Broadnet - The ntl: 21st century vision
The move of ntl: into the local loop unbundling arena has been well documented, but some of their other plans for next few years are less clearly known. ntl: has published a document to its investors that lays out its vision for the next few years and beyond, the PDF document can be downloaded from here.
Broadening the coverage and range of services offered by ntl: seems to be the key. The LLU phase (called BT Option 2 in the document) is just a step on an evolutionary path. This path if fully played out should lead to speeds of 25Mbps to peoples homes possibly using ADSL2+ over very short reaches of copper. The aim seems to be incremental investment, rather than one massive upgrade programme. An overhaul of their existing cable services is also planned, including a migration of voice services away from POTS to VoIP.
A rough calender of events is:
- 2004: VoIP services over broadband, trials of a VoIP core.
- 2005: Roll-out the IP core network changes.
- 2006: Begin VoIP migration.
- 2009: Complete migration.
A lot of the emphasis is on delivery of services independent of the type of access medium, this includes exploiting wireless and mobile technologies. The big difference with the ntl: programme is that due to their current position in the TV market, they already have a captive audience for upgrades to services in many areas.
Last weeks announcements by Ofcom, appears to have sent encouraging ripples through BTs competitors. Lets hope that ntl:, Telewest and others can get building for the next generation. If the BT Group can pull in the one direction, and focus on ensuring its network is ready for the next generation, then it is possible that in a few years, people and businesses in the UK may have several world class real choices with regards to the triple play that is TV/Telephone/Internet access. Without the backing from investors all the major telecoms companies will find it hard, nigh impossible to build the networks of tomorrow.