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BT braves foul weather to bring fibre broadband to 15 million premises

09 Apr 2013
Fibre broadband strands

BT has overcome the recent spell of atrocious weather that blighted the UK to reveal that 15 million properties can now access its fibre broadband services, half the UK, as it aims for two-thirds of homes and businesses by next year.

The firm announced that its Openreach engineers are passing between 100,000 and 200,000 properties every week, putting it on course to reach 19 million premises by 2014.

Mike Galvin, the managing director for network investment at Openreach, told V3 the firm was bang on target with its rollouts, despite being hampered in some areas by the snow and cold weather that hit large areas of the UK in recent weeks.

“The weather gave us a lot of problems. You can’t blow fibre at temperatures below -4ºC so we had to stop work in some areas. It was also often too dangerous or too inaccessible to work,” he said.

“We also had to bus some resources in from around the country but we’re still on target and we’re delighted with the work we’re doing.”

The firm has recently scored a raft of fibre rollout deals under the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) deal such as the Isles of Scilly, the Highlands and Islands and Lincolnshire.

Galvin added that firm was commited to finding other technologies to bring broadband to remote areas, noting its success with 4G trials in Cornwall and white space TV spectrum in Suffolk and the Isle of Bute.

Openreach chief executive Liv Garfield used the announcement to tout the openness of the Openreach network, in response to some criticisms that have been levelled at the firm that it has a monopoly on the fibre rollouts.
“More than 60 companies are already using our network so customers also have plenty of choice. There is a level playing field and what could be fairer than that?”

BT is currently the only firm competing for government broadband contracts as rival Fujitsu pulled out of the BDUK bidding process, claiming the process was unworkable for its requirements.

The government has said it has no issue with a sole firm taking all the money set aside for rural broadband rollouts.

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Dan Worth

Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal

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