BT reaches fiber broadband target to cover two-thirds of UK

BT Group reports that its fiber-optic broadband network now passes more than 19 million homes and businesses, roughly two-thirds of all premises in the UK. The company reached this milestone significantly earlier than expected.

BT Group reports that its fiber-optic broadband network now passes more than 19 million homes and businesses, roughly two-thirds of all premises in the UK. The company reached this milestone significantly earlier than expected.

BT originally hoped to cover 19 million premises with its FTTx network by the end of 2015. The operator now says it passed that total in March this year, around 21 months earlier than planned (see “BT to accelerate fiber deployment”). The vast majority of that footprint has been enabled by BT under its commercial plan, while the remainder has been enabled in partnership with the public sector.

BT says its fiber footprint is set to grow considerably in the year ahead as it continues its commercial roll out and enables further areas with the assistance of the public sector. Much of this work will take place under the 44 local partnerships that BT has struck as part of the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) program. Work is underway in all 44 contract areas, and more than 630,000 largely rural premises have been passed with fiber to date under the program.

The service provider also touted a recent independent report which showed the UK has the widest fiber-optic broadband availability – which BT defines as including both fiber to the home (FTTH) and fiber to the cabinet (FTTC) – among major European countries as well as the highest take rate and the most competitive marketplace. UK superfast broadband availability currently stands at 73% of premises when all operators’ networks are taken into account. This widespread availability compares with just 20-25% for France, according to the European Broadband Scorecard published by the U.K. telecommunications regulator Ofcom.

Meanwhile, BT also confirmed the report’s conclusion regarding take rates, with 347,000 new premises taking fiber over its network during the fourth quarter. This equates to a new fiber customer roughly every 20 seconds.

Those new customers have taken the Openreach fiber broadband customer base to more than 2.7 million. This figure has almost doubled from a year ago, BT says.

Communications Minister Ed Vaizey said, “The UK now has the widest fiber availability of the top five European economies as well as the highest take-up rate. Commercial operators like BT, with support from Government, are delivering one of the fastest roll outs of fiber in the world and these figures demonstrate that the Government’s aim to provide access to superfast speeds to 95% of the UK by 2017 is well on track.”

For more information on FTTx/access systems and suppliers, visit the Lightwave Buyer’s Guide.

Want to learn more about FTTx innovation? Attend the Lightwave Optical Innovation Summit
The Lightwave Optical Innovation Summit will feature panels and presentations that will illuminate where optical innovation is required in carrier and enterprise/data center networks, what it should look like, and when it might appear. A wide range of experts from the user, technology development, academic, and analyst communities will offer their views on innovation in a variety of areas, including FTTx. Find out more about the Summit, which will be held in Austin, TX, July 14-16, at the Lightwave Optical Innovation Summit website.

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