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BT Brings UK Superfast Broadband Rollout Forward to Spring 2014

Posted Thursday, November 1st, 2012 (8:36 am) by Mark Jackson (Score 1,570)
fibre optic broadband cables

BT has today confirmed that its national £2.5bn plan, which aims to deploy fibre optic based superfast broadband (FTTC , FTTP) ISP services to 66% of the UK, has once again been brought forward and will now complete during Spring 2014 (i.e. passing 19 million homes and businesses).

The telecoms operator originally planned to complete its privately funded roll-out by the end of 2015, which was later brought forward to the end of 2014 (October 2011). As a result of today’s announcement BT’s work will now complete a full 18 months earlier than originally planned.

On top of that BT has also confirmed that its superfast broadband services have now passed 12 million UK premises (homes and businesses), which is up from 11m in its previous Q2-2012 results and 10m in its Q1 results. The news suggests that BTOpenreach’s recent delays have not slowed the operator’s fibre deployment.

Ian Livingston, BT’s CEO, said:

Fibre is at the heart of our broadband plans for both town and country. We plan to step up our efforts yet again to complete our commercial fibre roll-out early as this will allow us to focus even further on the next exciting stage of our fibre broadband strategy. This will see BT working hand in hand with the public sector to extend fibre broadband to UK homes and businesses in the ‘final third’ of the country that are harder to reach.”

BTWholesale has similarly confirmed that 950,000 homes and businesses have now taken the operators superfast broadband service (up from 750,000 in July 2012), which is being delivered via 70 different ISPs. BT’s own Retail division remains the dominant player with a superfast broadband (BTInfinity) customer base of more than 875,000. The Government has naturally welcomed today’s news.

Maria Miller, Secretary of State for Culture, said:

Our broadband programme is a key element of our growth and investment agenda and a real priority. Fibre technology is a major driver of economic growth and I am delighted to see BT make such good progress in helping to get the UK connected. Connectivity is a key issue for people across the country whether in rural or urban areas and I now look forward to seeing rapid progress in the Government-backed projects to connect hard to reach areas.”

BT claims that the early completion of this footprint, which has been achieved via its own private investment, will enable them to focus further on working with the public sector to extend fibre based services to the “final third” (33%) of the country. This work will be conducted via the state aid supported Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) project.

The operator has previously indicated that its superfast broadband services could reach 90% of homes and businesses by around 2016 or 2017, albeit only provided it wins the lion’s share of public funding. This looks highly likely to happen since BT’s only real rival in the BDUK process, Fujitsu, has effectively given up.

BT’s FTTC service delivers speeds of up to 80Mbps (Megabits per second), while its niche coverage FTTP solution offers up to 330Mbps. The operator intends to launch an expensive new solution next Spring 2013, called FTTP-On-Demand, which will enable any of their FTTC lines to also gain a full FTTP service.

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14 Responses
  1. FibreFred

    So Bob, they can’t be so far behind on their schedule if they are bringing the end date forward for the second time, if anything it sounds like they’ve done well?

  2. I took a lot of random criticism last week from a few folk after saying that we thought BT’s privately funded rollout was more or less on target. Good to see that it’s actually moving even faster :) .

    • FibreFred

      Indeed a national infrastructure rollout due to complete 18 months early is something to boast about, but no doubt some will still criticise saying the fudged the figures etc it is all I’d expect from the conspiracy theorists / bt haters. But regardless it’s some achievement

    • Deduction

      Except its more lies from BT…
      “BT claims that the early completion of this footprint, which has been achieved via its own private investment, will enable them to focus further on working with the public sector to extend fibre based services to the “final third” (33%) of the country.”

      Really so they paid to enable areas such as Iwade out of their 2.5billion budget did they?
      What about other areas which local authorities also had to pay for?
      Oh and if they are so far ahead with their rollout why is there still 2 month delays to actually come out to a customer and connect them? Is that the imaginary olympics and flooding even though if the rollout is ahead it doesnt seem to have affected actually enabling exchanges and fitting cabinets?
      BT wouldnt know if they were ahead or behind their story changes on a monthly basis.

    • FibreFred

      Chuckle, here we go

  3. Phil

    sadly it won’t delivering a faster FTTC to my area not until spring 2014 more likely now. I expecting another exchange lists for FTTC by December final phase list.

  4. DTMark

    Maria Miller: “Connectivity is a key issue for people across the country whether in rural or urban areas and I now look forward to seeing rapid progress in the Government-backed projects to connect hard to reach areas”

    “Hard to reach” areas… like the businesses in our local town?

    To be fair, having just been to a new dentist off the high street I did spot a fibre cab I hadn’t before, and can find a couple of businesses including said dentist who can get fibre.

    As long as they’re on the “right side” of that road.

    In a serious rollout, “hard to reach” has nothing whatsoever to do with the positioning of telephone cabinets put in place perhaps between the first two World Wars.

    The speed of the rollout doesn’t concern me greatly, the availability and quality of the delivered services along with the potential to choose from more than one provider in a meaningful way, does.

    • FibreFred

      Lack of other physical suppliers is something you’d need to take up with other suppliers to be honest. If no-one is interested in being an alternative there’s not much you can do.

      Sounds promising that you have some cabs springing up though

  5. sam

    unfortunately these are just exchanges though, not cabinets. There are tons of cabinets that haven’t been upgraded even though the exchange has been enabled for a long time.

    • FibreFred

      It’s homes passed

    • Deduction

      ^^^ Nonsense if thats true please show cabinet figures and not exchange figures.

    • FibreFred

      Ask BT for the cabinet figures, I’ve nothing to show you, simply stating its homes passed. Exchanges don’t “pass homes” they serve the cabinets which serve the homes

      Good news all round though, ahead of target, well ahead, they must be to bring it so far forward. Sorry looks like you and Bob and have been wasting all of your time :)

  6. Ignitionnet

    This is all well and good but you have to question exactly where they’ve been putting these given the amount of money BT Retail and more recently Sky and Talk Talk have been putting into advertising these and they’ve still not managed to reach 10% penetration nor convert even 1/7th of the people using broadband to a fibre service despite the cost increment on BT Retail being zero.

    Talking to Openreach guys they’re somewhat bemused. They’ve been upgrading cabinets closer to the exchange, presumably as they’re cheaper to upgrade and pass more homes, then seeing minimal uptake as the people there are already achieving 16Mb, 20Mb on ADSL2+.

    While I appreciate the whole commercials thing about doing the biggest and cheapest to enable cabinets 50% of 300 is a lot more than 10% of 500.

    • Fibrefred

      Yeah for people in long existing contracts or those with decent speeds already the switch to FTTC will be a gradual one. I know what you are getting at but also you cant just ignore areas that already get good speeds

      Its why I laugh at those saying everyone needs Ftth , no as plenty are happy with their 15Mbps+ now

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