Welsh businesses will be able to order speeds of up to 330Mbps when BT launches its Fibre on Demand programme.
A development of the Superfast Cymru programme means that firms across Wales will be able to pay a one-off fee to convert the copper last mile of a superfast FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) connection, effectively turning it into a full FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) line.
This will be launched by the end of summer and will be available to the ‘majority’ of business premises across Wales.
Welsh Government and BT spokespeople haven’t been able to confirm exactly what is meant by ‘majority’ in terms of numbers.
Superfast Cymru, combined with BT’s own commercial upgrades of the Openreach network, have seen superfast broadband (24Mbps and above) made available to 79 per cent of the country.
While this isn’t the limit of Superfast Cymru’s plans – the public-private joint venture originally aimed to pass 96 per cent of Wales – firms would need to be at least able to order FTTC from their local exchange before coughing up for Fibre on Demand.
BT also hasn’t been able to clarify just how much Fibre on Demand is going to cost. BT had quietly made the service available in a handful of places across the UK last year, before suspending the service this January.
Installation prices for Fibre on Demand varied depending on the length of the fibre last mile required to connect your home to the cabinet. As early adopters have found, the prices soon escalated. While prices for BT’s full fat fibre could be steep, tests have shown that BT’s FTTP lines are capable of delivering download speeds of up to 10Gbps, so it’s an investment in a future-proofed connection.