BT Adds Slower Minimum Fibre Broadband Speeds

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BT has begun offering a fibre broadband product to resellers offering download speeds of just 5 Mbps

Until now, BT’s fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) broadband has had a minimum downstream speed of 15 Mbps, but this week BT added a slower product – meaning fibre customers could receive download speeds of just 5 Mbps.

BT Wholesale on Wednesday began selling a fibre-based broadband to ISP resellers with a minimum downstream speed of 5 Mbps, however BT said it will not be selling the product itself under the BT Retail Infinity brand.

Customer demand

BT said it made the move due to customer demand, and in order to allow fibre-based broadband to reach customers whose lines don’t support the minimum speeds required by the faster product.

The new offering means that customers receiving 5 Mbps download speeds can be numbered amongst those connected to “fibre-based broadband”, and also means that ISPs can extend fibre-based broadband to more customers.

BT pointed out that the new offering could be a significant speed boost to some customers.

“Consumers and businesses that have previously been unable to order fibre broadband over BT’s network because their line was unable to support the minimum speed of 15Mbps will now able to do so via their ISP,” BT said in a statement. “While these customer’s lines will be unable to support the super-fast speeds of up to 40Mbps offered by BT’s FTTC service, the option of a lower minimum assured speed for FTTC means that some customers may see an improvement in their broadband speeds compared with the current speed they receive over the copper network.”

FTTC uses fibre-optic broadband reaching to the street-level cabinets, with the remaining connection handled by copper lines. It can deliver download speeds of up to 40 Mbps, with uploads running at 10-15 Mbps.

Fibre focus

In May Ofcom recorded that the UK’s existing broadband infrastructure delivers an average of 5.2 Mbps download speeds.

BT has recently added another 200 apprentice jobs to help roll out fibre in the UK.

It has also set up partnerships in Northern Ireland and Cornwall to deliver fibre to rural areas. And the government has said it would make £530 million available to help companies reach other rural areas.

BT spokesmen at a recent fibre demonstration also reiterated the fact that the rollout of its fibre network, which will be open to all other communication providers, is one of the fastest in the world. It stated that its networks passes the equivalent of the population of Singapore every quarter.

Already more than two million premises now have access to fibre broadband. That number will increase to four million by the end of 2010, with BT planning to pass 10 million premises in 2012, and two-thirds of UK premises (approx 16.5 million premises) in 2015.

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