BT passes key fibre milestone months ahead of schedule
Fibre broadband now available to ten million premises
BT today announced it has passed a significant milestone as it revealed its wholesale fibre broadband service is now available to ten million premises across the UK. The company was due to pass that milestone by the end of 2012 so it is several months ahead of schedule.
BT is investing £2.5 billion to make fibre broadband available to around two thirds of UK premises by the end of 2014 and has recruited hundreds of extra engineers in the past year to help with the roll-out.
BT’s investment is set to boost the UK economy and support the creation of tens of thousands of new jobs. Small businesses in particular are set to benefit from the much faster speeds on offer as has already been shown in Northern Ireland where fibre broadband is currently available to 89 per cent of homes and businesses thanks to a partnership between BT and the Department of Trade, Enterprise and Investment.
BT believes it is possible to replicate the success of Northern Ireland in the UK mainland with the help of Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) funds. BT is bidding for these funds in each region of the UK and has said it is prepared to invest further funds should it be successful in winning them. BT has already been chosen as the preferred BDUK supplier in Rutland, has won the bid in Lancashire and is bidding in other parts of the UK.
A 90 per cent fibre footprint would ensure the UK is a European leader in superfast broadband as homes and businesses across the UK would have access to speeds of up to 80Mbps (the current average speed in the UK is 7.6Mbps). BT is also set to make fibre-to-the-premises broadband available on demand in all fibre enabled areas from Spring 2013 thereby ensuring homes and businesses can benefit from speeds of 300Mbps and above and potentially a lot more in the future.
BT chief executive Ian Livingston added: “Our engineers have worked tirelessly this past year and BT has made a real commitment to the UK’s infrastructure. Rolling out fibre is no easy task and so to have passed ten million premises in such a short time is fantastic. Our roll-out is one of the fastest in the world and our engineers deserve lots of credit.
“The UK is making great progress with fibre broadband. There are more than half a million customers already using the service and more than 60 ISPs trialling or offering services. This is a significant achievement given we only began selling services a couple of years ago. Momentum is building in the market and that can only be good for Broadband Britain. We already compare very well to other major European economies and given our plans, the UK can sprint ahead in the future.”