BT Openreach have announced today a trial which will allow ISPs to nominate exchanges that can be enabled for the roll out of its fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) services. The trial will run from September to December 2010 and will allow each provider who already buy's Openreach's fibre products (Generic Ethernet Access) to nominate up to 6 exchanges which it would like to see enabled with fibre. There are of course some commitments that ISPs will need to follow if Openreach enable the exchange.
"We've always worked very closely with industry to decide which parts of the country will benefit from fibre broadband enablement. Now we are going the extra mile for our CP customers by giving them the opportunity to specify their top six exchanges for fibre. Openreach will then include those locations for the next phase of our fibre deployment if certain commercial commitments are given. If the trial is successful, Openreach may extend the fibre nomination scheme to future phases of its fibre roll out, so we're urging all eligible CPs to participate in the trial."David Campbell, (Managing Director of Next Generation Access) Openreach
A maximum of 24 exchanges can be added to the roll out which will occur in phase 7. Details of this will be revealed in early 2011 with exchanges expected to be upgraded in late 2011 or early 2012. With the commitments required above, it may be that many ISPs do not opt to nominate exchanges, but if they have a large group of customers in a specific area that they feel could benefit from faster broadband, there could be an incentive to nominate. The next batch of exchanges to be upgraded is expected to be announced in the coming weeks.