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BT Expands UK Superfast Fibre Optic Broadband Coverage to 66 Percent

Posted: 08th May, 2010 By: MarkJ
fibre optic uk broadband cableISP BT will reveal a major expansion of its 40-100Mbps fibre optic ( FTTC , FTTH / P ) based next generation broadband network plans during Thursday next week, at the release of its latest full year results. Under BT's current plan the operator is spending £1.5bn to make superfast broadband services available to 10 million homes (40% coverage) by summer 2012.

However a report from the FT states that BT's CEO, Ian Livingston, will expand the existing coverage commitment from 40% to 66%! The move is expected to push their budget requirements beyond £1.5bn, although it is not known by how much. At this stage no further details have been released.

BT's current plan requires a mix of 'up to' 40Mbps FTTC technology and 100Mbps FTTH / P (FTTH/P will only reach 2.5m homes/businesses of the 10m total). FTTH /P typically runs a fibre optic cable directly into homes, which makes it significantly faster and ideal for new builds. BT can also reach some existing locations with FTTH / P by using telegraph poles.

The operators primary Fibre-to-the-Cabinet technology ( FTTC ) instead delivers a fast fibre optic link to street level cabinets, while the remaining connection (between cabinets and homes) is done using VDSL2 (similar to current ADSL broadband but faster over short distances) through existing copper cable; FTTC will initially deliver download speeds of up to 40Mbps (10Mbps for uploads). Most people who get FTTC should not see speeds lower than 10-12Mbps.

The move is likely to bring a smile to a lot of faces, not least TalkTalk and Sky Broadband UK, which are both understood to have been worried about the limited coverage. BT is also facing stiff competition from Virgin Media , which can already reach half of the country with a similar 50Mbps service; they are soon to add a 100Mbps product too.
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