2011 results and it shows that they have increased their number of cable broadband customers by 24,300 to their fibre optic cable broadband service but have lost 5,200 customers on their standard DSL service. The customers on Virgins DSL service are those who are not in areas covered by Virgin Medias cable network and so will connect via standard copper broadband connections on BT’s network.

They are also seeing far more new customers taking out super fast broadband options, with 54% of new subscribers taking out broadband with speeds of 30Mb or above, this is compared to a year ago where just 28% were taking 20Mb or higher.

Of Virgin Media’s 4,072,900 cable broadband customers, over 26% are now taking 20Mb or higher broadband form them, this equates to over 1 million customers.

We anticipate allot of Virgin broadband customers who have existing deals may only move to faster broadband packages when they are offered free upgrades to do so. Virgin Media already offer a 50Mb broadband and are rolling out a 100Mb broadband service that is due to be completed during 2012 that will be available to 8 million homes.

Virgin will no doubt eventually change their packages and will not offer their 10Mb broadband service but it is likely to be increased, many customers may only then move to a faster broadband connection when they will not have to pay more for it.

Neil Berkett, the Chief Executive of Virgin Media, said:
Over a quarter of our entire base now subscribe to speeds of 20Mb or higher and a record number of
customers joined us on superfast broadband speeds during the period with. In TV, we have quadrupled the
number of households using our game-changing TiVo service and customer advocacy for this product is
very strong.

We are increasing the value and mix of our customer base as people add or move to higher tier services
and as new joiners increasingly take up higher value products. This, along with subscriber growth, has
increased revenue and we have had further substantial increases in free cash flow and OCF. Our strong
and sustained financial performance allows us to continue to invest in giving our customers more value and
further differentiating our range of market leading products.


October 25, 2011

UK down in 25th spot for global broadband speed

The latest “State of the Internet” report by Akamai found the UK lagged back in 25th spot based on countries broadband speeds around the world.

This latest report is for the second quarter of 2011 and actually saw European countries placed well in the top 10 of average broadband speeds, as usual though it is South Korea (13.8Mb), Hong Kong (10.3Mb) and Japan (8.9Mb) who top the list.
However, coming in in 4th spot was the Netherlands (8.5Mb), then the Czech Republic (7.4Mb) followed by Switzerland (7.3Mb).

The UK averaged just over 5Mb putting it back down in 25th spot.

However, where the UK does climb the rankings is for general broadband connectivity where we rank 11th, this is due to the fact that over 91% of users connected to the internet have broadband speeds of 2Mb or greater. The leader in this category, maybe rather surprisingly, was Bulgaria with 97% followed by the Czech Republic with 95%.

Top fastest 100 cities for broadband didn’t contain 1 UK city, with the highest ranked European city being Brno in the Czech Republic which was at number 55 averaging 8.3Mb. The top 100 cities included 59 form Japan and 10 from South Korea as has tended to be the case every time these reports are released.

All is not doom and gloom for the UK though, we currently have BT rolling out their fibre broadband network across the UK which is due to reach two thirds of the country by 2015 at a cost of around £2.5bn. Virgin Media are also looking at and working on ways to increase their broadband speeds offered to customers via their cable network. So going forward we would expect the UK to start climbing the rankings and hopefully by 2015 when the uptake of fibre broadband across the country has increased the average broadband speed test results will make for far more pleasant reading.


October 20, 2011

Derry first city to get full FTTC coverage

The first city in the UK & Ireland to be fully upgraded to Fibre broadband is Derry in Northern Ireland.

fibre optic cable Derry first city to get full FTTC coverageEvery BT street cabinet in Derry has now been upgraded to FTTC (Fibre To The Cabinet) and now means that around 40,000 homes and businesses will be able to use the new fibre broadband service. It is probably little co-incidence that Londonderry was high up on BT’s list of places to get fibre broadband fully installed to as BT are one of the main sponsors of Derry for 2013 when they become the UK City of Culture.

FTTC will offer users in Derry up to 40Mb broadband speeds with this likely to increase to up to 80Mb next year when BT increases the available broadband speeds across its fibre network.

Colm O’Neil, the BT Chief Executive in Northern Ireland, told this to the BBC:

There is different pricing and we have done it on an open access basis.

It is a more expensive product than your standard broadband product but for that, you would potentially get 10-50 times increase in speed.

This city on the north west coast of Ireland, right on the edge of Europe, now has access to speeds and connectivity better than people in Hong Kong, Tokyo, London or New York.

That is an important message for the business community to understand.“Derry first city to get full FTTC coverag

Customers in Derry won’t get an automatic switch0over to the fibre broadband, this is because prices are currently around 30% more expensive than standard broadband connections, but as Mr O’Neil pointed out there are much larger speed increases available for the extra you will be paying.

Despite BT being one of the partners for Derry’s 2013 UK City of Culture this does not mean that the fibre broadband is only available via BT Infinity. Other Broadband providers will be able to offer services through the new fibre network.


