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BT Shows First Fiber-Optic Broadband Rollout Plans 119

Posted by timothy
from the you-can-have-two-re-fibers-per-post dept.
MJackson writes "BT has revealed new details about the roll-out of its £1.5bn programme to deploy super fast fibre optic broadband to as many as 10 million UK homes (40%) by 2012. Scotland will become one of the first places to benefit from next-generation broadband services, with more than 34,000 homes and businesses in Edinburgh and Glasgow receiving speeds of up to 40Mbps and potentially 60Mbps from early next year (2010). Overall, BT Openreach, which is responsible for ensuring that all rival operators have equality of access to BT's local network, aims to deploy Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) based next generation broadband services next summer (2010) to 500,000 homes and businesses in the UK."
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BT Shows First Fiber-Optic Broadband Rollout Plans

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  • Great! (Score:5, Funny)

    by microbee (682094) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @05:22AM (#27286603)

    So we'll have much faster BitTorrent downloads? Oh wait..

    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by Jurily (900488)

      So we'll have much faster BitTorrent downloads? Oh wait..

      Tor and freenet should work better too.

      • I think the GP is hinting that, without progress on copyright and politics, technological progress will be held back anyway.

    • Pretty much - BT is the only thing that actually uses my 16mbits of downstream.

      Screw faster connections for home users, how about having a minimum sustainable speed requirement for commercial web server connections? What use is a faster connection at home if the *insertURLhere* server only gives me 5% of what my brand spanking new fiber optic soundwave ultra-awesome connection has to offer?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by xaxa (988988)

        What use is a faster connection at home if the *insertURLhere* server only gives me 5% of what my brand spanking new fiber optic soundwave ultra-awesome connection has to offer?

        * Sharing a single connection between multiple users
        * Streaming video (e.g. iPlayer [bbc.co.uk], or IPTV)
        * VPN, e.g. for working from home

        • Are you telling me that 10+ down and 1+ mbit up aren't enough for a bit of VPN and video streaming? Sure, I can't stream a BD-ROM with my pipe, but pretty much anything else is no problem ;)

      • Aye, now that I upgraded from 1.5 to 7 Mbps DSL, it highlights the limitations of most servers out there. I imagine the situation is similar in the UK, and they'll still clamp down on "The Other BT."

  • will most likely only be used at newer development / building sites

    I don't know what this means: my house is about 20 years old - is that new enough?

    it warned that such products would initially be more expensive than existing ADSL based land-line broadband services.

    Currently, combined broadband & phone packages cost about £25-£30 a month if you want to avoid download caps, so I assume higher bandwidth will cost £40+

    At least it may push down the price of up-to-8Mbps services (and late

    • by jimicus (737525)

      will most likely only be used at newer development / building sites

      I don't know what this means: my house is about 20 years old - is that new enough?

      I suspect what they mean is that they'll be rolling it out in housing areas that are being built now rather than to existing housing.

      So unless you want to move to a brand new house, no.

    • by mikael (484)

      I don't know what this means: my house is about 20 years old - is that new enough?

      It probably means anywhere where underground ducting/conduiting has been installed, particularly on business parks. Other locations would required digging up the pavements to make space for the new cabling.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      Virgin are charging £52/month for their 50meg offering, but I expect that will fall a bit when there is competition. Also, there is no word on what upload speeds BT will get but hopefully it will be better than the rather pathetic 1.5mb VM manages.

      "New" means new estates, where they are having to install telecoms from the ground up. So, your new house may be only slightly larger than a rabbit hutch, but at least it will have moderately fast broadband :-)

  • Anonymous Coward (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22, 2009 @05:38AM (#27286649)

    Bah... Been there, done that...
    Optical broadband is already rolled out in Norway, the "entry level" line is 10/10mb (yes, symetric), very stable and high quality with separate extra bandwith for Ip TV.

    Now, if the rest of the world follows, internet content will only get heavier and the demand for even more bandwith will grow :-(

    Guess we'll have to double the bandwith every 18 month in the future?

    • by starsky51 (959750) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @06:43AM (#27286905)
      You're right. Progress is a pain in the arse!
    • by LingNoi (1066278)

      Norway Population - 4,644,457 (July 2008 est.)
      UK Population - 60,943,912 (July 2008 est.)

