Skip Navigation

BT Wholesale to extend its ADSL2+ to 90% of premises by Spring 2013
Thursday 28 July 2011 11:47:46 by Andrew Ferguson

BT Wholesale, who currently offer ADSL (up to 8Mbps) services to almost all the 5,500 BT telephone exchanges in the UK, had previously committed to 80% coverage for its Wholesale Broadband Connect (WBC) ADSL2+ based services, has now announced it is extending this roll-out to cover 90% of premises across the UK, by announcing an upgrade programme for another 800 exchanges.

Four hundred of the exchanges are considered to be in rural areas with an average size of 2,250 properties connected, the other four hundred exchanges are in more densely populated areas with a 4,000 property average. The ADSL2+ product rolled out is marketed as up to 20Mbps. An estimate of what this will mean in terms of download speed for people buying an ADSL2+ service via BT Wholesale is shown below:

Maximum line speed

Attenuation Guideline

% of customers able to receive

Estimate of ADSL2+ maximum speed

6.5Mbps and above under 37dB 25% 11Mbps and above
6Mbps 37dB to 45dB 42% 9.5Mbps
4Mbps 45dB to 60dB 78% 5Mbps
2Mbps > 60dB 93% 2 - 2.5Mbps
Figures are guidelines only

A lot of coverage of this BT announcement in the regional press has tended to concentrate on the ability of ADSL2+ to double speeds for some customers, but as you can see this is really for a small proportion of customers. The coverage in the regions seem to have taken this doubling from the following quote in various BT Regional releases.

"The BT investment makes available broadband speeds of up to 20 megabits per second (Mbps) – more than double the maximum speeds previously available to the majority of UK homes and businesses. The faster speeds are delivered over copper lines."

BT Press Releases, DC11-176, July 21st 2011

Where ADSL2+ on the BT Wholesale WBC platform makes the most difference is that upstream speeds invariably rise from the standard 0.4Mbps to a lot closer to 1Mbps. One further improvement is a trial that is underway in some WBC areas to make IP Profile updates a lot faster, so fast as to be effectively transparent.

While a wider roll-out of ADSL2+ goes some way towards helping meeting the goal of a 2Mbps USC by 2015, the reality is that people with just 0.5Mbps on a rate adaptive service ADSL service will not normally see a sudden boost to 2 or 3Mbps. For those people on long lines (60dB attenuation or higher, 5.5km of telephone wire and longer), then improvements to home wiring, faceplate filters, or the simple option of fitting an IPlate are worth investigating.

BT Wholesale is rightly pleased to announce this increased roll-out, the key to how welcome this upgrade will be to consumers and businesses is whether it closely matches the ADSL2+ footprint from the largest LLU provider TalkTalk. Hopefully BT Wholesale is targeting a good number of exchanges that have no LLU operator present.

Looking forward beyond 2013, we would expect there to be a time when BT Wholesale will want to retire the older network in the remaining 10% of the country, though to some extent the timing of this is likely to be dependent on how the 'final third' project pans out.


Posted by themanstan over 6 years ago
Actually if all ISPs used a tabulated form of line speed expectations, even as a small part of an advert, I'd be happier with their speed blurb.
Posted by dorsetmark over 6 years ago
Have BT Wholesale published an exchange list? Thanks
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 6 years ago
Not that I know of, but a lot going on.

Have asked for one.
Posted by Talk1968 over 6 years ago
Is the Jedburgh exchange with around 4000 homes covered. ? I hope so, my line attentuation is 38db, so i'd likely get a decent boost.
Posted by spetznaz over 6 years ago
My exchange is very small but had an RFS date of March 2011 back in November 2009, so this is hardly some great new rollout bonus it should have been done by now anyway.
Posted by timmay over 6 years ago
Is there a list of exchanges and live dates yet?
Posted by chris6273 over 6 years ago
@Talk1968 - I'm afraid not.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 6 years ago
The list is being finalised I understand.

This 800 is on top of any previously announced, ie it is ones without a RFS date
Posted by jtthedevil over 6 years ago
Could this be with the poor uptake of next gen, BT are realising people don't need 30-40mb products? Hopefully they'll maybe concentrate on final third for nex gen where people are more likely to want it, while improving urban areas with adsl2.
Posted by TheGuv over 6 years ago
Andrew - thanks for the update. Would be great to see the list - was there a timescale for when it would be published?

Just wondering if it's today/tomorrow/next week etc.
Posted by ccxo over 6 years ago
Andrew will there be lists from TT and sky as well?

Posted by Talk1968 over 6 years ago
Gee i feel like we're in no mans land here in the Scottish Borders, i guess we'll get something new when i'm too old and tired to care about it.
Posted by chrysalis over 6 years ago
better than nothing I guess but adsl2+ is ancient and to me is a dead money investment. Are the majority of areas without adsl2+ long line areas?
Posted by Talk1968 over 6 years ago
I live less than a mile from the exchange, is that long. ?
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
jtthedevil I'm still confused about next gen take up, until the other day it sounded low. But BT's report shows its actually great (see article on this website)
Posted by chris6273 over 6 years ago
What everyone seems to be forgetting is that BT are upgrading these exchanges to 21CN WBC.

This means they can roll out FTTC/FTTP on these exchanges WHENEVER they like in a very short amount of time (All they have to do is put the cabinets out and plug them into a new piece of kit in the exchange without having to replace all of the routers.etc).

