Home
 » ISP News » 
Sponsored

BT Pledge 2 Million UK Premises to Get 1Gbps Ultrafast FTTP Broadband

Thursday, May 5th, 2016 (7:32 am) - Score 4,913
fttp_home_installation_bt_openreach

Telecoms giant BT has today announced a major expansion (“subject to regulatory certainty“) of their “ultrafast” Fibre-to-the-Premise (FTTP) broadband network, which will reach 2 million UK homes and businesses (up from around 200,000+ premises today) and complement their future roll-out of 500Mbps capable hybrid-fibre G.fast technology.

The advantage of FTTP/H is that it offers a high capacity pure fibre optic line, which connects directly to your home in order to deliver ultrafast speeds (currently 330Mbps [30Mbps upload], but 500Mbps [100Mbps up] and 1Gbps [150Mbps up] tiers are being trialled). The disadvantage, versus more conventional hybrid-fibre approaches, is that FTTP is significantly more expensive and takes a lot longer to roll-out.

The operator has been making noises about their plans to boost the roll-out of ultrafast FTTP broadband technology for the past few months (here), with talk of a significant investment often taking centre stage. But until now we’ve had no solid commitment or detail on how much FTTP we’d actually get.

On top of that they’ve been conducting various trials (examples here and here), most of which have been focused on reducing the amount of time, work and number of engineers needed in order to connect homes and businesses to the service. The fact that Virgin Media has just confirmed how they too will be pushing FTTP out to 1 million+ premises is another factor (here).

As such the plan now is for BT to make their new G.fast service available to 10 million premises by 2020, with “most of the UK” likely to be done by 2025 (we’d guess that “most” will equate to around 60% UK coverage). Initially G.fast will only offer top download speeds of ‘up to’ 300Mbps (50Mbps upload), before later increasing to 500Mbps. On top of that we can add the 2 million FTTP premises, which would give us a total of 12 million ultrafast lines by 2020.

Gavin Patterson, CEO of BT Group, said:

“The UK is a digital leader today and it is vital that it remains one in the future. That is why we are announcing a further six billion pounds of investment in our UK networks, subject to regulatory certainty.

Networks require money and a lot of it. Virgin and BT have both pledged to invest and we will now see if others follow our lead. Infrastructure competition is good for the UK and so is the current Openreach model whereby others can piggyback on our investment should they want to.

G.fast is an important technology that will enable us to deploy ultrafast broadband at pace and to as many homes as possible. Customers want their broadband to be affordable as well as fast and we will be able to do that using G.fast. FTTP will also play a bigger role going forward and I believe it is particularly well suited to those businesses who may need speeds of up to 1Gbps. My ambition is to roll it out to two million premises and our trials give me confidence we will.

Customer expectations are increasing all the time and we need to work hard to meet those new demands. That is why contact centre work is being returned to the UK and why Openreach is aiming to halve the number of missed appointments within a year. Customers want higher standards of service and we are determined to provide them with just that.”

Overall BT and EE plan to invest £6 billion into joint network improvements, which includes EE’s recent announcement to extend their 4G network coverage to 95% of the United Kingdom’s landmass by 2020 (here). We should add that today’s announcement will mostly reflect FTTP deployments to business parks, new home developments and probably only a little to BDUK funded rural areas.

BT also confirmed that they expected 95% of UK premises to get access to fixed line “superfast broadband” (24Mbps+) services by the end of 2017 “across all fixed networks” (i.e. including Virgin Media etc.), which is in keeping with the Government’s existing Broadband Delivery UK programme.

BT also reiterated their plans for a number of service improvements. For example, BT Consumer is set to reduce the standard time to fix line faults by 24 hours as well as pledging to handle 90% of its customers’ calls in the UK by March 2017 (EE will also handle 100% of its customers’ calls in the UK by the end of this year).

Elsewhere BTOpenreach will hire 1,000 new engineers this year and aim to halve missed appointments to 2.5% within a year, with an ambition to reduce them even further after that. A case management service team is also being established to step in and resolve problems for customers who have experienced two or more missed or unsuccessful appointments. The provision of dedicated business lines, known as Ethernet, will also increase by 20% year on year. Much of this is being driven by Ofcom’s Strategic Review recommendations (here).

