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BT Invests GBP50m to Extend its Fibre Broadband Across Over 30 UK Cities

Friday, January 24th, 2014 (12:05 pm) - Score 1,297
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BT has today announced that it plans to invest a further £50 million into their commercial roll-out of fibre optic based broadband (FTTC/P) technologies, which will be used to improve connectivity across more than 30 cities and thus benefit an additional 400,000 UK premises.

At present BT claims to be investing £2.5 billion so that around 66% of the United Kingdom (19 million premises) can access its superfast broadband (FTTC/P) service by spring 2014. This rises to £3bn+ when you include their existing commitment to the separate state aid fuelled Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme, which intends to raise superfast coverage to 90% by around late 2015 and 95% come 2017.

Both of these two projects have so far helped BT’s open access FTTC/P network to pass more than 18 million UK homes and businesses, which will continue to increase through the BDUK project over the next few years. But it now looks as though their commercial deployment will be pushed a little further too.

Mike Galvin, Openreach’s MD of Network Investment, said:

Our fibre programme is going extremely well with our engineers connecting homes and businesses across the UK. Some city areas have proved challenging in the past but we are returning to those and will pass hundreds of thousands of additional premises with fibre.

We are reaching vast swathes of rural Britain with our public sector partners but we will upgrade these city areas under our own steam. Businesses in cities already have access to ultra-fast speeds but fibre will give them greater choice.

The UK is already ahead of its main European rivals when it comes to fibre, and is set to race ahead thanks to the BDUK plans that are already in progress across the country.”

BT claims that the new investment will focus upon three key areas, which were largely left out of the original plans due to technical challenges or local planning restrictions.

Investment Focus of the £50m
• Enabling city cabinets that weren’t part of BT’s original commercial plans due to technical challenges or local planning restrictions.
• Deploying fibre to cabinets to serve multi-dwelling units such as apartment blocks.
• Laying further fibre – including ‘Fibre-to-the-Premises’ technology – to new build sites in cities.

It’s interesting to note that BT appears keen to serve Multi-Dwelling Units (MDUs) using slower FTTC rather than the more future proof FTTP, which is something that the boss of business ISP Fluidata recently drew attention to (here). But at the same time they are giving FTTP a bigger focus for new build sites in cities, which is encouraging, although it’s not clear how big this aspect of their effort will be.

As a side note it’s not yet clear whether BT will actually spend 100% of the original £2.5bn on their commercial deployment and a few people have indicated to us that there might be some left over, which could thus be where today’s £50m might indirectly come from. We have queried this with BT and they insist that it is “new investment“.

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22 Responses
  1. Avatar Dan Dodex says:

    Still nothing for the high number of long EO lines in central London…

    1. Avatar Midnight says:

      Still NOTHING for the entire CBD and city centre of Bath, either … except one small ‘micro’ cabinet that was just installed and serves a radius of ~50m, and which both Openreach and Connecting Devon & Somerset deny the existence of … despite the fact that it is clearly visible on the street and I know a business that was recently connected to it (line was previously EO). Since both deny that it exists and nothing else is on the horizon, I assume a business or individual in the area paid a small fortune to make it happen.

  2. Avatar Matthew Williams says:

    Maybe they realised that now all the councils have agreed to BDUK that they need fill in gaps in cities so they don’t look bad.

  3. Avatar Michael says:

    Although it may seem a nit picking point I would not classify the BT rollout as Open Access. It is definitely a Wholesale offering. If it offered real ALA or wavelength access it might qualify for an Open Access classification.

  4. Avatar FibreFred says:

    18 million homes and businesses able to order fttc or FTTP that is some going , it dwarves virgin cable coverage now

    1. Avatar MikeW says:

      So still running at 1 million per quarter.

      You’d think it couldn’t be sustained as things get more rural, with smaller cabinets and more network re-arrangement for EO lines. Yet they have another 7 million to reach in the next 8-9 quarters. Only a small amount of slowdown…

  5. Avatar George says:

    Pity if that figure is true hardly anyone according to the poll orders it or if they do its more super slow than super fast.

    1. Avatar FibreFred says:

      As I keep on saying and you keep ignoring. Refer to Ofcom, not a website poll

  6. Avatar George says:

    Ofcom data is only based on a couple of thousand users also, its no more valid than the data here, less so as some of their data is based on choosen users with specific hardware.

    Even if we dismiss all that thousands that have voted here say you are wrong and speeds are slow. Then again i suspect a person like you will just dismiss thousands of users speeds.

    1. Avatar MikeW says:

      Ofcom’s report on download speeds only uses a few thousand test boxes. It definitely amounts to a sample, and as you say, is a self-selected sample. Well, the self-selection is filtered in order to make the overall panel representative, but it is true that every member chose to apply. One distinct positive is that it is impossible for any one user to cheat, and cause his personal result to become over-represented in the result.

      The poll too is self-selected, and is highly likely to be over-represented by the disgruntled. It is also easy to cheat on, so any individual can conspire to vote multiple times.

      BUT…

      Ofcom’s report on sync speeds includes many millions of lines. Can’t discard that as unrepresentative.

    2. Avatar FibreFred says:

      “It’s no more valid than the data here” lol ok I am glad you are still posting cracking comments like that no need for me to say anymore

    3. Avatar George says:

      Oh i see 2/3rds of the poll here are from a person cheating. Oh i think there was someone TRYING to cheat it.

