Openreach has said that the majority of its fibre roll-out will be based around a fibre to the cabinet solution with VDSL2 running over the remaining run of copper. The more desirable option of fibre to the home (FTTH), known as fibre to the premises (FTTP) by Openreach is only going to appear in a few areas.
The most known about location for FTTP is Ebbsfleet in Kent, which as a greenfield site offers cheaper costs at the start of the project. Brownfield sites which already have a copper based telephone/broadband network have been expected and Highams Park in London has been identified as where Openreach will start its pilot.
The FTTC trials are continuing, as of 21st July, the two trial areas had 98 cabinets commissioned, an additional 20 cabinets are planned for Muswell Hill but planning issues are delaying things. One thing worth pointing out, is that areas with FTTC will not also get FTTP, plus once the roll-outs are underway there is the possibility that some cabinets on an exchange may be uneconomic to supply with fibre.
TalkTalk announced that it will be taking part in the FTTC trials, which will allow it to offer broadband at up to 40Mbps (actual speed dependent on line distance to green street cabinet). BT Total has also been promoting its participation in the trials, to the extent that we have seen some people receiving sales calls offering a place on the trials if they sign up to a BT Total ADSL/ADSL2+ product now. With any trial/pilot there is the possibility that things may be delayed, or the number of places decrease, so changing broadband provider to try and get on the trial should only be considered if you are happy with the providers full offering e.g. the product you will be on prior to the trial starting.
One aspect to date has been that most providers taking part in the assorted fibre trials are offering service for the same price. The distinct danger with this approach is that as people embrace the ability to view things like HD video over broadband that usage levels will increase, and without investment in backhaul the actual peak time (evenings usually) experience will remain at about the same speed as it is now. Hopefully providers will offer a range of speed/quality of service products, to entice people onto the new technology, and also satisfy the growing numbers of people embracing video over broadband and other high usage applications.