Nearly 200,000 homes in the in the South-West could get access to BT’s “high ca-pasty” broadband
BT has announced that 130,000 more homes and businesses in the South-West of England could get access to so-called super-fast broadband, offering download speeds of up 60Mbps.
The telecoms giant’s announcement this week follows plans to upgrade around 300 exchanges across the UK over the next year to provide greater access to faster broadband networks. The 130,000 homes announced this week add to 64,000 already announced, making a total of around 194,000 homes in the South-West which could get access to higher speed broadband according to BT.
Public funding needed to deliver rural fibre
BT’s super-fast broadband plans are based around rolling out more fibre infrastructure around the UK. BT says it aims to deploy fibre-based broadband available to at least 40 percent of the UK – or some 10 million homes – by summer 2012.
“BT would also like to roll-out the fibre networks to parts of the UK where the economics are more challenging and where some public funding will be required,” said Jon Reynolds, BT’s South West regional director. “We are, of course, very open to holding discussions with public sector organisations, such as regional development agencies and local councils, on how this could be achieved.”
The telecoms company claims businesses could benefit from faster access to ‘cloud computing’ technology. “There will be faster backup of computer systems and wider use of high-quality videoconferencing within firms and between them and their customers,” the company states.
The fibre technology being deployed by BT will be a mixture of Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) and Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC). “BT will be rolling out a mix of the two technologies but we expect that FTTC will be the most widely deployed,” the company said.
Electricity of the digital age
Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced earlier this month that every home in the UK will have access to superfast broadband by 2020, dubbing it the “electricity of the digital age”. The Prime Minister reinstated the government’s plans to introduce a 50p-per-month levy on all fixed phone lines to help fund a partnership with the private sector for a superfast broadband network across Britain.
The Conservative party has meanwhile slammed Labour plans and launched its own strategy for improving the UK’s Internet infrastructure, promising speeds of 100 Mbps for the “majority” of homes by 2017. Shadow chancellor George Osborne has said money from private investors would provide better cabling in towns and cities, while a portion of the BBC’s licence fee would be used to pay for coverage in less lucrative rural areas. However, a report published last week found that investment would be unlikely to meet demand in rural constituencies – and may cost Tory votes
But while BT is touting speeds of up to 60Mbps for its current fibre roll out, Ofcom warned earlier this month that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are still not coming clean with their customers over broadband line speeds, more than a year after the industry signed up to a voluntary code of practice, and leading industry regulator Ofcom says it is considering taking action.