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ISP O2 UK and BE Unable to Confirm Superfast Broadband Service for 2013

Wednesday, Sep 5th, 2012 (9:51 am) - Score 1,733

Internet provider BE Broadband (sibling of O2 UK), which earlier this year admitted that they were “not making very good progress on fibre” and delayed their plans to launch a superfast broadband (FTTC) service until 2013, still “can’t yet confirm” whether this will actually happen. Separately they’ve today suffered major cable damage in London.

The new service, which could offer download speeds of up to almost 80Mbps (Megabits per second) alongside BE’s usual “unlimited” usage policy, was originally tipped to surface before the end of 2011 but was later put back to 2012.

A trial of the future service at the Barking (Greater London) telephone exchange initially raised hopes that it wouldn’t be delayed again, which were promptly dashed after an April 2012 update confirmed that BE were “unlikely to launch [the] service across the BE [O2] network in 2012” (here).

Last night BE’s MD, Chris Stenning, took part in another “Ask the MD” sessions between himself and the ISPs customers. Unsurprisingly the status of their current superfast broadband service, which should have ideally been decided already, was raised and a less than desirable reply returned.

Chris Stenning, BE’s Managing Director, explained:

As you saw from our announcement earlier this year, Fibre was not something we were going to invest in this year due to other priorities across the group.

We are currently looking at the investment wishlist across the whole of O2UK for 2013 and while this is on the list of things I would like us to be able to do, I can’t yet confirm either way.

I know it is not what people want to hear but I’m afraid there is not a lot more I can say at the moment other than I hear what you say and I agree a BE Fibre service would be fantastic.”

The perception given is that BE’s parent, O2 UK, currently appears to be unwilling to commit itself to a firm investment plan for the launch of superfast broadband (perhaps they’re more focused on 4G). Meanwhile O2/BE, which has recently lost customers following various service woes, price hikes and the lack of superfast connectivity, faces a market where most of its arch rivals have already launched faster products.

Back in April 2012 BE also hinted that they were “still looking into launching a [FTTC] service on a limited basis later this year“, although there was no mention of this in Stennings latest remark. Meanwhile the BE Usergroup has also published Stennings response to some other “Ask the MD” questions, although they mostly repeat much of what we already knew. In fairness Stenning deserves some credit for being honest with customers but that’s unlikely to raise the mood.

Separately BE and O2 lines are currently being affected by a major network failure in the Ealing area of London, which is also affecting other ISPs on the O2Wholesale platform (status update). It’s understood that 244 related cables have been damaged in the area and Engineers are currently attempting to “splice” them all back together. The cause remains unknown although BE are “expecting all the fibre repairs to be completed this afternoon“.

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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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