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UK ISP Maps Out BTs 40Mb FTTC Broadband Coverage to Reveal Digital Divide

Posted: 15th Oct, 2010 By: MarkJ
nga bt fttc fttp broadband uk map timicotimico uk fttcBusiness ISP Timico UK has launched a new interactive map service that allows people to easily check whether they are "winners or losers in the NGA broadband postcode lottery" by visualising any areas that will be able to receive "superfast" fibre optic ( FTTC , FTTH / P ) BT based internet services.

The system consists of an API driven Google map that simply takes BT's fibre optic rollout plan and applies it to known telephone exchange locations, albeit with some extra data. Further details are revealed as you ZOOM in closer to your own street / postcode.

Timico's Chief Technology Officer, Trefor Davies, claims that the map also provides a good illustration of just how deep the Digital Divide between superfast broadband haves and have not's really does go. Certainly Scotland isn't having the best of times, but then neither is Wales or much of Coastal Southern England.

Timico's CTO, Trefor Davies, said:

"This does bring home the stark nature of the “Digital Divide”. There are great swathes of the country that are not covered. It also shows how you don’t actually have to live in the country to be on the wrong side of the Digital Divide. Areas can be seen where one street is enabled and the next not.

There are many reasons why this might be the case including problems with planning applications and difficulties on the ground. It is BTs stated objective to use FTTP as an infill in these areas where perhaps a home is serviced directly from the exchange rather than the cabinet or where there have been practical difficulties in delivering FTTC.

Regardless of these localised issues it may be seen that living in a big city is no guarantee that you will get fast broadband."

However the service is far from perfect and only appears to factor in BT's existing and planned coverage. It does not include Virgin Media UK's equally "superfast" cable network or any of the other fibre optic or NGA related (WiMAX, FiWi etc.) broadband projects from third party providers.

At the time of writing the map didn't show all of BT's estimated upgrade dates for individual exchanges, which are readily available through BT Openreach's Super Fast Fibre Access Exchange Area Roll-out (PDF) document. However we suspect that this will shortly be ironed out.

The map itself is being hosted on Trefor Davies own blog (link below) and also comes accompanied by a simple exchange availability checker. We're pleased to see that Timico hasn't used it as a clever marketing ploy for their own service, although there is the option of pre-registering with Timico for FTTC/P via email (Timico is an extremely expensive FTTC ISP for home users and is more business focused).
Timico's FTTC/FTTP Broadband Coverage Map
http://www.trefor.net/tech-pages/availability-checker/
Alternatively Thinkbroadband , by perhaps a rather unfortunate coincidence for Timico , has also launched a mapping tool (http://maps.thinkbroadband.com) that brings together a number of data sources. This includes coverage information from most of the largest UK network operators along with speed test results from users.

It also adds coverage data for a number of niche market operators starting with Kijoma , a fixed wireless ISP, in the South East. More operators will be added over the next few weeks. One negative with this approach is that, when certain data is enabled, the mass of information causes the map to be very slow.
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