Speaking of the Strategic Review, it’s notable that BT has once again warned that its new ultrafast investment is dependent upon the right regulatory environment. This is BT’s way of telling Ofcom not to split them from control of Openreach and to go soft on them with any voluntary agreement that may or may not be reached in the very near future (we expect a deal will be done).

Mind you it’s not the first time that BT has made a major commitment to FTTP, only to abandon it later. Back in 2009/10 the operator originally planned to push FTTP out to 2.5 million UK premises, but this was then dramatically scaled back due to issues with costly / slow installations and other matters (here). Hopefully history won’t repeat itself.

UPDATE 8:54am

Naturally BT’s arch rival Sky (Sky Broadband) has found a negative side to the news.

Andrew Griffith, Sky’s Group COO & CFO, said:

“Today’s statement shows that BT continues to see copper as the basis of its network for 21st century Britain. Despite BT’s claims, it is clearer than ever that their plans for fibre to the premise (FTTP) broadband will bypass almost every existing UK home. This limited ambition has been dragged out of BT by the threat of regulatory action, demonstrating once again why an independent Openreach, free to raise its own long-term capital, is the best way for the UK to get the fibre network it needs.”

It’s worth pointing out that neither Sky nor TalkTalk sell products using BT’s FTTP network, which is partly because they both have their own trial FTTH/P deployments and BT’s own pure fibre optic network can only reach around 200,000 UK premises (i.e. it would risk confusing consumers to offer a separate batch of packages). But today’s announcement means that both ISPs may eventually need to revisit that decision.

UPDATE 12:43pm

Now Cityfibre are having a say.

Greg Mesch, CityFibre Chief Executive, said:

“This announcement is simply a reluctant response by a sluggish incumbent to the tightening noose of regulatory scrutiny. While intended to grab headlines on infrastructure commitment, BT’s announcement is largely signposting continued deployment of outmoded technology.

While any business constructing pure fibre infrastructure for our nation’s homes and businesses should be encouraged, focusing on the entrenchment of an incumbent operator overlooks the essential contribution of alternative infrastructure builders like CityFibre.

It is only through the growth of alternative operators and the stimulation of a truly competitive infrastructure market that the UK will see the innovation and better value services it so badly needs.”

Add to Diigo
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.
Leave a Comment
47 Responses
  1. Avatar FibreFred

    Good stuff can’t see then going back on this, not with the pledge from Virgin

  2. Avatar NGA for all

    Good results. FTTP is welcome. The playout of FTTP in rural for in-fill will be good to see.

    It is good to see £229m now owed to BDUK. A 3% change in the model drove an increase from £179m (Q3 accrual) to £229m (Q4 deferral) – amazing, that is £57 per premise passed owed to LA’s for the 4m premises passed. That’s before we look for the substance of BT’s capital contribution. £276m was claimed at the CMS Select Committee, it cannot be all project management.

    • Avatar FibreFred

      Hmmm can’t see much rural FTTP, that would dent the pot hard.

    • Avatar Steve Jones

      I don’t think that 2 million properties is going to be (for the most part) rural infill. It will be for the most cost effective areas with the best return. The sort of locations where it will be seen is surely where there is suitable ducting and lot of properties can be covered. Look to what is happening in North Swindon.

      Where there is rural I would have thought that might be used where the alternative is to build a new cabinet in a remote location, but that sort of deployment is rarely going to be cost effective on a purely commercial basis.

    • Avatar Ignition

      Never miss an opportunity to start quoting BDUK numbers and BT’s capital contribution.

      The majority of the country doesn’t care about BDUK, and some are even a tad bored to see their money, taxes and communications bills, subsidising superior solutions in part of it.

      Between this and VM those of us not taxpayer subsidised may get the same FTTP goodness we helped pay for elsewhere. Please let us enjoy the moment.

    • Avatar TheManStan

      I would expect the majority of commercial FTTP rural to come from all these new estates popping up having FTTP, easy, simple and relatively cheap because the ducts will be in good shape…

    • Indeed. That’s actually what the announcement says. New builds, high streets and business parks. There’s not actually anything new in here, just putting numbers onto earlier announcements.

