The first areas of the UK to be given access to BT's fibre network will not be able to access speeds of 100Mbps, the telecommunications company has confirmed.
The areas where fibre was initially rolled-out saw fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) technology installed, with copper cables joining homes to the street cabinets. However, the telecommunications company has revealed it will start deploying the faster fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology next.
BT is aiming to ensure around a quarter of UK addresses will have FTTP technology thanks to its £2.5bn fibre network. The telecommunications company hopes four million homes will have access to the network by the end of this year. In the longer-term, BT says two thirds of the UK should have access to the fibre network by 2015, and of these a quarter will have FTTP technology. However, the telecommunications company has no plans to return to the FTTC areas and upgrade them to FTTP.
"The vast majority [of FTTC homes] get between 33 and 38Mbps," said Liv Garfield, BT's group director of strategy, policy and portfolio. "There's no point in going back and investing, just because it's something called P instead of C."
Garfield also said the FTTC currently has a maximum download speed of 'up-to' 40Mbps but this could increase in the future. "We've seen 60 to 70Mbps in the labs on FTTC," she said. "Is it future proofed? Yes."
The telecommunications company also revealed that ISPs using BT's fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) services will be able to offer broadband packages with assured download speeds of 5Mbps, for customers whose lines can not handle the initial assured minimum fibre speed of 'up-to' 15Mbps
"The option of a lower minimum assured speed for FTTC means that some customers may see an improvement in their broadband speeds compared with the existing speed they receive over the copper network," BT said. "To be clear, there are now two variants of the FTTC service: one with a minimum assured speed of 5Mbps and one with a minimum assured speed of 15Mbps."