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21CN some wonder is it too ambitious?
Tuesday 27 November 2007 12:04:29 by Andrew Ferguson

Barry Collins from PC Pro has written an article that includes several quotes from people in the broadband industry in relation to the roll-out of the BT 21st Century Network (21CN).

The criticism seems to be centred on providers not being given enough detail on the forthcoming WBC (Wholesale Broadband Connect) products and concerns that BT may be moving too fast. Given the products are currently in trial stages and following the fun and games of the 'up to 8Mbps Max' service launch, one perhaps can understand BT's reasons for not releasing too much information.

There are still broadband providers out there whose support desks seem to be advising customers about the Max products based on information from the trial which is now misleading or inaccurate. BT is required to publish details of the full products prior to launch--Whether this will be enough notice for all providers is impossible to say, but there are Supplier Trial Information Notes out there already.

The PC Pro article highlights one common misconception--The target of 50% of UK broadband services delivered over 21CN in 2008 does not mean that the migration of 50% of PSTN services will occur at the same time. It is possible for the 21CN broadband services to be provided before or after a voice service has been moved to the 21CN platform.

In respect to the problems that ADSL2+ will have in terms of speed falling off rapidly as you move further away from the exchange, estimates based on existing ADSL data suggest that 25% of lines will connect at 11Mbps or higher and to some extent this is supported by data from our speed tests for Be There users earlier this year.

The BT 21st Century Network is ambitious, but in broadband terms it is playing a catch-up game with the unbundled providers, giving BT every incentive to get it rolled out as quickly as possible. In theory, 21CN should provide a framework for faster broadband services in future years as BT is using MSANs that can support fibre on the local loop as well as backhaul.

Comments

Posted by chrysalis over 9 years ago
I would say not ambitious enough, ambitious would have been to also do the local loop and provide a genuine improvement for nearly everyone, I also am concerned if BE is only scraping 25% people over the 11meg mark considering they are refusing long line orders meaning their figures are skewed, perhaps BTw will do the same? My view stays the same headline potential speeds improved so looks good and costs reduced for BT with majority of customers seeing no benefit.
Posted by doowles over 9 years ago
Yep agreed, why are they not rolling it out to the street cabinets at the same time? Other countries have show this to work.
Posted by herdwick over 9 years ago
"why are they not rolling it out to the street cabinets at the same time" because to quote yesterday's Broadband Summit "with no real prospect of a significant payback".

Be have acted as a nice pilot study for the appetite of consumers for higher speeds.
Posted by chrysalis over 9 years ago
herdwick not quite.

BE vs BT comparison.

BE unknown company which many peple wouldnt touch with barge pole irrelevant of product sold.
BT known brand that has tv ads every 20 mins.

BT has a poor product isnt the cheapest either and yet has a large amount of customers.
Posted by semo1 over 9 years ago
i don't understand the title.

i wonder what will bt do after the 21cn has been and gone.
Posted by Balb0wa over 9 years ago
This 21cn is a big farce really, i really thought when i first heard of it id finally get a decent broadband connection, but with a 4.5km 60db+ line i wont. I dont see the point of it, ADSL2+ wow, Bulldog and BE have been offering it for over a year. Fibre to the cabinet please BT.
Posted by AndrueC over 9 years ago
I didn't think 21CN was about Broadband, really. 21CN is about the backhaul which underpins everything BT do. I've always assumed that ADSL2+ is coming because it makes sense to do that if the engineers are already busy at exchanges.

As for BT refusing to provide ADSL2+ - that can't happen. The DSLAMs are being upgraded so everyone will get 2+. BE chose not to sign customers up in the first place which is different.
Posted by KarlAustin over 9 years ago
21CN is all about the backhaul and the kit in the exchange. Doing FTTC at the same time would complicate things even more, not to mention cost another £7bn (based on yesterdays report) - and that won't bring cost savings to BT (which 21CN does), so it has to pay for itself - and if OFCOM come along and say BT has to give access to it for peanuts, then it won't pay for itself very quickly, so BT won't do it.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
21CN will be a complete and utter shambles, the story itself states only 25% of people will see 11Mb or more. People with cack speeds on MAX will switch to 21CN and still have cack speeds and due to dishonest advertising no doubt involving such cliche phrases like "UP TO" and "UNLIMITED" become even more confused than they are now. I for one wont be touching it with a moldy barge pole... It will be another service that fails to deliver speeds people want, be over subbed and have throttles coming out of its ears.
Posted by herdwick over 9 years ago
"BE unknown company which many peple wouldnt touch with barge pole irrelevant of product sold.
BT known brand that has tv ads every 20 mins."

