BT has come forward with details of its next batch of exchanges to get upgraded to fibre, 99 of them in fact.
Quite why BT couldn’t push that number to a round 100, we’re not sure, but at any rate this encompasses a further 1.2 million premises in the UK which will get access to BT’s Infinity product.
Once this is done – with the exchange upgrades scheduled to happen before spring 2014 – BT will have 19 million premises covered in total. In other words, two-thirds of the country.
Most of the exchanges in this just announced phase are in Scotland and the north of England, with some also in the midlands.
BT notes that it is running 18 months ahead of its original timetable for fibre deployment, though cynics might suggest early estimations were purposefully inflated somewhat to ensure good press releases about speedy action later on.
Still, the roll out of fibre has been an expeditious one, and that’s something we certainly can’t complain about.
The “final third” of more remote and rural areas will be the sticking point, no doubt, as that’s where projects get lengthier, messier and costlier – and indeed commercially unviable, which is why BT is going to be relying on government (BDUK) cash to partly subsidise the delivery.
BT’s current fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) offers up to 80Mbps downloads and 20Mbps uploads – though fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) is going to be offered from this spring. The latter is a direct line to the home which boasts 330Mbps, but that won’t be cheap (you’ll have to pay for the line to be run to your house or business, monthly cost aside).