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BT's fibre optic network

By Editorial
Wednesday, May 13th 2009
Read all about BT's Fibre Optic Network and what it means for UK broadband users.

In 2008, BT released its intention to heavily invest in a network of fibre optic cables throughout the UK, making ultra-high speed connections possible for a significant proportion of the population.

The company aims to invest over one and a half billion pounds before 2012, providing its new level of service to around ten million people, and providing around half the population with some form of higher speed service than currently.

The service is expected to run at a theoretical maximum of 100Mb which is twice that of the current highest speed offered by any of its rivals (only available from Virgin Media, in cable-ready addresses) - although other customers may be offered a speed of around 50Mb. The intention is that this level of speed will make possible a whole new era of network communications, whereby fully interactive television will become the norm, delivered by internet rather than radio frequency.

A stumbling block of the roll out of this new network has been regulations surrounding the industry infrastructure as a whole. At present, BT has a virtual monopoly on the physical network throughout the UK.

It now operates this as a separate division, BT Openreach, which has responsibility for making sure all network operators have fair access to BT's physical network. BT is able to make money by charging other operators for use of their network.

The new fibre optic service essentially means laying new cables into all areas concerned, which has meant it has presented an opportunity to challenge the status quo. Virgin Media, in particular, have claimed it is unfair that BT alone should be allowed to profit from a new network in perpetuity, when Virgin has invested to establish its own cable network.

BT is concerned about investing in such an expensive network if if is not allowed to recoup its investment by profiting from the sale of bandwidth in the traditional way. This has been made an even more serious issue since the economic events of late 2008, with some BT shareholders expressing their desire for BT to turn their back on the investment for the foreseeable future, something the company's CEO has declined to do.

The UK Government has hinted that it may be willing to support the investment needed in high speed internet if it becomes apparent this is a requirement. The government has an existing pledge to deliver 2Mb speeds to all homes in the UK by 2012, although there is concern this will no longer be viewed as an acceptable minimum.

Technology such as wireless broadband has been considered as an option for delivering this, but is currently seen as expensive and unreliable. Many in the industry believe that only a fully supported national fibre optic network can deliver the type of network usage that is currently physically possible, but that are made impractical by poor broadband speeds.

BT has started physically laying the new network in test areas of the UK. For example, ten thousand newly built houses in Ebbsfleet Valley, Kent, will be amongst the first to enjoy the new service; the lines having been laid in January 2009, with over 30,000 more people expected to be connected in parts of London and Wales throughout the year.

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Comments (18)

Jonathon Mirza
21st June 2014

4 computer Qualifications, 2 Diplomas in Computers !

2Mb is ridiculously low as a minimum standard for any Broadband infrastructure. The minimum speed should be a minimum of 50Mb and recommended to be 100Mb.

A 2Mb internet connection will not efficiently support streaming video, so you can forget about HD video download or high bandwidth. A 50Mb Architecture will allow for efficient streaming of HD video, use of internet enabled apps with a smart TV, ICS on multiple devices and higher bandwidth. A 100Mb connection (should be Recommended) can allow for high speed data transfer of packages as large as 1024Mb Ps when using a green light down the fiber optic channel. Green is the median spectral light for both frequency and wave length so it is the optimum color to use for data transfer. As for Bandwidth on 100Mb with white light, the bandwidth is about 50% of the frequency.

22nd January 2014

could u tell me when fibre optic broadband will be avalible in litherland liverpool l21 7ps it shows my exchange excepting order but providers dont let me order it my internet at mo is very slow prob bout 3mbps

William Goodger
22nd January 2014

Could you please let me know if the fibre optic broadband cables from BT will E.T.A {Estimated Time of Arrival} to this postcode. LE7 3SU

18th November 2013

Hi Joe

Click here to visit our fibre broadband comparison page. Just type your postcode in the box at the top of the page and our checker will tell you if you can get fibre broadband in your area. If fibre isn't available yet, click here to register for an email alert once it has launched.

Hannah - Cable.co.uk

Joe Long
17th November 2013

When is fibre optic broadband scheduled to to be rolled out in the LL55 (Caernarfon) area?

Peter Carter
7th April 2013

It is noticed in a previous comment that fiber cable was planned for Longfield in December 2011. Has it been done? if so, when will Longfield Hill DA3 7AG likely to have it? Can't wait !!! Regards.

25th March 2013

Update, Some areas in Holbury now have BT Infinty available..

Peter Carter
21st March 2013

Is BT responsible for laying cable in our roads .Is there some where I can find a programme of the work .my post code is DA3 7AG.Thank You

K McKenna
4th January 2013

Hello, I have been very annoyed with my ISP lately (ISP is Q sat (Satellite broadband)). I have read this and saw that 2mb will no longer be viewed as a mimimum speed. Although I am 13 years old, I am very annoyed by this. At times I need to use the internet a lot for homeworks and such things, and what stops me from doing this is my ISP's usage limit. I think it is £25 a MONTH for 5gb usage limit, and my internet speed is around 500 kbp/s. For example if I want to watch a youtube video to help me with my work, a lot of my 5gb usage is gone. I live in a rural area, but people 300 metres away from my house can get BT broadband. This is very unfair, is there anything I can do about this?

25th November 2012

Fibre optic cabs have been installed in holbury

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