BT Reveals Another 114 Exchanges To Be Fibre-Enabled

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BT has revealed the latest locations of its ongoing fibre deployment, that will serve an extra 1 million homes

BT Openreach has revealed that an extra one million homes and businesses in the UK are to be connected to its ongoing fibre deployment across the country.

The former UK incumbent named an extra 144 telephone exchanges that are to be upgraded to fibre by Autumn 2012. The carrier is of course spending £2.5 billion to deploy fibre to two-thirds of UK homes and businesses by the end of 2015.

“I am pleased to be able to reveal the latest locations where we will make fibre broadband available,” said Mike Galvin, Openreach managing director for next generation access. “Our roll out is one of the fastest in the world and we are on track to pass ten million homes and businesses next year before pushing on further.”

Fibre Monopoly?

“Fibre broadband will transform peoples’ experience of the internet and so I am sure the residents and businesses in these areas will welcome the news,” he added. “No other company is doing as much as Openreach to bring super-fast broadband to the UK.”

This last comment could have been aimed at TalkTalk, after its commercial director David Goldie used an interview with the Observer on Sunday to claim that BT was trying to establish a monopoly on the UK’s fibre optic broadband market.

BT Fibre In Ducting

Goldie warned that BT’s attempts to regain its former dominance of the market could leave Britain with a second-class broadband infrastructure.

That said, Fujitsu revealed in April that it plans to build its own £2 billion superfast fibre network that would bypass BT’s street cabinets and offer high speed connections to five million homes in rural Britain that currently have poor broadband  coverage. Both TalkTalk and Virgin Media are both publicly backing Fujitsu’s plans.

Broadband Delivery UK

Meanwhile BT is also now bidding for a further £360 million of the government subsidy, announced last month for England and Scotland, to help get fibre to rural areas. The Scottish Parliament subsequently complained that it was not getting enough of the £360m handout.

“We believe that the government’s support makes it possible to get fibre to ninety percent of homes and so we will be engaging with Broadband Delivery UK and local councils to offer our help and expertise,” said BT’s Galvin.

“There is no substitute for experience when it comes to fibre deployment and we have more experience than anyone,” Galvin said. “We are also committed to offering open and equivalent access so that customers can benefit from a competitive market. Local monopolies benefit no-one and no public funds should go to supporting them”.

It is worth pointing out that despite BT’s belief that 90 percent of the UK could be wired up to fibre with government support, the UK carrier is still publicly committed to deploying ADSL2+ in certain regions.

ADSL2+ offers possible broadband speeds of up to 20Mbps, but is used over copper lines, not fibre.

A full list of the 114 telephone exchanges that will be upgraded to fibre can be found here.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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