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BT Openreach has announced the next 98 telephone exchanges set to be upgraded using super-fast fibre-optic technology.

The firm - the infrastructure arm of BT- is to enable the latest batch by late 2013, bringing the benefits of super-fast broadband to 800,000 more homes and businesses.

Among the listed exchanges are Sandown on the Isle of Wight, Oban in the Highlands and Islands, Matlock in Derbyshire, Rotherham in South Yorkshire and Wisbech in Cambridgeshire.

BT Openreach is making fibre broadband available on an open wholesale basis using both fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) and fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technologies.

FTTC, where fibre is delivered to the street cabinet, offers download speeds of up to 80Mb and upload speeds of up to 20Mb.

And FTTP, where fibre runs all the way to homes and businesses, currently offers download speeds of 110Mb, with an upgrade to 330Mb in the pipeline.

Mike Galvin, Openreach's Managing Director for Network Investment, said the latest announcement is "great news" for 98 communities across the UK.

"Our rollout of fibre continues apace, with over ten million homes now having access to the many benefits this technology can deliver," he stated.

"This announcement brings us another important step closer towards our goal of providing this service to two-thirds of the UK by the end of 2014."

Mr Galvin said BT is keen to go beyond this with the help of Broadband Delivery UK funding and further engagement with local government and communities.

BT claims that internet users with a fibre broadband connection can do much more online - downloading movies, using TV replay services, surfing the net and playing games online simultaneously.

"Chart hits can be downloaded in around two seconds, a CD in 30 seconds and a feature length HD film in ten minutes," the broadband provider stated.

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