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UK ISP BT Retail Launches Commercial Ultrafast 100Mbps Broadband Services

Posted: 15th Nov, 2011 By: MarkJ
BT UK superfast fibre optic broadband cable rolloutbt ukThe national UK telecoms operator , BT , has today finally announced the commercial launch of its new 100Mbps download (15Mbps uploads) capable "ultrafast" fibre optic broadband internet access services. The BT Infinity Option 3 service, which is initially available to a few small areas of the country, costs from £35 per month with "unlimited usage" and unlimited evening and weekend calls.

Unlike BT's existing 'up to' 40Mbps ( FTTC based ) "superfast" BT-Infinity Option 1 / 2 services, which only runs the fibre optic cable to your local street cabinet (an existing and less reliable copper line handles the rest), the new "ultrafast" Option 3 product uses a true fibre optic technology ( Fibre-to-the-Premises - FTTP ) to take that fibre all the way to your home for even faster speeds.

The Managing Director of BT’s Consumer Division, John Petter, said:

"We are delighted to launch BT Infinity Option 3, which offers our fastest-ever speeds for consumers. We are seeing very encouraging takeup of our fibre-based broadband and we now have more than 300,000 customers.

Today’s addition expands our product offering, so we now have three versions of BT Infinity offering high speeds that allow families to do more online at the same time. BT Infinity Option 3 matches the top speed currently available in the UK and beats the upload speed offered by Virgin Media’s best offering."
BT Infinity Option 3
* Up to 100Mbps Download Speeds
* Up to 15Mbps Upload Speeds
* Unlimited Usage Allowance
* FREE Evening & Weekend Calls to UK landlines
* FREE Connection
* BTHomeHub 3 Wireless Router Included
* Unlimited Wi-Fi minutes
* Advanced online security
* Yahoo! Email addresses
* 5GB secure online storage
* 18 Month Contract


Monthly Price: £35 + £10 Phone Line Rental (£45)
Sadly the service will only be available to a relatively small portion of the UK's population (roughly 2.5 million premises once the initial rollout is completed by the end of 2014). The following telephone exchanges will be the first to get FTTP, although it should be noted that it won't be available to everybody within the related areas.
BT FTTP-Telephone Exchanges (FTTC also supported)
* Ashford
* Bradwell Abbey
* Chester South
* Exeter
* Forest Hill
* Highams Park
* Ilford Central
* Leytonstone
* St Austell
* York
By contrast Virgin Media has a similar 100Mbps (10Mbps uploads) service, which does indeed come with slower upstream speeds. However Virgin's service, which is a very similar price, will cover half of the country by the middle of 2012; significantly more than BT's FTTP aspires to.

However both BT and Virgin Media also have plans for even faster services. For example, BT's FTTP technology can already deliver upload speeds of 30Mbps and its download rate will be boosted to 300Mbps next year (original news). Likewise BT's primary FTTC technology is also going to get a speed boost up to 80Mbps in 2012 (details).

Meanwhile Virgin is expected to launch a 200Mbps service at some point in the near future, with upload speeds of 20Mbps also in the offing (both are still under trial). Still, coverage is what really counts for uptake and on that point BT's FTTP is the clear underdog.

It's worth pointing out that third party broadband ISPs will shortly follow BT's lead with their own FTTP solutions, although most are expected to retain their focus on FTTC. The limited coverage of FTTP and potential confusion with FTTC is a potential problem area for some.
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