BT eyes more FTTP

In response to concerns raised by UK regulator Ofcom as well as Virgin Media's recent announcement of a big fiber to the premises (FTTP) investment, UK national incumbent BT has declared that it too will bring FTTP to a greater number of homes. The new fiber-optic broadband deployments will compose part of a larger broadband roll out initiative that will also include G.fast and 4G wireless at a cost of 6 billion over the next three years.

In response to concerns raised by UK regulator Ofcom as well as Virgin Media's recent announcement of a big fiber to the premises (FTTP) investment, UK national incumbent BT has declared that it too will bring FTTP to a greater number of homes. The new fiber-optic broadband deployments will compose part of a larger broadband roll out initiative that will also include G.fast and 4G wireless at a cost of £6 billion over the next three years.

BT says its Openreach arm will pass 2 million homes and businesses with FTTP architecture within a push to pass a total of 12 million premises with some form of "ultrafast broadband" by 2020. Most of the FTTP activities will target new housing developments, high streets, and business parks.

However, the major of wireline customers will receive ultrafast services via G.fast, it appears.

"G.fast is an important technology that will enable us to deploy ultrafast broadband at pace and to as many homes as possible. Customers want their broadband to be affordable as well as fast and we will be able to do that using G.fast," said BT Group Chief Executive Gavin Patterson. "FTTP will also play a bigger role going forward and I believe it is particularly well suited to those businesses who may need speeds of up to 1 Gbps. My ambition is to roll it out to 2 million premises and our trials give me confidence we will."

BT says field trials have shown that G.fast can support 300-Mbps services now and up to 500 Mbps in the relatively near future (see "BT connects first G.fast trial customers").

The service provider says its investments will enable it to reach more than 95% of UK homes and businesses with "superfast" broadband (defined as by the Broadband Delivery UK program as downstream rates greater than 24 Mbps and by Ofcom as greater than 30 Mbps) by 2020. It says it has identified long-reach VDSL as an option for the remaining customer base "should there be regulatory support for its plans," in the words of a BT press release.

BT's new ultrafast initiative comes in the wake of Ofcom's recent Strategic Review of Digital Communications in which it passed on forcing BT to spin out Openreach completely but suggested changes needed to be made (see "Ofcom: BT can keep Openreach for now, but changes needed"). Primary competitor Virgin Media, meanwhile, announced last week that it would target 1 million premises with FTTP by 2019 (see "Virgin Media plans UK FTTP deployment").

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