BT Openreach has claimed that its plans to roll out fibre broadband to two-thirds of premises in the UK by 2015 are a year ahead of schedule.
The division said that in order to hit the new deadline of 2014 it has brought forward £300m of funding for the project which, when completed, will allow BT Retail and other internet service providers to offer services over the network.
BT Openreach also revealed that it is to recruit an additional 520 engineers, primarily ex-forces personnel, to help with the final stages of the rollout, an announcement welcomed by culture secretary Jeremy Hunt.
"BT's accelerated fibre rollout plan is great news for the UK. With access to superfast broadband UK businesses will have the infrastructure they need to grow and develop new products and services," he said.
"This investment means new jobs today, but also allows us to build the digital infrastructure we need for the jobs of tomorrow."
BT's aim of providing broadband services to two-thirds of the UK is a central aspect of the government's strategy to provide the entire population with access to internet services of 2Mbit/s and above by 2015.
Charlie Davies, a principal analyst at Ovum, told V3 that the news is a welcome boost for the industry, but warned that there is still a long journey ahead for BT to provide superfast speeds direct to homes.
"BT's move is good news for the UK and is indicative of the favourable impact of the strong competition that exists been BT and Virgin, as each of them race to head-up the fixed broadband access league," he said.
"By contrast, BT's more limited fibre-to-the-home [FTTH] deployment has been delayed, underlining the frequent installation challenges encountered by operators rolling out FTTH."
BT Openreach also recently revealed that it is to trial a service that can run as high as 300Mbit/s, while a fibre-to-the-premises product offering 110Mbit/s downloads and 15Mbit/s uploads will also be available for resellers to offer.
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