BT to conduct FTTC trial in Ireland

BT Ireland (NYSE: BT) on Wednesday revealed plans to begin a Fiber to the Cabinet (FTTC) service trial in various Ireland markets with the aim of providing a VDSL-based 80 Mbps service for wholesale customers.

If the trials, which are set to begin in September in Dun Laoghaire, are successful, BT Ireland would work with its parent company to get necessary funding to roll out the service throughout the rest of the country.

"If the costings and processes are right we would then go back to BT Group and secure funding to do a widescale deployment across Ireland," said Peter Evans, BT Ireland Strategy Director, in a Silicon Republic article. "The key to all of this is business case and cost and ultimately being a wholesale provider that we can ensure that we can deliver a good and reliable customer experience."

What this means is that wholesale customers Sky and Vodafone (LSE:  VOD.L) would be able to offer their retail business and consumer customers an 80 Mbps broadband data tier.

The service provider said it has submitted its requisite planning application to Ireland's incumbent telco eircom, which has its own aggressive FTTX plans, and telecom regulator ComReg, detailing the location of the FTTC trial.

BT already has a well-established FTTC footprint in Northern Ireland, offering up to 80 Mbps with hopes to offer up to 300 Mbps in the future.

This move marks a change in strategy for BT. In 2009, the telco handed over its broadband network to rival Vodafone, enabling the latter to become a player in the domestic local loop unbundling (LLU) broadband segment.

At that time, BT said it would be able to better focus on two key growth areas: commercial business services and wholesale broadband services to other competitive carriers by unbundling up to 58 additional telephone exchanges in Ireland.

BT said what prompted it consider reentering Ireland's consumer broadband arena was that the Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) market situation has improved with Vodafone Ireland reporting that it currently has 241,000 wireline voice and broadband subscribers.

For more:
- Silicon Republic has this article

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