Introduction to BT
BT is the UK's largest home phone and broadband provider.
The telecommunication giant offers three services: home phone (line
rental and call plans), standard (ADSL) and fibre-optic broadband,
as well as the less popular BT Vision digital television
BT offers three basic home phone plans: Unlimited Weekend,
Unlimited Evening and Weekend, and Unlimited Anytime - as the names
suggest they come with free UK landline calls at various times of
day. In addition you can add either an international or a mobile
calling plan, or both.
BT offers two different broadband services. The internet service
provider delivers standard (ADSL) broadband over the BT copper wire
phone network, and BT Infinity which supplies superfast fibre optic
broadband, over BT's new fibre optic cable network.
BT Infinity has limited coverage, but it is growing fast. All BT
broadband plans come with the BT Digital Vault online storage
system. This lets you back up all of your important files,
including precious family photos, so if your computer crashes, you
won't lose them.
In addition BT offers customers free Wi-Fi connections outside
the home via BT Openzone. There are Wi-Fi hot spots all over the
country, in places like cafes, which let you go online while on the
BT Vision is a major strategic initiative for BT, but it has yet
to catch the public's imagination and as a result has not attracted
the sort of customer volumes that Sky and Virgin Media currently
It provides TV programming delivered via a Freeview aerial and
via the BT broadband connection. As such it offers the full range
of Freeview channels plus thousands of on demand shows and movies,
available from £1 per show.
BT's Vision+ box is a personal video recorder that lets you
record up to 80 hours of programmes. You can also use it to pause
and rewind live TV or record two shows at once without the need for
tapes or DVDs. The V-box comes standard with all BT Vision
Is BT right for me?
Once you have a landline you can pick a calling plan. All of
BT's plans include free BT Answer 1571 voicemail and free calls to
0845 and 0870 numbers during your selected free call periods. You
can also send text messages (at a cost) from your landline to other
UK landlines and mobiles
If you make a lot of overseas calls, you may want to upgrade
your plan with International Saver. It gives you cheap rates to
many international destinations. You can also opt for the
International Freedom plan, which gives you free calls to 36
popular destinations. Similarly, if you call mobiles from your
landline very often, you can get the Mobile Saver add-on which can
save you money in the long run.
More about BT's Broadband
BT Total Broadband will give you access to internet services
with monthly usage caps, for example 10GB or 20GB if you opt for
cheaper packages. If you want unlimited services, you can expect to
pay more but rest assured that you will never be penalised for
using more than your monthly allowance.
More often than not, BT will supply you with a free BT Home Hub.
According to the company this is more than just a wireless router.
It has twice the range of other routers so you won't lose the
connection at a crucial moment. It also has a built-in firewall to
protect your computer from online viruses. The Broadband Wizard
lets you know the moment there's a problem with your connection and
will help you get back online. There's also a power save mode to
help you conserve electricity.
The Home Hub also gives you access to BT Vision, BT's digital TV
More about BT Digital Vault: This feature lets customers backup
up to 5GB of important files online. You'll never have to worry
about losing precious digital family photos or important electronic
documents. Digital Vault Plus gives you a massive 50GB of back-up
storage space. This can be incredibly useful if your computer
crashes. You will have to decide whether this peace of mind is
worth £4.99 a month.
More about BT Vision
BT Vision is BT's digital television service. It comes with all
of the Freeview channels, plus thousands of hours of on-demand
programming, including films and popular TV shows. With BT, you
don't have to pay for channels that you will never watch. You can
pick from a selection of value packs or just pay per view.
BT Vision comes with the V-box, a personal video recorder that
allows you to pause and rewind live TV. You can record up to 80
hours of programming, and even record two shows at once. The V-box
is not as sophisticated as Sky's Sky+ Box, but it's absolutely
You can save money by opting for one of BT's bundles, rather
than individual services. It's also worth keeping an eye out for
deals as BT often gives out vouchers and freebies.
Why it may not be right for you
BT is more expensive than some of the other providers. If you do
not need services like the Digital Vault, you may be better off
with a cheaper provider like TalkTalk.
BT Vision gives you access to thousands of hours of on-demand TV.
However, if you want hundreds of channels with live programming,
you may want to consider either Sky or Virgin Media.
Also, to get the BT Total Broadband deal, you will have to sign
an 18-month contract. Other providers only require a 12-month
contract. So if you're planning to move, BT may not be right for
The world's oldest communication company has reinvented itself
into a 21st century telephone, broadband and digital TV provider.
BT can trace its origins to 1846 and the Electric Telegraph
From 1896 - 1981, the Post Office was in charge of telephony.
The British Telecommunications Act of 1981 made British Telecom a
separate public corporation. In 1984, it was privatised, coming
full circle to the early days of commercial telegraph services.
With such a long history, it's not surprising that BT is the
current leader in home telephone provision. In addition to
dominating the field within the UK, the company operates in more
than 170 countries around the world.
In 2006, BT launched its Total Broadband service, along with its
unique Home Hub wireless router. This gave customers the option of
getting broadband from a familiar and trusted supplier. BT Vision
was launched later that year, making BT a triple-play
In addition, BT Openzone allows BT customers to go online in
cafes, pubs, airports and other locations. You can join the BT Fon
network by agreeing to share your connection with others. In
return, you get to use other member's Wi-Fi when you're away from
From ADSL to fibre
Here's a brief account as to how the BT broadband exchange,
which used to deliver ADSL broadband services, has advanced in
technology in recent times.
There have been many developments in BT's broadband exchange in
the technology used to deliver broadband services and equipment for
BT announced that by March 2010 broadband users in special trial
areas could benefit from high speed, super-fast broadband direct to
their homes with the aid of fibre optic broadband cable.
Ever since then, the fibre craze has begun. Its fibre broadband
services currently supply speeds of up to 40Mbps via FTTC
(fibre-to-the-cabinet) services and up to 100Mbps through FTTP
These speeds are to grow further. FTTC customers can expect to
see speeds of 80Mbps and FTTP users will look at downloads reaching
up to 330Mbps.
FTTC and FTTC
FTTP (fibre-to-the-premise) is a more direct route for
broadband, where fibre optic cable comes directly from the
telephone exchange into the customer's home - therefore delivering
much faster speeds.
FTTC (fibre-to-the-cabinet) is also deployed directly from the
telephone exchange, but it only reaches the telephone cabinet in
the street near to the customer's home. From there the connection
is made using copper cable and runs from the cabinet to the