BT is attempting to ramp up awareness of advanced super-fast broadband technologies such as fibre-based connectivity, its BT Vision TV service and other home and business-related applications with the launch of its first dedicated Broadband stores.
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The stores will work in much the same fashion as Apple’s own-branded shops by showcasing BT products in a more traditional sales environment, and are clearly planned to drive take-up of its new services.
Speaking to reporters, BT Retail marketing director Matthew Dearden said: “The showcase shows local people what Super-fast Broadband, currently being trialled in their areas, is all about and enables them to see demonstrations of a range of home and business applications that will enhance their lives.”
The first two locations, Muswell Hill in North London and Whitchurch in Wales,are scheduled to open their doors within the month, and BT has not ruled out stores elsewhere in good time.
Both are located in areas slated for trials of BT’s Fibre-To-The-Home (FTTH) technology, which promises vastly increased broadband speeds.
But FTTH is one area where the UK is lagging, according to business comms provider Viatel.
Viatel is working closely with BT on trials of the technology but was not scared to criticise its partner for concentrating more on Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC), the focus of BT’s massive super-fast broadband investment, which while fast is significantly slower than FTTH.
Viatel connectivity and security services product manager Steve Powell said: “As yet [the UK] has no national published planned roll-out intentions for FTTH other than green field sites such as Ebbsfleet.”
Discussing figures that show the UK is well outside the European FTTH Council’s list of ‘Top 10 European Fibre Nations’, Powell said: “Unsurprisingly BT appears to be concentrating on wringing the last drop of performance from the last-mile copper PSTN network, and who can blame them, they already own this infrastructure.”