BT will today say that Openreach, its functionally separated business that builds wholesale fibre networks across the UK, will next summer charge broadband providers £38 a month for its 330Mbps fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) service, down from £60 a month currently.
This year, BT unveiled plans to make so-called “ultra-fast” broadband using direct fibre-optic connections available to most British homes and businesses next year. This will allow customers in the UK access to some of the highest available broadband speeds in Europe.
However, the majority of the BT Openreach’s fibre network only goes as far as the “cabinets” in the street, with a copper wire connecting the final stretch to the home or business.
Broadband providers will be charged a distance-based construction charge owing to the extra work involved in providing a direct fibre connection for the final stretch, and they can choose whether to pass this charge to their customers.
BT said that the charges were still being finalised, but that premises that were about 500 metres away from BT’s fibre network would incur a one-off charge of about £1,000 on top of the installation fee of £500.
BT’s own retail service can use these services at the same price as rivals such as Sky, Virgin Media and TalkTalk.
Given the costs, BT is aiming the service at small and medium-sized businesses, which are more likely to be willing to pay for the ability to have fast internet access to transmit large amounts of data. BT has been carrying out tests this summer before the service becomes commercially available next year.
The service is not expected to be widely taken up at first, although will provide a level of “future proofing” given expectations that the amount of data used by both businesses and consumers will grow rapidly in the next few years.
Mike Galvin, managing director for next generation access at Openreach, said: “Our deployment is one of the fastest in the world and our services are proving very popular with the public. It is now time for us to focus further on FTTP. I am sure that small businesses will welcome this major price cut.”
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