      Brownfield sites, even those with ducts in good shape, appear to still be destined for G.fast, so we’re a way away from an FTTP overbuild programme.

      Good PR but, on hindsight, this is actually pretty underwhelming. Looks as though residential FTTP will remain the province of new builds and rural areas funded by the taxpayer still.

      That’ll teach me to not read the press release properly. 🙂

    • Avatar Steve Jones

      In these new build “all fibre” estates, has it been established whether OR can be forced to install a traditional phone line under the USO? Of course OR can provide an analogue phoneline over fibre (there are two ports on the ONT for that purpose). For SPs using WLR voice services and GEA-FTTP for broadband, that should be fine, but it’s a big issue for full LLU operators. I’m guessing (but I don’t known) that GEA-FTTP includes the option to connect the voice service to an LLU operators MSANs, but that surely can’t be straightforward from an LLU operator’s perspective, if only because it probably won’t fit their standards processes and management systems.

      I wonder if it’s this issue of integrating GEA-FTTP voice services that has contributed to the delay in Sky and Talk-Talk supporting the product. In any event, if full LLU is not possible at these new build locations are Ofcom happy with this?

      In any event, being required to install both copper and fibre to a new build would undermine the economics of the exercise. It’s small numbers at the moment, but if it ends up being the 10%+ of the market these announcements indicate it will certainly become important. Many of these new build areas will be in urban areas with full LLU capability.

    • Avatar MikeW

      I hear a bid of 1 million properties from Virgin. Any advance on 1 million? …

      Two million properties from Openreach! Any advance on 2 million? …

      Anyone? …

      “Good PR but, on hindsight, this is actually pretty underwhelming”

      I know what you mean, but I was more underwhelmed by the VM PR.

      At least this 2 million is on top of the 10 million G.Fast lines.

    • Avatar MikeW

      @Steve

      I suspect the current USO requirements for copper/voice landlines will be part of the negotiations in the new 10Mbps data USO.

      I can see it being used as part of a carrot/stick approach to get an agreement.

      All part of the “satisfactory regulatory environment” blurb.

    • Err Mike some companies actually have to spend money on civils and build their own ducting.

      Strip out the 4G spend, the OpEx that they always inflate the numbers with, and the money on dark fibre that other companies will actually be paying for and see how much Openreach are actually planning on spending on this.

      Openreach’s 2 million will consist of perhaps 500,000 greenfield, a bunch of high streets and business parks that are already ducted, and then some brownfield that has pre-existing ducting most likely.

      Can hardly compare this to VM’s deployment which is almost all shovels into ground.

      It reads wonderfully. It’s actually doing the normal and following what investors would expect – spending the bare minimum to satisfy the politicians and head off competition on the low-hanging fruit.

    • Let me put it this way, Mike. You are ‘underwhelmed’ by VM spending £3 billion passing 4 million premises with ultrafast, 3 million hybrid, 1 million FTTP.

      BT are going to spend £6 billion in CapEx and OpEx on 10 million premises of G.fast, 2 million premises of FTTP and a substantial increase in 4G coverage.

      I’m sure VM would love to be able to reach that many properties spending that much and have money left over for a bunch of 4G upgrades, sadly they are in the position of not being able to, for the most part, use existing passive infrastructure.

    • Avatar Steve Jones

      @Ignition

      Whilst that’s true, VM do not have to wholesale their network, and that does help make the business case. That said, it’s quite a gamble as the initial cable rollout essentially bankrupted the cable companies in the UK. They were only kept going after “financial restructuring” (i.e. loan write-offs/debt to equity conversions) as these were, both literally and metaphorically, sunk costs.

      A lot will depend on finding cheaper ways to dig up pavements than in the past.

    • Avatar 3G Infinity

      I think you need to look at the numebrs in more detail. EE and Vodafone each have R&D (or equivalent) budgets of approx GBP4bn per annum on their network spend.

      So before BT bought EE, EE was already on target to spend GBP4bn+ on its 4G network rollout, its committment to UK Home Office for network coverage for the Airwave ESN replacement contract (Bluelight) and is rationlising its 3G network to increase capacity for 4G in the backhaul.

