BT reveal first sites for fibre-optic broadband

It’s all go for BT’s £1.5 billion fibre broadband rollout, as it announces the first pilot sites to receive the new technology.

BT revealed which sites are to pilot its Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) services in summer 2009, with the potential to offer 40 Mbps connections to up to 30,000 customers.

The two operational exchanges will be in Muswell Hill, London, and Whitchurch, South Glamorgan, and will be available to all UK communication providers on a wholesale basis. Other areas were shortlisted, and these exchanges could hold pilots later in 2009. Assuming the trials are successful, 2010 could be the year for a product launch.

Openreach is a division of BT which was created in 2006 to give all communication providers access to the local access network the wires and cables which connected millions of homes and businesses to the local telephone exchanges.

Fibre to the Cabinet will involve moving fibre to cabinets located near homes and businesses. Although connections from cabinets to premises will still be over copper, the speeds will still be much faster than those currently possible over ASDL.

"We have a good mix of areas, allowing us to test our products in both urban and semi-rural environments," said David Campbell, BT Openreach's director of next generation access of the pilot sites.

"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, again with full consultation with all interested parties."

Customers within the pilot area will have engineers visiting to install fibre-compatible Network Termination Equipment (NTE) which will allow their premises to use the fibre technology.

The FTTC technology is what BT plans to use for the majority of its 1.5 billion fibre rollout

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