BT Wholesale will allow ISPs to resell its fibre-to-the-cabinet service with a connection speed as low as 5Mb/s where previously the lowest guaranteed speed would be 15Mb/s.
[Note, this story has been amended with with some further information from BT.]
The change is not so much BT slowing down the FTTC product but changing of the rules which will allow ISPs to offer a “fibre” broadband service at speeds lower than many get with copper network ADSL broadband. BT is offering an additional FTTC service separate from the previously announced fibre service with a 15Mb/s minimum speed. This service applies to those ouside of the regular range of FTTC.
"In response to customer demand, BT has decided to add a variant to its Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) service which has a minimum assured downstream speed of 5Mb/s. This is in addition to the mainstream version of the service which has a minimum assured downstream speed of 15Mb/s," BT said in a statement.
BT Wholesale's communication to ISPs said: "There are no changes to our ordering process or systems and circuits should be ordered following the standard FTTC ordering journey. If a circuit has a predicted speed between 5Mbit/s to 15Mbit/s the order should be placed requesting a 40Mbit/s downstream and 2Mbit/s upstream option. The circuits will be provided to the highest speed supported by the line,”
While some sort of negative reaction to the possibility of 5Mbit/s “next generation” broadband is inevitable, the new offering actually expands the availability of BT's new FTTC network and has the potential to provide a better connection speed than can be presently obtained by ADSL.
"This means that consumers and businesses that have previously been unable to order fibre broadband over BT’s network because their line was unable to support the minimum speed of 15Mb/s will now able to do so via their ISP," BT said.