The trials of Fibre on Demand are almost over, we now have a confirmed date of 29th April 2013 for when the service will become available under Early Market Deployment terms and conditions. For those businesses and Internet geeks who have been adding up the pennies from their change jars it is not the time to smash them just yet, this is just the product launching to the wholesale market, so it will take time for the retail providers to consider what they are doing.
"We can confirm that Openreach will start to make its FTTP on Demand product available on a wholesale basis to communications providers from the end of April.
As indicated previously, Openreach is slashing the monthly rental cost of its FTTP service – upon which FoD is based - from £60 per month to £38 per month, to make it more attractive to industry and their customers.
In addition to a fixed installation fee of £500, a distance based construction charge will also apply, reflecting the costs of building a fibre network direct to a customer’s premise. In line with what we’ve said previously, we estimate that more than half of premises will incur a distance based charge of between £200 and £1000. Premises that are further away from the relevant part of the fibre network will incur a higher charge due the extra engineering work involved.
It will be up to communications providers to decide whether to pass these charges on to consumers and businesses."Openreach statement on Fibre on Demand (FoD)
The more than half of premises actually equates to 55%, and for those who are further from the fibre aggregation point Openreach is estimating that the distance related charge will be in the range £1,400 to £3,500, though an unlucky few may be quoted more. Do not forget that there is the fixed £500 connection charge and VAT to add to this.
The service initially appears to be based around a 330 Mbps downstream and 30 Mbps upstream product, which from Openreach costs £38+VAT per month. So the monthly cost is going to be substantially more than the FTTC 80/20 products, current FTTP 330/30 products tend to carry a retail price tag in the £100 per month region. One important point of note is that areas with native Openreach GEA-FTTP coverage will not have these higher connection fees, the connection charges for GEA-FTTP will continue as previously (which are the retail level runs from free to £100).
The Fibre on Demand product will once it has fully launched be available to any property that is served by an Openreach FTTC cabinet, the early market conditions refer to the fact that initially the service will be available on a limited footprint, details to be announced closer to the launch date.
BT and its fibre roll-out is a big easy target for criticism, but with Fibre on Demand it has took the commercial risk to part build a FTTP network alongside the FTTC footprint, and it will be interesting to see what demand there is once the product launches. The big gotcha now is how creative the retail sector will be, the limited footprint of the pure FTTP products has to date meant there are limited retail options.