Norfolk Future Conference this week will see a senior BT executive address the audience, and if the content in terms of BT pushing its ADSL2+ product as reported by Evening News 24 is true, then it is a case of not much change for Norfolk.
Why such a glum response to something that should see over 50% of properties on an ADSL2+ enabled exchange connecting at over 9Meg? The exchanges where BT is rolling out ADSL2+ in the UK are the ones with ADSL2+ from alternate providers already. This means Norfolk residents living in Norwich, Kings Lynn and the other large towns will simply see more choice, but places like Swaffham will probably be waiting until 2012 to see ADSL2+ and maybe even longer.
The reality is that BT Wholesale by 2011 will have an ADSL2+ footprint (75%) that covers less households than what TalkTalk does in 2009 (80%), and TalkTalk are planning to extend their LLU footprint even further than the current 80%.
The demographics of Norfolk are such that it has around 375,000 people living in urban areas, another 175,000 in towns and the fringe areas, with a very large 265,000 in villages and hamlets. The problem being that by enabling a service on perhaps a dozen exchanges you can cover almost half of the Norfolk population.
Commercial companies of course are free to sell their services where they want to, but if TalkTalk believes it can make money in so many exchanges, what is different for BT Wholesale? If the rules and pricing imposed upon the BT Group by Ofcom mean that BT is discouraged from enabling ADSL2+ and true next generation services in the market 1 areas where no other wholesale providers are available, then perhaps Ofcom and the rules they follow from government need to be looked at more closely.