British fixed line incumbent BT has issued an update on its GBP2.5 billion (USD3.9 billion) fibre-rollout project, with the telco announcing that it expects to connect a further 1.2 million premises as part of the latest phase of development. With work expected to bring the telco’s total fibre to footprint to around 19 million premises, BT’s local network unit Openreach has confirmed that it will upgrade 99 new exchanges with fibre ‘before or during Spring next year’. The exchanges in question are understood to serve approximately 600,000 premises, the bulk of which are located in Scotland, the Midlands, the North East and North West. Meanwhile, a further 600,000 premises are expected to gain access to BT’s fibre products as a result of what the operator has termed ‘additional infill work in previously announced areas’.
In outlining its future plans, BT claimed that its fibre network is already the largest in the UK, reaching more than 13 million premises. When complete, it expects its engineers to have installed tens of thousands of fibre cabinets, enabled around 1,700 exchanges and laid more than 50,000 kilometres of fibre cables across the country. With Openreach deploying a mix of fibre-based technologies including fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) and fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP), it has also been confirmed that BT expects to start offering the latter commercially from Spring 2013.
Commenting on the progress of the fibre rollout, Mike Galvin, head of the Next Generation Access programme at Openreach, noted: ‘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.’