BT Promises 20Mbps For 80 Percent Of Britain

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Faster broadband should be on the way for more people as BT promises more ADSL2+

BT Wholesale has announced that it is extending the rollout of ADSL2+ over its copper based network, which should translate to faster broadband for 80 percent of the country.

BT said that is extending its ADSL2+ service by upgrading more telephone exchanges, so that it should reach 80 percent of UK homes and businesses by the end of this year.

ADSL2+ offers customers possible speeds of up to 20Mbps, although of course the vast majority will not see anything like these speeds because of factors such as distance from the telephone exchange, the level of ‘line noise’  etc.

Speed Increase

However, the upgrade does represent a significant speed increase to those people who live in areas still stuck on the standard “up to 8Mbps” BT Wholesale service, which is offered to more than 99 percent of UK homes and businesses.

Typically these are more rural areas, or locations with less population density, which are normally missing out on the the fibre-to-the-premise (FTTP) or fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) rollouts.

BT has labelled its ADSL2+ copper broadband service with the catchy moniker of “Wholesale Broadband Connect” or WBC.

The UK carrier said that WBC is currently available in 1,017 exchanges, which serves more than 15.5 million homes and businesses. The UK has nearly 5,000 telephone exchanges in total, and BT said that it upgrading approximately 30,000 additional lines per week.

“This announcement is further evidence of BT’s commitment to deliver next generation services across the UK,” said Cameron Rejali, Managing Director, Products, BT Wholesale.

“Running over BT’s 21st Century Network, WBC offers communications providers the ability to provide their broadband customers with greater control, choice and flexibility as well as higher speeds,” he added. “It supports the growing demand for high-speed broadband access to a range of online services – including TV, gaming online and multiple voice over internet protocol (VoIP) services.”

Fibre And Copper Mix

This WBC upgrades comes as BT continues its £2.5bn investment to roll out fibre broadband to two thirds of the UK by the end of 2015. At the moment, its “up to 40Mbps” service is now available to more than 4 million homes and businesses.

In February however, a leading BT reseller accused the telco of misrepresenting its fibre-based broadband coverage, alleging that as many as 60 percent of the street-level cabinets are being missed out in broadband-enabled exchange areas.

Upgrading telephone exchanges to WBC is less time consuming for the carrier than the national roll out of fibre.

The installation of fibre is an incredibly labour intensive process, as witnessed first hand after eWEEK Europe UK visited BT’s Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) trial in Bradwell Abbey (a suburb in Milton Keynes) in October last year.

This Bradwell Abbey FTTP trial is offering speeds of up to 100Mbps, and BT said that up to 11,000 end customers are connected  in that exchange area. Meanwhile BT Wholesale has said that it has reached 1,000 live fibre Ethernet nodes in the UK, and plans to reach 1,090 fibre nodes by the end of 2011.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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