BT has aggressive plan to expand FTTP to at least 10M homes in UK

By Jim O'Neill on May 05 2016 at 7:30 AM
BT has aggressive plan to expand FTTP to at least 10M homes in UK

BT is planning to spend some £6 ($8.7 billion) on fixed and mobile networks over the next three years as it rushes to expand its fiber and 4G deployments.

BT said it plans to expand fiber broadband to between 10 million and 12 million homes by 2020, with about 20% being greenfield fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP), specifically new housing developments. Two months ago, BT said it planned to deliver FTTP to all new developments with more than 250 units planned, but the company now says it will lower that minimum to 100 units.

The remaining homes will be upgraded to Adtran’s G.Fast fiber-to-the-distribution-point (FTTdp), which BT in January said it had been testing in more than 2,000 premises. G.Fast theoretically can deliver 1 Gbps broadband speeds using existing copper deployments with some modifications.

At the time, BT’s Managing Director of Service, Strategy & Operations, Mike Gavin, said the technology would allow BT to “provide the ultra-fast broadband that customers demand, while reducing the time and cost of running fiber all the way to the premises."

BT also plans to leverage its VDSL copper deployments in areas where if doesn’t have fiber; about 5% of the country.

Meanwhile, other operators, notably Virgin Media, also are planning fiber expansions after British telecom regulator Ofcom decided to open BT’s Openreach to rivals. Virgin now says it plans to deploy fiber to more than one million customers.

During its earning call, this week, BT said its sales were up 8%, with a strong quarter from broadband and TV sales. It added 94,000 broadband customers and said BT TV now had 1.5 million customers.

“This has been a landmark year for BT,” said CEO Gavin Patterson. “We’ve completed our acquisition of EE, the UK’s best 4G mobile network provider, we’ve passed more than 25 million premises with fiber and we’ve also delivered a strong financial performance.”

Stay tuned.

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