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BT Openreach has announced the next 178 locations set to receive a fibre broadband upgrade.

Over the last 18 months, the broadband provider has been undertaking a phased rollout of super-fast broadband across the UK.

The firm has now released a list of the telephone exchanges to be equipped with fibre during stages 8a, 8b and 9a of the ongoing rollout.

Areas of Newport, Leicester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stourbridge, Wigan and Yeovil will be among those to benefit, with homes and businesses gaining access to increased broadband speeds.

The latest upgrades will enable customers to gain access to 40Mb fibre-to-the-cabinet broadband services, and 100Mb fibre-to-the-premises services.

Faster download speeds are available with the latter because a fibre link - rather than copper - is used between the household and the local BT street cabinet.

This allows data to be transferred at faster speeds between the local telephone exchange and the end user, via a street cabinet.

Olivia Garfield, CEO of BT Openreach, said the firm continues to make "tremendous strides" forward with its fibre programme.

"Super-fast broadband is already within reach of more than six million premises and we are on track to pass ten million premises next year," she stated.

But Ms Garfield said BT's ambitions do not stop there.

"We will make fibre available to two-thirds of UK premises by the end of 2014 and we want to go even further," she added.

"It is important that as many premises as possible have access to fibre and so we will bid for the BDUK funds that are available."

Ms Garfield claimed that BT Openreach's experience in deploying fibre networks at scale - and the fact that wholesale customers can use the infrastructure - makes the firm the "ideal partner" for local and regional broadband initiatives.

Some £530 million has been distributed between local authorities across the UK to bring high-speed broadband services to rural parts of the country.

And county councils are now looking for private sector partners to carry out upgrade work.

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