      That only leaves GBP2bn for BT OR to spend on all its fibre projects and the rest.

    • Avatar MikeW

      @Ignition

      Feeling snipy today?

      I’m perfectly happy about VM’s targets for 4m, and the £3bn cost to do it – it is a significant investment, and is great to see VM finally getting cable deployment up and running again after decades of (coverage) stagnation. IMHO, it is this movement that saved Openreach’s bacon with Ofcom.

      But I’m distinctly underwhelmed by the PR, and subsequent attention, that VM is putting into 1m of their rollout being fibre … as if that means anything. Unfortunately, the use of RFoG over that fibre means it (in the current rollout) is capable of no more than a piece of coax, and suffers the same potential congestion problems.

      Any house that gets connected this way will be counted as “FTTP” but will not get any different service than the standard VM DOCSIS over Coax.

      It is a great investment for the future though – when VM finally have some extra service they can offer over it. Until then, it is just another puff piece, so excuse me if I yawn and fall asleep again. Wake me when it makes a difference to the service.

    • Avatar MikeW

      Does VM’s use of fibre really count as FTTP?

      Let me draw an analogy from BT’s network, that dates back a while.

      Remember TPON? Fibre to the premises that carried telephony. It might as well have been called PCMoG, or ISDNoG. Great material, rubbish service in hindsight.

      Technically TPON counts as FTTP, but the limited way it can be used means it doesn’t really qualify.

    • Avatar TheFacts

      @MikeW – TPON was not fibre to the premises, it was fibre to an analogue cabinet.

    • Avatar MikeW

      I thought it was designed, and trialled, to do both.
      https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=OitM5j9D3SMC&lpg=PA108&ots=JcZz-Z9pVp&dq=bt%20telephony%20pon&pg=PA109#v=onepage&q=bt%20telephony%20pon&f=false

      The architecture described there looks like a mash-up between today’s FTTC and FTTP architectures, but designed to carry narrow-band ISDN services, rather than high-speed DSL services.

    • Avatar Mike

      “I hear a bid of 1 million properties from Virgin. Any advance on 1 million? …

      Two million properties from Openreach! Any advance on 2 million? …

      Anyone? …”

      The VM rollout is actual numbers being done as part of their expansion the figures in this by BT are aims (or hopes) like the last batch of FTTP/H figures they never met.

  3. Avatar GNewton

    This announcement needs to be seen against the background of Ofcom’s pressure to possibly separate Openreach from BT if BT doesn’t get it’s act together.

    So seeing is believing: Remember that in 2009, BT announced it would connect 2.5 million British homes to ultra-fast Fibre-to-the-Home (‘FTTP’) by 2012 and 25% of the UK, yet in 2016 it is only a tiny 250,000 coverage at the most. BT has also stopped taking orders for its FTTP-on-demand product. The important thing is not to waste taxpayer’s money again on this, but rather, to improve the overall framework which allows for better infrastructure competition.

    There are a lot of lessons for this to be learned from other countries, like Sweden which has a better coordination of utilities roadside works, or the United States with its FIOS service in many areas.

  4. Avatar fastman

    announced it would connect 2.5 million British homes to ultra-fast Fibre-to-the-Home (‘FTTP’) by 2012 and 25% of the UK, yet in 2016 it is only a tiny 250,000 coverage at the most — only 1 piece of the story as ever — actually the business determined to delivery significantly more premises using than it would have done with FTTP for the same amount of money !!!!!

    • To be fair no-one forced Openreach to find about the slowest and most expensive way to deploy the FTTP imaginable. Doing it right would’ve substantially increased coverage.

      Connectorised solutions have been around in production networks since at least 2005, these are not new. Pre-building has been done for a similar length of time.

  5. Avatar MikeW

    I love CityFibre’s response.

    In words, it is couched in terms of criticism of BT as a “sluggish incumbent”, and advancing the merits of alt-net suppliers.

    Reading between the words, it really says “Hurray. BT aren’t trying to go for our market, and we get to write more PR criticising them”.

    That’s the thing about PR. Everyone gets to big-up their own strategy, and belittle everyone else’s.

