BT Trialling Fibre to the Home

Quick – move to Martlesham Heath, Suffolk. 1,500 businesses and residents in three UK locations, Suffolk, Milton Keynes and Docklands are to take part in a one year trial of fibre optic broadband connections, running to September 2005.

The properties will be linked directly to BT exchanges by glass fibre, upgrading connections to an end-to-end internet protocol network – something that’s go to come to the entire country sooner or later.

Paul Reynolds, BT wholesale chief executive has stated that BT will not go out and replace all of the copper wires in the country if the trial is a success: only new building developments will have fibre installed. “At this stage we don’t envisage a widespread deployment of fibre to the premises or the cabinet in the near or medium term,” i.e. it would be hideously expensive. “While we believe the use of fibre can help deliver better operating costs in terms of maintenance, we need to balance this against the cost of installation and systems developments. These trials will help to shape our thinking and help us make strategic investment decisions.”

BT have also announced a five year plan to replace the old switched network to properly carry voice and data services, with migrations beginning in 2006.

BT announce their timetable

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?