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by alexhard (778254)
        What's your point? ISPs have very good returns to scale. Also, there places like London in the UK with ridiculous population densities, which (theoretically) makes it much easier to provide high speed broadband. The problem always has been, is, and will be BT.
        • by LingNoi (1066278)

          You're correct, BT is the main problem, however my point is that there are more people in the UK then there are in Norway and you can't just dig up the road then put down last mile fibre without it being very expensive.

          • by alexhard (778254)
            Sure, it's expensive, but due to scale and population density it would be much cheaper per residence in the UK than it was in Norway.
          • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            That's how Verizon has been laying fiber in the US. They have huge crews that work along the roadside, even in cities, digging holes and drilling tunnels for conduit. They can go under roads, driveways and sidewalks. I'm sure it is expensive, but it hasn't stopped them.

            And I'm a very happy fios customer now, with a 20Mb/20Mb connection.

            • Orange (the historical isp/phone, ex France Telecom) and Illiad (isp named Free) are battling it over in Paris to provide Ftth.

              My building owners coucil ("Co-propriete") agreed to go with Free (the ISP has to "propose" to the owner of the building, in this case the "council" representing the owners of each flat), and the building was vertically "fibered" 4-5 months after they issued their writ of acceptance.

              I had to explain to an assembly of elderlies why I preferred Free's technological choices : a mix of

      • by Ghubi (1102775)

        UK area 244,820 km2
        Norway area 385,252 km2

        • by LingNoi (1066278)

          More mass and less people means it's cheaper to dig up the ground to lay down fibre. I poorly explained this point in my previous comment, however that's what I am trying to say.

    • by Daimanta (1140543)

      "

      Bah... Been there, done that...
      Optical broadband is already rolled out in Norway, the "entry level" line is 10/10mb (yes, symetric), very stable and high quality with separate extra bandwith for Ip TV.

      Now, if the rest of the world follows, internet content will only get heavier and the demand for even more bandwith will grow :-(

      Guess we'll have to double the bandwith every 18 month in the future?
      "

      And if harddisks stayed at their 50 MB size, we only would be able to store textfiles on them. Now, with 1TB+ d

    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      BT's plans won't even catch up with you guys then. They are only planning fibre to the cabinet, not to the home, so the line from the cabinet to your house will still be a normal copper telephone line and access will be via ADSL. They can offer higher speeds due to newer, better spec'ed lines and reduced line length, but it's still copper.

      Virgin claim to offer "fibre optic" broadband, but similarly only go as far as the cabinet. They also claim to offer "unlimited" service, but throttle anyone who uses it t

  • Too little... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by antanca (1424525)
    I'd appreciate the investment, but it's too little, too late. Bandwidth will inevitably be capped and throttled to hell; this is BT we're talking about. Not to mention Phorm. 500,000 homes is rather a small portion, too, and they will most probably neglect south western England and rural areas as usual. I'm enjoying my 1mbps downstream immensely.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Dumbass. It's your ISP that implemets the caps and throttling, not BT Openreach. They merely provide the connectivity from the POP to the customer.
      • by xaxa (988988)

        Dumbass. It's your ISP that implemets the caps and throttling, not BT Openreach. They merely provide the connectivity from the POP to the customer.

        This should be +1 informative, not -1 flamebait. The AC is correct.

    • by mikael (484)

      Virgin Media are already offering speeds "up to 50MB/second" in Cabled areas - at a cost of 35 pounds.month (XXL broadband).

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Xest (935314)

      It's not just South Western England and rural areas, it's pretty much all of Yorkshire (North, East, South and West) and the Lake District as well as much of Scotland and most of Wales. About the only places not neglected are London and some other big cities like Manchester.

      We're seeing signs of rollouts to rural areas to appease OFCOM but they always go to the extreme with this, they rollout a 1mbps connection to a single person in the middle of the Pennines or whatever and go "Look, we care about rural pe

      • by Don_dumb (927108)
        When I was having problems with broadband a few years ago I found, (via either the thinkbroadband.com or zen adsl pages) a page which showed the state of the exchanges and when BT were likely to be addressing said issue.
        Doubt I could find it easily now, but what struck me then, was how many exchanges were suffering issues for ages and BT had no scheduled interest to sort the problem. You could be complaining to your ISP, having checks of your line - it would all be academic.
  • by BestNicksRTaken (582194) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @05:47AM (#27286689)

    If P2P is illegal - and frankly any internet traffic seems to be illegal according to the Orwellian UK government at the moment, what are we going to use 60Mbps for - checking Email?

