Fujitsu is trialling BT’s Openreach’s duct and pole sharing products with users, which it hopes will extend superfast broadband speeds to consumers and businesses in areas less commercially attractive to network providers.
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The move follows an announcement from BT Openreach to cut the price of pole and duct access, which claims will encourage internet service providers (ISPs) to deliver broadband to rural areas. The prices came into effect in November and are 60% lower than those issued by BT in January.
Fujitsu is currently trialling a Fibre-to-the-Premises technology in the Wirral, deployed using Openreach’s duct and pole infrastructure. Andy Stevenson CEO Fujitsu Telecommunications Europe Limited said: “I’m delighted to announce that the first of our triallists are now live on our trial network, and we’re proud to be the first Communications Provider in the UK to offer service through this route to market.”
Openreach will proceed with the commercial launch of its new physical infrastructure access products later this month. Following commercial launch, all UK Communications Providers will be able to order the new products from Openreach on an open, wholesale basis.
BT estimates the new prices will be up to 38% below the European average for such access in rural areas.
But Chris Smedley, CEO of fibre network provider Geo Networks, said the reduction in pole and duct costs was not enough to improve connectivity to rural areas. "PIA cannot be used for the far more costly task of crossing the long distances in rural areas to get to these remote communities," he said.