BT Hints at Ultra Fast Broadband

BT is considering the case for an ultra-fast broadband network that could deliver internet download speeds of up to 50 mega bits per second. They are not talking fibre to the home (FTTH) but more like fibre to the cabinet (FTTC)

Sir Christopher Bland, the BT chairman who stands down in September, said the company was looking at whether to install fibre optic cable as far as the street kerb, where BT phone line cabinets are found.

The roll-out of fibre relatively close to homes and businesses could deliver download speeds of 40-50 mbps, according to BT, compared with the 8 mbps most telecoms companies offer, though even this depends upon user distance from the exchange.

Bland was reported in the FT as saying, “That is the more likely development going forward,” he said, while stressing no decisions had been taken. BT is planning to offer speeds of up to 24 mbps from next year, as it rolls out a £10bn “backbone” network and introduces technology known as ADSL2+.”

Bland questioned whether “most consumers” would need speeds of more than 16 or 24 mbps, but accepted some businesses might. He said any fibre roll-out would be in “selected areas”.

The Broadband Stakeholder Group, a government advisory panel, claimed in April that the BT network would be too slow to meet the demands of the most bandwidth hungry by 2012. It said ministers and regulators had two years to find ways to encourage investment in high speed broadband or UK competitiveness would suffer.

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