Openreach, the division of British fixed line incumbent BT Group tasked with controlling the telco’s nationwide local loop network, has claimed that BT’s in-deployment fibre-optic network will be available to some five million premises across the UK by the end of this month. Commenting on the expected milestone, Liv Garfield, Openreach CEO, said: ‘Being able to bring faster broadband speeds within reach of more than five million premises is a significant milestone and we are well on our way to passing ten million in 2012 and two-thirds of UK premises by the end of 2015.’ Further, as part of the company’s GBP2.5 billion (USD4.09 billion) fibre-deployment programme, which according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database was first announced in mid-2008, Openreach has revealed that another 66 telephone exchanges will be upgraded with fibre-based equipment, with some to be enabled before end-2011 and the remainder during 2012. According to the operator, with the new exchanges spread across the country, it expects the upgrades to enable a further one million homes and business to access fibre-based broadband services.
Openreach also revealed that trials of a new wireless broadband access technology were underway on the Isle of Bute, with the telco working with the University of Strathclyde, BBC Research and Development, Steepest Ascent, Berg Design and Netpropagate for the project. The tests are aiming to discover whether ‘white spaces’ in the Ultra High Frequency (UHF) TV spectrum can be used to deliver high speed broadband to those regions where properties are either unable to receive a fixed line broadband service, or only receive a sub-2Mbps access due to line length. According to Openreach the ‘initial results have been very promising with the technology being tested over long distances and challenging terrain,’ although it has said that further tests are required, and live trials are expected to begin next month with around a dozen test users.