Openreach, the wholesale arm of telecommunications giant BT, has announced that it is upgrading its top fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) product from 330Mb/s to 1Gb/s, though its availability is still sorely limited.

FTTP offers improved connections speeds over its more common fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) competition for one simple reason: the signal doesn't have to contend with decades-old copper or aluminium wiring strung from poles in order to reach the cabinet. Instead, as the name suggests, fibre-optic cables are run directly to the customer's premises, allowing for speedier signalling and overall increased bandwidth.

Increased, that is, when BT allows it to be. Previously, the company's top FTTP product - sold wholesale through its Openreach arm - topped out at 330Mb/s, an improvement on its 72Mb/s VDSL-based FTTC but lacklustre compared to rivals offering gigabit performance. Now, though, that has changed: the company has confirmed that it is upgrading the system to add two new speed options, 500Mb/s down with 165Mb/s up and 1Gb/s down with 220Mb/s up.

'We’re committed to taking the UK from being a superfast to an ultrafast nation, and whilst we’re extending the reach of our Fibre-to-the-Premises network, we’re also boosting the speed and variety of the services we can offer over it,' claimed Openreach's chief executive Clive Selley in the announcement. 'We’ve been working closely with our wholesale CP customers to develop these new ultrafast products, and we expect the new higher speed services will be of particular interest to small and medium businesses.'

Selley's statement includes a tacit admission that the new speeds - indeed, the entire FTTP network - is still not available to all. While the company has announced plans to expand the network, pledging to hit two million premises by 2020, at present it reaches a mere 327,000 homes and businesses across the UK. For those lucky enough to be included, pricing has been set at a £500 connection fee and £55 per month for the 500Mb/s tier or £80 per month for the 1Gb/s tier.
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