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

Friday, Mar 16th, 2012 (8:26 am) - Score 1,497

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.

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Mark-Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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