Holy smokes! BT plans to offer 300Mbps broadband across UK

3 Feb 2012

Following successful trials of FTTP on Demand in Cornwall, BT says it will soon be able to offer end users speeds of up to 300Mbps anywhere on BT’s fibre footprint, including Northern Ireland.

As reported yesterday, BT will have 90pc of Northern Ireland served with fibre by the end of March, making it the most advanced fibre-connected region in Europe, with speeds of up to 80Mbps as standard. But if you think that’s fast, think again.

BT today revealed it has held successful trials of “FTTP on demand” in St Agnes, Cornwall. This solution allows additional fibre to be run on demand to a home or business in a Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC)-enabled area, providing the customer with ultra-fast Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) broadband.

Previously, FTTP speeds weren’t possible in FTTC-enabled areas, but BT has developed a solution that takes advantage of the fibre it has already deployed between the exchange and the street cabinet.

The technological development has the potential to transform the UK broadband landscape. This is because FTTP – which will soon offer end users speeds of up to 300Mbps – could be made available anywhere in BT’s fibre footprint where a customer requires it.

BT will conduct further trials of FTTP on demand this summer, with a view to making the service commercially available to all communications providers via Openreach by spring 2013.

Doubling speeds

BT also said it will introduce a new faster variant of FTTC broadband this spring. This service will deliver speeds that are about double those on offer today so downstream speeds will be up to 80Mbps rather than up to 40Mbps. Upstream speeds will also be faster at up to 20Mbps.

BT revealed more than 7m premises can now access fibre broadband over its network. This figure will rise to 10m in 2012 and then to around two-thirds of UK premises by the end of 2014.

BT wants to go further and believes it is possible to make fibre broadband available to more than 90pc of UK premises by working with local councils and devolved governments. BT is bidding for Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) funds to make that happen.

Openreach chief executive Olivia Garfield said: “FTTP on demand is a significant development for Broadband Britain. Essentially, it could make our fastest speeds available wherever we deploy fibre. This will be welcome news for small businesses who may wish to benefit from the competitive advantage that such speeds provide.

“We are also doubling the speed of our standard fibre broadband this spring, giving ISPs the chance to offer speeds of up to 80Mbps. This will ensure that residential customers have world-class speeds for all their family’s needs,” Garfield added.

In related news, BT this morning reported a 5pc drop in Q3 revenues of stg£4.7bn. The company delivered an operating profit of stg£790m, up 8pc on last year.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years