July 12, 2013
BT is to up the fibre broadband speed stakes once again for those who are connected to their full FTTP (Fibre To The Premises) connections by later this year by launching an Infinity 300Mb broadband service.
The Infinity 300Mb package will offer 300Mb download speeds and 20Mb upload speeds and will have no usage limits or any traffic management. Existing FTTP customers will be able to upgrade from their existing packages if they wish. It will cost £50 per month which is £15 more than BT’s current fastest 160Mb package.
It is no real surprise that this new package is to be laucnhed as BT have been testing 300Mb broadband since last year and now feel that towards the end of this year as the right time to launch it.
Along with the news of the new Ultrafast broadband package BT has also announced their new Home Hub 5 which offers superfast ac Wi-Fi, 4 GigE ports and an integrated VDSL modem and will mean that BT Infinity customers will no longer need to have 2 boxes. The Home Hub 4 will still be uised by customers who are connected to BT’s copper network.
David McDonald, from BT, said:
“The new BT Home Hub 5 and the introduction of 300Mbps FTTP show how we are obsessed with providing an amazing broadband experience. BT has always had the edge here, but we are now leaping ahead of the competition. Only BT offers a service that combines dual band, Wi-Fi, no traffic management, market leading network performance and Superfast BT Infinity. BT’s unlimited products really are “Totally Unlimited”, and BT will never do anything to slow these customers down. If customers want a great browsing, streaming, gaming and uploading experience there is only one choice.“
June 25, 2013
BT have won the contract to deliver fibre optic based broadband to Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire in a project that is worth £18.06 million.
The news that BT has won the contract is not really of any surprise since they are the only company left bidding for the projects that are receiving funding from the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) projects which is government funding to help get fibre based broadband to more rural areas where BT themselves won’t deploy to on their own because it not being financially viable to do so.
The “Connected Counties” project will see fibre broadband being made available to more than 90% of premises in both Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire and should be completed in 3 years, by the end of March 2016. This will mean that an extra 52,500 homes and businesses in the counties will benefit, with 38,500 in Buckinghamshire and 14,000 in Hertfordshire. This is on top of the 153,000 in Buckinghamshire and 400,000 in Hertfordshire that already have access to BT’s fibre projects through their own commercial roll out.
On top of this the remaining 10% or so who won’t be receiving the fibre broadband should receive a minimum of 2Mb broadband speeds as part of the governments pledge that that should be the minimum everyone should have access to in the country.
The £18.06 million is being funded in the following way: BT £8.6 million, Hertfordshire County Council £1.61 million, Buckinghamshire County Council £3.7 million (this includes funding from the two Local Enterprise Partnerships) & the Governments BDUK giving £4.15 million.
Broadband speed tests run by Ofcom earlier this year show that currently the average broadband speed in Hertforshire is 16Mb with 9.5% of premises there receiving less than 2Mb speeds. Buckinghamshire has an average broadband speed of 12.4Mb and 11.6% of premises receiving less than 2Mb.
December 13, 2012
The first place to have their broadband upgraded to fibre through the BDUK funding is the village of Ainderby Steeple in North Yorkshire.
The unveiling of this new cabinet is the first to be done through funding from the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) pot of money that was set aside form the government to help roll out fibre optic broadband to areas where it was not commercially viable for BT to roll out to on their own.
BT won the contract for the funds for North Yorkshire in July earlier this year, having beaten Fujitsu to secure it. The pot of money set aside by the BDUK is £530m. The North Yorkshire contract was worth £17.8m from the BDUK, £10m invested by BT and £8.6m coming from the European Regional Development Fund. More areas of North Yorkshire are likely to have the new fibre cabinets also installed as part of the scheme.
Overall, the BDUK scheme has received criticism as so far all contracts for funding have been won by BT with Fujitsu even pulling out of contract negotiations in some instances.
October 26, 2012
BT has upped the headline download speed of its’ full fibre broadband package to a very healthy 160Mb with this replacing the previous headline speed of 100Mb and taking it past Virgin Media’s fastest speed of 120Mb.
However, before too many people get a bit giddy about those great speeds it must be pointed out that this is only available to those customers who are connected with full fibre (FTTH) which only accounts for around 85,000 homes in the UK at present, reportedly just 0.05% of households according to the FTTH Council Europe.
Most of the UK will be being connected with FTTC (Fibre To The Cabinet) which itself is currently able to offer headlines speeds of up to 76Mb.
The 160Mb deal for those that are able to take it will still have the 20Mb upload speeds and will cost a very reasonable £35 per month plus £14.60 per month line rental (or the equivalent of £10.75 per month if paid 1 year in advance) which also comes with evening and weekend calls included.
