Openreach outlines FTTP launch plans; FTTC speed increase

6 Oct 2011

The infrastructure arm of British fixed line incumbent BT, Openreach, has announced a number of developments which it claims will ‘provide a major boost to Broadband Britain.’

Of these, the first is the confirmation of a timeline for the launch of commercial fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) services. Openreach has said that the technology will be made available to communications providers (CPs) from late-October in six locations ahead of a wider deployment. The initial launch sites have been named as: Ashford in Middlesex; Bradwell Abbey in Milton Keynes; Highams Park in North London; Chester South; St Austell; and York. The fastest speeds available initially will provide downlink/uplink rates of 110Mbps and 30Mbps respectively, but BT has also used the launch announcement to reveal that it expects to boost download speeds to 300Mbps by spring 2012. Further, Openreach confirmed that, with the technology capable of delivering even higher data transfer rates, trials of 1Gbps downstream connections are underway in Kesgrave, Suffolk.

Meanwhile, the company says that it has now gained approval from the relevant authorities to increase the maximum speeds available via it BT fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) deployment. As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the company’s retail arm launched its first commercial FTTC services in January 2010, with a total of 98 exchanges enabled at launch, and with the fibre rollout continuing, in June 2011 Openreach claimed that the fibre-optic network would be available to some five million premises across the UK by the end of that month. In this latest development Openreach has said that it will see FTTC downlink speeds roughly double from 40Mbps to 80Mbps, with the higher rates expected to be introduced ‘at some stage in 2012’.

‘These developments will transform broadband speeds across the country and propel the UK up the broadband league tables,’ Openreach chief executive Liv Garfield said, with the UK’s communications minister Ed Vaizey meanwhile noting: ‘These are significant announcements and good news for the UK. High-speed broadband is essential for economic growth, which is why we want the UK to have the best superfast broadband in Europe by 2015 … Improving the UK’s broadband infrastructure will help our high-tech, digital industries grow. It will ensure the UK is an attractive place to start-up and base the businesses of tomorrow.’

United Kingdom, BT Group (incl. Openreach)