BT invests £6 billion to bring UK broadband to 10 million homes

Telco pledges direct fibre-to-the-premises connections for two million properties

BT

BT will pump 6 billion into improving Britian's super and ultrafast broadband infrastructure, the telco has announced.

The scheme is part of BT's pledge to extend superfast broadband coverage - which offers internet speeds of between 25Mbps and 80Mbps - to include more than 95 per cent of the UK by 2020.

The company is aiming to bring ultrafast broadband (with speeds of around 100Mbps) to at least ten million homes and business with the same period, two million of which will be connected directly via fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP).

Business parks, high streets and new housing developments will benefit from the expanded FTTP rollout, which follows BT's earlier commitment to bring FTTP to any new housing containing over 250 properties.

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The remaining eight million premises not receiving FTTP connections will instead get upgrades to the pre-existing copper infrastructure that runs from the properties to their local cabinet, which BT has dubbed G.fast technology.

BT CEO Gavin Patterson said: "The UK is a digital leader today and it is vital that it remains one in the future. That is why we are announcing a further 6 billion of investment in our UK networks, subject to regulatory certainty. Networks require money and a lot of it. Virgin and BT have both pledged to invest and we will now see if others follow our lead.

"G.fast is an important technology that will enable us to deploy ultrafast broadband at pace and to as many homes as possible. Customers want their broadband to be affordable as well as fast and we will be able to do that using G.fast. FTTP will also play a bigger role going forward and I believe it is particularly well suited to those businesses who may need speeds of up to 1Gbps. My ambition is to roll it out to two million premises and our trials give me confidence we will."

However, some industry experts have urged BT to up its commitment and increase its FTTP expansion plans.

"BT has the opportunity to help the some of the millions in the UK with broadband that isn't fit for purpose," said Dan Howdle, telecoms expert at Cable.co.uk.

He added that poor connections to cabinet infrastructure affect "primarily those in rural areas, but also anyone living more than 1,000 metres from their local fibre cabinet. If indeed they have one".

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"BT absolutely must seize this opportunity, not only for the sake of those who suffer daily with appalling broadband speeds, but also for its own sake, since failure to do so may contribute towards a future in which it is forced to give up Openreach," Howdle said.

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