BT has announced that it will be bringing fibre broadband to two-thirds of the UK households by the end of 2014 – one year earlier than expected.
As well as announcing the earlier completion date, BT also announced that it would be recruiting 520 more engineers to assist with the deployment, with most of them coming from the armed forces.
The new fibre optic service offers potential downloads speeds of 100Mbps and potential upload speeds of 15Mbps. Currently 6 million households have access to the service with BT hoping to have 10 million homes connected next year.
Overall BT is investing £2.5 billion in the network upgrade, and the company will bring forward £300 million of this to help speed up the rollout.
The rollout of this fibre optic network will be seen by many as playing catch up, with the UK currently ranked 25th in world in terms of broadband speeds with an average speed of just 5Mbps lagging behind the likes of South Korea and many eastern European countries.
Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport said: “The Government is committed to ensuring the UK is leading the way in broadband provision and BT’s accelerated roll-out will help make that a reality.”
Ian Livingston, CEO of BT Group said: “Thousands of our engineers are busy installing fibre broadband across the UK at an astonishing pace. 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 funds. We are proud that most of these jobs will be filled by ex-armed forces personnel.”
The Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) fund Livingston speaks of is the government’s pledge to spend £530 million over the course of this parliament to bring fibre broadband to additional areas. BT will be bidding for these funds against companies like Fujitsu.