Advanced Television

BT fast as light?

September 25, 2007

BT may be dropping its traditional opposition to constructing a super-fast fibre network. Ian Livingston, head of BT's retail division, told the FT that the company would discuss investing in an ultra-fast network with the government and regulators at a summit in November or December. Such a network would require capex in the order of £10 billion (E14.5bn).

Previously BT has preferred an approach of high-speed for all rather than ultra-high speed for some – the completion of the 21CN project should see 24MBs available to most households. BT had criticised some European schemes bringing ultra high speed to a few urban centres as grandstanding.

BT's willingness to look at extending an optical fibre network to people's homes follows a warning last week by Stephen Timms, minister for competitiveness, that the cess for custUK risks falling behind other leading industrialised countries on broadband.

“BT remains very interested in further expanding the speed of acomers, whether that be through faster copper, fibre to the home, fibre to the cabinet,” Livingston said. He added that BT could only contemplate replacing copper wires with fibre if regulators allowed the company to charge rivals a “sensible price” for using the network.

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