BT has announced the next batch of exchanges due to be involved in its fibre roll-out.
There are 178 exchanges involved, with a focus on Scotland (including multiple exchanges in Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh) and the north of England, although exchanges from all across the UK are encompassed.
BT intends to ensure that fibre is live in these locations at some stage before the end of 2012, which will hook up another 1.8 million UK homes and businesses to its super-fast broadband network.
The majority of the connections offered will be FTTC or fibre-to-the-cabinet, running at 40Mbps currently but due to be doubled up in speed to 80Mbps come the spring of 2012. Those are theoretical headline speeds, of course, with FTTC still affected by your distance from the street cabinet.
Some areas within a roll out zone won’t get the service either, as BT doesn’t cover every cabinet.
After this latest batch of upgrades, BT says that Openreach will have covered 80% of its commercial fibre footprint. The goal is for that footprint to extend to two-thirds of the UK by the close of 2014.
Six million homes and businesses are already hooked up to fibre, as Olivia Garfield, CEO of Openreach, noted: “We continue to make tremendous strides with our fibre programme. Super-fast broadband is already within reach of more than six million premises today and we are on track to pass ten million premises next year.”
That includes the already announced exchanges earlier this year which are also having fibre go live throughout (mostly early) 2012.
The “final third”, the less commercially viable and more remote parts of the UK, still remains a thorny issue when it comes to faster broadband.
Recently it came to light that early rural broadband trials were going nowhere fast due to councils failing to organise provider contracts and actually putting the funding they’ve been given into use.