Forty-one market towns with around 300,000 businesses and consumers will get broadband access of up to 40Mbps from spring next year as part of the next phase of BT's £2.5bn fibre deployment, the telecoms firm has announced.
The 41 towns will complement 785 exchanges that BT has already named under its fibre roll-out plan. These locations serve around eight million premises in total, about half of BT's total fibre roll-out plan, the telco said.
BT's fibre broadband roll-out is based on fibre to street cabinets (FTTC) to provide download speeds of up to 40Mbps, potentially rising to 60Mbps, and upstream speeds of 10Mbps, which could rise to 15Mbps in the future. BT is also trialing fibre to the premises (FTTP) broadband services, at download speeds of up to 100Mbps.
BT has about 5,600 exchanges and about 90,000 street cabinets.
It warned that not all premises would be able to receive fast broadband services for technical and economic reasons. But it was "very keen" to talk to local council representatives to see if they would provide financial guarantees that would allow all to be included, the firm said.
BT has said it would provide matching funds if it received all of the £830m the government has earmarked for providing broadband to rural areas and urban "not-spots".
Openreach, BT's regulated local network business, is responsible for the deployment of fibre to these areas. BT said its infrastructure would be available on an "open, wholesale basis" to all companies providing broadband services.
However, the terms and conditions under which resellers would have access to some elements of BT's infrastructure have still to be published.
Industry sources have indicated that initial costs of access to BT poles are likely to be high because of the cost of training and insuring workers against accidents.
BT has also said previously it does not plan to provide "dark fibre" - access to its unlit fibre cables - which would allow ISPs to provide their own terminating equipment and management, allowing them to save money.
Access to dark fibre has been a frequent request from the Communication Managers' Association, which represents the UK's major private sector data network users. The European Commission has recommended that telcos that receive public money should provide dark fibre on request.
|Exchange||Regional Development Agency||County|
|Baldock||East of England||Hertfordshire|
|Bishop Auckland||North East||Durham|
|Dereham||East of England||Norfolk|
|Epping||East of England||Essex|
|Filey||Yorkshire and The Humber||North Yorkshire|
|Frinton-on-sea||East of England||Essex|
|Great Dunmow||East of England||Essex|
|Halstead||East of England||Essex|
|Mirfield||Yorkshire and The Humber||West Yorkshire|
|Newmarket||East of England||Suffolk|
|Royston, South Yorkshire||Yorkshire and The Humber||South Yorkshire|
|Sheringham||East of England||Norfolk|
|Stocksbridge||Yorkshire and The Humber||South Yorkshire|
|Stourport||West Midlands||Hereford & Worcester|