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By: MarkJ - 20 December, 2011 (7:34 AM)
fibre optic cablebtTelecoms operator BT has this week officially confirmed that 20,000 homes and businesses in the digitally isolated town of Milton Keynes (Buckinghamshire) will benefit from superfast broadband services when the Bradwell Abbey exchange is upgraded to support Fibre-to-the-Cabinet ( FTTC ) technology by the end of 2012 (it's already trialling the superior 100Mbps+ FTTP fibre optic service).

Today's news follows confirmation earlier this month that BT had begun offering local firms a free trial (here) of its new 100Mbps+ (rising to 300Mbps in 2012) ultrafast fibre optic Fibre-to-the-Premise ( FTTP ) internet access services. At the time there was no mention of either the slower FTTC service (up to 40Mbps, rising to 80Mbps next year) or home coverage, although it was assumed to follow.

BT has now elaborated to confirm that 11,000 homes and businesses are already "within reach" of its FTTP technology at Bradwell Abbey, although apparently only 9,600 premises "will be able to receive [the FTTP] service" confused . The remaining 10,700 will be served by FTTC .

John Weaver, BT's South East Regional Director, said:

Faster broadband services are vital to Milton Keynes and we are keen to ensure that everyone has access to this technology and to help empower businesses and households to harness its potential.

This latest major investment is a tremendous boost for Milton Keynes. Super-fast broadband will be welcomed by families throughout these areas because it will help improve their quality of life and leisure and open new doors through online learning and fast access to information and services. And it’s also going to provide a huge fillip for businesses and these areas’ economy. At a stroke, small and medium sized firms will have access to big business speeds at much lower costs allowing them to find new markets, boost their competitiveness and create new jobs."

According to BT, some 95% of premises served by the Bradwell Abbey exchange will now be able to receive its superfast broadband services. That's one of the highest exchange coverage's for FTTx technology in the country.

This also puts a new, if not entirely unexpected, spin on the recent dispute between Virgin Media and BT (here). The two were unable to reach agreement on physical access, which prevented Virgin from being able to upgrade the BT managed cable to support faster digital broadband and TV services.
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