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BT To Double FTTC Openreach Speeds In April

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Speeds set to jump to 80Mbps downstream and 20Mbps upstream by April

BT has announced plans to double the speeds of its Openreach Fibre To The Cabinet (FTTC) service from April.

The product will offer downstream headline speeds of up to 80Mbps and upstream speeds of up to 20Mbps.

Double speeds

BT says it will be up to communications providers to decide whether or not to pass the speeds onto end users as the current service, which offers up to 40Mbps downstream speeds and up to 10Mbps upstream, will continue to be available.

The company says that this marks a “significant milestone” in BT’s development of FTTC technology and that it demonstrates its commitment to carrying out its £2.5 billion rollout of fibre broadband across the UK.

“We said we would double fibre speeds by this spring and this is exactly what we have done,” commented Mike Galvin, Openreach managing director of network investment. “This is a significant milestone both for Openreach’s fibre network and for broadband speeds in the UK. The faster speeds will be available in a month’s time and so it is now up to broadband providers to decide how and when they offer these faster speeds to their customers.”

BT announced that a further 156 locations were going to benefit from its rollout of FTTC in April last year. In December, the telecoms giant announced plans to add another 178 telephone exchanges as part of its infinity fibre rollout during the course of 2012. The company also plans to expand its Fibre To The Premises (FTTP) trial to blocks of flats and is encouraging landlords and residents to sign up for the scheme.

However the service has attracted the attention of telecoms regulator Ofcom which has proposed that BT should cut its wholesale prices as the cost of providing a network decreases. Ofcom submitted its proposal to the European Commission (EC) last month and it was approved last week.

The ruling could mean cheaper broadband for customers of BT’s competitors such as TalkTalk and Sky, if they choose to pass the savings onto customers, although BT has indicated it will appeal.