BT Clarifies FTTC Speeds

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BT has moved to clarify recent reports their Fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) service and the company’s decision to introduce a lower minimum assured speed for the service to 5Mbit/s.

Gemma Thomas, Head of Network Media Relations at BT has said, “There seems to be bit of confusion around this suggesting that BT is ‘slowing down’ its FTTC service. The company is not slowing down its FTTC service – we are simply adding an additional option to the service to satisfy demand from communications providers and their end customers.

As you know, BT’s FTTC service (available on a wholesale basis to UK ISPs via Openreach and BT Wholesale) offers speeds of up to 40Mbit/s. As the connection from the FTTC cabinet on the street to the customer’s home is copper wire then the speed a customer receives is dependent on how far away their home is from that green cabinet.

Previously, end customers buying the service were guaranteed that the speed of their service wouldn’t fall below 15Mbit/s at any given time. We call this “the minimum assured speed”. It also meant that customers whose line couldn’t support a minimum speed of 15Mbit/s were unable to order FTTC over BT’s network via their service provider.

In order to satisfy demand for the service from these specific customers, we are simply adding another option to the FTTC service which has a lower minimum assured speed. So to be clear – there are now two variants of the FTTC service. One with a minimum assured speed of 5Mbit/s and one with a minimum assured speed of 15Mbit/s.

Communications Providers will decide which option to offer their end customers, depending on the capabilities of the end customer’s line.

BT’s original statement had said, “In response to customer demand, BT has decided to add a variant to its Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) service which has a minimum assured downstream speed of 5Mb/s. This is in addition to the mainstream version of the service which has a minimum assured downstream speed of 15Mb/s. This means that consumers and businesses that have previously been unable to order fibre broadband over BT’s network because their line was unable to support the minimum speed of 15Mb/s will now able to do so via their ISP. While these customer’s lines will be unable to support the super-fast speeds of up to 40Mb/s offered by BT’s FTTC service, the option of a lower minimum assured speed for FTTC means that some customers may see an improvement in their broadband speeds compared with the current speed they receive over the copper network.”