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BT Openreach trials fast fibre-optic broadband

15,000 properties get 40Mbps in 2009

BT openreach van

BT has announced that Muswell Hill in north London, and Whitchurch in South Glamorgan will be the first pilot schemes in the UK to be offered its faster fibre-optic ADSL broadband.

According to BT Openreach, the installation of fibre to street-side cabinets covering 15,000 premises will give a maximum speed of 40Mbps. Customers are predicted to be able to take advantage of this service from summer 2009.

David Campbell, Openreach’s director of next-generation access explained: ‘We have a good mix of areas, allowing us to test our products in both urban and semi-rural environments. These two sites were chosen from a shortlist and we expect to announce detailed plans for the initial market deployment of the Openreach product in early 2010.’

Virgin Media promises 50Mbps

The pilots follow BT’s July announcement that it would invest £1.5bn in fibre optics. Virgin Media is also embarking on upgrade programme to increase speeds on its cable broadband network to 50Mbps. Virgin Media announced in January 2008, that the new 50Mbps service would be made available to over 9 million homes in the UK by the end of 2008.

Slow broadband speeds bug Which? members

Which? telecoms expert, Ceri Stanaway, says: ‘Slow or inconsistent internet speed is our members biggest broadband bugbear, according to the latest Which? broadband survey. And with online TV placing more and more demands on our broadband services, many will welcome the potential for much faster speeds than they can get at the moment.

‘But bear in mind that the headline speed of 40Mbps is likely to be a maximum, and that many people in upgraded areas might be unable to achieve speeds that fast. But this shouldn’t be a problem for most users – realistically, what most people need from their broadband is decent speeds on a reliable, 24 hour basis rather than speeds being great at off-peak times and slowing to a crawl at busier times. We hope that consistently good speeds are as much of a priority for the roll out as being able to advertise a superfast headline speed.’

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