    Mind you, 60Mbps is really going to improve the performance of the botnets, so spam levels will go up.

    • by RegularFry (137639) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @05:58AM (#27286731)

      iPlayer and whatever content providers BT wants to get into bed with will eat this up.

    • by gravos (912628)
      Good point about the botnets. But what I think this will really enable is HD programming on-demand, assuming the backhaul links are up to snuff.
    • If P2P is illegal - and frankly any internet traffic seems to be illegal according to the Orwellian UK government at the moment, what

      Don't worry, the government will tell your what you may use it for.

    • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @08:09AM (#27287193) Journal

      iPlayer streams are around 1Mb/s. Given the availability of fast enough consumer links, I wouldn't be surprised if the BBC started streaming the shows with the same format they broadcast them, which can eat up 20Mb/s easily. Two people in the house watching different streams? That's 40Mb/s. Download a big file in the background and you've got your 60Mb/s right there.

      I doubt many people will be using 60Mb/s all of the time, but then I don't use all of the 10Mb/s I get now all of the time either (and if I did, my ISP couldn't afford to give me the service at the rate that they do).

      • by badfish99 (826052)
        So at the end of all this investment, we'll have an "internet" that's simply a new version of cable TV?
      • by pmarini (989354)
        well, if your neighbours all start using 40Mb/s at night to watch BBS programs, I can only imagine the congestion during those oh-so-lovely cricket games...
        say a couple of new blocks of flats are built and 50% of the new tenants get the new wideband BT lines, how big has the pipe got to be back to the mothership ?
        40Mb/s * 25 families = 1Gb/s for each pair of new buildings !! (that's roughly an OC-24 line...)
    • what are we going to use 60Mbps for - checking Email?

      The Internet is more than email and HTML websites. I use my connection for videoconferencing with clients [productivi...ldwide.com] and a slow connection is a real detriment. Even if I'll only use 10Mbps for a really high quality connection, there are three other people in my house. Asking what people are going to use fast connections for is like asking what they'll use bigger hard drives for.

      • My point was that most of the high-bandwidth-requiring things to do on the internet are frowned upon by the powers that be - I'm sure telecoms carriers won't like you using VoIP or video conferencing as much as the MAFIAA dislike music/video over BitTorrent.

        As someone said above - why do we need the internet to deliver video when we already have cable/satellite and such?

    • by Aceticon (140883)

      f P2P is illegal - and frankly any internet traffic seems to be illegal according to the Orwellian UK government at the moment, what are we going to use 60Mbps for - checking Email?

      Not only that but BT has joined the voluntary scheme with the record industry for making it easier for them to get your contact details AND judging by their past history of silent and prompt compliance will likely be one of the first to join the latest and greatest surveillance scheme from the Government whereby they have a centr

  • A big step forward (Score:5, Insightful)

    by renesch (1016465) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @05:48AM (#27286691)
    now they will be able to install CCTVs even in private homes
  • by wvmarle (1070040) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @06:05AM (#27286763)

    Available NOW [netvigator.com], not in a few years?

    Hong Kong has it. 30 Mbit (down, 10 Mbit up) for cheap (about USD 33 per month) and up to 1,000 Mbit for those with more money to waste (about USD 280 per month). This is for residential use, by the way. Available in residential buildings.

    Admittedly not available everywhere (like for me: I only can get traditional ADSL but then I'm living in a village so no surprise there), still this is nothing new. Good for the UK that they are catching up with their former colony.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      In Japan... Living in what would be consider the worst part of the greater tokyo area, and on 100/100 optical connection.

      • by Bloater (12932)

        Well, the Japanese have lots of savings. That sort of wealth is easily available there. Over in the west all we have is debt so we can't get that kind of service as quickly.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Bloater (12932)

      We already have fiber broadband over large parts of the UK. I had it installed nearly two years ago by Virgin Media.

      • by TheThiefMaster (992038) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @07:17AM (#27287045)

        Actually, despite their advertising, all Virgin have deployed is a fiber backbone, not "fiber broadband", which would include fibre to the home. For the last mile their 50Mb service goes over the same cables they've used all along.

        Not that it matters much when you get 50Mbps downstream and nearly 2Mbps upstream.

