BT has now officially confirmed plans to let customers install their own fibre broadband gear, ruling out the need for a costly engineer visit.
While we still don’t have a set date for when it’ll launch we’ve now got more information on when to expect it – we’re told the latter half of this year at the earliest or 2014 by the latest.
BT can’t commit to a more exact date right now as it’s waiting on the outcome of its live trials, the first of which is due to start at the end of this month. An Openreach spokesperson told us:
“Openreach is offering its communications provider (CPs) the opportunity to pilot its “PCP Only” FTTC Connection Variant from this month. Additionally, we’re working with select CPs to trial the use of their own integrated modem/router devices. Subject to feedback from these projects, the commercial launch of the service is planned for Q3 2013/14. BT Wholesale has already confirmed that it will be participating in the pilot from the end of April.”
PCP is BT engineer-speak for ‘Primary Cross-connection Point’ known to us muggles as the green street cabinets you often see dotted on UK high streets. Communications providers (CPs) refer to people like Plusnet, Eclipse and Orange, the ISPs who use the Openreach network.
As well as giving customers the freedom to set up their own gear in the home, we should see things like Sky and TalkTalk-branded routers in the future, something that we’d heard a bit about before earlier this year, come to think of it:
“This service will have a number of advantages for CPs and consumers. For the first time, CPs will be able to issue their own integrated modem/router rather than using the Openreach modem. This will reduce both the equipment and power consumption in the customer’s home, resulting in savings for CPs and consumers who order fibre broadband.”
BT Openreach stresses that while the self-install option will free up some customers who’d rather set it up themselves, engineer visits will still be available for those who want them:
“As home wiring can affect users’ headline speeds, [customers] can still request that an Openreach engineer installs the product and they will carry out additional work to minimise the level of electrical interference within the home.”
As well as the trial in April, there are two others in the pipeline, due to kick off in June and September. We’ll update with details of these trials as and when we hear of them and get a clearer picture of self-install over the coming months.