BT hands 41 market towns fibre broadband


BT has announced plans to expand its fibre optic network to include 41 of the UK's market towns.

The telecoms giant published a list of the chosen towns, with plans for the superfast connections to be up and running by spring 2012.

The new infrastructure will reach 300,000 businesses and provide top speeds of 40Mbps, BT claimed.

The upgrade is the latest phase of BT's 2.5 billion investment in an attempt to bring next-generation broadband to over 60 per cent of the country.

BT said this latest list represents its "commitment to deliver faster broadband speeds to more rural parts of the country."

BT Openreach also said it wants to talk to local councils about cooperative efforts to extend the new coverage to less reachable premises in the towns.

"In many cases, this will require a collective effort. An infrastructure project on this scale - arguably as important to the future of the UK as the road or rail networks - can only be done in partnership," said Steve Robertson, chief executive (CEO) of Openreach.

"We're keen to talk to public and private sector organisations about how this can be achieved."

BT said the project is "the largest single commercial investment in fibre-based broadband ever undertaken in the UK, and is currently one of the biggest civil engineering projects running in Europe."

Just like with the old copper wires, the new fibre network will be made available on a wholesale basis to other internet service providers.

List of exchanges covered by the upgrade:

Alfreton, Baldock, Bathgate, Billinge, Bishop Auckland, Blandford, Dalkeith, Dartmouth, Dereham, Devizes, Dorking, Edinburgh Musselburgh, Epping, Faversham, Filey, Frinton-On-Sea, Great Dunmow, Halstead, Hungerford, Kidlington, Knutsford, Mirfield, Montrose, Morpeth, Nantwich, Newmarket, Oswestry, Penrith, Pontycymmer, Rainford, Ripley, Royston - South Yorkshire, Sandwich, Sheerness, Sheringham, Stocksbridge, Stourport, Wallingford, Wendover, Westbury, Wimborne.