BT Openreach Extends 18Mbps FTTC Broadband Trial for Slow ADSL Lines - ISPreview UK
Openreach (BT) has today announced that the on-going ISP trial of their new 18Mbps (2Mbps upload) Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) product, which is designed to help people stuck on slow ADSL based pure copper broadband lines, has been extended until 30th October 2017.

The new product, which was first introduced a year ago (here), is designed to act as an uplift path for existing ADSL (up to 8Mbps) and ADSL2+ (up to 20Mbps) based copper broadband lines, specifically those where your current speeds are sub-10Mbps. Related connections are still used by a little over half of the country, including in many areas where faster FTTC (VDSL2) based “fibre broadband” services are now available.

However a lot of people who could order an FTTC service from their ISP may often choose not to do so because sometimes the speed uplift vs ADSL is simply too small (i.e. FTTC speeds can fall a lot lower than headline levels) and this makes the extra cost unattractive (FTTC tends to add a +£5-15 per month premium).

As a response to that Openreach introduced the new 18Mbps tier, which costs providers £4 +vat per month (the cheapest 40Mbps tier is £6.90) at wholesale and that puts it at a slightly more expensive level than the more traditional ADSL2+ based services. Under the plan this was due to be trialled until 31st March 2017 but the trial has now been extended until 30th October 2017.

Openreach Statement

Existing customers on 18/2Mbps can continue to use this product, while for new customers there will be a temporary halt in availability of 18/2 product, except for customers being migrated from the Chelsea exchange.

For new customers, we plan to reintroduce a special offer on slow line regrades to 18/2Mbps in the coming weeks.
So far Sky Broadband are the only ISP that has openly confirmed their participation in the trial via the Sky Fibre Lite product (here), which involves about 20,000 of their subscribers. Unfortunately the announcement doesn’t say why Openreach needs to extend this trial again, although we have asked them and are awaiting a response.

Products like this one may also come in handy for areas where Openreach might need to switch-off existing ADSL services in order to encourage locals to adopt Long Reach VDSL (LR-VDSL) technology (details).