BT accelerates push to fibre to the home


BT accelerates push to fibre to the home

Ian Grant

BT has revealed plans to more than double the the number of homes that will recieve high speed broadband.

The company plans to deliver speeds of up to 100Mbps to around 1.5 million UK homes and businesses using fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology by summer 2010.

BT said it could accelerate broadband speeds to up to 1Gbps if there is a paying demand for it.

The wider availability of FTTP services will help the UK to climb the broadband speed tables, BT said. Its decison to roll out faster copper broadband, which offers speeds up to 24Mb/s, to 75% of UK homes will also have a beneficial impact, it said.

BT had planned to roll out FTTP to approximately one million premises as part of an overall plan to reach around 10 million homes with fibre by 2012. Other premises would have fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) delivering initial speeds of up to 40Mbps.

But BT said it will now deploy FTTP in some areas where copper services are already available. This represents a broadening of BT's strategy as initially FTTP was to be deployed in new build sites only, BT said.

BT said its financial performance was "ahead of target". This has allowed it to expand FTTP availability within its overall investment of £1.5 billion.

BT said it was keen to deploy fibre more widely but wanted government money to do it. BT Openreach CEO Steve Robertson said the move was in response to service providers' demand for more FTTP. Openreach resells BT's network capacity to other network providers. In August it outsourced maintenance of its local access ("last mile") networks to Carillion for £1bn.'

Earlier this week Cisco reported that the UK had slipped down the world broadband leader board, and the UK doesn't even appear on the FTTH Council's list of nations that have just 1% of fibre to the home. Japan, which took a decision to put every home on fibre a decade ago, will complete its project this year, but not before South Korea, the FTTH Council said.

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