BT has announced that it’s connected ten million UK homes and businesses to its next-gen fibre broadband network, providing speeds of up to 80Mbps.
The £2.5 billion investment plan had BT down to have 10 million premises capable or ordering Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) lines by the end of 2012, meaning that the incumbent telco is ahead of schedule. Looks like those extra engineers BT hired has paid off.
BT’s chief executive Ian Livingston praised the efforts of the 150 engineers, some ex-army personnel and the rest of the BT Group: “Our engineers have worked tirelessly this past year and BT has made a real commitment to the UK’s infrastructure. Rolling out fibre is no easy task and so to have passed ten million premises in such a short time is fantastic. Our roll-out is one of the fastest in the world and our engineers deserve lots of credit.”
“The UK is making great progress with fibre broadband,” Livingstone added. “There are more than half a million customers already using the service and more than 60 ISPs trialling or offering services. This is a significant achievement given we only began selling services a couple of years ago.”
BT is geared up to make Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) broadband available on demand in all fibre enabled areas from Spring 2013. This will see top download speeds eventually jumping to 300Mbps.
We understand the trialling of the financial models for this on-demand upgrade to be underway. While there’s no word on an estimated price for the upgrade yet, BT has said that other ISPs using the network will either pay for the last mile or pass on the costs to the customer in some form.
BT has also recently announced trials for microfilters on fibre lines, which could make a self-install option (therefore not requiring an engineer visit) viable.
BT Q4 2011 and year to March 2012 results
Previous figures put BT’s number of sign ups for BT Infinity around 400,000; net additions for BT Infinity were 131,000 in the last quarter, bringing the total number of super-fast fibre connections to 550,000.
This closes the gap somewhat with Virgin Media’s super-fast subscriber base which was, at the last count, 843,000.
BT Retail now has a total customer base of 6.3 million. 589,000 signed up last year, representing a whopping 54 per cent of new subscribers for 2011 – 1,085,000 new UK homes and businesses signed up for broadband last year.
Image credit: Flickr user James Stewart