BT revealed on Wednesday the towns and cities that will get high-speed fibre broadband in the second stage of its £1.5bn rollout.
The rollout of fibre — whose high speeds are expected to enable a new range of online business and consumer services — is widely regarded as the next major battle between broadband providers. BT's current rollout pits it against Virgin Media, which covers 50 percent of the country with its own fibre deployment, for future dominance of the UK's broadband market.
Almost 70 exchanges have been named to receive fibre broadband, using a mixture of fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) and fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC).
The more expensive option, FTTP, could theoretically bring downstream speeds of up to 100Mbps and upstream speeds of 40Mbps. The less costly FTTC could deliver downstream speeds of up to 40Mbps and an uplink of between 5Mbps and 10Mbps.
Earlier this year, BT named the first set of 29 exchanges destined to be upgraded to fibre, covering some 500,000 homes and businesses.
Wednesday's announcement of a further 69 exchanges will put faster broadband within the reach of an additional 1.5 million homes, set to be fibre-enabled by summer next year.
The telecommunications company has already fibre-enabled the north London suburb of Muswell Hill and the Cardiff suburb of Whitchurch, it announced on Monday.
The fibre deployment is part of BT's plan to eventually cover 40 percent of the UK population with fibre access by 2012.
However, the government believes a significant proportion of the UK will remain outside fibre coverage without intervention. To that end, as part of the Digital Britain report released last month, the government is proposing a 50p-per-month levy on all broadband lines in order to fund next-generation deployments to areas that would otherwise remain unserved by the market.
BT recently cast doubt on the ability of the 50p tax to bring fibre to 100 percent of the population, saying it expects to see a fifth of the population without high-speed services.
The 69 locations named by BT are:
- East of England: Berkhamsted, Billericay, Brentwood, Elstree, Hainault, Hoddesdon, Lea Valley, Loughton, Stanford-le-Hope, Waltham Cross and Woodfood
- East Midlands: Glossop and Hinckley
- London: Barking, Barnet, Eltham, Greenwich, Hornchurch, Ingrebourne, New Southgate, Ponders End, Sidcup, Slade Green and Stamford Hill
- North-east: Chester-le-Street, Durham, East Herrington and Hetton-le-Hole
- North-west: Altrincham, Ashton-under-Lyme, Cheetham, Chorlton, Denton, Hyde, Manchester East, Moss Side, Prestwich, Staylbridge, Swinton, Greater Manchester, Urmston, Walkden and Wilmslow
- Northern Ireland: Lisburn
- Scotland: Edinburgh Corstorphine, Edinburgh Craiglockhard, Glasgow Bridgeton and Glasgow Giffnock
- South-east: Basingstoke and Dartford
- South-west: Bristol North, Bristol West and Downend
- Wales: Barry, Caerphilly and Penarth
- West Midlands: Birmingham, Fallings Park, Great Barr, Leamore West, Nuneaton, Tettenhall, Wednesbury and Walsall
- Yorkshire: Armely, Castleford, Headingley, Low Moor, Pontefract and Shipley