By: MarkJ - 19 July, 2010 (12:26 PM)
fibre optic fttp bt uk broadband cableBT Openreach, which is responsible for ensuring that all rival UK communication providers have equality of access to BT's local network, has finally started its official Brownfield pilots of 100Mbps Fibre-to-the-Premises ( FTTP ) based fibre optic broadband services. The crucial pilots were initially announced for January 2010 last year (original news) but ended up being delayed by approximately 6 months.

Originally two locations - Bradwell Abbey in Milton Keynes and Highams Park (at a later date), London - were selected for the trial, which will see speeds of 100Mbps delivered to around 20,000 homes and businesses in each area. This plan remains unchanged, except for the huge delay of course.

BT informed ISPreview.co.uk today that the delay came as a direct result of what was learned from its earlier technical trials of FTTP tech in Kesgrave (Suffolk). Happily the operator has also announced two additional pilot areas for FTTP - Leytonstone and York.

A BT Openreach spokeswoman told ISPreview.co.uk today:

"We've learnt a great deal from our earlier technical trials of FTTP in Kesgrave, Suffolk. As a result of those learnings, we have decided to push back the start of the FTTP pilots in Bradwell Abbey and Highams Park to July. It's critical that we learn as much as we can from the pilots so that our commercial FTTP offering is introduced as smoothly as possible.

We have also announced two additional pilot areas for FTTP - Leytonstone and York. With these additional mixed economy pilots (FTTC and FTTP within the same exchange area) introduced towards the end of this year, the pilots will see Openreach deliver FTTP to around 40,000 premises across the four sites.

The pilot has commenced in Bradwell Abbey with Highams Park joining the pilot in September. The exact dates for the remaining two pilots will be confirmed by Autumn this year."

Fibre-to-the-Premises ( FTTP / FTTH ) technology takes a fibre optic cable directly to your home or business. This cuts out the interference and instability of using existing copper cable and can therefore deliver download speeds of up to 100Mbps. According to BT Openreach the FTTP product will also offer upload speeds of up to 15-30Mbps. See our recent 'Examining BT's 100Mbps fttp Fibre Optic UK Broadband' article for more.

The effort is of course part of BT's national £2.5bn plan to bring "super-fast" Next Generation Access (NGA) internet services to 66% of the population by 2015. Its 40-100Mbps FTTC and FTTP services should be within reach of 4 Million UK homes and businesses by the end of 2010 and be available to at least 40% (10 Million) premises by March 2012.
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