Is PIA the product people asked for, but no one really wanted?
Physical Infrastructure Access (PIA) has had a lengthy and troubled birthing process, but an IT Pro article highlights the fact that other than a few trials nothing has really happened with it yet.
PIA has gone through a number of price iterations, and in October 2011 lower pricing was announced, though potential users were still complaining of the price, in particular the various ancillary services such as clearing a duct blockage.
There is still some hope for PIA, if Fujitsu is awarded a local authority/BDUK contract, but there are many who believe that the BT Group is going to hoover up all the contracts.
It is difficult to see how PIA will work in practice, as with providers being charged per metre for various elemtns, there will probably be a two people, one from Openreach and one from the provider going around and measuring ducting to ensure the right charges are raised, even before any service is provided, it may also mean differential pricing for two properties, or the harder to reach properties missing out yet again.
A simpler approach would have made the process more straightforward, perhaps setting a price per property connected in a particular exchange area, which would make it easier for BDUK product bidders to work out the cost of providing a solution.
As to why we see investment in alternate local loops in other countries, when one looks at where the investment is in these countries, it is the same sorts of areas as where Virgin Media is present in the UK, and without a doubt if Virgin Media was entering the UK market now it would be rolling out full fibre, rather than the coax/fibre hybrid that its network is currently.