BT is accelerating its roll-out of super fast broadband, bringing cutting-edge fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) broadband connections to hundreds of thousands of Britons much faster than earlier projections had suggested.
Under the revised plans for the roll out, BT has issued a new list of 69 exchange locations across the UK where residents can expect to access its fibre optic-based broadband service next year. This in addition to an earlier list consisting of 29 exchanges.
Initially, the company had set a target of serving 500,000 homes by March 2010. However, BT is now on course to provide a super fast home broadband connection to one million houses by this time. By early summer, the telecommunications giant intends that the number will rise to 1.5 million properties.
The majority of homes will enjoy FTTC connections, with a small proportion also equipped with fibre to the premises. These are capable of providing a broadband connection of up to 40Mb, with the potential to rise to 60Mb at a later date.
Areas included in the new list are notable for a heavy weighting towards London and the South East, which account for 24 of the locations. Meanwhile, the North West will see 14 exchanges upgraded, the majority of which are in and around Manchester. Conversely, Scotland is relatively underrepresented with just four exchanges due to be revamped – all in Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Steve Robertson, chief executive officer of BT Openreach, said the move underlined the internet service provider’s commitment to improving the speed and standard of broadband access for Britons.
He commented: “Fibre is the future and so we’re speeding up the pace of our plans. We had aimed to get fibre to half a million homes by next March but we’re now being far more ambitious. We’ve received a tremendous response to date and so we’re keen to get on with the job.
“BT has invested billions in creating Broadband Britain yet it has done so whilst offering others equal access to its network – demonstrating once again that competition doesn’t have to be a barrier to investment.”
Overseen by BT Openreach, the scheme is expected to have reached 40 per cent of the UK by 2012. This equates to around ten million homes. The total expenditure for the cable broabdand project is projected to be around £1.5 billion.