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BT Bring FTTC and FTTP to 2.7M UK Apartments and High Rise Buildings

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013 (1:38 pm) - Score 2,840

BTOpenreach, which maintains BT’s national UK telecoms network, has revealed that 2.7 Million apartments (Multi Dwelling Units) or high rise buildings around the United Kingdom can now access its superfast broadband service (i.e. up to 80Mbps FTTC or 330Mbps capable FTTP). But 550k more will soon follow.

The effort is part of BT’s commercial £2.5bn roll-out of fibre optic based broadband services, which has so far passed 15 million premises (about half of all UK premises) and eventually aims to reach 66% of UK homes and businesses by spring 2014.

It follows on from an earlier 2011 pilot of Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) technology in High Rise Buildings (here) that initially focused on several buildings in the Isle of Dogs part of East London (e.g. West India Quay, Canary Riverside and Port East). At the time BT said it wanted 1,000 buildings to take part in the pilot.

But the latest information also reveals that, out of the 2.7 million total, some 608,000 now represent apartments in Greater London and a further 550,000 are expected to “get access over the coming years“.

Mike Galvin, BT Openreach MD for NGA Broadband, said:

Residents of high-rises are very quick to cotton-on to the benefits of super-fast fibre connections, and landlords realise that by offering fibre connectivity, they can seriously increase the attractiveness of their property“.

Galvin also used the example of London’s Canary Wharf, which is apparently the setting for BT’s “largest deployment to date of [FTTP] technology within apartment buildings“, to illustrate his point.

In particular he noted that 40% of residents in the New Atlas Wharf building have already connected to a related service from their ISP, which is a lot better than the national figure of 7% for superfast broadband uptake (Ofcom). But this is of course a very selective example taken from a dense urban area.

However he also noted that three other apartment blocks in the area (West India Quay, Port Eas, and Burrell’s Wharf) have had FTTP technology installed and apparently all of them show take-up rates of over 30%.

At the same time it’s important to remember that BT isn’t the only game in town. Fledgling ISP Hyperoptic has also had a strong focus on London and recently secured a new investment of £50m to help expand its 1000Mbps capable network into 10 new UK cities or 80,000 homes by the end of 2013 (here).

Likewise Virgin Media’s superfast cable (EuroDOCSIS3) platform also tends to focus on urban areas, though its top speeds are currently capped at 120Mbps. But don’t be surprised if this increases to around 200Mbps in the near future and DOCSIS3.1 technology could eventually take this even further (here).

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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 Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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8 Responses
  1. Avatar netguy

    If the apartment buildings are in areas of considerable affluence, there should be hardly any surprise that fibre service would not only be affordable, but something of a (minor) status symbol. If you can afford 2K per month to rent a flat, then 25, 50, 100 per month for whatever speed fibre connection is not going to hurt too much 🙂

  2. Avatar timeless

    funny how its only london getting it.

    • Avatar FibreFred

      2.7 million “across the UK”

      out of the 2.7 million total, some 608,000 now represent apartments in Greater London and a further 550,000 are expected to “get access over the coming years“.

      How is that just London, unless you are referring to Hyperoptic in that case I agree

  3. Avatar DTMark

    FTTC: The lifts should say “Lift going up. Broadband speed going down”

    🙂

    I thought that people in flats generally couldn’t get Virgin cable as they can’t be bothered to tack the cable to the outside of the building. But then in a high-rise block that’s hardly surprising.

  4. Avatar Roberto

    Id like to know where these 2.7 million “High rise” buildings or connections to them are. And what exactly BT think is a “high rise” building.

    I always thought a “high rise” building was a structure at least 35 metres (115 ft) or 12 stories tall.

    BT obviously do not use that criteria though as to have 1,000 buildings in a trial would almost be impossible as using the criteria i mentioned there are only 1,478 “high rise” buildings in the entire United Kingdom. So unless they used two-thirds of the UKs tallest buildings for a “trial” i think there figures are dubious to say the least.

    • Avatar Roberto

      Edit: that should be 1,478 high rises in London not the entire UK, figures still stink though as that “trial” according to them was two-thirds of Londons “high rises”.

    • It’s not just high rises, they also reference MDU apartments more generally. Mix of both.

    • Avatar Roberto

      High Rise or Apartments or both id still like to know where they get the 2.7 Million from. Im guessing that is something like 10% of the premises in this country. I highly doubt 10% of residential property in this country is apartments or High Rises…… Flats and similar maybe…. Perhaps that is what they deem an “apartment” or “high rise” to be, something not on ground level.

      If they have passed 15 Million premises and are about to do 2.7 million “high rises”, “apartments” or whatever it is they are doing that equates to around 18% of the current (obviously not including future figures) rollout figures being to homes which are NOT a house or business. Which sounds rather bizarre.

      I would really like to know how and where BT get their figures from, quite often if you look deeper into anything they quote it sounds like it was made up on the back of a fag packet down the pub at lunchtime.

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