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UK ISP BE Broadband Release More Details of their Superfast FTTC Service Trial

Posted: 15th Nov, 2011 By: MarkJ
uk fibre optic broadband cablebe broadband uk isp logoInternet provider Be Broadband UK (BE) has finally responded to our queries and today sent us a few more details about their forthcoming trial of superfast broadband services at the Barking (Greater London) telephone exchange (original announcement).

BE's original plan, which was to launch a service using up to 40Mbps Fibre-to-the-Cabinet ( FTTC ) technology before the end of 2011, stalled after the ISP found itself unable to develop an "unthrottled and unlimited" service via BTWholesale's solution.

A spokesperson for the ISP now confirms that the trial, which is expected to "last up to six months" and start "very shortly" (possibly this week), is still set to use FTTC technology but it will now be deployed via Virtual Unbundled Local Access (VULA) through BTOpenreach.

This is somewhat different from what BE appeared to hint at last week when they spoke about "installing more of our own equipment into the local exchange", which sounded similar to Sub Loop Unbundling (SLU) or possibly even Physical Infrastructure Access (PIA).

By contrast VULA also allows ISPs to deliver services over BT's new GEA / Next Generation Access (NGA) network, albeit with a degree of control that is similar to that achieved when taking over the physical line to the customer ( i.e. LLU ). However VULA is very much a "virtual connection" and BT would thus retain most of the price controls.

A BE Spokesperson added:

"BE has identified a short list of 25 customers in the Barking exchange [where] we'd like to trial our service, and we'll be contacting them shortly. Initial indications suggest most triallists will achieve download speeds of between 37meg and 40meg, and upload speeds greater than 10meg."

BE is adamant that, despite VULA's limitations, it will allow them to "replicate the unthrottled, unlimited characteristics of BE's LLU broadband service." It's still too early to talk about prices, although most superfast services tend to attract a premium and we don't expect BE to be any different.
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