    4. Avatar MikeW says:

      Is that “trying to cheat” as opposed to “trying to not cheat but managing it anyway?”

      When I saw the poll in the first place, I thought that it was one that the local trolls would enjoy hacking at. When I saw the “Less than 2Mbps” category leap from last to first, I reckoned my judgement was right. When I saw the “NEED 30Mbps+”, I was sure we wouldn’t get a result that depicted actual NEED, and when it jumped from second to first and outstripped the total of all others combined, I knew that hacking/cheating was almost certainly the most likely explanation.

      It was only a matter of time from then until the trolls started to cite the poll in their comments, with spurious justification. I was just waiting for that last piece of damning evidence.

    5. Avatar William says:

      “When I saw the “Less than 2Mbps” category leap from last to first”

      From virtually the beginning Less than 2Mb led. It was actually the 30Mb figure that lept from 3rd place to first at one point. 30Mb coincidentally also seems to be the only figure which currently seems to still be getting a consistent 6-12 votes per day. If that is what you mean by vote rigging then yes it is happening.

    6. Avatar George says:

      The prior poll where most people pay over £20…
      http://www.ispreview.co.uk/cgi-bin/polls/_polls.cgi?archive_id=123
      Must also be fake using your theory then, especially as you think most should had voted as being happy to pay £10 more, even though they happily pay more than what FTTC costs already.

      The poll prior to that one…
      http://www.ispreview.co.uk/cgi-bin/polls/_polls.cgi?archive_id=122

      Must also be rubbish in your mind also because that just like the current one for speeds shows what you get from BT is trash.

      Follow this wild theory of everyone is a liar rigging votes and the info this site provides from users is inaccurate and all the reviews of ISPs on here must also be utter piffle (though obviously if BT were not near the bottom i suspect your theory would change on that).

      Carry this ridiculous theory even a step further and if the information this site is providing be it in reviews or polls is inaccurate then anything you have to say must be inaccurate as you are a contributor to the site.

      Ergo your theory either says you indeed are a part of the problem or the more likely explanation you are hurt that polls, reviews and general feeling by users does not match your dreaming of what or how good a certain company is.

    7. Avatar MikeW says:

      George. Logic. Empty intersection set.

      @William
      What can I say? It’s how I recall seeing it from day 1 of its appearance.

      Irrespective of how we each interpret the results, it is safe to say that the allocation across the existing speeds doesn’t reflect the current ofcom speed picture of the UK. It’s not even out by a few percentage points, but is a whole different shape – if it weren’t for the category for 30+, I’d have said it belonged to 2006.

      Interesting to see that the poll is now the largest in the history of ISPReview. And that the count has gone up around 90 in the last hour -not bad for around 3am.

    8. Avatar TheFacts says:

      90 between 2am and 3am. All from the UK? No clearing cookies?

    9. Avatar MikeW says:

      Obviously, I’ve watched the counts a little over the last few day – refreshing a page to get the numbers:

      29th: +90 between 2am and 3am, then +50 until 1am the next day
      30th: +40 between 1am and 2:30, then +60 until 1am the next day
      31st: Little overnight activity, then +60 during the day, until 2300
      1st: +100 between 2300 prev night and 3am, now quiet.

      Equally obviously, I can’t tell where the votes have come from, or whether cookies have been cleared.

    10. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      Please take discussion of website systems to the forum where it’s easier for me to keep track and engage with as I didn’t even see this until now.

      http://www.ispreview.co.uk/talk

      Firstly, Cookies are not really a security feature; they’re just to help present the results. Second, this is an XMas poll so it’s run for twice as long and over a period where this year has been quite busy. The downside is that some of the protection measures seem to stop working properly after 30 days.

      Thirdly, there’s another bug in the system right now that makes it difficult for me to remove bad IP’s without breaking the outcome. Funnily enough we’ve seen quite a few from BT’s own central IPs and a few from other odd sources, albeit mostly still UK addresses. This has only been evident for 2-3 months though.

      We always have trolls whom try to cheat at life and they’re usually easy to remove and rebalance. But right now it’s difficult to remove those or ban them without also blocking access to a lot of other people or breaking the output. I have designed a new system but these things take a long time to physically develop as ISPr is not a big commercial comparison website, so we don’t have big resources to spare.

      But if you want to continue chatting about website systems then use our forum as I won’t come back to this one. I suspect the polls will be suspended while we try some temporary alternatives before commissioning a full replacement. I might try one other solution before that, which I’ll test next week, but this would stop the polls showing for some people and those who cheat may find themselves unable to visit the website.

      I should say that a portion of the false votes aren’t by people but spam robots, which we’re always fighting a war against (e.g. visitors from China are now pretty much all blocked lol). They do love auto-clicking forms and input fields but we’re staying on top of that.

    11. Avatar FibreFred says:

      “and those who cheat may find themselves unable to visit the website.”

      Sounds great to me! 🙂

    12. Avatar MikeW says:

      Cheers Mark. Willdo

  7. Avatar MikeW says:

    I reckon existing MDU are the places most likely to keep some of their copper – because it is tricker replacing that through the building.

    In the grander timescales, that probably means FTTC for now, and FTTdp or FTTB later, the latter being similar to Hyperoptic IIRC.

    New-build MDU are the opposite, and better bets for FTTP installation. And, like that 1,000+ development in Greenwich, developers can negotiate and choose FTTP.

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