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UK Next Generation Fibre Optic Broadband NGA ISP Rollout Update

Posted: 10th Feb, 2010 By: MarkJ
point topicThe latest Point Topic data reveals that BT now has over 1,850 live fibre optic base broadband connections via its 'up to' 40Mbps Fibre-to-the-Cabinet ( FTTC ) and 'up to' 100Mbps Fibre-to-the-Home / Premises ( FTTH / P ) technology; check November 2009's rollout map for more details (here).

This is based on information to January 2010, which predominantly covers the trial period in Muswell Hill and Whitchurch. The commercial launch and wider rollout of BT's FTTC products began at the very end of January and would thus not have had any impact on BT's figures.

By comparison H2O Networks Fibrecity Holdings ( i3 Group ), Independent Fibre Networks (IFNL), Isrighthere and Velocity1 each claim upwards of 300 FTTP lines installed. Many of these are not yet in active use by customers but hopefully that will change over the coming months. Faster 100Mbps FTTH / P technology from all operators currently accounts for about 1,600 connections.

Overall there were around 4,000 next-generation access broadband connections at January 2010, with BT holding the largest single share. Interestingly the totals are less than half of what Point Topic had originally predicted for this stage, though this should change now that BT's rollout has finally got underway.

Presently BT Openreach plans to have 4,500 NGA - FTTC/P street cabinets installed by March 2010 (covering 1 million premises), rising to 20,000 cabinets by March 2011. BT is currently still on track to complete its £1.5bn rollout to cover 40% of the UK population by June 2012.

The tiny numbers might seem shocking but in reality there is nothing unexpected about what they represent. 2010 is the year that most fibre optic broadband networks will come out of trial and go commercial and thus the picture by December this year should be very different. Assuming ISPs can make the products attractive enough for early adopters, which is hard when the early coverage is so limited.
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