So far Fibre to the Premises roll-outs by Openreach have covered a lot smaller area than expected, with some new exchange areas being delayed. According to a news item on the Financial Times BT has a new way of deploying fibre that will allow it to offer the service over its whole network footprint. Trials of this new fibre overlay system have taken place in St Agnes, Cornwall with further testing due during the summer, followed by a commercial roll-out in 2013.
The bad news is that it appears the costs will not be down at the level most residential customers will be prepared to pay, the higher pricing arising from the higher installation costs and the higher speeds supported (300 Mbps). So at present it seems likely it be priced such that SME should find the system attractive. Hopefully once the BT third quarter results are published we will get a better idea of pricing.
A downside to the new fibre to the premises product is hinted at in the FT article, which is that Openreach may pull back from offering its current GEA-FTTP products where they are solely funded by BT money. Original projections from the £2.5bn Openreach investment programme suggested FTTP coverage of 10 to 15% of the UK.
Many parts of the UK have had fibre available via Ethernet deployments, which can carry install fees of several thousand pounds and rentals of £3000 a month for speeds of around 100 Mbps. So hopefully this new service will be more reasonable, with perhaps a £1500 install fee and perhaps costing £100-£200 a month, it would be nice to dream of a lower price point, but indications so far suggest not.
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