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By: MarkJ - 23 March, 2009 (10:58 AM)
BT has just released a full list of local UK telephone exchange locations where, from early 2010, its new super fast (up to 60Mbps) fibre optic based (FTTC) broadband services will become available from. This follows Saturday’s news when BT outlined its plans to deploy the product in several Scottish cities first.

BT's local access division, Openreach, will deploy Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) technology at 29 exchanges across the UK. This will bring speeds of up to 40Mbps – and potentially 60Mbps - within reach of 500,000 homes and businesses. Areas of Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London and Greater Manchester will be amongst the first locations to benefit from this initial deployment.

FTTC essentially replaces the copper wire going to local street cabinets from an HQ exchange with a high capacity fibre optic link. VDSL or VDSL2 is then used to carry the connection over an existing (last mile) copper wire into homes, working in a faster but not hugely dissimilar way to many existing (ADSL) broadband services.

List of FTTC Exchanges

CHELMSFORD - Essex (East of England)
ST. ALBANS - Hertfordshire (East of England)
WATFORD - Hertfordshire East of England)
HEMEL HEMPSTEAD - Hertfordshire (East of England)
LEAGRAVE - Bedfordshire (East of England)
LUTON - Bedfordshire (East of England)
CANONBURY - London (London)
CHINGFORD - London (London)
EDMONTON - London (London)
ENFIELD - London (London)
HIGHAMS PARK - London (London)
TOTTENHAM - London (London)
THAMESMEAD - London (London)
WOOLWICH - London (London)
BURY - Greater Manchester (North West)
DIDSBURY - Greater Manchester (North West)
FAILSWORTH - Greater Manchester (North West)
HEATON MOOR - Greater Manchester (North West)
OLDHAM - Greater Manchester (North West)
RUSHOLME - Greater Manchester (North West)
BELFAST BALMORAL - Belfast (Northern Ireland)
DEAN - Edinburgh (Scotland)
GLASGOW HALFWAY - Glasgow (Scotland)
GLASGOW WESTERN - Glasgow (Scotland)
CARDIFF - Cardiff (Wales)
TAFFS WELL - Rhondda Cynon Taf (Wales)
HALIFAX - West Yorkshire (Yorkshire and Humber)
PUDSEY - West Yorkshire (Yorkshire and Humber)
CALDER VALLEY - West Yorkshire (Yorkshire and Humber)
Interestingly two of the areas, Calder Valley (near Halifax) and Taffs Well (near Cardiff), are not urban and BT will be looking to learn lessons from deploying its fibre in such environments (cost, technical feasibility etc.). The rest are unsurprisingly significant urban areas, thus making them more likely to bring a suitable return on BT's investment.

Steve Robertson, CEO of Openreach, the division of BT responsible for the delivery of the plans, also added that some regulatory hurdles had yet to be overcome, though he did not say which: "The regulatory picture is complex and whilst Ofcom has given us a very welcome green light, we will require a few more over the coming months. We remain confident though that Ofcom recognises the need for an environment that encourages investment."

BT has pledged to spend £1.5 billion by 2012 to ensure that 40% of UK homes and businesses (10 million premises) can access fibre-based broadband services. As reported in Saturday’s news, the next set of locations - serving a further million homes and businesses, will be announced in the autumn. Check out that same news for even more information on the rollout (original news).

Since that news we've also learnt more information about BT plans to trial their latest form of FTTC technology in Muswell Hill (London) and Whitchurch in South Glamorgan this summer. It will take place during July 2009 and be conducted via five as yet unidentified UK ISPs, with up to 15,000 customer premises being involved in each area.
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