UK telecommunications infrastructure giant, BT, has indicated that it is now likely to reduce its original commitment to provide 25% of UK premises with fibre-optic broadband capability by 2014; favouring instead a policy of offering high-speed broadband connections to the premises of those wishing to pay for the facility.
What will essentially be a new ‘fibre on demand’ offering from BT is expected to be put in place from spring next year. The cost per installation is likely to be up to £1,000; and is expected by both BT and independent commentators to be most likely to appeal to small businesses.
The availability of fibre-optic cable connections to premises will however, be dependent on there being a fibre to cabinet installation in the vicinity; a factor estimated to apply to more than 10 million premises when the ‘fibre on demand’ service commences; and to two thirds of premises in the UK by 2014.
For those businesses able to secure the doorstep connection however, the benefit will be broadband speeds of up to 330 Mbps.
Commenting on the policy switch, BT Openreach’s chief executive, Olivia Garfield said:
“this will be welcome news for small businesses who may wish to benefit from the competitive advantage that such speeds provide”.
One of the competitive advantages that such high speed broadband can help facilitate is the introduction of internet protocol (IP) telephony services such as business VoIP (voice over internet protocol); video transmissions; and video conferencing.
It is also thought among commentators that given the rapid payback benefits of IP telephony in terms of cheaper calls; easier management of business phone systems; and improved customer service through effective call response and re-routing mechanisms; that many small businesses will consider £1,000 worth paying for their first step in achieving IP telephony access.