Over at ThinkBroadband they note that as BT has been trialing 330Mb speeds at a few exchanges that this 160Mb deal could well be this product but with speed restrictions in place to cap it at 160Mb for the time being with the eventual action being to offer the 330Mb speeds for those who “need” it.
For those who think that they want to be able to have this lovely 160Mb speed then from next year this may be possible as BT are launching a fibre -on-demand service where users can upgrade their FTTC connection to a full fibre one, however it is unlikely to be a cheap thing for consumers to do as they will need to pay BT for this to be done for them on their behalf.
June 27, 2012
BT Openreach have announced a Pilot scheme to that will see FTTP (Fibre To The Premises) available as an on demand service.
The “FTTP on Demand” service i to be trialled in 8 locations around the country and will offer customers fibre broadband speeds of up to 330Mb. It is anticipated that Spring 2013 will see the FTTP on demand service made publicly available, however it will only be available in areas where there is FTTC (Fibre To The Cabinet) already deployed.
The Phase one of testing is to run from July 2012 to early 2013 and will be used to find any issues involved with the participating Communications Providers (ISPs) to place orders for the 330Mb broadband download speeds and either the 20Mb or 30Mb upload speeds required for any customers in the Phase one test area which is in parts of High Wycombe, Bristol South as well as in St Agnes in Cornwall. Edinburgh’s Waverley exchange will also be added to the trials in September 2012.
Phase two of the pilot runs from March 2013 to May 2013 and this will be used to test the new automated order process which will concentrate on the 330Mb download speed and the 30Mb upload speed product. Along with the areas taking part in Phase one, the Phase two areas to be added are parts of Watford, Cardiff, Basingstoke, and Manchester Central.
BT are currently working hard on their fibre network, and have currently got fibre broadband available to over 10 million premises in the UK with this to increase to cover two thirds of UK premises by the end of 2014, the majority of these will be via the FTTC option which currently offers broadband speeds up to 80Mb. Only 15 exchange areas in the UK so far have had full fibre to the premises deployed.
The FTTP on Demand service is likely not to be cheap when it does become available, places where it may become slightly more financially feasible are blocks of flats or apartments where the residents may be able to share the cost and bring down the installation cost of having the service installed.
The BT Openreach MD for Network Investment, Mike Gavin, said:
“FTTP on Demand has great potential and so we are proceeding with these pilots. Whilst we believe FTTC will be our mass market consumer product for some time yet, FTTP may be of interest to small and medium sized businesses and so we want to make it accessible throughout our fibre footprint. This development can potentially help SMEs to compete both at home and abroad as well as maintain and create jobs across the UK.“
March 13, 2012
TalkTalk are to start offering 80Mb fibre broadband from April this year they have announced.
From April, TalkTalk will be doubling the maximum broadband speed it offers via fibre optic broadband from 40Mb to up to 80Mb with upload speeds up to 20Mb.
The faster 80Mb broadband speeds will be available due to BT doubling the FTTC (Fibre To The Cabinet) broadband speeds on it’s network, BT announced that these new speeds would be available to their wholesale customers in April. BT themselves have not even announced the faster broadband speeds to their own customers yet so TalkTalk are getting in early with their promotion of the new deals!
Tristia Clarke, Commercial Director at Talktalk, said:
“Demand is continuing to increase for superfast broadband as more customers use their internet connections to watch live television, stream HD content, talk to their friends and family or play games that require real time responses.
We expect our new Superfast Fibre Optic Broadband to be very popular as it will allow the whole family to enjoy seamless connectivity and high upload and download speeds for unbeatable value.”
TalkTalk’s 40Mb fibre broadband is available for an additional £10 per month on the current Essentials or Plus package price while the new 80Mb broadband will be an additional £15 per month. There is also a £25 activation fee for an engineer visit to set up the service.
December 14, 2011
UK consumers are slow on the take up of superfast broadband according to Ofcom who have released their annual Communications Market Report.
Ofcom say that around 59% of the country has access to superfast broadband via either Virgin Media’s cable broadband or BT’s new fibre broadband network, yet despite this only 4% of households have taken up the superfast broadband option (as of June 2011) with most staying put on standard cheaper broadband deals. Ofcom rate superfast broadband speeds as broadband that is faster than 24Mb, this takes out ADSL2+ as users won’t be able to receive faster that the theoretical maximum that is offered by this.
The likely reason to this is the cost element. With the average broadband speed consumers in the UK receive coming in at 6.8Mb it is highly likely for many people (especially in these financially unstable times) that the broadband connection they currently have is more than sufficient for what they need for everyday use without needing to upgrade to more expensive yet much faster fibre broadband. For many the time to jump to fibre broadband will be when the applications and internet use they need requires faster broadband or that the cost of fibre broadband comes down to a level closer to what they are currently paying.
