BT wants to offer ‘ultra-fast’ broadband, making it available to more than 12 million businesses and residential customers within the next four years. The company is also hoping to improve 4G coverage for mobile phone users. However, the plans have come under fire from competitors, who want the provider to focus on improving the fibre network for broadband services, particularly now that the company has to make it easier for other providers to use their network.
The investment plan means that access to ultra-fast residential and business broadband services will be provided to millions within four years and for many this will mean access through the G.fast technology, which has the potential of providing speeds of up to 300Mbps, but this could be expanded to reach speeds of around 500Mbps. The average speed seen by customers last year was 29Mbps. The company has also said that it can make this type of service affordable.
However, industry rivals have criticised the G.fast technology as it uses old copper wires and have said that BT’s commitment to providing FTTP services is waning. They believe that the company has only announced the plans to invest because it is worried about regulatory action. Many competitors believe that separating the provider from its Openreach engineering section is the way forward to ensure a fairer marketplace for providers, an option that was recently considered by Ofcom.