Openreach to put heat under Broadband Britain with FTTP

06 October 2011 | Guy Matthews

Openreach, the infrastructure deployment division of UK incumbent BT, has said it is launching a Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) service to help bring the country nearer to the broadband speeds enjoyed in other parts of Europe.

It claimed the service, which will be available on a wholesale basis in selected parts of the UK from the end of October, will offer an initial download performance of up to 110Mb per second (Mbps), and upload speeds of 30Mbps.

By spring 2012, Openreach said it expects to be delivering downstream speeds of up to 300Mbps, three times as fast as those currently offered by its nearest competitor Virgin Media. It said it is already trialling 1Gbps connections in one location in East Anglia.

Since the start of 2010, Openreach, like its competitors, has been focussed on delivering Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) broadband, far slower than FTTP since it still relies on a legacy copper connection to deliver access from cabinet to home. It said that in addition to its FTTP rollout, it now has permission from relevant authorities to double FTTC downstream speeds from up to 40Mbps to up to 80Mbps.

Openreach has said that by spending £2.5 billion over the next four years it can pass two thirds of UK homes and businesses with its fibre access network by the end of 2015.

“This is a significant step in the UK’s broadband journey,” said Openreach chief executive Liv Garfield. “These developments will transform broadband speeds across the country and propel the UK up the broadband league tables.”

“These are significant announcements and good news for the UK,” said communications minister Ed Vaizey. “High-speed broadband is essential for economic growth, which is why we want the UK to have the best superfast broadband in Europe by 2015. Improving the UK’s broadband infrastructure will help our high-tech, digital industries grow. It will ensure the UK is an attractive place to start-up and base the businesses of tomorrow.”