It appears that in an attempt to drive take-up of its Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) solutions, Openreach has decided to extend its special offers until 30th June 2011. The offer means that the connection fee is £35 plus VAT, and the managed install is £12 plus VAT. Their standard prices are £75 and £24 respectively. The Home Wiring option, which provides for an up to 30m data extension so that the VDSL2 modem can be located in a more suitable location remains free until the same date. Full detail on the Openreach price list.
Given that this is an extension of a current offer it is unlikely that we will see activation charges dropping at the retail level. Some providers already offer free activation, but it may encourage those charging an activation fee to review their pricing.
The VDSL2 FTTC products now provide a range of upstream speeds between 2Mbps and 15Mbps, though the 15Mbps upstream speed tends only to be available on products aimed at the SME market.
Currently the FTTC products are only available with an engineer assisted installation, during which time they will update the master socket in the premises, to feature the FTTC style faceplate and run a data extension if requested. Due to VDSL2's sensitivity to distance, keeping the internal cabling in a property to a minimum is recommended, but if you have no mains power available close to the master socket there is little other option. An engineer install will also ensure that the Openreach branded modem can see the service.
The delay in the LLU operators, such as O2, TalkTalk, Sky and Orange from joining the game may be down to problems at present of not being able to provide their own brand combined VDSL2 modem and router. A similar situation occurred in 2000 with the original ADSL products. This combined with other concerns like control over line profiles and visibility of diagnostics data to support and how the connection is presented to the providers MSAN at the exchange go some way to explaining the delays. In the SME area this is less of a problem, as many of the small to medium providers targeting SME business are well versed in dealing with BT Wholesale, but at the consumer level it leaves the uncomfortable situation of the BT Infinity product being the sole big name provider offering the FTTC/P products.