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Openreach to Withdraw Old Ultrafast FTTP Broadband ISP Products by 2014

Friday, October 26th, 2012 (8:44 am) - Score 2,904

BTOpenreach, which manages access to BT’s UK telecoms network, has outlined plans to streamline its portfolio by slashing the number of ultrafast fibre optic broadband (FTTP) products from ten to five by March 2014. This includes the anticipated introduction of a new 220Mbps service in summer 2013.

The following product variants will be withdrawn from new supply in September 2013: 40/15Mb (i.e.40Mbps download / 15Mbps upload), 100/15Mb, 110/15, 100/30 and 330/20. However ISPs will continue to support these “legacy” products until their complete withdrawal in March 2014. As a result the new “rationalisedFibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) product range will be as follows.

The New Fibre-to-the-Premises Product Range (Download/Upload)

• 40/2 Mb
• 40/10 Mb
• 80/20 Mb
• 220/20 Mb
• 330/30 Mb

Regular readers will be quick to spot that BT’s new 220Mbps (20Mbps upload) service, which was first detailed in May 2012 (here), has now appeared in the list. Until now we only knew that it would launch sometime in 2013, yet Openreach has now confirmed that it will surface during summer 2013. On top of that the 330Mbps option now comes with 30Mbps upload speeds.

The new 220Mbps option will be a cheaper service than 330Mbps and should somewhat act as a replacement for the older 100Mbps and 110Mbps products at a similar price point.

Openreach Statement

Openreach has consulted with the NGA Working Group currently consuming GEA-FTTP products, taking into account current and future plans. This has directly informed our approach here. The revised portfolio provides our customers with a much simpler and more defined group of products from which to choose, allowing them to match the right GEA-FTTP product to their needs more easily.

This notification provides up to 10 months’ notice of the withdrawal of the GEA-FTTP profiles mentioned above from new supply, and 16 months’ notice of the full withdrawal of the legacy products. Openreach Customer Engagement Managers will provide Industry with progress reports on their legacy products and work with them in order to complete the migration before March 2014.”

In addition Openreach has also deferred the end date of the current Special Offer on rental of their top 330Mbps product from 31st January 2013 to 30st June 2013. As a result ISPs can take the service for a significantly cheaper wholesale price (i.e. £187.32 PA for the transition service and £288 for the data-only variant) for another 6 months. So far most ISPs have decided to stick with the more manageable 100Mbps and 110Mbps products (capacity cost is the big concern at 330Mbps); BT Retail’s new 160Mbps package notwithstanding.

At present BT’s FTTP service suffers from extremely limited coverage and thus only a smaller number of ISPs have bothered to launch related packages. This could improve next Spring 2013 when BT introduces its new FTTP-on-Demand product that will make the service available anywhere that their slower FTTC solution can already go (i.e. 66% of the UK by 2014). But this will be very expensive to install and is thus aimed more towards business users and home owners with extremely deep pockets.

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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 Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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