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BT’s superfast broadband footprint swells to cover 25m premises

The UK’s biggest telco has announced that its 25Mbps and above superfast broadband services are now available to 25 million UK addresses. 

For the great majority of people, this means that services using FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) broadband technology are now available, giving people access to faster double-digit download speeds that wouldn’t have been possible on an ADSL line. 

BT’s FTTC lines currently deliver a theoretical maximum download speed of 80Mbps, though as with ADSL, the bandwidth you’ll actually get depends greatly on your locations (in this case, proximity to the cabinet instead of the telephone exchange) meaning some customers won’t get anything approaching that headline speed. 

Related: BT chief bites back at minister’s favour for Openreach overhaulBT announces new ultrafast broadband trials: G.fast for muggles, gigabit fibre for business wizardsFTTP (Fibre to the Premises) lines, which BT has been rolling out on a much smaller scale since 2012, provide higher top speeds of 330Mbps and bandwidth isn’t affected by location. 

The great majority of BT’s superfast connections have been rolled out under the company’s own £2.5 billion commercial rollout, which has seen upgraded services made available to around 21 million premises. 

The BDUK (Broadband Delivery for the UK) project has seen superfast services put within reach of roughly 4 million. The reveal follows news from late last week that UK has finally hit the 90 per cent threshold for superfast broadband coverage – the original target figure for BDUK before the goalposts were moved. By the end of 2017 the government expects that its new coverage target of 95 per cent will be met. 

BT says that on average it’s been passing more than 70,000 premises a week since it began work in July 2009, which means if that rate is maintained, BT is passing 3.6 million premises a year. BT’s network covers roughly 29 million premises, meaning it should just about do it. 

Clive Selley, CEO of Openreach, BT’s network division said the job is far from finished. As well as going beyond the coverage target, he envisions the work currently done as a springboard to ultrafast services. 

BT’s superfast postcode checker beta adds more cabinet infoSelley said: “The job isn’t finished however and we are working hard to get coverage to 95 per cent and above. We are also exploring how we can improve speeds for the million or so premises in the final few per cent of the country. 

“Our approach has delivered affordable superfast services to the vast majority of the country in the fastest possible time. We want to build upon that by making ultrafast broadband available to most of the UK. We will do this using a mix of G.fast technology and FTTP, with the latter focused mainly on new developments and small businesses in high streets and business parks.”

G.fast is an emerging technology that’s delivered speeds in excess of 700Mbps in lab conditions – BT is now running a number of trials to see how the technlogy performs in the real world

While G.fast promises speeds head and shoulders above that which is possible on an FTTC line, it can’t compete with FTTP, which BT’s own tests have shown can comfortably deliver 10Gbps. BT expects that G.fast services will be available to around 10 million premises by the end of 2020

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