The financial papers seem an odd place to keep finding out about potential improvements to the UK broadband map but with the need for backing from shareholders, convincing these people even before having a product to market is very important. Visit FT.com for the full article.
It appears there has been a thawing of hostility within BT to considering a fixed line broadband network that pushes fibre optic cable into peoples homes or at least to the cabinet. In the past objections have generally been based on the economic case rather than technical issues of it being possible.
"BT remains very interested in further expanding the speed of access for customers, whether that be through faster copper, fibre to the home, fibre to the cabinet"Ian Livingston head of BT Retail
A mixture of fibre to the home for greenfield sites where there is no existing copper infrastructure and fibre to the cabinet utilising VDSL2 looks the most likely path. This has been mooted for sometime and was last mentioned back in July 2007. To some extent the presence of hardware in the 21st Century Network such as fibre MSAN's which can cope with a local loop that is both copper and fibre point towards local loop improvements in the future.
All of this talk of higher speeds depends on whether the regulators would allow the BT group to charge a sensible price to rivals for use of the network. The problem being that what is sensible to one party may not be sensible to another. One side potential side effect if we start serious moves to fibre networks is that local loop unbundling of the existing copper network may run out of steam and hit the buffers, the clever providers will utilise hardware that will be upgradeable to cope with this network change, others may find themselves being left behind.