BT and Rival ISPs Plot the UK's FTTP Future

By Gary Cutlack on at

BT's Openreach division has been running an industry consultation with the UK's other large ISPs and communications providers, with the idea being to find out if there's an appetite for switching the country to an FTTP-only fibre network. And of course there is, but it's going to cost and will require government support.

The announcement from Openreach says that the likes of TalkTalk, Vodafone and Sky agree that transitioning areas to an all-new FTTP system is the way to go to futureproof the UK's internet speeds for decades to come, but, obviously, there needs to be a system to allow them all to recover the costs involved. And rather than higher bills for those connected to the new system, a small hike for everyone to pay for it appears to be the way they're leaning.

The government and Ofcom need to be convinced too, with the consultees saying that a "supportive policy and regulatory environment" is needed in order to justify the spend and massive infrastructure costs that, to connect just 10 million homes, could come in at between £3bn and £6bn.

If you live in the countryside, though, don't bother getting excited. Openreach says the best case scenario would see 10 million homes connected to this all-new FTTP network by the mid-2020s, and you can bet they'll all be the dense ones stacked atop each other in the cities. If you're on a 1Mbps line in Wales that stops working when it's windy, chances are you'll still be there in 2026. [Openreach]

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