proves the point then - no demand for high speeds, only demand for what is available from a known brand. Nail in the coffin of an alternative FTTH provider.
Posted by Pigmaster over 9 years ago
21CN with ADSL2+. As I am classed as Mr Average Broadband as my connection is about 4000Kbps etc

I have tried Andrew's 2+ tester http://www2.farina1.com/adsl/default.aspx and they turned out slightly higher than my current ADSL.
Current Sync at 50db Atten 8.5db SNR is 4384Kbps and for ADSL 2+ it reckons on 5508Kbps, so just a 2meg more. Wow!

So with higher bandwidth (50Meg etc) coming soon on cable etc I shall be looking at 5508 in two years time when my exchange gets upgraded to 21CN. Is it worth it?

I get 4Mbps at best with Demon/BT and under ADSL 2+ it predicts 4
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 9 years ago
The 50Mbps trial costs £47 per month, which is a big jump in cost for many people. VM 20Mbps is £37/month.

To date most people seem to be edging towards lower cost products rather than as fast as is technically possible in my area.
Posted by c_j_ over 9 years ago
21CN isn't about offering improved services, even if they *might* bring in more revenue, which in view of the differing takeup between Be and "free" (CPW/Orange/Sky etc) looks like a high risk strategy.

21CN is about reducing BT operational costs, and very little else beyond that. If operational costs come down, will prices come down too?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
quote"The 50Mbps trial costs £47 per month, which is a big jump in cost for many people. VM 20Mbps is £37/month.
To date most people seem to be edging towards lower cost products rather than as fast as is technically possible in my area."
Not to be rude but we have no idea what a top end 21CN service for us lot as customers will cost on average per month yet.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
Its possible their wont be much difference in price. Freely admit it wont cost £47 a month (or i hope not) but for those that will see no or little improvement on it (thats basically everyone that currently gets 4Mb or lower on MAX) paying lets call it 20 quid a month more for a service which may chug along at 50Mb suddenly becomes quite attractive for some.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 9 years ago
Trial pricing (which of course can vary) is £6.28 to £8.04 depending on exchange band, then rental costs for backhaul which is more complex to figure out as providers can mix/match between wBC and wMBC.

£67.90 per Mbps per month, i.e. 334GB if 1Mbps flat out all month, or a notional 20p per GB. There are other costs to add which will bring it closer to the notional ~50p per GB under IPStream CBC.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 9 years ago
c_j_ - It looks that the cost to ISP's is going to more than offset any saving BT might pass on. By far.

And no, Be's failure is a classic one of marketing.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
@andrew i just dont see 21CN services being any cheaper for customers/consumers than what current max based products are (which i imagine as a rough average is probably about £20 per month) Id really like to see 21CN succeed (no really i would) but given the track record of BT and the big balls up they made with MAX when it appeared and also given it now seems they are trying to rush 21CN in, i dont hold out much hope that it will be a substantial improvement for most people.
Posted by irrelevant over 9 years ago
I paid £47/month for 512Kbps when ADSL first arrived. Now we pay £30/month total for two connections "up to" 8 & 16Mbps (but because of line quality I'm lucky to get 4 & 6Mbps out of them.) I'd be happy to go back to £47 a month for (a guaranteed) 50Mbps - 10x the speed for the same money I used to pay!
Posted by chrysalis over 9 years ago
herdwick proves what point? how much more can I explain it to you.

If BE were to sell an exact duplicate of BT retail product it would still have next to no customers. Or do you disagree with this?

There is no demand for the BE brand not the product.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
Be there will take off when O2 put the final nail in the coffin and start their mass marketing and TV gloss like BT and Virgin Media do. We have had this conversation with herdwick before, bethere dont advertise as much or through expensive options like TV, the everyday person on the street that doesnt visit sites like this probably dont even know they exist.
Posted by chrysalis over 9 years ago
indeed O2 broadband is already outstripping BE sales and its not been around long at all.
Posted by markmck1a over 9 years ago
BT need to provide fibre to the cabinet otherwise most people will get very little of a performance increase. Anything else is just marketing speak
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