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BT superfast FTTP broadband roll-out hit by delays

Infrastructure installation is taking longer than expected

BT has revealed it's facing delays in its trial of superfast broadband in Milton Keynes that uses fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology.

The Bradwell Abbey exchange in Milton Keynes was the first in the country to be upgraded to handle FTTP technology as part of trial of the technology by BT OpenReach.

Initially the telecoms company had hoped 12 exchanges would be upgraded to handle the technology by September this year, giving some 270,000 homes across the country access to download speeds of 'up to' 100Mbps and upload speeds 'up to' 30Mbps.

However, Johnny McQuoid, director of BT's Superfast Broadband Programme told The Register getting fibre cables into homes was taking longer than expected.

Installation was delayed in some premises due to duct blockages while five percent were held up after customers refused to let BT engineers carry out work outside their homes while they weren't in. It took as long at two days to ensure the infrastructure was installed in around a quarter of premises, which is a lot more than the four hours BT originally hoped for. As a result, the telecoms company has pushed its timeframe for the upgrade of 12 exchanges to December.

"FTTP is a complex technology which we are currently trialling at scale. We are pleased with how the trials are going, but have always been very clear that we will only launch it on a commercial basis once it has been fully tested and is ready for the market," BT said.

The roll-out of FTTP technology across the UK is part of a £2.5bn scheme to give two thirds of the UK access to fibre broadband by 2015 . Under this scheme, four million premises have already been given access to Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) technology, which offers download speeds of 'up to' 40Mbps. BT confirmed that at present FTTP will be offered only in areas that see the existing copper cable reaching homes via underground ducts or telegraph poles. Area with 'direct in-ground' copper cables will for now only be offered FTTC as otherwise it'll require BT to dig up the front gardens and drives of homes.

Nine ISPs, including BT retail and Plusnet - which is also owned by the telecommunications firm – has signed-up to use the FTTP network to offer superfast broadband services.


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