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October 31, 2011

BT fibre broadband rollout ahead of schedule

Two-thirds of UK to get superfast Internet access by end of 2014

By Steve Evans

BT has announced that its rollout of super-fast fibre broadband will be completed a year ahead of schedule.

This means two-thirds of UK address should have access to broadband speeds of up to 100Mbps by the end of 2014, not 2015 as was originally planned.

To help with the accelerated rollout BT has said it will employ an additional 520 engineers, mainly ex-army personnel, and bring forward an investment of £300m. Its total investment in the fibre broadband package will be £2.5bn, BT has said.

"Our roll-out of fibre broadband is one of the fastest in the world and so it is great to be ahead of what was an already challenging schedule," said BT CEO Ian Livingston. "The acceleration reflects the success of the programme to date and is testament to the hard work and innovation of our people. We are investing when others are merely talking about it."

"The recruitment of an additional five hundred engineers will help us go even faster and ensure we are ready to help supply other areas should we win BDUK (Broadband Delivery UK) funds. We are proud that most of these jobs will be filled by ex-armed forces personnel," he added.

The company says six million premises already have access to its fibre broadband network and expects that figure to rise to 10 million in 2012 and cover two-thirds of the country by the end of 2014.

"BT’s accelerated fibre roll-out plan is great news for the UK," said Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport. "With access to superfast broadband UK businesses will have the infrastructure they need to grow and develop new products and services. This investment means new jobs today, but also allows us to build the digital infrastructure we need for the jobs of tomorrow."

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A recent study by Akamai revealed that the UK is placed way down in 25th place on the list of average broadband connection speeds around the world. The average broadband connection in the UK was 5Mpbs, well behind the likes of South Korea at 13.8Mbps and Hong Kong at 10.3Mbps and Japan at 8.9Mbps, according to Akamai’s latest State of the Internet report.

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