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BT Unable to Bring UK Superfast Broadband to all Race to Infinity Winners

Friday, March 16th, 2012 (8:26 am) - Score 1,468
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BT has confirmed that last year’s Race to Infinity campaign, which pledged a free upgrade for six communities (telephone exchanges) where demand for its ‘up to’ 40Mbps (soon to be 80Mbps) FTTC superfast broadband ISP product was highest (Race to Infinity Winners), will not be able to deliver the service to everybody who won.

The news, which will come as little surprise to those familiar with BT’s rollout of superfast FTTC technology, has naturally frustrated residents of West Hagbourne. The village resides right next door to Blewbury (Oxfordshire), one of the competition winners, and played an active role in rallying the needed support for an upgrade (they all use the same exchange) alongside locals in neighbouring Upton, Aston Tirrold and Aston Upthorpe.

Unfortunately BT has now told (Oxford Mail) residents in West Hagbourne that they live too far away from the Blewbury exchange and thus won’t be able to receive the new service.

A BT Spokeswoman said:

BT cannot guarantee that it will deliver superfast broadband to West Hagbourne. We clearly stated that when an exchange is enabled, there will be some premises not able to receive fibre. However, we expect every premises attached to the exchange will see an increase in their broadband speeds.”

BT’s latter remark is perhaps related to the fact that the Blewbury exchange, which covers around 1,200 homes and businesses (nearly all of which supported the campaign), is currently a 20CN (‘up to’ 8Mbps ADSL) telephone exchange and will probably also benefit from a 21CN [WBC] (‘up to’ 20-24Mbps ADSL2+) upgrade once the operator has completed its ‘up to’ 40Mbps FTTC work this month.

Sadly FTTC is not perfect and works by delivering a fast fibre optic cable to BT’s street level cabinets, while the remaining connection (between cabinets and homes) is done using VDSL2 (similar to current ADSL broadband but faster over short distances) via existing copper cable. As a result the technology is still distance dependent and some homes will often be left uncovered.

Last year BT admitted that its superfast FTTC technology would, on average, cover 85% of homes and businesses within an enabled telephone exchange area (here), which leaves quite a big gap.

Leave a Comment
14 Responses
  1. Avatar Andrew Crawford

    i wish they also start publishign what cabinet will eb ugpraded as not all cabient forma exchange iwllg et upgraded

  2. Avatar Rob Turner

    What I would like to know is how far is too far away from the exchange, as I understood it they can run fibre up to 6 miles from an exchange, please correct me if I am wrong and if so how far can they run? sounds more like cost rather than distance, which is understandable to me.

    • Avatar fastman

      its not the ditance from the exchange it will be the distance from the enabled cab that is the challenge with FTTC

    • Avatar DTMark

      Fibre isn’t the issue, it’s the clapped out old bit of phone wire known as the D side that matters.

      That has to be 650m or less, and made of copper, and of a certain gauge, to be able to deliver 25Mbps+ downstream.

      If you have, say, 1000m of alimuminum, you might well be looking at slower speeds than the 10meg cable package.

      Allegedly 90% of homes are within 1km of the cabinet, so between those two it would be possible to work out what percentage of the Fibre to the Cabinet rollout is the Fibre to the Cabinet rollout, and what percentage could be called a “superfast broadband rollout”. However the mix of metals and gauges in the network isn’t publicly available information, so you’d need to knock the % down further for any kind of estimate.

  3. Avatar an

    I vaguely remember seeing a 10km max route fiber distance from exchange to cab in the original technical docs because they use trancivers to the 10km standard as there cheaper/easier to come by/lower power ect ect than the 40km standard. Also over 10km as a fibre run would be really expensive even if they did use better trancivers and they would be far more unlikely to see a return on their investment.

  4. Avatar Rob Turner

    10Kl is just over 6 miles so if we are correct BT are wrong to state it is a distance from exchange issue as West Hagbourne is little over a mile or so from the Blewbury exchange.

  5. Avatar Rob Turner

    @ Fastman in this case and I quote from the above article “Unfortunately BT has now told (Oxford Mail) residents in West Hagbourne that they live too far away from the Blewbury exchange and thus won’t be able to receive the new service. ” I rest my case.

  6. It probably is the cabinet but I suspect there was a miscommunication about the issue between BT and the Oxford Mail. Of course that doesn’t change the situation for affected villagers.

  7. Avatar Deduction

    quote”As a result the technology is still distance dependent and some homes will often be left uncovered.”

    Something i tried to tell a regular multi nick troll in another story a day or so ago.

    Oh and no shock BT failing to deliver on their false promises AGAIN! All the time we rely on BT this country is never going to be a comparison to some, let alone “Best in Europe”.

  8. Avatar Somerset

    D – what’s the alternative?

  9. Avatar DTMark

    The alternative is to stop pretending that the future can be arrived at by just throwing some money at BT and patching up creaky old assets for another decade while other potential operators sensibly sit on their hands and we get nowhere.

  10. Avatar Somerset

    What exactly are these ‘creaky old assets’ and what would they be replaced with at what cost?

  11. Avatar Deduction

    Nah the alternative is for BT to not make promises they can not and do not keep.
    I trust they will not be getting funding they were more than likely after for this area???

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