BT is considering rolling out fibre to the node, but the UK carrier admits that the "economics have to be right" before it will consider investing in a new fibre network.
Ian Livingston, head of BT’s retail division, told the Financial Times newspaper that the carrier would discuss investing in an ultra-fast network with the government and regulators at a summit in November or December.
This follows concerns, expressed last week by Stephen Timms, minister for competitiveness, that the UK risks falling behind its European neighbours on broadband speeds. France and Germany are currently investing in new fibre optical networks that should deliver broadband speeds of 50 to 100 Mbit/s.
In the UK, meanwhile, businesses and households are lucky to receive the 8Mbit/s standard, although BT hopes to increase broadband speeds up to 24Mbit/s from April next year when it starts to roll out ADSL2+, as part of its triple-play strategy (voice, data and video services over a single broadband connection).
And it is not clear at this stage whether a new network would be “fibre to the node” (where BT would use fibre to replace the copper line from a BT telephone exchange to the green street cabinets found on most UK streets), or "fibre to the home" (where BT would run fibre all the way from the exchange to the home).