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Fibre on Demand ‘open to any Welsh firm that can get superfast broadband’

BT’s Fibre on Demand product will be available anywhere firms in Wales can get FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) broadband, the Welsh Government has confirmed. 

Potential customers will be able to take the sting out of those occasionally exorbitant installation costs by applying for vouchers. These can give firms up to £10,000 off the cost of getting ultrafast broadband installed, provided they meet certain conditions. 

When the scheme was announced, the Welsh Government said that the majority of Welsh companies would be able to take part in the Fibre on Demand scheme, but failed to be any more specific than that. Now the Government has confirmed that any company that can order FTTC will be able to pay for Fibre on Demand when it re-launches later this summer

BT brings 330Mbps FTTP to Dinas Mawddwy – Wales’s most remote villageA Welsh Government spokesperson said: “Fibre on Demand will be available to those premises connected to a fibre cabinet. 
 
“The capital costs for businesses in Welsh Enterprise Zones and Local Growth Zones can be supported by our Ultrafast Connectivity Vouchers and in many other parts of the country by the UK government connection vouchers.”

Fibre on Demand lets customers pay to replace the copper last mile of an FTTC connection, essentially turning it into a full FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) line. 

The Superfast Cymru project combined with BT’s own commercial network upgrades, aims to make sure 96 per cent of properties in Wales can get FTTC by Spring 2016. Currently, BT has made superfast broadband available to 79 per cent of the country. 

The top download speed possible on BT’s FTTP lines is currently only 330Mbps – slow fry compared to the gigabit speeds offered by Hyperoptic, CityFibre, Gigaclear and B4RN. 

Fibre on Demand is currently a business-only product and is pretty expensive. Set-up costs depend greatly on how long that copper last mile you want to replace is. BT has already hiked the prices once. Spokespeople have been unable to confirm how much Welsh customers will be charged once this service goes back on the market. 

That said, tests have shown that BT’s FTTP lines can deliver download speeds way beyond the current headline. Customers will also be able to choose from a range of services from different ISPs using the Openreach network. Businesses will need to see how much BT is asking and how much of a discount those vouchers will provide before weighing up the costs and benefits.

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