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BT to invest billions in ultrafast broadband over next three years

by Mark Tyson on 5 May 2016, 13:31

Tags: British Telecom (LON:BT.A), Ofcom

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BT has outlined plans for further investments in ultrafast broadband and 4G network coverage. In brief its plans for ultrafast broadband envisage such services being available to 12 million homes by 2020. It wants to provide over 2 million homes and businesses with FTTP. Furthermore, ultrafast broadband and 4G coverage are both expected to pass 95 per cent.

BT Group Chief Executive Gavin Patterson said that it was necessary to invest "a further six billion pounds" in its UK networks to maintain the UK's position as "a digital leader". The investment will be divided between both wired and wireless networks.

For broadband the investment is expected to bring an ultrafast service to many more people. Ultrafast broadband should be deployed to 10 million people and FTTP tech to a further 2 million by 2020. BT's G.Fast research (using a combo of copper and fibre) is expected to play an important role in boosting customer speeds, as the tech becomes ready for wider roll out. Current G.Fast testers are enjoying speeds of up to 300Mbps and the upper threshold is being pushed to 500Mbps. In the future BT thinks XG-FAST can still make use of this cabling mix to provide speeds of over 5Gbps.

EE says that its 4G footprint will extend from around 60 per cent today to equal the ultrafast broadband goal of 95 per cent by 2020. The parallel plan will provide customers with convenient, flexible connectivity options across the vast majority of the UK.

A range of initiatives were also announced today to tackle service quality. A 24-hour line fault fix standard was proposed and the handling the majority of calls in UK-based call centres was pledged. A thousand new engineers and additional engineer training will help further. Openreach aims to improve its missed appointments numbers by cutting them in half – to 2.5 per cent.

Interestingly the £6bn investment plan is "subject to regulatory certainty", which hints that it requires Ofcom's support of the BT/Openreach status quo. Put simply, the above big investments may not go ahead if the industry regulator Ofcom implements any unfavourable actions, such as making Openreach independent.

HEXUS Forums :: 24 Comments

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I need 5Gbps, but would need 10G networking and a serious SSD upgrade. Probably some kind of fast RAID setup. I foresee much Windows failure in the future.
Yeah yeah yeah, heard it all before…
I live just 10 mins away from Heathrow, and we still only have ADSL in our area.
yeah nothing like a monopoly to keep this country in the technological dark ages….we need fibre now, not when they feel like it. They need to stop flogging the dead horse that is copper lines, all their research to speed this is up is just wasting time/money. PMSL at the ‘digital leader’ comment from the BT boss, we haven't been that for the last 5-10 years, if only someone had invested in the infrastructure when ADSL/Fibre started becoming popular instead of doing nothing…..

Getting fttp (this is what we all really need for decent up and down speeds in the future) to 2 million properties (so mostly businesses then) by 2020… lets put this into context then - there's 25 million homes (according to a quick google) in the UK so at a rate of 2 million per 4 years that means it would take at least 25 years just to cover the current houses in the UK and you can likely add on another 5-10 years to cover the businesses being done first and the usual BT delays.

OH and my fav part… this investment needs BT/Openreach to stay as one entity…. funny that they want to keep their monopoly going and are now in essence using it to ‘blackmail’ OFCOM to get the faster speeds that the government already said we'd have in 2020.

Seriously OFCOM/Government needs to grow some balls and tell BT to get off their lazy behinds and catch up with the times, we're supposed to be a ‘first world’ country after all.
What BT wants and what Openreach can deliver are two separate things. I'm moving house and apparently cant transfer my Infinity 2 to my new address because ‘the box is full.’ Also our business has been waiting for a new fibre business line (which we signed the contract for 10 months ago.) They need to open up their network as their costing the economy millions everyday in sh*t delivery.