Openreach, BT's access network business, will soon offer Gigabit speeds across its FTTP (fiber-to-the-premises) network, more than doubling the fastest downstream rate of 330 Mbit/s currently available.
From December 6, Openreach , which currently passes 327,000 homes and businesses with its FTTP network, will offer two new wholesale products: One offering up to 500 Mbit/s downstream, 165 Mbit/s upstream; the other, 1 Gbit/s downstream and 220 Mbit/s upstream.
The Gigabit service will carry a wholesale price of £80 (US$99.44) per calendar month.
According to Openreach, the number of premises passed by its FTTP network will double during the next 12 months and "reach up to two million premises by the end of 2020. The upgrades are part of a plan to make ultrafast speeds available to up to 12 million UK premises in the same timeframe, using a mix of fibre technologies." (Check out BT's Broadband Chief Preps for 5G With FTTx Plans and BT to Cover 2M Homes With FTTP in $8.7B Plan on Light Reading for more background.)
Clive Selley, Openreach CEO, said: "We're committed to taking the UK from being a superfast to an ultrafast nation, and whilst we're extending the reach of our Fibre-to-the-Premises network, we're also boosting the speed and variety of the services we can offer over it."
Openreach has upped its FTTP game this year, reacting to greater competitive pressure, particularly from CityFibre but also from cable operator Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED), which is seeking to keep one step ahead of Openreach in key UK markets with its
Project Lightning rollout. (See CityFibre Puts Its Ducts In a Row.)
But is the Openreach plan ambitious enough? Two million homes passed with FTTP by the end of 2020 is an improvement on the current numbers but the UK has about 25 million premises: What broadband options will be available to the other 23 million? Will the CityFibre wholesale fiber network expansion accelerate beyond that number? And how many homes and businesses will Virgin capture once its DOCSIS 3.0/3.1 network passes more than 16 million premises?
According to UK regulator Ofcom, about 2% of UK homes and businesses (so about 500,000 premises) have access to FTTP services, with Openreach offering the majority -- let's see how that number changes in the coming few years and how the FTTP market share shapes up.
— Elliot Richards, Senior Editor, UBB2020