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BT Openreach Adds 99 More Exchanges And 1.2m Premises To Fibre Plans

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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BT Openreach says even more homes will have access to fibre

BT has announced that it is adding 99 exchanges to its fibre network, adding a further 1.2 premises to its £2.5 billion commercial rollout of superfast broadband in the UK.

Openreach, BT’s local network business, will upgrade the exchanges before or during spring next year, bringing the total number of exchanges it has confirmed will be upgraded to 19 million.

The new exchanges will serve approximately 600,000 premises across Scotland, the Midlands and Northern England, with another 600,000 gaining access to fibre as a result of additional ‘infill’ work in previously announced areas.

BT Openreach fibre rollout

concept network fibre chip abstract network broadband © Toria ShutterstockHowever BT has said that due to current network topography, some premises within the selected exchange areas will not initially be able to access fibre-based broadband and that it was considering alternative solutions for these locations.

“The UK is making great progress with super-fast broadband and this latest phase of work will keep up the momentum,” said Mike Galvin, managing director of fibre access at Openreach. “Speeds are increasing all the time with the UK second only to Japan within the G8.”

The rollout comprises a mixture of Fibre To The Cabinet (FTTC), which offers download speeds of up to 80Mbps and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps, and Fibre To the Premises (FTTP) technologies.

Around 1,700 exchange areas in the UK will make up its fibre footprint and the company is now beginning to identify additional exchanges under the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) initiative, which provides government funding for the rollout of fibre in areas where it is not commercially viable to do so.

“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,” added Galvin. “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.”

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