BT have announced today their plans for expanding their 21st Century Network, known as 21CN, to more of the country. Current deployment is to around 40% of the population and they aim to extend this to around 55% of homes and business by Spring 2010 and 75% by Spring 2011 depending on customer demand.
The extension of 21CN out to more exchanges will mean more users will be able to get broadband at up to 24Meg (BT estimate 20 million homes and businesses) and the roll out of next-generation fibre services such as fibre to the home/cabinet can expand to these areas also. There is of course a caveat. As ever, not everyone will see speeds up to this 24Meg as they are heavily dependent on distance to the exchange. The use of ADSL2+ should see some increase to users though, particularly those who live close to their exchange.
One other point announced today is that BT Wholesale will be dropping prices to communications providers from January 2010 which should reduce costs to end users. The plan is to decrease bandwidth charges by 50% and also to introduce a reduction in WBC rental costs. This should mean that providers can offer lower prices and will be more willing to bundle more bandwidth with services. This will be particularly useful with new websites tending to be more bandwidth intensive and with streaming video becoming ever more popular.