Broadband not-spots could benefit from a new solution from BT Openreach which promises to provide broadband over longer distances. Broadband Enabling Technology (BET) uses SHDSL to provide a broadband service at speeds of 1meg (upstream and downstream) at up to 12km, and by using a second line and bonding technology, this can be increased to 2meg.
Trials in Inverness and Dingwall in Scotland have already been taking place and have been successful in providing service on lines between 7km and 12km from the local telephone exchange. BT will be piloting the technology at 8 further exchanges to the existing trial:
* indicates exchange on existing trial
A remote powered unit is deployed with an NTE (network termination equipment) by Openreach at the customers home to enable the service as well as equipment in the telephone exchange. This installation is free of charge during the trial period and customers are free to sign up to a broadband provider of their choosing. It's unclear what the costs of deploying will be when launched as a full service. There are an estimated 160,000 lines that are thought to be over the threshold for standard broadband, and if this technology is viable, it could help communities get online using fixed line broadband service, and help the government meet its obligations of a broadband service to all by 2012.
"We're really excited about the potential of BET to extend broadband to the remaining not-spots. Thanks to BT's past investment, the UK already boasts world leading broadband availability. By rolling out BET, we can help customers and assist the Government to realise its aim for a universal 2Mb/s broadband service.
"We're keen to work with local and regional authorities and other bodies with funding to discuss how the technology can be rolled out to their areas."John Small (Managing Director, Service Delivery), Openreach
A previous announcement on BET in February indicated the cost of installation at between £1,000 and £3,000, however it's not clear if this applies per line connected, and it does note that this doesn't give an indication of retail pricing. In any case, with the possible £200m surplus from the Digital Switchover being suggested for the broadband USO, this could help fund BET where this is a viable option to get communities online.
If you live in a broadband not-spot or slow-spot, you can register at our broadband notspot site to help us track broadband coverage.