Friday, November 19, 2010
BT’s Broadband Answer for Thanet
For the benefit of Cllr Mike Harrison and others concerned by what appears to be a second class broadband service here in Thanet, I've just had a reply from the Head of Government Relations at BT, who I happen to know with another of my 'hats' on. I'm most grateful that she took the time to answer my question and to clarify BT's plans for broadband 'deprived' areas such as our own, she writes:
"Sorry for delay in getting back to you.
I think the first point to make is that we do not cap the speed of broadband at our exchanges as you suggested in your article. As part of BT Broadband we always provide the best speed that a line can support, but we can't guarantee a certain speed. Speeds aren't fixed, and the rate mainly depends on the particular phone line and how far a customer lives from the telephone exchange. Speeds will also fluctuate as the number of people using the network changes.
We give customers an estimated speed for their broadband when they place an order. For example. the estimated speed for broadband to the Ramsgate Youth and Community Centre, High Street, Ramsgate, CT11 9, telephone number 01843 592014, is 6Mb. We advise customers who are not getting the estimated speed for their line to report it as a fault to their provider who can report in turn to Openreach if the problems is with the BT line. Openreach engineers can then investigate and make sure that the line is supporting the best possible broadband speed given its electrical characteristics.
BT are investing to install ADSL2+, the next generation of broadband equipment offering speeds of up to 20Mg, at exchanges across the UK. To date, Thanet (Margate). Ramsgate and Herne Bay exchanges have been enabled and Broadstairs is in the roll-out and will be enabled by March 2011.
There are also live Ethernet nodes at Thanet (Margate), Ramsgate and Herne Bay, which offer highly reliable, flexible and un-contended fixed Internet access services over a wide range of technologies and leased line connections to business users.
BT is currently installing fibre optic technology offering broadband speeds of up to 40M/bits in several locations across the country. To date we have announced over 620 telephone exchanges where we will be installing this technology by the end of 2011 and plan to roll out to exchanges covering over 60% of the UK by 2015. Herne Bay has been announced in this roll-out. We plan to start offering service from this exchange from September 2011 and over 16,000 customers it serves will be able to benefit. Unfortunately, other exchanges in Thanet have not been included in these plans to date. The 'final third' of the UK is mainly made up of the more rural, less populated areas, and is more challenging to reach.
The government has suggested a minimum 2 M/bits across the UK by 2015, and funding was announced by the Chancellor in the recent spending review statement. As you are probably aware, each of the pilot four areas announced by the Chancellor will be allocated around £5-10m from a total of £530m funding announced to support the roll-out of broadband between now and 2015 to areas like this that the market alone will not reach. We will look at this as more detail is announced and will continue to explore all options that might bring broadband to more of our customers.