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BT Expands its Fibre Broadband ISP Network to Pass 15 Million UK Premises

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013 (9:29 am) - Score 1,468

BT has today confirmed that its national £2.5bn commercial rollout of fibre optic based superfast broadband (FTTC / FTTP) ISP services, which is set to reach 66% of the UK by spring 2014 (18 months ahead of schedule), has now passed more than 15 million premises (the operators 2014 target is for 19m).

As a result BT claims that its up to 80Mbps capable FTTC and 330Mbps FTTP lines can now reach more than half of UK homes and businesses. On top of that BTOpenreach, which maintains BT’s national telecoms network, is currently passing between 100,000 – 200,000 additional premises with the new service every week.

Liv Garfield, CEO of Openreach, said:

Fibre broadband is at the heart of our business and so it is great that we have now passed more than fifty per cent of UK premises. This is a significant milestone and one that our engineers can be proud of. They have worked through many months of appalling weather to bring the benefits of fibre to cities, towns and villages and this is making a genuine difference to how people live their lives.

Fibre broadband can play an important part in stimulating and supporting an economic recovery. Our investment, together with that of our partners, is helping to generate thousands of jobs and give small businesses the speeds that were previously the preserve of larger ones based in cities. These speeds will help them to become more nimble and responsive and that in turn will help them to expand. We are already seeing this in areas, both urban and rural, where fibre is available.

Customers want faster speeds and that is what we will give them. More than sixty companies are already using our network so customers also have plenty of choice. There is a level playing field and what could be fairer than that?”

BT is also keen to remind that it’s been busy winning all of the separate state aid supported Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) contracts, including those for Cambridgeshire, Cumbria, Devon and Somerset, Hampshire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire, Kent and Medway, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, North Yorkshire, Rutland, The Scottish Highlands and Islands, Shropshire, Suffolk, Surrey, Wales and Wiltshire and South Gloucestershire.

Openreach has previously indicated that its superfast broadband network could be extended beyond 66% to reach 90% of UK homes and businesses by 2017, albeit only provided it wins the lion’s share of around £1bn in public funding from BDUK. BT itself has also committed a further £1bn to help match-fund with related BDUK products. The government currently aims for 90% of people in each UK local authority area to have access to a superfast broadband (25-30Mbps+) service by 2015.

However critics of the BDUK scheme frequently complain that BT is the only operator left that can bid for related contracts (BT’s rivals have all withdrawn over economic and regulatory concerns), which makes it difficult for local authorities to negotiate favourable deals.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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