Viatel Questions BT’s Superfast Broadband Reach

Viatel has welcomed BT’s announcement that it will expand the planned reach of its superfast broadband network from 40 percent of homes to 66 percent, noting that importantly this could help businesses – especially those in rural areas – to better compete with their rivals, both at home and abroad, that are already benefitting from the services that can be run across superfast broadband lines. However, Viatel is also warning organisations not to get too carried away as even once rolled out a third of the country will still have to wait to receive anywhere near these speeds. Furthermore, the issue of patchy availability will remain for some time – even within areas with enabled exchanges, due to the required upgrading of all street cabinets.

“Given the uncertainty over which policies will take priority in the new UK Government, BT’s investment is more important than ever before – especially for businesses that rely on broadband connections for economic prosperity and to fend off the competition,” said Steve Powell, product manager for connectivity at Viatel. “BT’s planned roll out should even up the playing field for more organisations, but for those left out, the issue remains of how to actually deliver superfast speeds to the whole country.”

Viatel experts also point out that hybrid Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) or even true fibre ‘superband’ Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) are still subject to the same problems of contention that plague shared networks during busy times today. Viatel points out that while Quality of Service (QoS) will be available on these networks in the future, at present this is not the case and all businesses need to be aware that line speed is not the only key factor to consider – especially when running delay-sensitive and mission-critical applications over their broadband networks.

“Speed is one thing, but it should not be forgotten that all of these new services are to be delivered on massively shared networks, so just as crucial is the ability to prioritise different types of traffic so such data can avoid these bottlenecks, delays and dropped calls,” continued Powell. “Quality of Service will help prevent this by, for example, ensuring that voice traffic is given priority over email and web access. Businesses that run these applications without end to end QoS could continue to see some serious detrimental effects.”

Viatel works closely with BT and is confident that these issues will all be overcome, and that business-focused products and services will be available in the future, but national or even patchy local availability could still be a problem for some time to come.

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