BT accelerates fibre roll-out to 2014

31 October 2011 | Kavit Majithia

BT has announced today it is to bring forward its target for a fibre network roll-out by one year after the UK government urged the industry to develop faster broadband speeds in the country.

Secretary of state for Culture and Media, Jeremy Hunt has welcomed the news, as the UK bids to make businesses more competitive with faster communication links.

The move means two thirds of BT’s premises will have access to superfast broadband by the end of 2014, and the company will bring forward £300 million of investment in the next few years to achieve its goal, deploying a further 520 engineers, with most of the new recruits being former members of the armed forces. Overall, BT is investing over £2.5 billion in its commercial fibre broadband roll-out.

Hunt said: “Superfast broadband is essential for achieving sustainable growth and it is vital that homes and businesses have access to it as soon as possible.”

BT has developed an open wholesale platform to increase competition in the market and has also recently announced it is to deliver speeds of up to 300Mbps by mid-2012. The government has pledged £530 million to develop fibre broadband in the region, and the company confirmed it intends to bid for funds allocated by the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK).

“We are investing when others are merely talking about it,” said Ian Livingston, CEO at BT. “Thousands of engineers are busy installing fibre broadband across the UK at an astonishing pace. The recruitment of an additional five hundred engineers will help us go even faster and ensure we are ready to help supply other areas should we win BDUK funds.”

BT said its fibre roll-out is already well advanced, with six million premises already accessing fibre speeds, and this deployment is scheduled to increase to ten million premises by the end of next year.