BT's regional customers will have to wait even longer for high-speed network services, as the operator has hit budget constraints and delays in supplier equipment, PC Week has learned.
BT announced last May that it would pour #800 million into the rollout of its high-speed SDH (synchronous digital hierarchy) network to its regional customers. However, the company's reliance on one supplier for the equipment, and the costs involved in extending the network, could delay services by months.
Dave Rolland, a senior professional in BT's networks and systems department, said: "We are experiencing constraints on budget and suppliers are holding things up. Marconi is BT's sole supplier of muliplexers and point-to-point link technology for the extension of the core network."
Rolland was unable to put a figure on how much BT had underestimated the cost of the expansion but said it was "significant."
Simon Weeden, director of European equities at Deutsche Bank, commented: "BT has big problems with its regional network. It has a very fast core for the inter city routes with immense amounts of capacity but it can't get this from its main switch out to the customers."
Weeden pointed out that ADSL is supposed to provide the last mile from the customer back into the core network but BT has already admitted it is experiencing problems with its ADSL trial, which has seen several delays (see PC Week, 19 January).
Robin Duke-Woolley, senior analyst at telecoms consultancy Schema, said: "BT has always been extremely cagey about giving out dates for the rollout of new services and this is probably why. It would be very surprising if it did run out of money, though."
A spokesman at BT's press office said: "This is absolute rubbish. BT made two announcements last year stating it would spend over #1 billion building up the core network and extending it out to the regional networks."
A spokesman for Marconi refused to comment on BT's supply problems.
For further stories see 12 April issue of PC Week
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