Friday, February 03, 2012

UK to get 300Mbps broadband courtesy of BT

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According to the UK’s broadcasting regulatory authority Ofcom, the average Internet connection speed to a home in the UK is around 7.6Mbps. If that was a minimum, it would be acceptible, but an average means lots of homes still have to manage with much slower connections.

The future does look bright, though. Virgin Media has recently announced it is doubling the speed of its existing connections, that’s some 4 million customers who will enjoy up to 120Mbps connections before 2012 is over. But Virgin’s biggest rival isn’t sitting still, and has just announced the introduction of a 300Mbps service by early next year. BT originally touted the super-fast broadband as arriving this year, but clearly that now isn’t going to happen.

Unlike Virgin Media, BT‘s 300Mbps service will be very limited initially. It relies on FTTP on demand, which requires fiber be available to use between the exchanges and the cabinets that link our streets to the network. This has already been done at 29 exchanges, but there are thousands across the country.

If your exchange doesn’t support FTTP on demand yet, then you may be in line to get a speed bump from 40Mbps to 80Mbps, which BT is starting to rollout in the coming months. But again, it won’t complete that upgrade until 2014 and may still leave those in the more remote areas relying on slower connections.

BT’s efforts at least show some investment is being made and the UK is slowly getting faster broadband around the country. For the time being though, Virgin Media looks to be the faster option, and it has already started rolling out 1.5Gbps connections to a very limited few.

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