BT Openreach is planning a belated roll-out of fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband, pledging today to reach three million British homes by 2020, an increase on a previous pledge of two million.
That, though, is still a long way short of early promises to connect as much as 25 per cent of the country to the internet via FTTP.
So far, the company has only brought its FTTP technology to 500,000 homes and businesses across the UK, mostly in rural settings where fibre-to-the-cabinet isn't an option.
We're accelerating plans to bring some of the world's fastest broadband to 3 million homes and businesses in the UK by 2020. This is all part of our ambition to build a large scale Fibre to the Premises network in the UK: https://t.co/F40pJy1xDZ pic.twitter.com/c9iz4Orcld— Openreach (@OpenreachGB) February 1, 2018
But now, Openreach has pledge to bring it to cities such as Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester.
Openreach CEO Clive Selley said that the company is "building an Ultrafast Britain", and that it's accelerating its plans to "build FTTP to three million premises by 2020 which sets the course to reach ten million by the mid-2020s with the right conditions".
He explained that the firm has teamed up with central and local governments to make this possible. "We will identify the cities, towns and rural areas where we can build a future-proofed, FTTP network," said Selley.
To achieve these goals, Openreach pledged to hire an additional 3,000 engineers. By bringing fibre into premises, customers will benefit from faster speeds.
I'm glad Openreach have begun to make this shift in strategy, away from copper to modern Full Fibre technology. We will work with all Full Fibre broadband providers to build a Britain fit for the future https://t.co/RhM44kNGfW— Matt Hancock (@MattHancock) February 1, 2018
Selley added: "We'll continue to invest in our people and we're already in the process of re-training and upskilling to make Fibre First a reality.
"We plan to hire around 3,000 engineers in 2018/19 to kick-start Fibre First and further improve the reliability and performance of our existing networks."
CityFibre, which is developing its own alternative fibre network, was quick off the mark with its response, claiming that "the announcement from Openreach is a clear response to competition".
Justin Webb rightly picking on BT for appalling FTTP rollout. Everyone forgets BT originally said 25% of fibre network would be FTTP. It's now 3%.— Barry Collins (@bazzacollins) February 1, 2018
It continued: "It is clear that it's in UK consumers' and businesses' best interests to deliver full fibre connectivity to the maximum possible number of premises in the shortest possible time and at the best possible value.
"CityFibre and Vodafone is already leading the way, with a long-term strategic partnership that will bring ultrafast gigabit-capable full fibre broadband to up to five million UK homes and businesses, approximately 20% of the UK market, by 2025."
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