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UPDATE BT’s 330Mbps FTTP Broadband Reaches 160,000 UK Premises

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014 (1:36 pm) - Score 4,359

BTOpenreach, which maintains and upgrades BT’s national telecoms network across the United Kingdom, has confirmed to ISPreview.co.uk that its 330Mbps capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) based fibre optic broadband technology is now available to 250,000 160,000 homes and businesses (premises passed footprint). Meanwhile FTTC might eventually be boosted to 100Mbps+.

Long-time readers will recall that BT originally planned to make FTTP available to around 2.5 million UK premises, but this target was officially abandoned early last year (here) after the operator decided to focus instead on rolling out their slower ‘up to’ 80Mbps Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) service to “as many homes and businesses as possible, as quickly as possible” (currently holding around 21 million premises).

However Openreach hasn’t stopped their FTTP deployments and indeed the Government’s on-going Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) investment appears to be pushing related work in a growing number of areas across the country, which surprisingly often involves rural locations and areas where ironically FTTP might actually become the most cost effective approach.

Needless to say we’ve covered plenty of FTTP related BT rollout updates, particularly over the past six months. The pace of change also appears to be more significant than we first though, with ISPreview.co.uk noted that the last official figure we had for FTTP coverage put the total at around 150,000 during July 2014 and this stood at roughly 100k during early 2013.

A BTOpenreach Spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk:

We keep FTTP technology under constant review, and we see it as a solution to satisfy demand for higher speeds from customers in future, in the next generation of our fibre network. We have managed to double the speeds on FTTC since it first launched and there is potential for further advances with technologies like vectoring and G.FAST.”

Interestingly the spokesperson also told ISPreview.co.uk that the current top speed of FTTC, which is set at 80Mbps, could eventually be lifted to a cool 100Mbps or possibly faster. “Technology is available to increase these speeds to over 100Mb in future,” said the spokesperson. This is perhaps an indirect reference to Vectoring technology, which is currently being trialled (full details), and there’s also the slim possibility of adopting a 30a Profile for further improvements.

But it should be noted that Openreach tends to see Vectoring as a “speed enabler” rather than a speed booster, which is because the primary focus is to resolve the rising levels of crosstalk interference that are slowing FTTC lines down over time (as uptake increases, more crosstalk is created).

UPDATE 13th November 2014

In a “regrettable” twist a BT spokesperson has just got in touch to say that the 250,000 figure they supplied as part of an official statement earlier is in fact incorrect. Instead the actual figure is just 160,000 and that seems more realistic given that adding 90k over the space of just 3 months would be quite tricky. We suspect somebody at BT might be getting a slap for adding all those magical premises to the initial figure.

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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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