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BT break 15 million broadband connections using its telephone network
Tuesday 31 August 2010 11:31:15 by John Hunt

BT have reached the 15 million milestone of broadband connections that use its telephone network the company has announced today. Through its own retail arm, BT have around 5 million customers, but many other providers use BT's network to provide broadband as there are few alternatives for the 'last mile' which connects premises up to BT exchanges using telephone lines. BT's Openreach arm controls this last mile which is rented by both BT Wholesale and other operators such as TalkTalk, O2 and Sky who provide broadband using their own equipment located in BT exchanges through local loop unbundling (LLU).

"Broadband Britain has been a success story with widespread availability, low prices and high take-up.

BT is now investing a further £2.5bn to roll out fibre broadband to two-thirds of the UK. This will help the UK climb the league tables for speeds, one of the few areas in which we don't lead the world.

Olivia Garfield, (Strategy Director) BT

Broadband has been available in the UK since around 2000 when both BT and the cable operators NTL and Telewest (before they merged and became Virgin Media) deployed ADSL and cable broadband respectively on their networks which brought a much needed boost to UK broadband speeds. In august 2002 BT had around 200,000 broadband connections on its network and the increase by 14.8 million since this date shows around 5,000 new broadband connections have been added per day on average. There has now been a decline in the rate that broadband connections are added as a critical mass of customers has been reached, but there are still customers out there to be gained.

A new focus is in place which sees BT investing in providing faster broadband. The company is in the process of rolling out ADSL2+ using its 21st Century Network which delivers up-to 24meg broadband, although actual connections speeds will be lower, allowing it to reach 18 million homes and businesses by Spring 2011. BT are also investing in fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) technology which delivers faster broadband speeds of up to 40meg, with some limited roll-outs of fibre-to-the-home (FTTH), offering 100meg broadband, also being deployed. This technology is expected to reach around 66% of homes and businesses by the Summer of 2015.

Comments

Posted by cyberdoyle over 6 years ago
We have the best 1st gen broadband in the world, with 2/3 of the country able to connect to it. Unfortunately the the copper phone network which served us so well is now holding us back. Other countries are laying fibre to the home, not rolling out obsolete adsl2+.
Also it is patently clear that BT et al are not going to help the third of the country who still can't get a decent connection, and until someone helps them we can never be a digital britain. One for all and all for one.
Posted by TaRkADaHl over 6 years ago
CD - Again.. ADSL2+ is required before fibre can be installed. Its not 'obsolete' by any means.
Posted by New_Londoner over 6 years ago
@CD
Simply don't agree with your comments about only 2/3 of the country able to get broadband - the figures in this story + the latest from Ofcom show that over 70% of the population are actually connected to broadband. Given that take up is not 100% where it is available, this shows that your 2/3 number is simply wrong.
Posted by JNeuhoff over 6 years ago
No ADSL2+ is required for a FTTP because DSL is for copper lines onlky, isn't it?

It is because of BT that the UK is so backwards now when it comes to the last mile connection to the premises.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 6 years ago
TaR, once people get adsl2+ services then the ones near the exchange may be happy for a few years. The ones further away will be worse off. The ones who can't get adsl still won't get adsl2+, and the rollout of NGA will be put off for another decade. ADSL2+ isn't next gen and will hold back progress as councils/orgs in towns will think that will suffice. BT play a good hand. It is fooling many. I don't doubt you when you say the kit in the exchange is needed. Its what happens once that kit is in thats the problem. Stop gaps become barriers.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 6 years ago
New_L - its bt who says the final third exists. I say there are many using the internet now via mobile and satellite, that is the source of the 70%?
Take up will never be 100% even where services are available, because unless you live near an exchange or pay for leased line/bonded lines you can't get a decent connection. With today's apps a 128mbps service (is that the the minimum req to be called broadband?) just don't work. People won't pay for it. They stay analogue and say the web is rubbish...
Posted by nmg196 over 6 years ago
@cyberdoyle, 128Mbps is insanely fast - I presume you meant 128Kbps? :)
Posted by AndrueC over 6 years ago
@JN:BT have done more to provide universal access to high-speed connectivity than any other telecommunications company in the UK. In fact on an international scale they've arguably done more (per head of population) than any other telecommunications company in the world.

The problem in the UK is that various telecommunications companies refuse to invest vast amounts of money because Ofcom won't let the biggest of them charge enough to make it worthwhile because Joe Public refuses to pay enough.
Posted by AndrueC over 6 years ago
(cont'd) that's not to say that BT are perfect but singling them out as the root cause of the current situation is unfair and is letting far too many other companies and government bodies off the hook.

