BT to work with councils on £1.5bn fast broadband roll-out

BT is to work with the government and local authorities on the roll out plan for its £1.5bn fibre network, which promises to deliver connection speeds of 40mbps to domestic internet users.

BT is to work with the government and local authorities on the roll out plan for its £1.5bn fibre network, which promises to deliver connection speeds of 40mbps to domestic internet users.

BT said it would work with government and local authorities to deploy the fibre network in rural and remote areas.

However, David Harrington, head of regulation at the Communications Management Association, warned that businesses were unlikely to benefit from cheaper links from BT's investment in fibre in the short term. However, in the long term, IT directors could benefit as staff and smaller businesses in a company's supply chain move onto BT's fibre network.

BTs fibre network could be used to enable next generation applications, said professional services firm Capgemini. Growth areas include telemedicine, where people with terminal illnesses can be monitored at home using an internet-connected device, rather than having to visit a GP's surgery.

Mike Cansfield, principal analyst at Forrester Research, said videoconferencing and video-based training could also be used on the BT network.

Richard Steel, chairman of local government IT directors group Socitim, said he was keen to find out how BT planned to work with local government.

"In the past, we have had some issues because network companies only want to invest in areas where there is quick payback, which tend not to be those we need them in."

Steel said he was unhappy that network operators preferred to sell managed services rather than offer local authorities privately operated optical fibre networks, known as dark fibre networks, which were more cost-effective investments for councils.

As CIO of Newham Borough Council, Richard Steel oversaw the development of a dark fibre network for residents. He said, "We are always prepared to listen, and the capital investment in extending Newham's own fibre infrastructure was agreed by our mayor, so now is a good time for BT to talk to us."




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