BT to extend fibre footprint to an extra 1.2m premises

Broadband speed dial

BT is to extend its fibre broadband network to another 1.2 million premises in the UK, and upgrade 99 more exchanges by Spring 2014.

The extra homes and businesses where the upgrades will take place are in Scotland, the Midlands, the North East and North West of England.

Openreach, BT's wholesale arm, will upgrade the exchanges to serve around 600,000 premises in completely new areas, with a further 600,000 homes and businesses gaining access to fibre broadband as a result of additional infill' work in other areas.

The latest round of exchange upgrades will bring BT's total in the UK to around 1,700 covering 19 million premises.

The company will now begin to pinpoint further exchanges that will benefit from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) funding.

At present BT's commercial fibre network reaches more than 13 million premises.

"The UK is making great progress with super-fast broadband and this latest phase of work will keep up the momentum," said Mike Galvin, managing director of next generation access at Openreach.

"I am sure that communities across the UK will be pleased to see that they are factored into our commercial plans and I now look forward to working with councils to identify further areas that we can enable with their support."

The upgrade plans are part of BT's 2.5 billion drive to reach two thirds of UK premises with fibre, which could see customers gain access to download speeds of up to 80 Mbps.

In the next few months, BT will also start to make Fibre-to-the -Premises (FTTP) commercially available on-demand in areas where Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) has been deployed.

The firm is currently deploying a mix of FTTC technology, where the fibre runs from the exchange to a local roadside cabinet, and FTTP technology, where the fibre runs all the way to the home or business.

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.