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BT announces FTTP roll out in nine UK cities

BT openreach van

BT has announced the first steps in its dedicated fibre to the premises roll-out, with nine locations in the UK targeted for high speed broadband for SMEs.

Openreach, over which BT’s ownership has had questions repeatedly asked of it this year, will be rolling out FTTP to SMEs based on high streets, business and science parks as well as areas where it doesn’t currently supply fibre broadband. These UK towns include Liverpool, Manchester and Bristol, as well as Westminster, Holborn and the City in London.

Openreach hopes this announcement marks the first step in a long term fibre and G.fast roll out, in which FTTP will connect hundreds of thousands of businesses in the country, and G.fast making up the remainder. While the numbers are relatively vague at this point, the impression given is that FTTP will contribute to a strategy more reliant on G.fast than anything else.

The rest of the plan targets expanding FTTP access for SMEs to surrounding residences and use G.fast to cover more heavily populated urban areas where civil engineering and installation disruption becomes prohibitive. Unlike FTTP, G.fast can be installed more easily on existing infrastructure in major cities. Combined, Openreach plans on hitting 12 million premises with ultrafast broadband – with possible speeds hitting 1 Gbps – by 2020.

“Our aim is to make ultrafast broadband available to 12 million homes and businesses by the end of 2020,” said Openreach CEO Clive Selley. “SMEs have told us they want an alternative to dedicated lines and that is what we are going to give them. Openreach has been trialling new deployment methods for FTTP in Bradford and I am pleased to say the trials have progressed very well. Now that we have proved the new techniques we will begin our wider roll-out, starting with these nine new locations.

“Hundreds of thousands of consumers will also benefit over the next few years as we continue our work to plug any remaining fibre broadband gaps. This targeted approach will help to deliver the ambition we share with government to improve broadband speeds in the final five per cent of the country.”

Earlier this year, BT announced it has pledged billions of pounds to upgrade its fixed, wireless and Openreach assets, but its focus on G.fast and reluctance to go all in on FTTP drew criticism from rival internet providers Sky and CityFibre.

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