BT Openreach have stated their frustration at the low take up of next-generation fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) technology in Wales despite an intensive advertising campaign promoting BT Infinity to customers. Cardiff is one area that the company has highlighted as seeing poor adoption of the new faster services which it is rolling out through a £2.5bn investment program.
The problem is not limited to just Cardiff, with other enabled areas also seeing low take up. One exception is Whitchurch, one of the areas selected under BT's initial FTTC pilot program, which has seen 7% of premises connect up to the new service.
"Cardiff has been given a head start by Openreach but some fibre-enabled parts of the city are proving to be a bit slow out of the blocks to take up the opportunities fibre presents. With the notable exception of Whitchurch, residents are proving slow to take advantage of the technology on their doorstep and so we are working with the local council to raise awareness and drive demand.
Cities, towns and villages across the UK are clamouring for fibre broadband and look at Cardiff with envy. It would be shame if the city proved reluctant to be a digital leader but we are confident that, with the right encouragement, people will embrace the technology and never look back."Richard Hall, (NGA Deployment Director for Wales) BT Openreach
BT will be looking to ramp up local awareness through focused marketing in the Cardiff and will be joining forces with Cardiff Council to try and encourage adoption of the new services.
There are various reasons why people may not have opted to take the new services. Many ISP's still don't currently offer FTTC broadband, with BT Retail as the only large operator to do so, and BT may not necessarily be a customers first choice. Our fibre broadband guide offers a quick reference of providers who currently offer FTTC broadband. TalkTalk will be coming on board soon having announced their fibre broadband boost. Some people who are interested may be restricted by contracts tying them to their existing provider, or be put off by higher prices charged by some operators for the faster service.
Of course, there will be those that are just not interested. If current broadband speeds are sufficient to allow people to browse the web, catchup with friends via e-mail and access BBC iPlayer, what advantage will they get by upgrading to the faster products.
This will be disheartening to the 360,000 people who voted in BT's 'Race to Infinity' competition which offered to enable areas where demand could be proved. Only ten areas were selected to be enabled. It must also prove very frustrating for BT to know that in terms of numbers, at least 6.5% of their customer base would be interested in upgrading, but they currently live in areas that can't get it.