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Expert Criticises BT's Ebbsfleet Fibre Broadband Trials

Posted: 12th Jun, 2008 By: MarkJ
Jupiter Research analyst Ian Fogg has criticised the speeds to be offered by BT's Ebbsfleet fibre broadband (FTTH/FTTP) trials, highlighting them as being among the "lowest" for a fibre service in Europe:

"I am surprised. This is a trial and I see no reason why they aren't trialling the highest speed the technology can deliver. What is the point of a trial if you don't really test things?" he told BBC News Online.

BT's Preliminary Ebbsfleet Fibre Options:
135Kbps symmetric
Connection Fee: £80 (Monthly: £11.87)

2.5Mbps down / 0.5Mbps up
Connection Fee: £80 (Monthly: £18.54)

10Mbps down / 2Mbps up
Connection Fee: £130 (Monthly: £21.45)

10Mbps down / 2Mbps up, burst to 30Mbps for downloads
Connection Fee: £130 (Monthly: £23.45)

10Mbps down / 2Mbps up, burst to 100Mbps for downloads
Connection Fee: £130 (Monthly: £28.45)

Source: Thinkbroadband

However, BT has said that it will offer a baseline minimum of 10Mbps, which a spokesman praised as being "higher in fact that anyone currently needs". It's also understood that download speeds will increase, at least on some packages, depending on what the customer is doing (e.g. downloading a movie).

The operator continued on to say that users could still expect to receive speeds of over 50Mbps when required. BT also hopes to offer the first two years of service for free to all of Ebbsfleet's 10,000 new homes, though to date Ofcom has only partially agreed to lower prices for 300 of the first pilot homes.

It is important to remember that while future services may market their products with a 100Mbps headline rate, it would be impossible to supply this to all customers. Broadband, no matter what its form, is still a predominantly shared service. For example, some of our friends in Sweden use similar technology but frequently just over 2Mbps from their 100Mbps capable fibre lines. The problems of tomorrow are already starting to look awfully familiar.
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