The roll out of fibre-to-the-premises broadband (FTTP) by BT is likely to be delayed after engineers have been experiencing long installation times when performing managed installs at end user premises. BT were hoping their flagship product which supports speeds of 100Mbps downstream would be ready at 12 exchange areas in time for a September launch, but are now saying they are aiming for December.
The Register, who have been speaking with the super-fast broadband programme director at BT, Johnny McQuoid, were told that some installs during the trial were taking twice as long as anticipated and that in 25% of cases it was taking engineers two days to get the fibre cable blown into customers' homes. This extra time has largely been caused by duct blockages that have needed clearing before cables can be pushed through. BT were hoping to improve the methods used for installation so that the work could be completed in around four hours, but this is looking optimistic. Previously BT have indicated that installs took an average of 7 hours.
"FTTP is a complex technology which we are currently trialling at scale. We are pleased with how the trials are going, but have always been very clear that we will only launch it on a commercial basis once it has been fully tested and is ready for the market."BT spokesman
The longer an install takes to complete, the more expensive it is to BT, and this additional cost is likely to be passed on to the end user through higher charges. The delays could also mean that BT will lag behind on their target of reaching two thirds of the country with super-fast broadband by 2015, although they may be able to ramp up installation speed further down the line.