BT to extend reach of 20Mbps broadband

Summary:Having missed earlier targets for up-to-20Mbps coverage, the company now hopes to offer copper-based ADSL2+ connectivity to four-fifths of the country before the start of 2012

BT has set a new target for its rollout of up-to-20Mbps copper-based broadband, saying on Monday that it will offer such services to four-fifths of UK households by the end of the year.

WBC forms part of the UK broadband 'mixed economy', where businesses and households are increasingly able to choose the broadband service that suits their needs best.

– Cameron Rejali, BT

The company missed its target of having 75 percent population coverage by the first part of 2011. The ADSL2+ copper broadband service — under the banner of the Wholesale Broadband Connect (WBC) — includes domestic and business residences and is currently connected to 1,017 exchanges, capable of serving 15.5 million end-user premises, or around 60 percent of the population. BT wants that figure to go up to 20 million premises, representing an increase in reach of 29 percent to 80 percent coverage.

The new target provides a boost of only five percentage points over that laid out and missed by BT previously. Cameron Rejali, managing director of products at BT Wholesale, said in a statement the product would suit many customers' needs.

"WBC forms part of the UK broadband 'mixed economy', where businesses and households are increasingly able to choose the broadband service that suits their needs best, whether delivered over copper, fibre or mobile," Rejali said.

Connecting Britain

The company said it is currently enabling around an extra 30,000 additional lines per week for the 20Mbps service, it added that 99 percent of the UK is now able to connect to its up-to-8Mbps service.

An Ofcom report in March 2011 found the average real speed received by customers on the up-to-20Mbps packages was between 6.8-8.7Mbps. 

In 2009, the then-Labour government said it wanted everyone to have access to up-to-2Mbps broadband services by 2012. However, in July 2010, the coalition government changed the timescale to reflect a new target of 2015.

BT Wholesale also offers fibre broadband services of up to 40Mbps as part of its Infinity portfolio of products. In January, it named 41 more market towns that will be able to receive the high-speed fibre connections by spring 2012, as part of its £2.5bn plan to bring next-generation connectivity to two-thirds of homes by the end of 2012.

In April, Ofcom proposed ordering BT to lower its wholesale prices in order to provide lower real-term broadband and phone costs to consumers.

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Topics: Networking


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