BT to announce expansion of fibre-to-the-cabinet network
The FT are reporting that BT are likely to announce an expansion of the rollout of their fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) broadband network from 40% to 66%. Full details are expected within BT's financial results due out later this week, but the expansion is expected to increase the costs past the original £1.5bn budget for fibre based broadband. It's not yet known whether the coverage increase could be achieved in the time frame currently laid out to provide 40% coverage which is due by Summer 2012. BT's FTTC products offer users broadband speeds of up to 40 Mbps downstream, and could see faster speeds in the future.
An increase in footprint would put BT in a stronger position to sell the service to other providers on a wholesale basis to providers such as Sky or TalkTalk who could avoid the high costs of deploying their own street-side infrastructure. BT's only large-scale competitor in high-speed broadband services is currently Virgin Media who cover around 50% of homes with their cable network, however they have no plans to significantly increase coverage.
BT are also expected to make a play to undercut Sky on pricing of live Premiership football matches, an option that has been opened up by an imposed reduction in wholesale pricing that Ofcom have put forward for Sky's Sports channels.