BT reveals UK market towns set for super-fast broadband boost
BT today announced the 41 market towns that will benefit from the next phase of BT’s super-fast fibre broadband deployment, serving around 300,000 businesses and consumers across these areas (see list below). Customers in these areas will be able to access super-fast broadband speeds of up to 40Mb/s from Spring 2012.
This follows last month’s news that, for the first time, BT would include a number of market towns in the next phase of its £2.5 billion fibre broadband roll-out. This is in response to customer demand for super-fast speeds in these areas and as part of BT’s commitment to deliver faster broadband speeds to more rural parts of the country.
By adapting its deployment model for fibre, BT has been able to create a commercial case for rolling out fibre to selected market towns in rural areas where the premises and cabinets are suitably clustered.
Because of the typical topography of market towns BT estimates that a large number of premises in these towns will be able to access fibre-based broadband; it is however likely that a minority will not initially be able to receive services due to a combination of technical and economic reasons. However, Openreach is very keen to engage in discussions with local council representatives to see if agreement can be reached to include the small minority of premises that will not be included.
The list of market towns join the 785 exchange locations across the country that BT has already revealed under its fibre roll-out plan to date. These locations serve around eight million premises in total, around half of BT’s total fibre roll-out plan.
BT is investing up to £2.5 billion to deliver fibre broadband to up to two thirds of UK homes and businesses, subject to an acceptable environment for investment. It’s the largest single commercial investment in fibre-based broadband ever undertaken in the UK, and is currently one of the biggest civil engineering projects running in Europe.
Openreach, BT’s local network business, is responsible for the deployment of fibre to these areas. The technology will be available on an open, wholesale basis to all companies providing broadband services.
Steve Robertson, CEO of Openreach said: “We want to extend the fibre footprint and the benefits the technology brings to more rural areas. So we’re constantly evolving our deployment model to make sure we can bring the benefits of the technology to the maximum number of people within the scope of our commercial deployment. The inclusion of 41 market towns in our roll-out plan firmly demonstrates our commitment to finding solutions for local communities. However, in many cases, this will require a collective effort. An infrastructure project on this scale – arguably as important to the future of the UK as the road or rail networks - can only be done in partnership. We’re keen to talk to public and private sector organisations about how this can be achieved.
“Many factors are taken into account when making decisions about where to focus our investment, and we’re working on ways to give people more of an opportunity to demonstrate where demand for next generation fibre broadband is the greatest,” he added.
Super-fast broadband, using fibre to street cabinets (FTTC), offers much faster download speeds of up to 40Mb/s, potentially rising to 60Mb/s, and upstream speeds of 10Mb/s, which could rise to 15Mb/s in the future. BT is also trialling fibre to the premises (FTTP) broadband services, at download speeds of up to 100Mb/s.
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