Hyperoptic has called out BT over comments made last week by group strategy director Sean Williams.
Speaking to the Lords Select Committee last Tuesday, Williams was quoted saying that rollout of FTTP (Fibre-to-the-Premises) wasn’t currently viable and that home networks weren’t ready for 1Gbps speeds.
Hyperoptic’s managing director Dana Pressman-Tobak said that Williams’ comments sent “a very dangerous message."
She added: "The UK is one of the biggest users of technology, with its internet economy valued at £82bn - worth 8.3 per cent of GDP – more than any other country in the world. But as it stands, the UK fails to make the top 10 countries for broadband speeds and doesn’t even figure on Fibre-To-The-Building leader-boards."
In response to Williams’ statement that "home Wi-Fi or devices can't cope with the [1Gbps] speeds," Pressman-Tobak said that "Today’s computers already come with 1Gbps Ethernet connections, there are new simultaneous dual band Wi-Fi connections – plus the recently 802.11ac standard provides wireless speeds of up to 1Gbps."
That said, Wi-Fi AC routers are few and far between. Netgear’s R6300 is available now and Buffalo’s AirStation WZR-D1800H won’t be out ‘til August. It’s only a matter of time though before the new standard becomes the standard.
Pressman-Tobak criticised BT further, saying that "a FTTC 80Mbps connection still has many limitations – it’s distance dependent so only a small fraction of population will get it, plus it has very limited upload speed and is still subject to interference and not stable as fibre."
In a chat with a BT spokesperson, we were told that speed boosts on FTTC lines to 100Mbps were possible in some cases. "We could see some FTTC lines deliver 100Mbps or above, though these speeds won’t be applicable on all lines," a BT spokesperson said. BT wouldn’t comment on a maximum theoretical speed for FTTC however.
BT’s FTTC lines will also be upgradable to full FTTP in the future. As part of an on-demand programme, customers will have the option of being able to upgrade to a faster service, replacing the copper last mile with a fibre optic line.
For those who can’t wait however, Hyperoptic is already offering symmetrical 1Gbps broadband for £50 a month (plus a £40 install fee) in selected areas.
This isn’t the first time Hyperoptic has taken a swing at BT. During the Cabinetgate saga, Hyperoptic took the opportunity to make residents of Kensington and Chelsea aware of its wares after BT and the local council fell out over plans for fibre rollout.