In other words, people could be seeing FTTC being rolled out on these exchanges very soon if they prove to be profitable with ADSL2+.
Posted by chrysalis over 6 years ago
maybe, maybe not, there is many 21CN areas that have no date listed for fTTC, incidently there is also areas with 21CN adsl2+ planned for FTTC.
Posted by michaels_perry over 6 years ago
So, when they do that fewer people will 'benefit' from the price reductions demanded by OfCom! At least it will bring more people into the 'better than 2 Mbps' band though a very great many rural users will still see poor sync speeds because of high attentuation on their copper, most of which is overhead and very old with poor joints. (At 4.5 km from exchange via wire and on ADSL2+ we rarely see better than 2 Mbps!, attentuation is around 59 or 60 dB, weather dependent)
Posted by ccxo over 6 years ago
Any news on the list of exchanges to be upgraded Andrew?
Posted by MeadowLea over 6 years ago
Yes,any news desperate to know if we are on it.
Posted by JHo1 over 6 years ago
At a slight tangent, is a list of exchanges available anywhere sorted by total customers served by that exchange? Just so that I can satisfy my curiosity as to how puny my 1500 customer exchange is and I can therefore give up all hope of anything ever happening there.
Posted by chris6273 over 6 years ago
@JHo1 - My 1415 line exchange has been announced so yours could be aswell :) Check on Samknows.
Posted by JHo1 over 6 years ago
@chris6273, thanks Chris but Sam shows the usual - red crosses against everything. :-(
Posted by Alchemyfire over 6 years ago
Same for me JHo1. SamKnowsNothing :(
Posted by Red_Kelt over 6 years ago
I'm on Magor exchange on the South Wales coast. The next exchanges west and east have fibre optic. Over 2500 premises and still no update on SamKnows. Still up to 8mg. What is wrong with this country? Privatisation?
Posted by Red_Kelt over 6 years ago
Can other companies supply 21CN if BT only supply up to 8mg? We also have Orange and TT as LLU's on Magor, or do BT have to upgrade the exchange first before other companies can supply up to 20mg?
Posted by JHo1 over 6 years ago
Red, 2,500 is small beer. Sorry, that's not my view. I'm on an exchange with just under 1,500 customers. Think 20,000 ish.
Posted by Alchemyfire over 6 years ago
Wasn't there something recently about TT providing 21NC in exchanges that were on 8mb?
Posted by Red_Kelt over 6 years ago
Yes JHo1.

But I thought they were going to enable smaller exchanges than 2500 premises.
Posted by themanstan over 6 years ago
If an ISP LLUs an exchange they can delvier any service they like. BT only influences service if ISPs don't want to LLU an exchange, as then they wholesale off BT, so can only use what is present in that exchange.
TT intends to LLU 90% of exchanges, thereby being able to supply ADSL2+ to all on those exchanges.
21CN the way the core network of BT works, Internet Protocol based instead of PTSN.
Posted by JHo1 over 6 years ago
Red, I do hope so but I expect the priority will be to larger exchanges - more money to be made.

But even when my exchange is eventually upgraded I'll still be stuck with this dodgy copper which recently started giving a few houses nearby (myself included) problems.
Posted by Red_Kelt over 6 years ago
Can someone look at my exchange?

And tell me if Orange or Talk Talk can provide better than 8 mg. I'm lost with this, a TT salesman told me it was higher than 8 mg but a speedtest shows just 2-3 mg, i currently get 6.6mg on a good day!!!
Posted by chris6273 over 6 years ago
Orange (Now use BT equipment) and TalkTalk have their equipment in your exchange which means TT can provide Up To 24Mbps.

Regarding your throughput, it might be your connection to the MSAN or it may be insufficient backhaul. Try and start a thread on the forums about it ;)
Posted by Red_Kelt over 6 years ago
Thx chris6273.

Why is it when I do a speed test on TT I only get 2-3 meg?

I'd have to buy out a newish BT contract to swap to TT, I don't want to do that to find out I'm no better off.

Is it possible TT are using BT equipment too?
Posted by Red_Kelt over 6 years ago
Also, I thought 6.6mg was good going on BT equipment offering up to 8 mg given I'm just under a mile from the exchange. I'm paying for up to 20mg though.

My biggest concern is Xbox lag. I like my gaming but always appear to be the lagiest player on a server.

It's all doing my nut in.
Posted by Alchemyfire over 6 years ago
chris6273, on the main BT website, my exchange shows up as an up to 8mb, yet on the BT Wholesale site, it shows up as 2mb. It could just be a case of them working of different databases.
Posted by dave76 over 6 years ago
BT list seems to have been updated:

(Click: 21CN Broadband availability)
Posted by Red_Kelt over 6 years ago

Yes it maybe updated and it looks like my exchange is one of those in the forgotten 10%.

Typical of this c**p country we live in.

Only hope of an exchange upgrade is through the Welsh Assembly/local government.
Posted by spc_rosco over 6 years ago
Hmmmm 90%??? So there are over 5000 DLE's and this updated list covers 2003 as enabled or to be enabled - so not even half. Sounds like lies, damn lies, and statistics as they say. 90% of premises - but what constitutes a "premises"?

You must be logged in to post comments. Click here to login.