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BT eyes faster broadband network

24 сентября 2007

BT has dropped its hostility to considering a super-fast fixed-line broadband network, which could cost more than £10bn to build. Ian Livingston, head of BT’s retail division, told the Financial Times that the company would discuss investing in an ultra-fast network with the government and regulators at a summit in November or December.

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 UK risks falling behind other leading industrialised countries on broadband.
Mr Timms highlighted how the US, France, Germany and Japan are investing in fibre networks that could deliver broadband speeds of between 50 and 100 megabits per second.
That compares with the top speed of 24 mbps that BT will offer from next year.
BT executives previously insisted that there was no economic case for replacing copper phone wires that run to people’s homes with fibre, partly because the company’s investors are nervous about the likely cost.
However, Mr Livingston highlighted how BT is planning to install fibre on greenfield sites. He said a housing project at Ebbsfleet Valley in Kent would be a test case for the technology.
Mr Livingston also highlighted how BT is examining the merits of running fibre to the phone cabinets found on street kerbs to enhance broadband speeds. Copper wires would then run from the cabinets to homes.
“BT remains very interested in further expanding the speed of access for customers, whether that be through faster copper, fibre to the home, fibre to the cabinet,” he said.
Mr Livingston 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.
BT generated more than a quarter of its revenue in its past financial year by giving rivals access to its fixed-line network and selling them wholesale products that enable some of these companies to offer phone and broadband services to consumers.

Источник: Financial Times

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