BT will close down loss-making European operations in a year's time in order to get its debts below £10bn, and will extend its ADSL coverage in the UK in the next few months.
All of the telco's networking operations are to come under the control of BT Wholesale, which has sketched out a strategy of developing a "common underlying fibre transmission network offering highly resilient bit pipes and wavelength channels".
BT Ignite is to focus on multi-site corporate customers and drop smaller firms in European territories if they do not make money in a year's time. In addition to its own network across Europe, it will partner with Cegetel in France.
A spokesman for BT Wholesale said that the £3bn a year on capital investment did not include maintenance costs and that, out of the total capital investment, just five per cent would be in new copper.
The company pledged to increase fibre connections and the deployment of wavelength services.
It intends to target larger corporates, as well as remote corporate offices and larger small to medium sized enterprises, with rollout being centred around metropolitan and urban business centres.
BT Wholesale explained that it will also extend ATM capability to more than 800 sites but refused to give details of when and where.
The telco also said that it will put broadband at the "heart" of the company. It is planning to equip 100 more exchanges to run ADSL lines by the end of May and launch a stripped-down version of access-only broadband through its retail arm, although full details of that product will not emerge until later this month.
Pierre Danon, chief executive at BT Retail, said of the new product at a press conference: "It is a combination of new technology and new presentation. It will save a few pounds on the cost."
He shrugged off worries that telecoms watchdog Oftel may prevent the launch of the BT Retail direct product as unfair to internet service providers (ISPs).
BT also said it would increase the capacity of its existing 1,010 ADSL-enabled exchanges and restart its engineering programme to upgrade 600 more.
"We have been able to decide to upgrade another 100 exchanges," said Ben Verwaayen, chief executive at BT. "In addition to that, we are reviewing another 500."
The company maintained that the new engineering work would plug gaps in existing coverage. It will put another 50 towns and cities on the broadband map and cover two thirds of the UK population.
Orders had risen to "more than 10,000 a week and escalating since BT cut the wholesale cost of the cheapest ADSL to £14.75 plus VAT per month", said the telco.
Zen Internet, a small ISP that runs an availability checker at www.zenadsl.com, has revealed that more than 20,000 people looking for ADSL are unable to receive the service.
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