    The Sky response is no different. Where was the line about “We tried to give fibre to existing houses, and failed to make it profitable too?”

    • Sky never made any attempt to make FTTP profitable.

      This announcement from BT encroaches on CityFibre, Venus, Keycom, Hyperoptic, etc. Going for the MDUs will hurt smaller operators who focus on those, going into the commercial areas will hurt CityFibre’s private sector market, going after the new builds will harm IFNL and others.

    • Avatar MikeW

      “Sky never made any attempt to make FTTP profitable.”

      Just enough to justify more demands to Ofcom. Fibre to the press release, but for ulterior motives.

      “going into the commercial areas will hurt CityFibre’s private sector market”

      Yes, I decided that was true after hitting “submit”, which makes CityFibre’s response an even stranger one.

      Openreach was always going to, eventually, have a reasonable new-build strategy, so IFNL will eventually been in the crosshairs. I haven’t seen anything targetting MDU’s yet; G.Fast would fit there, but there’s some way to go yet.

    • Avatar TheFacts

      All those smaller companies set up knowing the risk that BT would expand its build and technology across the UK. They have had 30 years to build…

    • Avatar New_Londoner

      @MikeW
      I think it’s highly ironic of CFH to criticise BT as a “sluggish incumbent”, and advancing the merits of alt-net suppliers. The snail-like pace of the CFH build in locations such as Peterborough, where it is way behind on coverage and seemed to drop any pretence at serving the whole area days after winning a contract to carry the council’s own network traffic.

      Definitely a case of fibre to the press release for CFH, despite its rhetoric today.

    • Avatar MikeW

      Aye, indeed. It is the sluggishness of the incumbent that creates their opportunities, but the eventual momentum that helps close them off again. Altnets need to be nimble to keep ahead – opportunities exist everywhere, but change shape consistently.

      An update to what I said about MDUs, though… One of the slides does indeed include apartment blocks. But it also includes rural areas, which I wasn’t expecting.

      The overall breakdown is:
      – 11m+ for consumers, as a mix of G.Fast and FTTP
      – 1m for business, using FTTP, including business parks and high streets

      The overall ambition for 2m FTTP then adds targets of new-builds, apartment blocks, and “where it makes economic sense”.

      There’s also interesting mention of a willingness to meet a 10Mbps USC, done voluntarily rather than part of an industry USO. I wonder where that will pan out.

    • Avatar GNewton

      @ThgeFacts: “They have had 30 years to build…”

      So did BT! So what is your point, other than your usual BT praise?

    • Avatar FibreFred

      No as you know they were prevented from doing so I presume that was the point of your troll?

    • Avatar Keith

      What makes you think if BT were prevented from rolling out fibre years ago that anyone else would had been allowed and what ever you do think do you have any evidence anyone else would had been allowed?

    • Avatar FibreFred

      Read up on the history of this troll, I’m not going to post links for you.

  6. Avatar karl

    Oh no here we go with more hot air promises from BT and their over excited supporters.

  7. Avatar adslmax Real

    Great, can we have FTTP for Cuckoo Oak 100% coverage?

    • That really isn’t going to happen. If there’s a business case Cuckoo Oak might get some but universal there’s no chance. There’s nothing special about the exchange as far as I’m aware.

      I can’t see any exchanges of any size going all FTTP. Many urban exchanges will see very little if any of it to residential areas with these numbers mooted.

      You should also note the FTTP numbers are an ambition, not a promise.

      You might get G.fast by 2020. Wouldn’t hold out for FTTP.

    • Avatar Mike

      “You should also note the FTTP numbers are an ambition, not a promise.”

      Yes the story is pretty much pointless. Its not a pledge at all more another hope or aim.

  8. Avatar FibreFred

    Typical response from Sky who won’t invest in anything themselves.

    Typical response from Cityfibre who were hoping for a large amount of investment from Sky and Talktalk, who will get… none but will see more competition from BT.

    And typical response from the resident troll.

