Strong competitive forces drive FTTX deployment

BT broadband competitionWhat's motivating BT to accelerate its FTTX deployment schedule is competition. Unlike the U.S. broadband market, the UK overall is a much more competitive broadband telecom market. In the UK, customers can choose from everyone including everyone from BT itself, BSkyb, and Carphone Warehouse, not to mention 300 retail broadband providers.

All of this competition in UK's broadband market says Whitley "keeps everyone on their toes."

Wireline broadband is available to just about north of 99 percent of the residential and business subscribers, meaning that almost everyone could get fixed broadband services through BT or one of its many competitors.

Overall, the take-up of the UK's wireline-based fixed broadband connections is about 65 percent, which Whitley says is "good, but obviously it still means there's still plenty of market to go after. There are lots of things happening at the moment around digital inclusion to try and find other ways to get online and understand why a chunk of people who have got choices to get broadband don't."  

Openreach vanBT itself operates as both a retail player offering its bundled broadband data, voice and TV offerings, and as a wholesale player via its Openreach division, which runs its last mile assets, to other service providers.

Run on behalf of the whole industry, Openreach is a creation of the functional separation agreement BT developed to run its last mile network assets. Although a part of BT, Openreach is a functionally separated entity that deals with BT retail and its competitors in exactly the same way--in terms of prices, systems, and commercial relationship --as they treat some of BT's retail competitors like Carphone Warehouse.

"It's an interesting commercial model, and I think that the creation of Openreach as that access provider is one of the things that has led to such a competitive environment at the retail layer," Whitley said. "It's worth understanding that because it has a pretty significant role that in terms of the way BT is choosing to embrace super-fast broadband."

Strong competitive forces drive FTTX deployment