BT to extend FTTx coverage to 95% of Cornwall homes

BT (NYSE: BT) is extending the coverage of its fiber-based broadband services in Cornwall to 95 percent of area homes, up from the 80 percent mark it originally set, by 2014.

Delivered through the £132 million ($196 million) "Superfast Cornwall" project, a joint partnership between the European Union, Cornwall Council and BT, the company said it was able to extend the reach of the network due to new innovations such as lightweight aerial cables.

BT currently provides fiber broadband services to over half of Cornish premises. It is finding that the take rates are higher in the majority of locations where it offers fiber-based broadband in other parts of the UK.

Over 20,000 Cornwall customers subscribe to fiber services delivered by BT and 30 other competitive providers.

"We have been able to test run some new innovations in the county and as a result we have delivered efficiencies which are now enabling us to go further than we first thought possible," said Liv Garfield, CEO of Openreach, in a release.

Already, a number of Cornish businesses are seeing benefits from fiber-based broadband, including Music Publishing Services, which works with music publishers in various locations including London, New York, Copenhagen and Paris.

"Music publishing is an international business and it is critical that I can transfer files efficiently on-line," said Peter West, who founded Music Publishing Services in 1981.

Part of the "Superfast Cornwall" project includes spending £3.7 million ($5.53 million) to bring fiber-based services to the Isles of Scilly in the first half of next year by extending two unused undersea cables to the area. Up till now, the only available broadband connection residents had was a microwave radio link between Lands End and the Isles.

Later this year, a cable ship will spend about a month cutting and moving the two cables, which were previously used to communicate between the UK, Ireland and Spain.

Fiber-based broadband is a growing element of BT's retail and Openreach divisions. In fiscal Q3, it added 200,000 retail fiber broadband customers and 21,000 BT Vision customers, while Openreach reported that fiber-based broadband service is available to 13 million premises, up 1.3 million in the quarter.

For more:
- see the release

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