BT reveals commercial FTTP launch delayed until late 2011

27 May 2011

The commercial introduction of UK fixed line incumbent BT’s fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) broadband services is now not expected to happen until later this year, ZDNet UK reports. It is understood that the fibre rollout has been pushed back to just before the end of 2011, having originally been scheduled for sometime this summer, as a result of blocked ducts on a number of premises. BT’s broadband programme director Johnny McQuoid noted that the delays come following a series of trials of the technology that revealed the underlying issue, and alternative operators that had signed up to resell the service have reportedly been advised of the setback. The executive also noted that one of the most notable issues the telco had encountered was that the ducts leading to many premises are partially blocked, meaning that fibre cannot be deployed without first cleaning them; in these situations engineers are reportedly needed at an installation for more than a day, which could result in customers having to pay additional engineering charges. Commenting on the matter, in a statement BT said: ‘FTTH is a complex technology which we are currently trialling at scale … We are pleased with how the trials are going, but have always been very clear that we will only launch it on a commercial basis once it has been fully tested and is ready for the market.’

As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, BT previously announced that it expected to spend around GBP2.5 billion (USD3.9 billion) on the rollout of fibre-based broadband to approximately two-thirds of the UK’s population. The telco expects to use both FTTH and fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) technologies, with the latter expected to be the more prevalent due to the lower costs associated with its rollout. BT launched commercial FTTC services in January 2010 under the ‘Infinity’ banner.

United Kingdom, BT Group (incl. Openreach)