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BT’s network access division Openreach has passed 25 million premises with its wholesale fibre-backed network, with 21 million through its commercial roll-out and four million through the government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) scheme.
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Openreach’s announcement came just days after broadband comparison website Thinkbroadband.com revealed 90% of UK homes and businesses could now access a service defined by the government as superfast – that is to say delivering speeds of more than 24Mbps – fulfilling an objective first set out by the coalition government in 2010.
By this measure, the UK is substantially ahead of the other largest EU economies – France, Germany, Italy and Spain – in terms of overall availability of superfast services. However, some smaller economies, particularly in the Nordics and central and eastern Europe, significantly outpace the UK.
“The UK is making great progress with fibre broadband. Availability and take up are well ahead of most European countries and I’d like to thank the thousands of Openreach engineers who have worked so tirelessly to make this happen,” said Openreach CEO Clive Selley.
“The job isn’t finished however and we are working hard to get coverage to 95% and above. We are also exploring how we can improve speeds for the million or so premises in the final few percent of the country.”
Openreach claimed that average broadband speeds available in the UK had increased by 27% in the space of two years, from 23Mbps in 2015 to 29Mbps at the end of 2015. This is a measure that it said was set to increase as more people took up fibre-backed connections.
Openreach has upgraded around 4,700 telephone exchanges and installed tens of thousands of fibre cabinets around the UK, with engineers working more than 10 million man hours and driving 72 million miles in the progess.
Selley said the focus for Openreach was increasingly turning to making ultrafast – above 100Mbps – services available, which will be done through a combination of copper-based G.fast and, in the case of new build housing developments and business parks, more fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP).
BT believes it can offer 100Mbps broadband to 10 million properties by the early 2020s. ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... .. . ...