The dominant telco may yet consider installing an ultimate fibre-to-the-home broadband network around the UK. BT (NYSE: BT) will discuss the option in a November-or-December meeting with government and regulators, the company tells FT.com, dropping previous reluctance in which it had cited lack of economic motivation. BT is already in the middle of upgrading its existing copper-wire network with the 24Mbit 21st Century Network project and Virgin Media (NSDQ: VMED) is currently trialling 50Mbit services, but France and Germany have bolder plans and the government is being pressed by its Broadband Stakeholder Group advisory body to have telcos increase speeds still further to compete with the likes of South Korea.
Despite an estimated £10 billion nationwide roll-out cost, BT is testing fibre-to-the-home on a housing project in Kent. The next battle would be to have BT open the new network to competitors in the same way it unbundled the local loops through the creation of Openreach – and it’s unlikely to want to invest if the regulatory winds blow in that direction.