        • Exactly. The speed is what matters, not the underlying technology. There's no point replacing the cables to my house until we get to the limit of what they can carry. I currently get 10Mb/s and the latest research shows that the same cable can carry anywhere up to 500Mb/s, with 100Mb/s more likely in the real world. Once the backbone infrastructure is upgraded to the level that can actually provided me with this kind of speed, then we'll talk about upgrading the last mile (or replacing it with 802.11n /
    • by Dan B. (20610)

      That requires population density, and density is something HK has plenty of, to the point where those services are cheap, however you must share it, and your street/building/rooftop/park/etc. with 10,000 other people.

    • by djtachyon (975314)
      New Jersey has 30Mb/5Mb Cable (Optimum Online) for $55/mo, and 20Mb/20Mb FIOS $65. I have Optimum Online, it also include a domain name, web space, and open port 25 & 80 options. I find it quite satisfactory.
    • I've wondered about this. Are there any bandwidth caps on the Hong Kong and Japanese hi-speed services. These services have among the cheapest and fastest residential access anywhere.

      I just wouldn't see much a point with my ISP in Canada upgrading speed if bandwidth caps still remain.

      • by wvmarle (1070040)

        In Hong Kong, none as far as I know. I have a 6 Mbps ADSL, and no bandwidth caps that I am aware of. There is probably a "fair use policy" but I have never heard of anyone being capped.

        The same line is used for their digital TV service; when using the Now TV I see my bandwidth drop to 3 Mbps.

    • by pmarini (989354)
      the London transport company has also just ditched the project to bring mobile communications in underground trains... that gives you an idea how things are moving...
      • by wvmarle (1070040)

        In Hong Kong, I can get 3G in all underground tunnels. There are more than that I have tried but as far as I know it's available in all tunnels.

        Unfortunately the above ground rail lines have less good coverage, but that is the fault of the individual providers.

    • by Vlado (817879)

      Even Slovenia has 1.000 MBps with FTTH for a few years now.
      Same as above the connectivity starts with 10/10 for 14 EUR/month and tops up with 1.000/1.000 for 1000 EUR/month.

      Not to shabby.

      It's not available to all subscribers yet but major cities are all mostly covered and the network is still growing.

  • I won't move to Virgin Media's Fibre Optic Broadband because of its policy on P2P, I hope BT is better...
  • by Dark$ide (732508)
    Why Scotland? Nobody lives in Scotland, they send all their bankers and politicians south of the border to ruin my life and charge me exorbitant taxes.

    I wish BT would get a move on with this in England. I'm on aluminium cable last 800 metres from the cabinet to my house and that struggles to run 512/216 ADSL.

    If they want a beta tester I'll do that for them.

    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by Dan B. (20610)

      You sir, have clearly never been to Edinburgh. All the Scottish Bankers and Politicians are there, in great numbers. Halifax Bank of SCOTLAND, Royal Bank of SCOTLAND, SCOTTISH Equitable (pensions, banking) SCOTTISH Widows (pensions), SCOTTISH Parliament, and so on, and so on.

      English Bankers and Politicians are quite capable of fucking up their own country.

    • by sa1lnr (669048)

      "ruin my life and charge me exorbitant taxes."

      Like the Poll Tax?

    • by ray_mccrae (78654)

      What nonsense, Glasgow and Edinburgh are the 4th and 7th biggest cities in the UK by population. Scotland sends SOME of its politicians south because that's were the UK parliament is. This is like saying the UK sends all it's politicians to Belgium (EU parliament), in that it's blatantly untrue and misses the real point. British does not equal English. Perhaps the real question should be why not Scotland?

      London 7.2 Million
      Birmingham 992000
      Leeds 720000
      Glasgow 560000
      Sheffield 512000
      Bradford

      • by u38cg (607297)
        I do get sick of the English whining about being run by Scots. Maybe if they hadn't had such a hard-on for Thatcher and Major, they would have realised that all the experienced Labour politicians were Scottish, and so Scottish domination of the next Labour government was pretty much guaranteed.
        • by Cederic (9623)

          Perhaps it's because the issue isn't being run by Scottish MPs, it's getting fucked over by them:
          - I didn't vote for a labour MP
          - I can't vote on laws passed in the Scottish parliament
          - Scottish MPs get to vote on laws passed in the British parliament that wont apply in Scotland
          - Scottish MPs have been the deciding factor is passing some frankly atrocious legislation

          Note that I didn't vote for Thatcher or Major either.

