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By: MarkJ - 9 July, 2009 (8:54 AM)
UK ISP BT has just released a second list of 69 local UK telephone exchange locations where its new super fast (up to 40Mbps) fibre optic based ( FTTC ) broadband services will become available from. The acceleration will see 1.5 million homes have access to such services by early summer 2010. A million of those homes will have access by March next year, which is a doubling of the original pace of deployment (e.g. originally 500,000).

BT's local access division, Openreach, will deploy the service and bring speeds of up to 40Mbps – and potentially 60Mbps in the future, to 40% of the UK (10 million homes) by 2012. The company has pledged to spend £1.5 billion on this programme. BT will also offer access to ISPs on an open, wholesale basis.

Steve Robertson, CEO of BT Openreach, said:
“Fibre is the future and so we’re speeding up the pace of our plans. We had aimed to get fibre to half a million homes by next March but we’re now being far more ambitious. We’ve received a tremendous response to date and so we’re keen to get on with the job.

BT has invested billions in creating Broadband Britain yet it has done so whilst offering others equal access to its network – demonstrating once again that competition doesn’t have to be a barrier to investment.”

Sixty nine locations across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales will benefit from this latest phase of BT’s investment programme. The pilots of the technology went live this week in Muswell Hill, London and Whitchurch, South Wales. Sixteen ISP are known to be participating in the pilots. The full list of locations can be found below:
BERKHAMSTED East of England
BILLERICAY East of England
BRENTWOOD East of England
ELSTREE East of England
HAINAULT East of England
HODDESDON East of England
LEA VALLEY East of England
LOUGHTON East of England
STANFORD-LE-HOPE East of England
WALTHAM CROSS East of England
WOODFORD East of England
GLOSSOP East Midlands
HINCKLEY East Midlands
BARKING London
BARNET London
ELTHAM London
GREENWICH London
HORNCHURCH London
INGREBOURNE London
NEW SOUTHGATE London
PONDERS END London
SIDCUP London
SLADE GREEN London
STAMFORD HILL London
CHESTER-LE-STREET North East
DURHAM North East
EAST HERRINGTON North East
HETTON-LE-HOLE North East
ALTRINCHAM North West
ASHTON-UNDER-LYNE North West
CHEETHAM North West
CHORLTON North West
DENTON North West
HYDE North West
MANCHESTER EAST North West
MOSS SIDE North West
PRESTWICH North West
STALYBRIDGE North West
SWINTON, GREATER MANCHESTER North West
URMSTON North West
WALKDEN North West
WILMSLOW North West
LISBURN Northern Ireland
EDINBURGH CORSTORPHINE Scotland
EDINBURGH CRAIGLOCKHART Scotland
GLASGOW BRIDGETON Scotland
GLASGOW GIFFNOCK Scotland
BASINGSTOKE South East
DARTFORD South East
BRISTOL NORTH South West
BRISTOL WEST South West
DOWNEND South West
BARRY Wales
CAERPHILLY Wales
PENARTH Wales
BIRMINGHAM, NORTHERN West Midlands
FALLINGS PARK West Midlands
GREAT BARR West Midlands
LEAMORE West Midlands
NUNEATON West Midlands
TETTENHALL West Midlands
WEDNESBURY West Midlands
WALSALL West Midlands
ARMLEY Yorkshire
CASTLEFORD Yorkshire
HEADINGLEY Yorkshire
LOW MOOR Yorkshire
PONTEFRACT Yorkshire
SHIPLEY Yorkshire
It's worth pointing out that this list is in addition to the 29 locations that BT revealed back in March this year (here), thus the locations all appear to be new as opposed to an amalgamation of the two lists (total 98). BT's press release claims that they revealed 31 in March, which is two more than the original because it adds the trial exchanges of Muswell Hill and Whitchurch.

Only the smallest portion of exchanges will be deploying Fibre to the Premise ( FTTP ) technology, which delivers fibre-optic cable from the exchange directly into the customer premise. This can deliver download speeds of up to 100Mbps (40Mbps upstream)– and potentially up to 1000Mbps in the future. FTTP is predominantly for new build locations.

Presently BT does not believe that there is a commercial case to extend fibre-based broadband much beyond 50% of the UK, though they have welcomed the government’s proposed 50p tax on all fixed telephone lines to help extend next generation broadband to 90% or more by 2017.

BT Said:
"BT is alone in having an open network that hundreds of other companies can and do access and we believe that funding should only be available to companies that are prepared to open their networks. BT looks forward to participating in the industry consultation on the NGA fund which opens in the Autumn."

That's a rather cunning way of saying 'give us the cash, unless our rivals are prepared to open up their networks to wholesale too'. Virgin Media recently confirmed to us that they had no plans to do this, despite a few conflicting reports (here).

UPDATE @ 14:38

A Virgin Media spokesperson told ISPreview:
“People in the UK do not have to wait for BT. Virgin Media already offers the fastest broadband in the country with its ultrafast 50Mb service. By the end of this summer we will have completed our next generation roll out to 12.5 million homes and we’re already piloting 200Mb. We’ve been saying for years that fibre optic broadband is the future.”

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