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BT Openreach Reveal Latest UK Rollout Plan for 330Mb FTTP on Demand

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013 (2:32 pm) - Score 9,849

BTOpenreach has announced that its FTTP on Demand (FoD) product, which could eventually make their “ultra-fast330Mbps (30Mbps uploads) capable fibre optic broadband ISP technology available to homes and businesses via their slower FTTC lines, will become available from a further 18 UK telephone exchanges by the end of this month and reach a total of 303 next year.

At present the service is still in its Early Market Deployment (EMD) phase, which is similar to a full commercial launch but it lacks the same guaranteed service levels (ISPs tend to wait until full commercial availability before adoption). So far Openreach has already enabled 8 exchanges for the FoD pilot, and increased this to 42 exchanges in April 2013.

Going forwards Openreach said that it planned to enable a further 82 exchanges by the end of December 2013, and another 161 by the end of March 2014. This will bring the total to 303 exchanges by the end of this financial year (passing in the region of 4.7 million premises – depending on the exchanges enabled).

The 18 New FoD Exchanges for September 2013

South East Region:
Brighton Portslade (Expected to include Connected Cities Main Programme areas)

South West Region:
Bodmin
Bude
Camborne
Devoran
Hayle
Helston
Launceston
Liskeard
Newquay
Par
Penzance
St.Austell
Stenalees
Truro

Wales & Northern Home Counties Region:
Bangor; North Wales
Port Talbot
Woburn Sands

Recently there have been concerns that Openreach’s FoD deployment had stalled but the operator, which maintains BT’s national telecoms and broadband network, told ISPreview.co.uk that it “remains committed to rolling out FoD across all of its fibre [FTTC] enabled exchanges in phases” and they now “intend to advise industry of future roll out plans for FoD on a quarterly basis“.

Apparently this roll out is being done “in line with CP demand for the product and to allow for our engineers to be fully trained up and equipped to complete FoD infrastructure and installation work“, although it’s unclear how much demand the service has actually received.

An Openreach Spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk:

We expect CP demand for FoD to build gradually towards the back end of this financial year as CPs prepare to launch their FoD based product offerings. Openreach’s FoD roll out plan ramps up towards the end of that period in line with this expected demand.

The exchanges prioritised to date have been selected according to a mix of CP demand, a selection of the SuperConnected Cities participating in the BDUK connection voucher scheme and extending FTTP coverage within existing areas to allow our engineers to consolidate their skills by building the FoD network to fulfil orders.”

So far we haven’t seen many public FoD packages, which isn’t a surprise given the services EMD status, and those that do surface have tended to be extremely expensive. Indeed price remains FoD’s biggest problem. On the surface its wholesale rental fee (£38 +vat) should be fairly close to a native FTTP connection but some of the end-user products we’ve heard about have been charging around £100 per month.

But the biggest hurdle, especially for home users, remains the installation cost. FoD currently attracts a fixed £500 one-off installation fee but this is in addition to a distance-based construction charge that will vary depending on how far away you are from BT’s nearest NGA Aggregation Node, which could add anything from a few hundred to several thousand pounds to your setup.

Needless to say it’s a tough sell and even business ISPs don’t quite know what to make of it (here). On the other hand if the price can be reduced then FoD might make for a useful investment into the value of your home.

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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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