BT announces 66 fibre locations and rural White Space trial


BT has revealed another 66 exchanges where its fibre network will be made available, as well as an innovative trial designed to boost connectivity in rural areas.

The 66 new locations cover nearly one million additional homes and businesses between them, with most due to be fibre enabled during 2012. Some will go live by the end of 2011.

A number of London locations feature in the list, including Holborn and King's Cross, as well as other major UK cities such as Norwich and Derby.

BT said it would pass five million premises with its fibre connections by the end of the month.

Meanwhile, BT has set up a trial on the Scottish Isle of Bute to see if taking advantage of "white spaces" in the Ultra High Frequency (UHF) TV spectrum can help bring broadband to remote areas wirelessly.

BT has been placed at the head of a consortium which will seek to use the "white spaces" - the unused parts of the digital TV spectrum to bring connections of 2Mbps upwards to rural communities.

Further testing is required before trials can go ahead, although BT expects them to kick off in July to supply around a dozen end users across the island with broadband.

BT Openreach chief executive (CEO) Olivia Garfield said the initial results of testing the technology were "very encouraging."

"It's early days but our hope is that this technology may provide an effective solution for not spots' and slow spots,'" Garfield said.

"The final 10 per cent of the UK is going to be the hardest to reach with fixed line superfast broadband and so we are busy trialling other technologies."

Garfield said BT was still on course to cover two-thirds of the UK with fibre, but it still wanted to see public sector support if more was to be done by the telecoms giant.

"We have made a clear commitment to rolling out fibre to two-thirds of the UK, but we're keen to go further by working with public sector bodies," Garfield added.

BT rival Virgin Media announced last week its 100Mbps broadband service was available to over four million UK premises.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.