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BT CEO promises to hit the full fibre broadband accelerator

CEO of BT Group Gavin Patterson has promised that his company will ‘significantly accelerate’ deployment of full fibre broadband services. 

While BT’s announced plans to put G.fast-based services in reach of 10 million homes the end of 2020, this technology has so far ‘only’ demonstrated top download speeds above 700Mbps in lab conditions. 

In the real world, BT’s demonstrated that its FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) connections can comfortably deliver 10Gbps – even if the top download speed available on such lines today is a mere 330Mbps. 

While Patterson’s encouraging comment echoes noises made by BT last September. 

At the same time that BT unveiled its G.fast-for-10-million plans, BT Group’s then-CEO of technology Clive Selley – now head of Openreach – said that the company had been able to halve the time it takes to roll out new FTTP lines. 

The canned ‘Fibre on Demand’ service, which sees customers who can get FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) from BT pay for an upgrade, was also quietly revived last year – albeit under the umbrella of the Superfast Cymru scheme. It’s expected that in time residential and business customers living and working outside of Wales will be able to pay for an upgrade from FTTC to full fat fibre broadband, although details sadly remain thin on the ground right now. 

More recently, UK telecoms regulator Ofcom has called for a liberalisation of the rules that govern PIA (Physical Infrastructure Access), which in non-industry speak, would see other ISPs get access to BT’s networks of telegraph poles and fibre ducts more easily than they currently can. 

In layman’s terms, this could pave the way for other ISPs to build full fibre networks to rival BT’s own, which might explain why Patterson is keen to reiterate his long-term commitment to FTTP.  

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