          Feel free to get sick, but don't pretend there isn't a significant flaw in our current mod

          • by u38cg (607297)
            Many people didn't vote for Labour MPs. That doesn't mean they didn't win the election.

            The West Lothian question is a problem, of course, and of course Labour are going to abuse their Scottish majority as long as they can get away with it. I expect a protocol of Scottish MPs sitting out English votes to arise eventually, but it will take time.

            Arrow guarantees that no representational system will be ideal; some group is always going to get the shaft. We have it worse at the moment due to recent history

  • by FridgeFreezer (1352537) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @06:48AM (#27286929)
    Cast your mind back to 2004 when BT announced they would roll out 21CN (ADSL2, VoIP, etc. and replacing the entire UK core network with IP), they were due to be rolling over more than 10,000 customers per day by now onto this new network, and be finished in plenty of time for everyone to watch the 2012 Olympics in HD video-over-broadband.

    Guess how many they've done so far...

    Of course, if you read their website now the original goalposts have been burned and some new ones installed much further apart and in a different place on the pitch: http://www.btplc.com/21CN/Theroadto21CN/Keymilestones/Keymilestones.htm [btplc.com]

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by c_g_hills (110430)
      I especially like this little tidbit from near the end:-

      BT believes it is the only operator in the world to commit to a planned national rollout of a next generation network

      I wonder what planet they are living on - maybe the same one as Sol Trujillo of former Telstra infamy.

  • See the link: http://allyours.virginmedia.com/html/50Mb/product_pricing_and_tech_info.html [virginmedia.com]

    Broadband XXL
    Up to 50Mb fibre optic broadband TV
    Over 100 digital TV channels Phone
    Unlimited weekend UK landline calls

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Only their backbone is fibre (well, yes, it would normally be). The actual cable network is coaxial cable. They haven't really touched the cables from when NTL/Telewest ran it, and although their service can be good, it's subject to traffic shaping, stringent limits, and is extremely overcontended in many areas.

      Very misleading, I know. Someone really should pull them up on that.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by c_g_hills (110430)

        I once made a complaint to the ASA (Advertising Standards Association) but it was not upheld because apparently the average consumer would not draw that conclusion.

        • So false advertising is fine as long as the "average consumer" is sufficiently ignorant not to know the difference? That's insane.

  • by Dan B. (20610) <slashdot@nOSpam.bryar.com.au> on Sunday March 22, 2009 @08:03AM (#27287173) Homepage

    ...both Edinburgh and Glasgow have relatively few BT customers at present. The residents in each city looking for broadband are pretty much all subscribers to the two major cable companies that provide phone services, pay TV and unlimited 1~10MB (shared bandwidth) cable internet for a fairly low fee. The cities are also fairly dense, but not too populated, thus making them good public pilot sites. There are also two fantastic Universities right in the heart of the cities that probably influence a lot of local council decisions.

  • Some cities in the Netherlands already have broadband fibre options for residential connections. Living in one of the pilot areas in Amsterdam, I am currently enjoying 20 Mbit/s (symmetrical!), but could go up to 100 Mbit/s (also symmetrical) if I'm willing to pay more.

    Internet service can be combined with telephone and radio/TV. RTV is converted to old fashioned cable signal in your home, which with good cabling (and proper channel separation (which they did take care of)) gives excellent TV image quality,

  • That's old news. In Portugal we're already developing a nation wide Fiber to the Home network. Everyone gets a fiber with 100Mb.
  • 40 Mbit/s is not "super fast fibre optic broadband". It's "slow fibre optic broadband".

    Here in Sweden it's quite common with 100/100, and I have 80/10 Mbit/s (or 80/16 is more close to reality).

    "super fast fibre optic broadband" would be something more than 1 Gbit/s. 1 Gbit/s would be "fast fibre optic broadband".

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Agreed.

      I live in France and I get 30 Mbit/s for 22 per month, and there's not a single strand of fiber in my home or building, it's all over old school coax cable.

      The cable company also offers 100 Mbit/s at the same price for areas where they did deploy FTTB, which is still not "super fast fibre optic" but still a nice improvement.

  • Super fast!
  • I am more curious if this is symmetric bw.

    As time goes by we will continue to need high
    speed outbound (outbound video, etc.)

    I also don't think it hurts to be able to
    have more distributed servers and that
    means more outbound bandwidth everywhere.

    We have not yet invented all the reasons we
    will want outbound bandwidth.

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