Openreach, the network arm of British fixed line incumbent BT, has announced the latest phase of its fibre deployment programme, revealing a further 178 exchanges at which it aims enable access to superfast broadband services. With the majority of the those exchanges – which cover around 1.8 million premises – expected to be enabled during 2012, Openreach has said that once the upgrades to all of these and previously announced exchanges are finished, it will have completed around 80% of its commercial fibre footprint.
Commenting on the development, Olivia Garfield, Openreach CEO, said: ‘We continue to make tremendous strides with our fibre programme. Superfast broadband is already within reach of more than six million premises today and we are on track to pass ten million premises next year … Our ambitions do not stop there. We will make fibre available to two-thirds of UK premises by the end of 2014 and we want to go even further.’
Alongside the coverage expansion, the infrastructure unit has also revealed that it expects the speeds on offer to increase further, with Openreach noting that the 40Mbps downlink speeds currently on offer will ‘roughly double in 2012’. Further, the operator also notes that it expects to introduce a faster fibre-based variant, offering download speeds of up to 300Mbps in Spring 2012 via the deployment of fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) technology in certain areas.