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The broadband speed war is hotting up, at least in the more concentrated population centres of the UK, as Virgin and BT strive to outdo each other with their next-gen fibre roll outs.
While Virgin has been rolling out its 100Mbps service for some time now, BT is also underway with fibre-to-the-cabinet (40Mbps) and fibre-to-the-premises 110Mbps services have just been launched.
As the name suggests, FTTP is when the fibre is run directly from the exchange to the home or business premises, with no copper phone line involved (as with FTTC, where the last section of the connection to the fibre street cabinet is the phone line).
This FTTP service will be available in six locations in the UK later this month: York, Chester South, Bradwell Abbey in Milton Keynes, St Austell, Ashford in Middlesex and Highams Park in North London.
BT notes it’ll be open to all ISPs on a wholesale basis, with speeds reaching downloads of a potential 110Mbps and uploads of up to 30Mbps. Two packages will be available this month, 100Mbps download with 30Mbps upload, or 110Mbps download with 15Mbps upload.
However, speeds are expected to be hugely boosted next spring, when BT promises download speeds of up to 300Mbps coming. And this will get faster, BT points out, citing the current 1Gbps trials which it’s holding.
Those on FTTC aren’t being left out of the broadband acceleration either, as BT has announced that fibre-to-the-cabinet speeds have had regulatory approval to be doubled. In others words, FTTC will become an up to 80Mbps service. This will happen “at some point” in 2012.
BT Openreach chief executive Liv Garfield said: “Today is a significant step in the UK’s broadband journey. These developments will transform broadband speeds across the country and propel the UK up the broadband league tables.”
She added: “No-one is keener than us to extend these super-fast speeds to rural areas and so we will be bidding for public funds to help extend these services even further. The challenge is a tough one but by working with the public sector it is within our reach.”
They weren’t quite so keen, of course, when public funds weren’t on the table.