BT to bring more fibre to cities
More than 400,000 further premises set to benefit from new investment
BT will invest a further £50 million into its commercial fibre broadband programme over the next three years, it was announced today. The money will benefit more than 30 cities, helping to make high speed broadband available to more than 400,000 additional premises.
BT is spending more than £3 billion on deploying fibre broadband 1 and its open access fibre network already passes more than 18 million homes and businesses. That footprint is set to grow rapidly as various rural fibre programmes are delivered.
UK fibre broadband availability currently stands at 73 per cent 2, when all networks are taken into account. The current Broadband Delivery UK programme, which receives financial support from both central and local government, is set to extend that coverage to around 90 per cent by late 2015 or early 2016. The programme has made strong early progress with hundreds of thousands of premises passed with fibre to date.
Mike Galvin, MD Network Investment at Openreach said: “Our fibre programme is going extremely well with our engineers connecting homes and businesses across the UK. Some city areas have proved challenging in the past but we are returning to those and will pass hundreds of thousands of additional premises with fibre.
“We are reaching vast swathes of rural Britain with our public sector partners but we will upgrade these city areas under our own steam. Businesses in cities already have access to ultra-fast speeds but fibre will give them greater choice.
“The UK is already ahead of its main European rivals when it comes to fibre, and is set to race ahead thanks to the BDUK plans that are already in progress across the country.”
BT’s new investment will focus on three areas:
• Enabling city cabinets that weren’t part of BT’s original commercial plans due to technical challenges or local planning restrictions
• Deploying fibre to cabinets to serve multi-dwelling units such as apartment blocks
• Laying further fibre – including ‘Fibre-to-the-Premises’ technology – to new build sites in cities
The UK is making strong progress with more than five million premises already using fibre broadband across all networks. This high level of adoption puts the UK ahead of France, Germany, Italy and Spain and it is set to close the gap on Japan and the US according to a recent report 3.
That report also found the UK is ahead of its main European peers on various other measures, including average speeds, the competitiveness of the market and pricing.
BT’s fibre network is open to all communications providers on an equivalent basis, ensuring businesses and consumers benefit from intense competition, a wide choice of supplier and low prices.
Fibre broadband at home means everyone in the family can do their own thing online, all at the same time, whether it’s downloading music in minutes, watching catch-up TV or posting photos and videos to social networking sites in seconds. Fibre improves the quality of online experiences and supports exciting new developments in internet services.
The benefits are also considerable for businesses, which can do much more in far less time. Firms can speed up file and data transfers, collaborate with colleagues and customers on conference or video calls or swap their hardware and expensive software licenses for files, processing power and software from cloud computing. Staff can work as effectively from home as they would in the office.
1 BT is investing £2.5 billion on its commercial fibre footprint – which will cover around 19 million premises – and investing further funds in numerous rural fibre projects, including many under the BDUK programme
2 Ofcom Infrastructure Report, October 2013
3 International benchmark of superfast broadband (Analysys Mason, November 2013)