BT mulls letting ISPs use their own modems for fibre
By Stewart Mitchell
Posted on 15 Jan 2013 at 11:46
Fibre broadband subscribers could get more choice over hardware and simpler installation procedures following a trial being run by BT.
The company is working with ISPs that buy services on BT's fibre network to allow them to provide their own modems, rather than relying on the Openreach VDSL2 modem currently mandated by BT.
According to BT, the consultation remains in its early days, with significant technical issues yet to be resolved, but comes after providers said they wanted to install their own equipment, which would allow them to offer additional services.
The providers would like the ability to provide their own modems and kit, rather than have an Openreach box on the wall
"The providers would like the ability to provide their own modems and kit, rather than have an Openreach box on the wall," said a BT spokesperson, adding that the company was reacting to ISP demands in a bid to drive greater use of its fibre network.
"They could plug in their own router that's integrated or even a separate VDSL modem and then plug in their own equivalent of the Home Hub, but it will take time while technical issues are sorted."
The trial could have significant implications for ISPs, with providers able to offer new services, such as IPTV.
"TalkTalk and Sky could… integrate extra services and specific ports for the connection of IPTV devices and possibly at last utilise the multicast options available over the VDSL2 product range and other possible innovations that arise when you have tighter control of the modem and router," said Andrew Ferguson, in a blog post on Think Broadband.
BT said the change would also allow ISPs to improve their branding, with companies such as Sky or TalkTalk wanting to "own the home".
For users, the changes could also mean simpler installations. Although a BT engineer would still be required to connect a home to the local cabinet, users could install the rest themselves.
"It might allow people to do self-install, where you send a box out and plug it into the wall rather than have to have an engineering appointment," a spokesperson said, adding that BT would monitor the impact of not using an engineer to optimise installations.
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