People unlucky enough to not live in Ebbsfleet will have access to super-fast broadband offering speeds of up to 60 Mb/s from early 2010, BT said today as it unveiled the first sites in line for deployment of fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) technology.
The deployment will be managed by BT's local access division, Openreach, and forms part of BT's pledge to spend £1.5bn by 2012 to ensure that 40% of UK homes and businesses have access to fibre-based broadband. BT has been heavily criticised in the past for allowing the UK to lag behind other EU members in terms of average broadband speed.
"The wider industry will now be able to plan ahead as we will be making our services available on a wholesale basis. This approach will benefit customers as there will undoubtedly be fierce competition for their business," said Openreach CEO Steve Robertson.
The initial 29 exchanges are clustered in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, north-east London and Essex, Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and central Scotland. One exchange in Northern Ireland and two in Wales have also been shortlisted.
A limited roll-out of pilot FTTC technology is expected to go ahead this summer in Muswell Hill, London, and Whitchurch, Wales, promising speeds of between 40 and 60 Mb/s.