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By: MarkJ - 13 November, 2010 (7:02 AM)
bt retail ukThe BT Group, which is currently spending £2.5bn on a rollout of "super-fast" up to 40Mbps FTTC and 100Mbps FTTH / P Next Generation Access (NGA) broadband services to reach 66% of UK homes and business by 2015 (40% by 2012), has said that it could reach 90% by 2017 if only the government would hand over its entire broadband budget of £830m.

BT's CEO, Ian Livingston, told the Financial Times:

"We think we could get to over 90 per cent of the UK ... 2017 is not an unrealistic timescale."

Both BT and Virgin Media are expected to make bids for the funding, which could help to extend their mutual networks. However BT is not expected to be given the entire £830m pot, with a number of smaller projects likely to benefit too.

Unfortunately many of the best projects come from smaller providers, although such ISPs often lack the ability and resources to bid for entire regions of the country, which could put them at a disadvantage. Governments will be seeking concrete plans for larger areas and ones that can meet their ideal timescales.

Further details on what the government has planned are expected in December.

UPDATE 15th November 2010

As some people have pointed out over the weekend, BT's figures here appear to be somewhat odd. They're already spending £2.5bn to bring "super-fast" FTTC / FTTP broadband to 66%, but the last 24% needed to reach a total of 90% is supposed to be too expensive for private investment.

In other words, they'd need around £900m+ (rough conversion on the current scale of spending) to hit 90% and not £830m as the government has already set aside. However that next 24% is supposed to be considerably more expensive to reach than the first 66%, which BT appears to have completely ignored.
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