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BT Openreach Boss Comments On Fibre Debate

Posted: 20th Sep, 2007 By: MarkJ
The Boss of BT Openreach, Steve Robertson, has spoken to The Guardian newspaper and given his own impression of the current next-generation broadband debate (see news: here and here).

Robertson makes clear that Openreach already intends to invest in 'Fibre To The Home' (FTTH) technology for "new build" housing developments. However he points out that the economic case for a truly national rollout is somewhat more complex:

"The government has said there is going to be a major acceleration in housebuilding and, for Openreach, putting fibre into the ground is just as easy as putting copper into the ground. However, that does not help end users at all unless service providers - BT Retail, Carphone, Sky, Tiscali etc - come and play too and develop products."

He maintains that "fibre simply will not take off unless the providers want to come and play". The problem is that while it is relatively easy to install fibre for new homes, "the financial case is not made" for installing it in existing premises where it is a much more expensive job.

"Our model says we do not take the whole value chain, we make the fibre available to everybody else (such as TalkTalk and Sky) and that means the financial case is even more demanding," he said.

Robertson notes how Germany's Deutsche Telekom is being allowed to keep fibre customers for itself, which would be unlikely to find much favour in our highly competitive market.
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