For the average Internet user currently most internet applications such as video streaming and general surfing perform well enough with the average broadband speeds we receive, however, going forward with more applications and more usage this could soon start to mean faster speeds are needed and will be when it becomes more of a need and requirement to upgrade to fibre.
Another reason might be because there hadn’t been too much advertising of fibre broadband services too, so consumers are unaware of what is available to them, especially as many broadband providers such as Sky have yet to start offering fibre broadband.
Fibre broadband take up in Japan is at 40% with 10% in America, Germany is slightly less with just 3%, Spain 2.2% and Italy 1.5%.
December 12, 2011
BT Openreach have announced a further 178 exchanges that to be upgraded to its fibre broadband technology.
The extra exchanges that have been listed will cover around 1.8 million homes and businesses with most of them being connected with FTTC (Fibre To The Cabinet) with most of them hopefully being connected during 2012.
Currently there are around 6 million premises in the UK that have access to fibre broadband via BT’s “BT Infinity” network and once all the exchanges on the current list and these new exchanges have all been enabled it will see BT having hit 80% of their target coverage of two thirds coverage across the UK by 2014.
BT have already brought forward the date by a year for when they hope to achieve their two thirds coverage by and along with this they also announced not long ago (read here) that they will be doubling their main 40Mb fibre broadband product to 80Mb next year too.
BT’s headline full fibre product (limited availability) will also be increased from 110Mb to a whopping 300Mb in early 2012 too, this is a huge difference that the current average broadband speed test result of 6.8Mb that the UK currently has. Unfortunately most of the UK will be connected by FTTC (the current 40Mb one) and not the full FTTH (Fibre To The Home) that will see the up to 300Mb speeds.
Although BT are investing £2.5bn in their fibre network to cover two thirds of the UK, they do believe that with extra investment and funding that around 90% of the UK could be covered with fibre broadband. This requires some of the money from the BDUK (Broadband Delivery UK) scheme to help BT roll out fibre that bit further.
The full list of the 178 exchanges that BT have announced can be viewed at www.btplc.com.
December 9, 2011
90% of the UK should have fibre broadband connections in 5 to 6 years according to BT’s main man.
David Cameron visited BT’s Adastral Park research HQ near to Ipswich where they were told by BT’s Chief Executive, Ian Livingstone, that fibre optic broadband could be available to 90% of homes and businesses within 5 to 6 years.
BT are currently aiming to have two thirds of the country connected to its fibre network in just 3 years time (by the end of 2014). However, the final push will be a time consuming and expensive for BT hence why it could be up to 6 years before there is 90% coverage with fibre broadband.
BT are investing £2.5bn in its fibre network to upgrade from copper wires to fibre optic cable. The majority of connections people will receive will be FTTC (Fibre To The Cabinet) as apposed to full fibre to the premises (FTTP). FTTC has fibre optics being used from the main exchange to the streetside cabinets and then the standard copper cable to go from the cabinet to peoples premises, only a small number will receive full fibre to the cabinet and then fibre form the cabinet to their premises, although this offers far greater speeds it is also far more costly to do.
Other funding for fibre comes from the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) scheme that sees around £530m from the government to help fund rural broadband schemes where it is not as financially viable for the likes of BT or Virgin Media to deploy their improved services.
November 30, 2011
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10 UK cities are to receive £100m between them to help boost broadband coverage in them.
The initial 4 cities chosen are the capitals of all 4 nations, London, Belfast, Edinburgh and Cardiff with the further 6 cities to benefit still to be announced (The Telegraph printed that Milton Keynes and Bristol are 2 likely candidates).
The governments aim is to have some of the UK cities as a hub for super-fast broadband with broadband speeds of between 80-100Mb, along with city wide high speed mobile connectivity.
The areas that are likely to be chosen are those parts of the cities where the likes of BT and Virgin Media were unlikely to roll out fibre broadband to without subsidy to make it financially viable for them.
As with other broadband projects that take money from the BDUK (Broadband Delivery UK) pot of funding, the companies who bid for projects (BT & Virgin Media being the main ones) are expected to at least match any funding that the government puts in. The first £20m is to be allocated in the year to April 2013 with £60m the following year and then the final £20m by April 2015.
Some people think that the money would be better spent helping to fund rural broadband, with cities already having broadband connections available you may find that rural communities and business would benefit more, some will see this as another case of a digital divide between the cities and rural communities.
George Osborne, the UK Chancellor, who announced the funding said:
“It means creating new superfast digital networks for companies across our country. These do not exist today. See what countries like China or Brazil are building, and you’ll also see why we risk falling behind the rest of the world.
Our great cities are at the heart of our regional economies. And we will help bring world leading, superfast broadband and Wi-Fi connections to 10 of them – including the capitals of all four nations.”
BT are continuing their roll out of fibre broadband across the UK and are still aiming to have two thirds of the country connected by the end of 2014.