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UK ISPs React to BT's £1.5bn Fibre Broadband Rollout Plans
By: MarkJ - 16 July, 2008 (10:16 AM)

Several more UK Internet Service Providers have given us their reactions of yesterdays news concerning BTs £1.5bn plans to start rolling out super-fast fibre broadband services around the country (news). Overall the response has been positive, although some of the ISPs cautioned BT not to abuse its monopolistic position:

Oli White, Head of Marketing at Be Broadband, says: "For an ISP like Be it will all depend on the regulatory framework that goes around the investment. If BT follows the same model as we have in place now it will allow Be to offer more than 20meg broadband to far more than the existing 6% of the population.

This is really exciting for people who really depend on and donít know life without broadband, like Be members. But if BT is allowed to take advantage of its monopolistic position and prevent ISPs like Be from delivering an exceptional service to customers, it will be a missed opportunity.

We were also able to get a comment from Elfed Thomas, the CEO of H2O Networks, which has been busy rolling out its own dark fibre broadband through sewer systems in Dundee, Bournemouth & Northampton:

"The announcement by BT strengthens H2O Networks' Dark fibre commercial model. The fact that BT will be investing in fibre is an overdue position for the incumbent operator.It does not change the way in which you access the BT network, whether that be copper or fibre.

It will remain a bandwidth model therefore tariffs will continue to increase, probably more so after this investment. H2O Networks is the only company who builds and leases dark fibre which provides unlimited bandwidth. BT does not sell dark fibre.

Finally, Entanet International's COO, James Blessing, was able to add a few thoughts. Entanet, though not directly a retail ISP, supplies several popular UK vISPs with consumer broadband services (e.g. Aquiss, ADSL24, TitanADSL etc.):

"Entanet welcomes today's announcement from BT of their intention to invest £1.5bn in fibre-based broadband and offer up to 10 million UK households access to fibre networks by 2012.

BT says its investment is dependent on Ofcom creating a new regulatory framework and this is a definitely a worry. Ofcom has a statutory duty to ensure that the highly competitive market for Broadband is not undermined by next generation access developments from a variety of operators and that the concern over potential system capabilities is not used as a means to disassemble existing protections.

Entanet would need to understand what request has been made to Ofcom about the regulatory framework and the potential impact on competition that this might have before dancing round the room in celebration.

Entanet was also keen to point towards its involvement with BT's Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) trials in Kesgrave and yesterday became one of the first BT based providers in the UK to offer 'up to' 24Mbps ADSL2+ broadband services (news) through its vISPs.

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