Broadband boost

BT has revealed the first set of locations where, from early 2010, substantial numbers of customers will have access to fibre-based broadband via BT’s network.

BT’s local access division, Openreach, will deploy fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) technology at 29 exchanges across the UK. This will bring speeds of up to 40Mb/s – and potentially 60Mb/s – within reach of 500,000 homes and businesses.

Areas of Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London and Greater Manchester will be among the first locations to benefit from the initial deployment. While the majority of the locations are urban, two of them – Calder Valley (near Halifax) and Taffs Well (near Cardiff) – are not. 

The next set of locations – serving a further million homes and businesses – will be announced in the autumn.

Openreach will install fibre between local exchanges and the street cabinets that sit between those exchanges and the premises served by them.

The fibre will transform the speeds available to users even though the last link in the chain – from the street cabinet to the premises – will remain copper.

While Openreach will deploy the technology, it will be up to communications providers (CPs) to develop services based on the technology and sell them to customers.
BT has pledged to spend £1.5bn by 2012 to ensure that 40 per cent of UK homes and businesses – some 10 million premises – can access fibre-based services.

FTTC technology is being piloted this summer in Muswell Hill, London, and Whitchurch, Wales, in advance of the wider roll out.