Saturday, May 13, 2017

Openreach to Consult on Broadband Expansion

Openreach, a unit of BT and the largest network infrastructure provider in the UK, responsible for a network serving around 30 million residential and business customers, has announced that it will consult with its communications provider customers regarding the best way to enhance broadband connectivity across Britain.

The company, which provides broadband infrastructure to more than 580 service providers, is to request customer input relating to two key policy issues for the UK: developing the investment case for a large-scale, 'full fibre' network; and extending faster broadband speeds to 'not-spots' that currently have access to services offering less than 10 Mbit/s bandwidth.

Full fibre network

Openreach has previously stated its aim of making ultra-fast broadband of more than 100 Mbit/s available to 12 million homes and businesses by the end of 2020. However, the business wishes to explore the conditions that might enable it to invest in more full fibre, FTTP, infrastructure.

The consultation with providers will assess the demand for FTTP, the potential benefits and costs of a expanded FTTP deployment, and the enablers required to support investment. Openreach is currently engaged in a scoping phase, with the expectation of launching a formal consultation in the summer of this year.

Universal broadband coverage

Openreach also plans to launch a consultation with providers on the next steps for the emerging broadband technology Long Reach VDSL, which has been demonstrated to enable higher broadband speeds over long phone lines connected to fibre cabinets. This technology could help deliver universal broadband in line with the government's policy objectives as set out in the Digital Economy Act, which targets the availability of minimum 10 Mbit/s access speed for all customers.

The consultation process is designed to enable Openreach to determine the most effective way of deploying Long Reach VDSL technology so that it delivers the most benefit for customers, as well as supporting the aim of achieving universal broadband in the UK.

Openreach stated that by the end of 2017, according to analysis by Thinkbroadband, an estimated 95% of the UK is due to have access to broadband speeds of at least 24 Mbit/s, while currently around 3% of the UK does not have access to a service with at least 10 Mbit/s bandwidth.

Additionally, Openreach is planning to introduce changes to the way it interacts with the industry that include a confidential process allowing service provider customers to discuss new strategic initiatives with Openreach, prior to any public consultation. The proposed changes are part of Openreach's preparations for greater functional separation from BT Group.

0 comments:

Post a Comment

See also