/Those/ offenders are only to happy to join you in laughing at BT because they know it keeps the spotlight off them.
Posted by AndrueC over 6 years ago
@nmg196:Actually you're both wrong. CD wrote '128mbs' which is not insanely fast. It's impossibly slow actually. One hundred and twenty millibits a second means it nearly 8 seconds to transfer a single bit. That's 7.5 bytes per minute.
Posted by New_Londoner over 6 years ago
@cyberdoyle
According to Ofcom, only 400k or 2.2% of the 18.2 million fixed network broadband connections get < 2Mbps, so clearly the vast majority today (97.8%) are getting 2Mbps or better.

The third BT refers to is the proportion of the population not currently scheduled to get FTTC/P from BT without public funding. This is not the same as sugesting that this third of the population cannot get broadband at all, as shown by the Ofcom figures.
Posted by AndrueC over 6 years ago
As for 'decent connection' - what's one of them then? I've just come back from a cottage in a remote corner of Scotland. Ten minutes drive to the nearest town and it still has a 1Mb/s (near as damn it) connection. Perfectly good for 90% of what most people want to do.

Not ideal of course but FFS - it /is/ in the middle of nowhere. What do you expect?
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
As soon as I saw this article I thought "oh no" the comments so far are as expected. :|
Posted by cyberdoyle over 6 years ago
soz, my mistake, I did mean kbps not mbps. 2mbps is the USC. 128kbps is accepted as a 'broadband' connection through copper. So, many have a broadband connection that isn't really. Because of peak time traffic their 'broadband' s worse than dialup. They count in the stats of people connected. A third of digital britain can't get the USC according to the carter report, and neither will they get NGA according to BT.
Posted by JohnUK over 6 years ago
I suppose, ultimately, for those who live in/near civilisation, are wondering why they should subsidise the remote communities which are ECONOMICALLY UNVIABLE for fibre? Saying that the Rutland groups etc give a nice example of what communities can do
Posted by New_Londoner over 6 years ago
@Cyberdoyle
Quote "A third of digital britain can't get the USC according to the carter report"

Actually if you check paragraph 23 of the summary of Lord Caters Digital Britain report, you will see that it says that "More than one in 10 households today cannot enjoy a 2Mbps connection."
Posted by TaRkADaHl over 6 years ago
@CD - "ADSL2+ isn't next gen and will hold back progress"

Really?

ADSL2+ is progress. It provides an instant improvement for a large percentage of the user base in the area.

It is also required before proper next gen stuff such as FTTP can be provided to the masses who currently use BTW.
Posted by MarkHampshire over 6 years ago
@JohnUK (tongue in cheek) do you mean remote communities like Basingstoke, Blackpool, Milton Keynes, Hemel Hempsted, Welwyn Garden City, Harlow.. :-) Slow speeds and lack of broadband access are not "rural issues". Rurals 5km+ from an exchange are never going to get any broadband, this is perhaps unrealistic. However in 2010 it should surely be possible to get broadband anywhere in the above towns (for a start) and then at least @ 2Mbps, and it is not.
Posted by Somerset over 6 years ago
cd - 2M not 2m - Mega, not milli.

Mark - those towns will probably get FTTC if they are Market 3 exchanges.
Posted by New_Londoner over 6 years ago
I think Basingstoke is getting FTTC now, ditto Milton Keynes with FTTC and FTTP? Not sure about the others off-hand, but a quick check on the Openreach web site would confirm if they're planned for delivery by next summer.
Posted by herdwick over 6 years ago
why did I read the headline as a major outage report ?
Posted by herdwick over 6 years ago
"Take up will never be 100% even where services are available" - very true - it's only 45% or so in lower economic groups - see recent OFCOM market report. If you can't afford it, or can't read the instructions / adverts, you probably don't have it.