  9. Ref Steve Jones comments “In these new build “all fibre” estates, has it been established whether OR can be forced to install a traditional phone line under the USO? Of course OR can provide an analogue phoneline over fibre (there are two ports on the ONT for that purpose). For SPs using WLR voice services and GEA-FTTP for broadband, that should be fine, but it’s a big issue for full LLU operators. I’m guessing (but I don’t known) that GEA-FTTP includes the option to connect the voice service to an LLU operators MSANs, but that surely can’t be straightforward from an LLU operator’s perspective, if only because it probably won’t fit their standards processes and management systems.”

    We haven’t read all replies since that question so apologise if this is repeating a previous reply.. We can tell you that a customer of ours who recently purchased a new property with FTTP in London. Decided FTTP at the price was not needed for home use, therefore not wanting to pay anymore than they had to ordered a basic phone and broadband package but BT have refuse to install a standard copper line. As the customer has a VOIP system for their business, resigned to the fact they didn’t seem to have a choice, decided to accept the FTTP at the adertised price, forget about a standard phone and set up a VOIP extension to use for home. But it turns our that as part of the billing for FTTP BT insist they pay a £10 phone service charge on top regardless of if it is needed or not. Under normal circumstances where FTTP will replace an existing copper line, this might be OK to take the customer completely off copper but when you haven’t got a copper line in the first place and have an alternative to a standard phone line, it is a bit much. We assume this pricing policy is to make the advertised price of FTTP look reasonable, making it up elsewhere, as is normal for large ISP’s . Seems they have you which ever way you turn in this situation.

  10. Avatar Pete

    I see “the cost of FTTH/P is high” BS has risen its head again. Can anyone explain how fibre is more expensive when:
    Per channel and metre its cheaper than copper.
    Can transmit much further distances so it wont need expensive amplifiers.
    In a PON there is no expensive active equipment between user and C/O.
    Reclamation of the replaced copper cabling can go towards offsetting installation of fibre.
    You don’t need massive trenches/civil work for Fibre cabling with modern cables containing over 1000 fibres in 10mm of able diameter.
    Rural communities are finding the funding to setup and install their own FTTH systems!

    BT stop holding the UK back and get it done.

Comments RSS Feed

Javascript must be enabled to post (most browsers do this automatically)

Privacy Notice: Please note that news comments are anonymous, which means that we do NOT require you to enter any real personal details to post a message. By clicking to submit a post you agree to storing your comment content, display name, IP, email and / or website details in our database, for as long as the post remains live.

Only the submitted name and comment will be displayed in public, while the rest will be kept private (we will never share this outside of ISPreview, regardless of whether the data is real or fake). This comment system uses submitted IP, email and website address data to spot abuse and spammers. All data is transferred via an encrypted (https secure) session.

NOTE 1: Sometimes your comment might not appear immediately due to site cache (this is cleared every few hours) or it may be caught by automated moderation / anti-spam.

NOTE 2: Comments that break our rules, spam, troll or post via known fake IP/proxy servers may be blocked or removed.
Cheapest Superfast ISPs
  • Hyperoptic £18.00 (*22.00)
    Avg. Speed 30Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: Code: SPRING19
  • Vodafone £21.00 (*23.00)
    Avg. Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • TalkTalk £22.50
    Avg. Speed 36Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Direct Save Telecom £22.95 (*29.95)
    Avg. Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • SSE £23.00 (*33.00)
    Avg. Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited (FUP)
    Gift: None
Prices inc. Line Rental | View All
The Top 20 Category Tags
  1. BT (2367)
  2. FTTP (1917)
  3. FTTC (1567)
  4. Broadband Delivery UK (1529)
  5. Politics (1305)
  6. Openreach (1304)
  7. Business (1151)
  8. Statistics (1017)
  9. Mobile Broadband (942)
  10. FTTH (925)
  11. Fibre Optic (924)
  12. Ofcom Regulation (857)
  13. Wireless Internet (851)
  14. 4G (822)
  15. Virgin Media (788)
  16. Sky Broadband (565)
  17. TalkTalk (545)
  18. EE (538)
  19. Vodafone (452)
  20. Security (387)
New Forum Topics
Promotion
Helpful ISP Guides and Tips
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
Sponsored

Copyright © 1999 to Present - ISPreview.co.uk - All Rights Reserved - Terms , Privacy and Cookie Policy , Links , Website Rules , Contact