BT is to offer fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) connections at the request of customers in trials it is launching today.
The Openreach arm of the telecoms giant is giving eight areas the opportunity to upgrade their connections to a possible 330Mbps if they are within range of one of BT’s superfast broadband cabinets, which already provide fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) connections.
Customers in High Wycombe, Bristol South, St Agnes, Edinburgh Waverley, Watford, Cardiff, Basingstoke and Manchester Central will be able to order the service if they pay towards the cost of deploying the cables to their premises.
BT said it will be up to the user whether they decide on a one-off charge or higher monthly payments. It is aiming the service at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in these areas, so made the suggestion they could pass on the cost of the infrastructure on to their customers.
“While we believe FTTC will be our mass market consumer product for some time yet, FTTP may be of interest to small and medium-sized businesses, so we want to make it accessible throughout our fibre footprint,” said Mike Galvin, managing director of network investment at BT Openreach.
“This development can potentially help SMEs to compete both at home and abroad, as well as maintain and create jobs across the UK,” he added.
The first phase of the trial will begin next month in High Wycombe, Bristol South and St Agnes, and run until early 2013, enabling customers to order 330Mbps connections with a choice of 20Mbps or 30Mbps upload speeds.
Edinburgh Waverley will then be added to the trial in September, before the other four locations can put in their orders for 330Mbps from March 2013. However, Watford, Cardiff, Basingstoke and Manchester Central will receive the 30Mbps upload speed only.
If the trials prove a success, BT is hoping to offer the service on a commercial scale in spring 2013. There are currently 1,250 exchanges enabled with FTTC technology, covering 17 million homes across the UK, giving the telecoms firm a large market to pursue.