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BT Openreach Launch Official UK Map of Superfast FTTC Broadband Availability

Posted: 08th Dec, 2011 By: MarkJ
uk superfast broadband fttc exchange mapbt openreach logoBTOpenreach, which is responsible for managing access to BT Group's local and national telecoms network, has launched a new UK map of superfast broadband availability for its own 'up to' 40Mbps+ FTTC (rising to 80Mbps in 2012) and 100Mbps+ FTTP (rising to 300Mbps in 2012) fibre optic based internet access services.

A number of ISPs (e.g. Eclipse Internet UK) have launched similar maps in the recent past but this is the first time that BTOpenreach has done one of its own. Unfortunately it, like all other such maps, fails to provide a full picture of coverage because it only displays which Telephone Exchanges have been upgraded.

This is important because BT's dominant Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) technology works by delivering a fibre optic line from the exchange to your local cabinet, which requires a major upgrade. Sadly BT's map doesn't mention cabinets, which makes it extremely difficult to know if and when you will ever be able to receive the service. Exchange availability is only a small part of the story.

Indeed BT told us earlier this year that "on average, well over 70% of cabinets within an exchange area are enabled" (here), although it admitted that a "handful of exchanges" did have a figure of "between 40-50 per cent of cabinets enabled" (note: this often still equates to almost 70% coverage of actual premises).

A BT Spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk:

"There are only a handful of exchanges with between 40-50 per cent of cabinets enabled, and that in many of these cases this equates to actual coverage of up to 70 per cent of homes and businesses in an exchange area. In the roll-out overall, on average well over 70 per cent of cabinets are enabled within each exchange area, covering, around 85 % of homes and businesses."

The map also helps to reveal that many significantly large urban towns have yet to even be included in the operators rollout. My own town of Poole, which is home to a population of well over 140,000 people, currently has no upgrade dates set on any of its three exchanges, yet some smaller outlying rural areas do have dates. Coverage problems are not isolated to rural villages.

On the other hand BT is still in the process of investing £2.5bn on the deployment of its service and more exchange upgrades will soon be announced. At present their slower FTTC product can already reach roughly 6 million UK premises and should hit 10 Million in 2012 (40% of the country), which will rise again to 66% by 2015. BT claims that they could take it to 90% with a significant injection of public cash from the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) office but that has yet to be decided. Credits to Trefor (Timico's CTO) for informing us about the map.
BTOpenreach UK Superfast Broadband Map:
http://www.superfast-openreach.co.uk/where-and-when/
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