"A third of digital britain can't get the USC according to the carter report" - Wrong. Lie. Misinformation. FUD.
Posted by herdwick over 6 years ago
"I say there are many using the internet now via mobile and satellite". Another fail, I'm afraid. OFCOM say :-

Internet connections per 100 population = 31.5
Fixed line broadband connections per 100 pop = 29.9

therefore 94.9% by fixed line (cable / DSL).
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
@ TaRkADaHl Technically speaking ADSL2+ is not needed before FTTC can be delivered, and it certainly is not needed in anyway shape or form before FTTP can be delivered so i dunno why you have said that not once but twice now. Because that isnt true at all. Dunno where you got that tripe from.
Posted by herdwick over 6 years ago
BT's FTTC and FTTP products use 21CN kit that comes with ADSL2+ as well, so he's saying if your exchange isn't kitted for ADSL2+ from BT it isn't kitted out for FTTx either.
Posted by herdwick over 6 years ago
Here's what Lord Carter proposed for his USC :

* Home wiring problems resolved by market/self help (c.800k homes);

* Home wiring problems resolved under USC (c.1.1m homes);

* Random network effects resolved by special investigation (c.100k homes);

* Long telephone line resolved by FTTC upgrade (c.420k homes); and

* Residual random network effects and long lines resolved by wireless/satellite (c.330k homes).

now add them up, divide by 30m and multiply by 100 :-)
Posted by herdwick over 6 years ago
Carter also left contention to the marketplace, so if a 2M capable line only delivers half that for commercial reasons rather than technical line limits its tough titty:

"The "middle mile" or backhaul is noted as a potential bottleneck but left to network operators to resolve by investment or traffic management."

and that's before the USC got booted into the long grass by the coalition.
Posted by TaRkADaHl over 6 years ago
@CB - Go read up then come back. K thx bye
Posted by otester over 6 years ago
Socialism caused the problem, just like with all the other problems this country has.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
quote"BT's FTTC and FTTP products use 21CN kit that comes with ADSL2+ as well, so he's saying if your exchange isn't kitted for ADSL2+ from BT it isn't kitted out for FTTx either."
LMAO FTTP doesnt even require a damn cabinet, it doesnt use copper so it sure as hell doesnt need ADSL2+ first. It isnt "needed" before being able to provide FTTC either.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
I therefore stand by what i said and the statements like.....
"ADSL2+ is progress. It provides an instant improvement for a large percentage of the user base in the area.

It is also required before proper next gen stuff such as FTTP can be provided to the masses who currently use BTW."

From TaRkADaHl are completely clueless... Did places like ebbsfleet have ADSL2+ first?? What about Sweeden and Korea, it they "HAVE TO" have ADSL2+ FIRST.... Errrrr NO
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
Never heard so much nonsense..... Errr we have to provide a copper based service before we can provide a FULL fibre based one...... ROFL, oh my sides. What a stupid thing to say
Posted by otester over 6 years ago
@TaRkADaHI

Lol...reinventing the wheel is really going to help </s>
Posted by donkey_hellfire over 6 years ago
Basically at its highest level all that BT’s 21CN is about is replacing the old ATM (53 byte cell) network with a true IP network for both voice and data. BT just happen to include ADSL 2 kit when they upgrade / connect / convert an exchange from an ATM to an IP based connection. I don’t think an FTTC or FTTP rollout was on the cards when BT started planning / implementing the 21CN as I believe every exchange was due to be upgraded by the end of 2009 in the original timeframe well at least the porting of the voice service to VOIP.
Posted by donkey_hellfire over 6 years ago
21CN involves the construction of an entirely new hierarchical network. Note that the network runs over Ethernet, rather than ATM (as in the current Colossus network). We'll start from the bottom level (the 5600 exchanges) and work our way up to the core of the new BT network.
21CN sees BT do away with the traditional concentrators, switching equipment and DSLAMs that you'd find at BT exchanges. In their place MSANs (Multi Service Access Nodes) will be installed, which will terminate phone connections and DSL connections.
Posted by donkey_hellfire over 6 years ago
Again, note that the physical copper pair between your home/business and the telephone exchange will remain unchanged, as will your internal wiring. 21CN changes nothing in that respect.Beyond the exchange/MSAN level we find 106 Metro nodes, which are dotted around the country - typically in major cities or near POPs. It is at the Metro nodes where the IP packets are routed and switched. It is worth noting that the MSANs will be tiered; Tier 1 MSANs will connect directly to Metro nodes, whereas other MSANs will have to connect via a Tier 1 MSAN to a Metro node.
Posted by donkey_hellfire over 6 years ago
There are about 1100 Tier 1 MSANs and 4400 Tier 2 and 3 MSANs. Tiering is not a new concept in BT's network - providers currently receive discounts on IPStream products purchased on 1016 Tier 1 exchanges.

More info at http://www.samknows.com/broadband/exchanges/21cn_overview
Posted by TaRkADaHl over 6 years ago
CB - "Did places like ebbsfleet have ADSL2+ first?? What about Sweeden and Korea, it they "HAVE TO" have ADSL2+ FIRST.... Errrrr NO"

They had to install some form of 21CN network, of which a benifit is ADSL2+ being made available...

