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    BT pledges boost for slowest broadband and '£1bn' ultrafast investment

    This is a discussion on BT pledges boost for slowest broadband and '£1bn' ultrafast investment within the General Computing and Internet forums, part of the Community channel category; BT pledges boost for slowest broadband and '£1bn' ultrafast investment - Telegraph Company seeks Government support in Openreach break-up row ...

    1. #1
      gymno's Avatar
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      BT pledges boost for slowest broadband and '£1bn' ultrafast investment

      BT pledges boost for slowest broadband and '£1bn' ultrafast investment - Telegraph

      Company seeks Government support in Openreach break-up row with aim for higher minimum download speeds for rural Britons

      BT will aim for higher minimum broadband speeds and spend around £1bn on ‘ultrafast’ upgrades in cities over the next five years, the telecoms giant has revealed in its campaign against being broken up.

      The company said it would target a new universal minimum download speed of between 5 and 10 megabits per second for all premises in the UK. It warned, however, that delivering the boost for the most remote homes and businesses would require “a supportive regulatory and Government policy environment to bring about a commercially viable investment”.

      The crucial caveat was aimed at the Government and Ofcom, the communications regulator, which is currently considering whether to push for a forced split of BT that would make its network division, Openreach, a separate company.

      Under current Government plans, all UK premises are meant to be able to receive at least 2 megabits per second downloads by next year. BT also said as part of a string of announcements in the City that it will join a taxpayer-funded scheme to offer free satellite broadband equipment to those currently unable to get even basic broadband via the national telecoms network.

      BT’s target for the future universal minimum matches what has been mooted by the Government, but falls short of Ofcom recommendations. The regulator has argued that at least 10 megabits per second should be the available everywhere to ensure universal access to most online services.

      As well as backing an increase in the universal minimum speed, BT announced it will next year begin rolling out upgrades for those who already have ‘superfast’ broadband. The ‘ultrafast’ technology, labelled G.fast, will be available to 10 million premises – around a third of the country – by 2020, it said. More than half will get the upgrade within a decade, the operator added.

      G.fast is currently in trials in Cambridgeshire and allows higher data rates using the existing copper wires into homes, so is much cheaper than replacing the lines with fibre optics.

      BT said it expected to offer download speeds of at least 300 megabits per second, more than four times the current ‘superfast’ top speed.

      The technology should allow households to access multiple streams of ultra-high definition television simultaneously, on demand. Growing consumption internet video from broadcaster and streaming specialists such as Netflix is expected to drive rocketing demand for bandwidth over the next few years.

      According to estimates based on superfast broadband spending, the five-year initial phase of ultrafast broadband rollout is expected to cost around £1bn. BT also suggested it could also replace copper lines with fibre optics “for those who want even faster speeds” of 1 gigabit per second.

      The upgrade plans were the vanguard of a major manoeuvre by BT designed to push back attacks from Sky, TalkTalk and Vodafone. They want to see Openreach, on which they rely to connect their own broadband customers, made fully independent, claiming it provides poor service and hampers competition because of its financial links to the rest of BT.

      Gavin Patterson, BT’s chief executive, said: “We want to forge an ultrafast future for Britain and stand ready to help Government deliver the broadband speeds necessary for every property to enjoy modern day internet services, such as high-definition streaming and cloud computing.”

      In an attempt to tackle complaints from rivals who use its network, as well as from consumers and business, BT also announced new customer services initiatives by Openreach including a “view my engineer” service to allow customers to track their line fault or installation.

      The announcements are unlikely to satisfy rivals, who have argued that BT’s control of Openreach is holding back investment in broadband infrastructure.

      Ofcom is due to announce the initial findings of its review of Openreach, part of a broad look at the communications market, at the end of the year.


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      Re: BT pledges boost for slowest broadband and '£1bn' ultrafast investment

      thinkbroadband :: Sky responds to BT investment news

      The PLC war continues, as Sky have issued a statement after the BT Group investment announcements around the scale of G.fast and FTTP that the group is happy to deliver and other areas today relating to the USC and USO regulations.

      Sky response to BT presentation to City
      "For years, BT has been under-investing and delivering poor quality service for customers. What the British broadband market urgently needs is radical reform, not calculated manoeuvring and caveats to protect BT’s self-interest. Only a truly independent Openreach will unlock the investment, innovation and competition required to deliver the digital connectivity of the future.”
      The response from Sky is pretty clear, they want Ofcom and the Competition Commission to create a seperate Openreach that is not linked to the BT Group. The ambition for Sky then would be that it would be able to more closer influence product design and roll-out by virtue of being a very large customer, though unless Sky was able to pull off a master stroke BT Retail would still be the largest customer of any new independent Openreach.

      It could be suggested that today's meeting with analysts and city investors was BT laying out an ultimatum in that its this from an Openreach that is part of the BT Group or nothing. In the Q&A session it was made clear that the choice was not binary, but simply that given a regulatory path not massively different to the current one, then Openreach believes it can sustain ten years of investment in rolling out G.fast and more FTTP. Guessing what the investment opportunity and revenue that standalone Openreach would generate is difficult to guess as until firm proposals are explored who will know e.g. if Sky wants FTTP available for £6 per month + VAT then we might only be looking at a slow roll-out that might have a life time of twenty years or more.

      BT may seem to be playing a delaying game by continuing to exploit the ability for copper to carry data and the improved signal processing power now available at low cost, but if the comments made by the BT CEO Gavin Patterson today that if Openreach had gone ahead with a pure FTTP roll-out that they'd likely have only reached 10% UK coverage by now does raise an important point and as the pressure is less about Gigabit speeds but rather something better than the current speed people get. Do we believe the 10% figure, it is probably slightly conservative as Openreach has delivered native FTTP coverage at 0.819% anyway, but something in the range of 10% to 20% seems very likely.

     

     

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