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Ofcom response to BT fibre investment
Tuesday 15 July 2008 11:44:22 by Andrew Ferguson

An investment of some £1.5bn in the UK telecoms market that may bring better broadband services to some 40% of UK households was bound to get the attention of the industry regulator. Ed Richards, Chief Executive of Ofcom has released a response:

"This is a clear sign that the UK market is moving in the right direction, with a growing number of plans to deliver super-fast broadband services to consumers.

These new networks will be a critical part of the UK’s infrastructure and will change our experience of communications. They will support and deliver innovative applications and services as well as helping create new opportunities for businesses of all kinds."

Ed Richards (Chief Executive), Ofcom

A key point made by BT is that these fibre based products will be available at a wholesale level, which will increase the pressure on Virgin Media to provide a similar service. If Virgin Media continues to insist its fibre/coax network is only sold at the retail level by itself, then it may find its market share shrinking.

While the vast majority of households likely to benefit from the fibre to the cabinet or premises roll-out by BT will be in the major UK cities, Ian Livingstone told Openreach employees that BT is willing to work with Regional Development Agencies and other bodies to use this roll-out to resolve the remaining broadband not-spots. So for those who have been working hard to try and get Openreach to do things like install thicker copper or re-route cables so a village or outlying estate can get broadband, this latest investment news may mean it is worth starting your campaign engines again.


Posted by danman7_200 over 8 years ago
As over 50% of the country is wired with Virgin Media, these households will now have two options for very high speed broadband! But the rest of the country will be stuck with <7mbps for a while!
Posted by AndrueC over 8 years ago
Maybe not. Maybe BT will ignore those areas. It seems like the sensible thing to do.
Posted by Balb0wa over 8 years ago
A step in the right direction from BT well done
Posted by Aqualung over 8 years ago
I would like to say hoorah but i fear it will just increase the haves and have nots,cities will benefit the rest of us will just end up getting further behind.Hope i'm wrong but time will tell.
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
VM will only be shooting themselves in the foot if they continue to resist selling wholesale broadband services, I do agree with BT on this one that VM should be subject to the same regulation.
Andrue the impression I get from BT regarding certian rural areas is if the local councils subsidise a rollout BT will be willing to do the work.
Posted by jerrymartin over 8 years ago
I live in hope that BT will now roll out fibre to our village in the distant future, some of us can get just under 512 kbps and some of us can't even get broadband at all.
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
another key point will be the price, and whether anyone will pay it...

The problem is NOT the technology, there is loads of that... BT could have done this *years* ago, but the systems used then were totally incompatible!

The problem is the admin & maintenance of this service - it will take more that just PR and ofcom waffle to improve that...
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
Ive already congratulated BT on this decision, lets also hope the ball-less ofcom watch this and if needed get tough to make sure its not just a select few that end up with the service, other than that it is positive news.
Posted by callum9999 over 8 years ago
"I do agree with BT on this one that VM should be subject to the same regulation."

The difference is that VM built their own network but BT did so with the government. Now its a private company it is a bit unfair (but all their money has come from the government investment). It would be best if BT was split up, one company is nationalised and runs the network and the other is just another ISP.
Posted by Magellan over 8 years ago
Perhaps there is an opportunity to kill a few birds with one stone.

A little subsidy to BT to install FTTH to rural village sub-postoffices would provide broadband access to communities that would otherwise be uneconomical to provide the service to, and helps to protect local postoffices by facilitating new on-line services to increase foot-fall.
Posted by jerrymartin over 8 years ago
Magellan you have come up with a great idea, it would be great if they were to do this. But I don't think it will happen.
Posted by c_j_ over 8 years ago
re post offices: I have the vaguest of vague recollections that one factor driving BT's rollout of DSL to small rural exchanges was the fact that the Post Office wanted all their offices broadband-enabled. Visions of Internerd kiosks in every Post Office as a revenue generator didn't quite work out, but with FTTPO, maybe Post Office Broadband could mean something more than just a white-label BT service. You could even WiMax it locally around the Post Office (or not).
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
Not to mention Post Offices even in large towns are being shut down left right and centre due to costs so spending all that money over some village sweetieshop old stylee Post Office isnt gonna happen.
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
BT has had NOTHING to do with 'the post office' for many years....
The Government is trying to save money by close 'non-profitable' PO shops, but then it has paid enogh money for TV ads, featuring TV stars, and a 'make believe' PO shop, that is nothing like reality... I wonder how much all this cost?????
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
Nice ideas to get BB going, yes, but they want to REDUCE costs....

But then, BT being a mega-large company, it has old managers that have no clue, and even THINK they are cheap!! and then there are so many seaparate parts, that the odd million pound expenses get 'lost' ...:/
Posted by deniswight over 8 years ago
BT are forced to share the local loop; why not Virgin? The idea of our streets being dug up again for a second set of cables is horrifying.
Posted by rjohnloader over 8 years ago
Us country folk with pathetic line speeds will subsidise the city folk again.
Posted by john_beck_uk over 8 years ago
BT had most of its' local loop presented to it at the time of privatisation. VM had to invest private funds to set up their local loop. If Bt are prepared to provide FTTC with local authority funding what are VM going to get. Any of the other ISP's have the opportunity to provide their own local loop if they are prepared to pay the cost. This is a commercial enterprise after all.
Posted by DMHarris over 8 years ago
Good news for some... but I live only 30 miles from London but only get 0.4Mbps on my BTInternet connection. I pay for 'up to 8Mbps' (but the small print does stress the 'up to') Some attention ro rural areas (or pricing that reflects the service) would be welcome.
Posted by elgeebar over 8 years ago
Something I've thought should be done for a VERY long time (10 years +)... When ANOther developer builds a new housing estate (hell, a brand new village of over 250 homes has been built a few miles up the road from where I live) the developer should put in the broadband infrastructure... they put in all the other utilities so why not one for the 21st century?
Posted by elgeebar over 8 years ago
As it is, this new village is on the end of the line from our exchange (they are about 3 miles away) so they get a crap service... I might add that we are a sub-exchange anyway so we were one of the last exchanges to actually get an upgrade when BT did it's big roll-out program. I personally think that only happened because the local enterprise company rolled out a wireless broadband service which has since failed because of the competition... the downside to that being it also covered this village who are now basically reduced to dial-up again!
Posted by elgeebar over 8 years ago
I'm lucky enough to be less than 100 meters away from the exchange and at times even get my full 8Mbps (though since Pipex were bought by Tiscali and became shitex this has become a bit of a rarity - can not wait for my 12 months to finish).

Anyway, my point is, why does this new village and the vast proliferation of modern estates being built everywhere, not have Cable (or fiber) to the door when they are constructed?
Posted by partymarty over 8 years ago
elgeebar, that's far too easy to answer.

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