Twenty-five million premises in the UK can now access superfast broadband services from BT’s Openreach network.
BT began rolling out fibre broadband in 2009 and claims to have passed 70,000 premises a week to reach the latest milestone. The fibre push also drove up average speeds in 2015 to 29Mbps.
The 25 million figure is an increase of two million on the last official figure from BT of 23 million in July 2015.
BT said that around four million of the installations have used government money from the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) project. The remaining 21 million were covered by BT’s own commercial project.
The company added that BDUK remains on track to reach 95 per cent of the population by 2017.
Newly installed BT Openreach CEO Clive Selley claimed that reaching 25 million premises is a testament to the work of BT’s engineers across the UK.
“The UK is making great progress with fibre broadband. Availability and take up are well ahead of most European countries, and I’d like to thank the thousands of Openreach engineers who have worked so tirelessly to make this happen,” he said.
BT estimated that over 4,700 telephone exchanges have been upgraded since 2009 and that tens of thousands of street cabinets have been installed or overhauled to handle fibre connections.
BT also highlighted work to find new ways to boost the speed of its copper connections, notably G.fast which could bring speeds of around 300Mbps to homes and businesses on the network.
However, many remain critical of the rollout, particularly projects involving the BDUK funds, claiming that the speeds being provided are not ‘superfast’ and do not future proof the UK for the ever-increasing amount of data being consumed over broadband networks.
Furthermore, rivals such as CityFibre are starting to pose a challenge to BT Openreach in the wholesale fibre broadband market with pure fibre-to-the-premises offerings that can hit speeds of 1Gbps, upload and download.
BT also faces pressure to improve performance when it comes to business broadband connections, after Ofcom said that current installation times are too long.
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