Out of curiosity... are you going to argue all of the above comments as well?
Posted by c_j_ over 6 years ago
"They had to install some form of 21CN network,"

What are you on about?

BT's much delayed much over-hyped 21CN is little more than an umbrella marketing/PR term to cover a diverse range of project rollouts, allegedly centred on moving from ATM to IP (not the same as Ethernet, btw) in BT's core network.

Some projects (21CN voice?) already seem to have stopped.

FTTP and the like are technologies which have no real need for 21CN *unless* you are toeing the BT HQ line.

"socialism caused the problem"

Yeah, socialism in the US of A. Right. Keep taking the tablets.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
quote"They had to install some form of 21CN network, of which a benifit is ADSL2+ being made available..."

Thats it go ahead like an idiot and alter what you originally said which was.....

'ADSL2+ is progress. It provides an instant improvement for a large percentage of the user base in the area.

It is also REQUIRED before proper next gen stuff'

ADSL2+ HAS NEVER BEEN "REQUIRED" before FTTC OR FTTP/FTTH rollouts.... If you could stop sucking up and defending BT for 5 seconds and get a clue you might say something accurate for once.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
@c_j and "FTTP and the like are technologies which have no real need for 21CN *unless* you are toeing the BT HQ line."

^^^^^ Exactly right :)
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
People seem to be spinning around in circles here :)

For BT to supply ADSL2+ they will use MSAN's
For BT to supply FTTC they will use MSAN's

When an exchange is 21CN enabled it will use MSAN's as part of the enablement

Therefore a precursor to BT ASDL2+ and BT FTTC is 21CN exchange enablement
Posted by BURNTCARPET over 6 years ago
"FTTP and the like are technologies which have no real need for 21CN *unless* you are toeing the BT HQ line"

21CN is an IP Network. An IP network is needed for FTTP/C to tie into. Ain't exactly gonna work over ATM is it?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
^^^ I fail to see what that shows, if its that simple why not just skip the ADSL2+ and just give people fibre.
ADSL2+ has never had to be a required product before selling fibre, never has, never will. The only reason in this case that it is is because its BT and a nice filler product to milk some more cash.
Posted by BURNTCARPET over 6 years ago
Its not technically *required*. But an IP network is required. In the UK its 21CN for the majority. Which a by-product of is ADSL2+. Given the amount of people that get benefits from this, why not?

Its far from milking cash, as when FTTC/P is available people can stay with the same provider and just bump up the package.

I use an ADSL2+ product and get 19Mb comfortably...

Honestly, I'm glad I can get this in the mean time before FTTC/P is in my area... which will be a while.
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
I'm not sure who you are referring to CB? If it was me ADSL2+ isn't needed for FTTC or FTTP no, its just a line card in the MSAN. If FTTC/FTTP is some way off for that area they will put in an ADSL2+ card to give benefits to some and then a VDSL card along side it when FTTC is ready to ship. Also remember some people just won't be bothered about FTTC, but faster (hopefully) speeds over ADSL2+ using their current package and price? Sure they'll take that as a free upgrade, which is why ADSL2+ is also supplied.
Posted by c_j_ over 6 years ago
"21CN is an IP Network"

One day, maybe. Sensible IP networks are designed to be resilient. BT's 21CN broadband isn't yet (ask AAISP).

"An IP network is needed for FTTP/C to tie into."

Define FTTP. Primary Rate ISDN and other technoligies deliver fibre to the premises, with no IP to be seen. The modern (cheapskate) definition of FTTP may rely on cheap IP kit and oversold core networks, but that's a recent "improvement".

"Ain't exactly gonna work over ATM is it? "

ADSL does (it *must*, between end user and DSLAM, and optionally beyond). Why do you think FTTP needs to be any different?
Posted by New_Londoner over 6 years ago
@Carpet Bros
I have to agree with GMan that having ADSL2+ should not be ignored as not everyone wants or needs FTTC/P at present.

Also not all ISPs are currently offering FTTC/P options, especially those with large LLU investments - I'm sure they want to continue with copper for now at least.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
quote"I have to agree with GMan that having ADSL2+ should not be ignored as not everyone wants or needs FTTC/P at present."

Yeah thats right they all want slower speed..

