BT is right to scale back rollout plans for fibre to the premises (FTTP) broadband and reallocate resources to improving access to fibre to cabinet (FTTC) broadband, EE’s marketing director has claimed.
Earlier this month, it emerged that BT’s wholesale division, Openreach, had dropped its target of delivering fibre broadband to 25 per cent of homes in the UK by 2015, sparking criticism that it was reneging on commitments to improving access to super-fast broadband.
Some tech-watchers also claimed that ditching plans for wider availability of faster FTTP, or so-called 'full-fibre broadband', is jeopardising the UK's economic future by failing to lay the bedrock for yet-to-be-conceived bandwidth-hungry services.
However, in an interview with uSwitch Tech, EE Marketing Director Sylvain Thevenot backed BT’s strategy on the grounds that the particular challenges of rolling out FTTP, coupled with the UK’s population density, mean that FTTC is a more viable solution in the short term.
He said: “We have been watching the development of FTTP vs. FTTC in our sister companies (Orange in France and T-Mobile in Germany), and it has become apparent that FTTP is hard to implement in large countries with inconsistent concentration of population.
“We believe that the approach that BT Openreach has undertaken to accelerate the penetration of FTTC to the detriment of the FTTP is the right one, as it allows more households to benefit from superfast speed.”
The benefits of BT’s shift in strategy are borne out by EE’s experience, he claims, with 50 per cent of the supplier's customer base now able to access fibre broadband speeds up to ten times faster than average ADSL speeds.
Thevenot stated: “This is better than what we see on The Continent where operators have chosen the FTTP path and where it serves between five per cent and 12 per cent of households.
“They are now reverting to rolling out FTTC/VDSL2 technologies to leverage the large copper infrastructure they have across their countries. Germany is a good example of this.”
EE’s backing for the revamped supply plan for super fast UK broadband comes as the provider last week launched a mould-breaking offer that entitles ADSL broadband customers to try EE fibre broadband for free for three months.
uSwitch Tech’s Sylvain Thevenot Q&A can be read in full here