BTOpenreach, which is responsible for providing UK ISPs with equal access to BT’s local and national telecoms and internet infrastructure, has confirmed that its new ‘up to’ 80Mbps (Megabits per second – download speed) superfast Fibre-to-the-Cabinet ( FTTC ) broadband speed upgrade will officially be introduced from “early” April 2012. The maximum upload speeds will also rise to 20Mbps.
The move is by no means a surprise as it coincides perfectly with the end of the 80Mbps trial period and, given the absence of any significant technical woes, there was no reason to delay. At present most ISP FTTC services, such as BT-Infinity, top out at a maximum of 40Mbps but this can be doubled by increasing the technology’s spectrum allocation (from 7MHz to 17MHz) within the Access Network Frequency Plan (ANFP).
Mike Galvin, Openreach’s MD of Network Investment, said:
“We said we would double fibre speeds by this Spring and this is exactly what we have done. This is a significant milestone both for Openreach’s fibre network and for broadband speeds in the UK. The faster speeds will be available in a month’s time and so it is now up to broadband providers to decide how and when they offer these faster speeds to their customers. The platform is there and we are confident there will be demand for these enhanced services.”
At present BT’s new £2.5bn superfast broadband platform (FTTC / FTTP) is available to more than 7 million homes and businesses (it will reach about 40% of homes by the end of this year). The official plan is for the service to reach around 66% of UK premises by the end of 2014, although in theory it could reach 90% depending upon the somewhat controversial allocation of public funding from the government’s Broadband Deliver UK (BDUK) office.
It’s important to point out that FTTC is still a distance dependent technology, which means that it gets slower the further you are away from your local street cabinet (not exchange). Luckily most people live close enough to benefit but it can still leave many feeling excluded from similar upgrades.
On the flip side not all modems and routers will be able to cope with the new speed, which is a problem that we’ve seen crop up before (e.g. slower Wi-Fi kit bogging down the fixed line connectivity). One somewhat unofficial test is to check and see if your router can handle Gigabit Ethernet, if it can then you’ll probably be fine (so long as the N spec WiFi is able to keep pace too).
Note: The 80Mbps upgrade, once offered by your ISP, will be immediately available wherever BT’s FTTC service has already gone (no rollout period).
The actual launch date is also effective 10th April 2012. Further details can be found here: