Interestingly BT appears to have informed UK ISPs that they plan to upgrade a large swathe of predominantly smaller telephone exchanges, many of which are in rural areas, from their older and slower 20th Century Network (20CN) based broadband and phone platform to the latest 21CN and Wholesale Broadband Connect (WBC) service between April and June 2015.
It’s been awhile since we saw one of these announcements, which is because BT effectively completed the main deployment of their new 21st Century Network during early 2014. As a result 92% of the United Kingdom (around 23 million premises) should now be within reach of the more modern network.
In practical consumer terms the legacy 20CN network, which is being replaced by 21CN, could only support older ‘up to’ 8Mbps ADSL lines. But to get the faster ‘up to’ 20-24Mbps ADSL2+ services your local telephone exchange needs to be based off 21CN and WBC. In addition, 21CN is often also used with other technologies, such as FTTC superfast broadband (note: this is usually deployed separately from the 21CN roll-out).
Now a new update from Internet provider AAISP, which we spotted this morning, indicates that BT are again pushing the “new” IP based platform even deeper into their network. A closer look at the list reveals a number of areas, such as Bretton in West Yorkshire, which are also due for an FTTC upgrade in 2015 (note: Bretton itself was delayed slightly from late 2014). We suspect this will bring 21CN very close to 95% UK coverage (premises).
List of BT Exchanges for 21CN + WBC Enablement (April – June 2015)
BURGH ON BAIN
TALYBONT ON USK
We suspect that the additional coverage might not have occurred without the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK programme, which is helping to push FTTC/P services and a 2Mbps Universal Service Commitment (USC) out to more isolated areas.