Derry in Northern Ireland has the distinction of being the first city in the UK and Ireland to have all of its BT street cabinets upgraded to offer a FTTC service from Openreach. The roll-out completion as detailed on the BBC website means some 40,000 homes and businesses will have the option of upgrading to a faster broadband service.
There will be a small number of homes and businesses unable to get the service, one reason being that every telephone exchange has lines that are so short they do not connect to a cabinet - though in these cases ADSL2+ performance should be good, or these people may alternatively have the choice of a cable broadband service. It should be pointed out that where people are receiving estimates on potential speeds from a FTTC service, these are invariably conservative and should almost always be significantly faster than any current ADSL or ADSL2+ based product.
A quick check on maps.thinkbroadband.com shows that already there are people experiencing improved broadband services, and that people are also buying the faster up to 100 Mbps cable broadband service from Virgin Media that is available to some 30,000 homes in the area.
For residents of Derry and other parts of the UK where cabinets are being upgraded, the product switch is not automatic. The reason for this is the products are generally more expensive than standard products but thankfully they are still cheaper than broadband cost from a few years ago. The Openreach FTTC product carries a headline figure of up to 40 Mbps, with at least 10% managing speeds of 36 Mbps, and further upgrades are planned to push the downstream to 80 Mbps and upstream to 20 Mbps for those close enough to the green street cabinet.
BT's presence in Derry is a high profile affair as the BT Group is a Premier Partner in the Derry / Londonderry UK City of Culture 2013, but do not be misled into believing FTTC is only available via the BT Infinity products. The product is available through a number of other providers which do sell the FTTC service (if you work for a broadband provider and your launched product is missing from our list, please do get in touch).
For those who are still waiting on the FTTC services to come to their part of the UK, you should be aware that enabling all the cabinets in an area is rare, generally around 40% to 80% of cabinets on an exchange get upgraded, with the decisions being largely based on economics and the vagaries of getting planning permission in some parts of towns and cities.