BT’s Openreach has added a further 178 exchanges to its fibre deployment programme. These exchanges – the majority of which will be enabled in 2012 – cover more than 1.8 million homes and businesses.
Once these and previously announced exchanges have been upgraded, Openreach will have completed around 80 per cent of its commercial fibre footprint. This footprint will cover two thirds of UK premises by the end of 2014. More than six million homes and businesses already have access.
Olivia Garfield, CEO of Openreach, said: “We continue to make tremendous strides with our fibre programme. Super-fast broadband is already within reach of more than six million premises today and we are on track to pass ten million premises next year.
“Our ambitions do not stop there. We will make fibre available to two thirds of UK premises by the end of 2014 and we want to go even further. It is important that as many premises as possible have access to fibre and so we will bid for the BDUK funds that are available. Our experience in deploying fibre networks at scale and the fact that our open, wholesale network allows competition to thrive in an area makes Openreach an ideal partner for these local/regional broadband initiatives.”
Openreach says it is transforming broadband speeds across the UK. The current average downstream speed is 6.8Mbps but Openreach’s mainstream fibre broadband product delivers speeds of up to 40Mbps and these will roughly double in 2012. The business has also launched a much faster variant in certain locations that will offer speeds of up to 300Mbps in Spring 2012. All Openreach’s fibre products offer upstream speeds that are significantly faster than those experienced today.
Openreach believes government funds – being administered by BDUK – could release further public and private investment that could make fibre available to more than 90 per cent of premises within five to six years. The wider deployment of fibre – together with further technological innovation – could see most premises have access to speeds of 100Mbps or above and broadband “slow spots” largely eradicated.