BT readies €1.8b in massive fibre project

BT will invest €1.8 billion (1.5 billion pounds) in a next-generation access network, following similar initiatives announced in the last few years by operators in countries including France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands, a Total Telecom report said.

The move comes amid growing pressure on the operator, which had originally said it intended to rely on ADSL2+ technology, to meet increasing demands for high-speed and high-capacity broadband, the report said.

The network will reach 10 million homes by 2012 and have top speeds of up to 100Mbps.

But in reality, the network looks set to be primarily a fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) network that will initially deliver broadband speeds of up to 40 Mbps, the report said.

BT will build fibre to the premises (FTTP) in greenfield sites and FTTC in other areas. And the project will involve BT spending only €125 million (100 million pounds) above existing capital expenditure plans in each of the 2008/09 and 2009/10 financial years.

BT says it is committed to making an 'equivalent' wholesale offer on its new fibre network that takes into account BT's investment risk, meaning that competing operators will access the network under the same terms and conditions as BT, the Total Telecom report further said.