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BT Openreach has announced plans to make fibre broadband available to a further 163 exchange areas.

The latest phase of the firm's £2.5 billion rollout of next-generation technology will see thousands of households and businesses gain access to faster broadband speeds.

The exchanges are due to be enabled during 2013, adding to the 11 million premises which can currently access BT's super-fast Infinity broadband deals.

BT Openreach is aiming to deliver super-fast fibre broadband to two-thirds of the UK by the end of 2014, helping people to take advantage of an increasingly powerful internet.

Both fibre-to-the-cabinet broadband - offering download speeds of up to 80Mb - and fibre-to-the-premises - delivering up to 330Mb - will become available to the firm's customers.

BT is now offering the higher-tier service on-demand to customers wishing to take advantage of the UK's fastest commercially available download and upload speeds.

Mike Galvin, Openreach's Managing Director for Network Investment, said this is "great news" for 163 communities across the UK.

"Fibre will bring huge benefits by helping to create jobs and boosting local economies," he claimed.

“Our rollout of fibre continues apace, with more than 11 million homes currently having access to the many benefits this technology can deliver."

Mr Galvin said the announcement shows that BT is "well into its journey" to bring fibre to two-thirds of the UK by the end of 2014.

"We have now announced the bulk of the exchanges we will be deploying fibre to under our own steam but we are keen to go even further with the help of Broadband Delivery UK funding," he stated.

"We will continue to engage with local government and communities to try and give as many people as possible access to the benefits of fibre broadband."

According to BT Openreach, internet users with a fibre broadband connection can do "much more online, all at the same time".

The firm explained that a family can download a movie, watch a TV replay service, surf the net and play games online simultaneously.

"Chart hits can be downloaded in around two seconds, a CD in 30 seconds and a feature length HD film in 10 minutes," Openreach added.

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