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BT takes it to the street

As reports come in that UK incumbent BT is warming to the idea of putting fibre in the ground, it has emerged that the company is gearing up to launch a 100Mbps service next month.

From October 1, Openreach will make fixed symmetrical 100Mbps transparent Ethernet bandwidth available, running from a BT local exchange to ruggedised terminating units housed in street furniture such as lamp posts and street cabinets.

Street Access, as it is known, is targeted at business customers who might wish to deploy wireless networks in urban areas to offer the same types of services more commonly available at home or in the office, but that’s not to say it couldn’t be extended to consumers at a later date.

Such a move could help BT push its consumer broadband speeds past the 24Mbps limit currently set by its 21 Century Network deployment up towards a more attractive 50Mbps.

In April, the Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG), the government’s advisory body on broadband and digital convergence, warned that the UK faces being left behind in terms of next generation broadband.

While BT is looking at delivering just 24Mbps under its next generation network initiative, other European carriers are blazing a trail with much higher speeds.

From this year, France Telecom will offer Fibre to the Home (FTTH), delivering symmetrical broadband speeds of up to 100Mbps, while Deutsche Telekom in Germany is sinking Eur3bn into a VDSL network capable of delivering speeds of 50Mbps.

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