As to the other tool, you are anon123456 and i claim my £5.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
New_Londoner please dont call that user my bro. Its not enough i hate that term, but to be even linked in any way to a user that any minute will change their arguement again as c_j_ has already destroyed it will be painful enough.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
@GMAN99
I agree with most of what you have said there re:post about ADSL2+ not being needed for FTTC/FTTP Though its not a "free" upgrade so to speak is it ;) You worded the post very well though including the "but faster (hopefully) speeds over ADSL2+" bit. Shame New_londoner twisted your words.
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
Yeah it should be free CB, there's no extra cost to the end user on their current package going from ADSL2 to 2+
Posted by Somerset over 6 years ago
cb - some will buy slower if it's cheaper. Many don't 'need' fast speeds (yet).
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
@GMAN99 You mean apart from a new 12/18 month contract? Also i assume you meant going from ADSL to ADSL2+.... Dont think anyone actually sells a ADSL2 (no +) service do they?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
quote"cb - some will buy slower if it's cheaper. Many don't 'need' fast speeds (yet)."

Err its not cheaper in all cases though is it. Infact FTTC and regular ADSL + call bundles from BT look very similar in price to me (looking very quickly so forgive me if the difference is more than a couple of pound tops).
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
Sorry yes ADSL to ADSL2+, if you were going to renew with BT anyway what is the difference, if you were planning to leave the upgrade isn't relevant anyway (you being joe blogs customer, not actually you)
Posted by CaptainHulaHoop over 6 years ago
ADSL 2 needed for FTTx, NO. not from a technical point of view, but as few service providers, especially LLU are getting involved with FTTx the BT WS core network is needed for it, the old network is not fast/efficient enough for FTTx to work well, so 21C network is used. When enabling an exchange with 21C it's very simple to add ADSL2 to it.
Posted by CaptainHulaHoop over 6 years ago
simple as that, if they are going FTTx at an exchange it makes sense to enable it for ADSL 2, if they are enabling an exchange for ADSL2 it's on 21C and ready for FTTx if using BT WS. FTTx won't go to an exchange without 21C because then they will have to rely on LLU operators to enable the FTTx investment to b used properly
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
What about exchanges which hand over to other exchanges (sorry if thats not the right technical term) Nobody has touched on that. Technically its possible an exchange wont have ADSL2+ or even FTTC capability but hands off to one that does. Im sure theres a few small exchanges left that still have some sort of hand off, daisychain or whatever the correct term is for it to other exchanges. Then again could be wrong on this i know things like that used to be in operation.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 6 years ago
What no-one has mentioned is that the FTTC/P builds are handing over via fibre to the MSAN in the exchange. Older (the ADSL only DSLAMS) would not take fibre on the local loop side.

For most LLU op's this was already the case since LLU kit is often newer.
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
Not sure what you mean andrew, do you mean that LLU providers can't reuse what they have put in for FTTC? If so yep agreed. Plus I don't know how FTTC LLU would work anyway as that would require an additional VDSL DSLAM in the street cab (or an additional street cab) per provider wouldn't it, not sure if that is viable.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 6 years ago
My meaning was that as LLU started later than BT Wholesale, they generally went straight to modern hardware, with support for FTTC/P rollouts.

FTTC LLU works by Openreach bringing the data back to the exchange over fibre, and then handing it over to the LLU operators MSAN, i.e. same way as will happen for BT Wholesale.

If a LLU op wants to put a VDSL2 DSLAM in a street cab that is called sub-loop unbundling and look at Trilogy Telecom
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
Right got you. Actually I'm not sure what I was talking about earlier :) They wouldn't be putting VDSL cards in the MSAN as the VDSL element would be handled in the cab, it would be fibre back to the exchange.
Posted by Dixinormous over 6 years ago
There is no requirement at all for 21CN. 21CN, etc, are BT Wholesale products, FTTx is Openreach, there is no dependency.

There is no need to plug into an MSAN in the exchange, a switch is a far wiser choice to avoid MSAN backplane limitations.

The current 'issues' are all the market's doing - LLU operators are still very attached to their own MSANs and are looking for a business case to purchase their own GEA handovers from Openreach so there is reliance on BTW.
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
Thats what I thought, the FTTC traffic ends up on a L2 switch so why plug it into an MSAN?
Posted by basil2744 over 6 years ago
The volume figures are fine.
The quality ones, however, are another story..!!
Posted by New_Londoner over 6 years ago
@basil2744
Not clear what you're driving at, I've found the FTTC product to be very good at home.
Posted by RAConnell over 6 years ago
BT Broadband is abysmal as I've seen my speed go from 4.2 Mb to 2.43Mb. Hence I'm switching to BE with ADSL2+ ready in the BT exchange rather than wait for BT's bulk migration (date unknown). Also Bt's contention ratio at 50:1 is too high.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
^^^ Yep BT they are useless
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