BT reveals latest phase of fibre roll-out
1.2 million premises to be added to fibre footprint
99 new exchanges added to the list
Further work to be carried out in previously announced areas
BT today revealed the details of the latest phase of its £2.5 billion commercial roll-out of fibre broadband. A further 1.2million premises will be passed with the technology under this phase, bringing the total footprint announced by the company to date to around 19 million premises.
Openreach, BT's local network business, will upgrade 99 new exchanges with the technology before or during Spring next year. These exchanges serve approximately 600,000 premises which are mostly spread across Scotland, the Midlands, the North East and North West of England 1 . An additional 600,000 premises will also gain access to fibre broadband as a result of additional 'infill' work in previously announced areas.
BT has now confirmed around 1,700 exchange areas across the UK which will make up the bulk of its commercial fibre footprint. The company is now beginning to identify additional exchanges that it will enable with the assistance of its Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) partners.
Mike Galvin, Managing Director, NGA, Openreach, said: "The UK is making great progress with super-fast broadband and this latest phase of work will keep up the momentum. Speeds are increasing all the time with the UK second only to Japan within the G8 2 . 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."
"Our fibre deployment continues to gather pace. Our engineers are working round the clock to hit our ambitious target of reaching two thirds of UK premises with fibre during Spring 2014 – at least eighteen months ahead of the original timetable. The work doesn't stop there however as we are also helping to roll out fibre to other parts of the country working in partnership with local authorities as part of the BDUK activity."
BT's commercial fibre network is already the largest in the UK, reaching more than 13 million premises. When complete, BT's engineers will have installed tens of thousands of fibre cabinets, enabled around 1,700 exchanges and laid more than 50,000 kilometres of fibre cables across the country.
Openreach, BT's local network business, is deploying a mix of fibre-based technologies. This includes fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) technology, where the fibre runs from the exchange to a local roadside cabinet. FTTC offers download speeds of up to 80Mbps and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps and could deliver even faster speeds in the future 3 . Fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology, where the fibre runs all the way to the home or business, is also being deployed in certain areas. FTTP will offer the top current download speed of 330Mbps 4. According to the regulator Ofcom, the current average UK broadband speed is 9Mbps.
From Spring 2013, Openreach will also start to make FTTP commercially available on demand in areas where FTTC has been deployed 5.
At home, fibre broadband enables a family to simultaneously download a movie, watch a TV replay service, surf the internet and play games online all at the same time. A whole album can be downloaded in less than 30 seconds and a feature length HD movie in less than 10 minutes, whilst high-resolution photos can be uploaded to Facebook in seconds.
Unlike other companies, Openreach offers fibre broadband access to all service providers on an open, wholesale basis, underpinning a competitive market. For further information on Openreach's fibre broadband programme visit www.superfast-openreach.co.uk
1 Due to the current network topography, and the economics of deployment, it is likely that some premises within selected exchange areas will not initially be able to access fibre-based broadband. Openreach is considering alternative solutions for these locations.
2 Source: OOkla/Netindex.com results for 18 January – 6 February, 2013. Relates to average speed experienced by end users.
3 These are the download speeds offered at a wholesale level. It is up to individual communications providers to decide on the level of download speeds offered to consumers and businesses.
4 Above footnote also applies.
5 Openreach will levy an installation charge for FTTP on demand. It will be up to service providers to decide whether they pass that on to businesses or consumers wishing to use the product.