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
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
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.