October 14, 2011

Rats chew through Virgin Media’s broadband cable

An outage of Virgin Media broadband, TV and home phone services on Monday in parts of Scotland was caused by rats chewing through fibre optic cable according to Virgin Media.

Hundreds of customers in east Scotland were affected as the rats had chewed through the underground cables. Virgin Media engineers managed to fix the problem by Monday evening but the rats came back and chewed through them again on Tuesday afternoon meaning that services went down again.
The engineers once again came out and sorted the problem, with a spokesperson for the company saying:

We’ve now put additional measures in place to prevent further damage to our cables to avoid further disruption for our customers.



October 11, 2011

4G mobile broadband trials start in Cornwall

A trial of 4G mobile broadband has started in Cornwall to test LTE (Long Term Evolution) services and how it performs in the real world dealing with mobile broadband and fixed line broadband.

The trials are being performed between the telecom operators BT and Everything Everywhere (the name for the joint company of Orange & T-Mobile).
LTE services should offer faster mobile broadband speeds and in the trials will use the 800MHz spectrum which was previously used for analogue TV services.

200 people are signed up for the trial in St Newlyn East and South Newquay, 100 with fixed line connections and 100 with mobile broadband connections. The technology will be being tested to see if it is a feasible and reliable option to compliment fixed line broadband services for those in rural areas where currently they live a great distance from their local telephone exchange and struggle to get a decent broadband speed.

Those who are signed up for the free trial will receive the internet connections for free but will need to give feedback about their experiences with using it.

Chief Executive of BT Wholesale, Nigel Stagg, said:

The final ten per cent of the country is exceedingly difficult to reach with the available standard fixed-line solutions.

Our proof of concept trial in Cornwall will test the capabilities and services that a shared fixed and mobile data network can support.

BT aim to cover two thirds of the UK with it’s new fibre broadband network by 2015, however, with the remaining parts of the country not covered due to financial restrictions (BT will struggle to recoup on their investment as easily with many rural areas) it could well be that 4G technology is what will be looked at to help give the remaining homes without fibre a faster broadband connection.

Ofcom are due to start auctions of the 800MHz network next year.


October 5, 2011

BT to launch 300Mb fibre broadband

BT Broadband are to offer broadband speeds up to 300Mb via it’s FTTP (Fibre To The Premises/Home) and double the speeds of it’s FTTC (Fibre To The Cabinet) to around 80Mb during 2012.

bt logo BT to launch 300Mb fibre broadbandBT Openreach have announced today the speed increases that they are planning to roll out it the BT Fibre broadband network which will see the full fibre broadband connections that are available to some see the launch speeds of 110Mb have their available speeds upped to a whopping 300Mb from Spring 2012. Only a relatively small number of premises are connected via the full Fibre broadband offering from BT to be able to have these broadband speeds as a reality, however, the up to 300Mb broadband speeds do represent broadband speeds 3 times faster than the headline 100Mb broadband that Virgin Media currently offer. It would be little surprise though to see or hear of plans from Virgin media to also increase their headline speeds. We already know that they have run trials that allows them to offer speeds of up to 1.5Gb using the same infrastructure that they have already in place (Virgin’s 1.5Gb broadband trial a success).

On top of this BT also announced that they will be able to double the fibre broadband speeds that the majority of the country will receive via their FTTC deployment from 40Mb to 80Mb.

BT are investing £2.5bn in rolling out fibre broadband across the UK, the majority of which is via Fibre To The Cabinet which then requires the standard copper cables from the streetside cabinet to take broadband the remaining distance, by the end of 2015 they hope to have fibre broadband available to around two thirds of the country.

Liv Garfield, the chief executive of BT Openreach, said:

Today is a significant step in the UK’s broadband journey. These developments will transform broadband speeds across the country and propel the UK up the broadband league tables.

All our fibre products are fit for the future and these developments show that to be the case. As always, we want to go further and faster and so our journey doesn’t end here. We can turn up the dial should there be demand and so we can look to the future with confidence.

No-one is keener than us to extend these super-fast speeds to rural areas and so we will be bidding for public funds to help extend these services even further. The challenge is a tough one but by working with the public sector it is within our reach.

BT sell their fibre broadband to customers via BT Infinity.


October 3, 2011

BT Broadband power failure knocks out broadband

bt logo BT Broadband power failure knocks out broadbandBT Broadband has had broadband outages across the UK today after one of the major exchanges in Birmingham had a power failure.

At around 1 pm today (Monday 3rd October) problems started to arise for BT Broadband customers and it was a nationwide problem affecting customers up and down the country.

A BT Spokesperson earlier on said:

We can confirm that, as a result of a power issue at one of our major exchanges, some customers may currently be experiencing a loss of broadband service.

It is believed that the main problem has now been fixed with most BT Broadband customers back online, there are however some remaining customers who are still experiencing problems with connecting to their internet.

*** Anyone still experiencing problems with their BT Broadband are advised to reboot their Home Hub modem/router to hopefully fix any remaining problems. ***

BT Broadband customers can also keep an eye on the BT Service status update page for updates and estimated resolve times to their BT Broadband.


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