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BT promises super-fast broadband by Olympics

Ten million homes will have access to fibre by the time the London games begin in 2012, nine months ahead of schedule, according to BT
Written by Tom Espiner, Contributor

BT has said it is ahead of schedule to roll out super-fast broadband to 10 million homes, saying the work is on course to be completed ahead of the London Olympics.

Chief executive Ian Livingston said in a statement on Monday that BT hopes to complete its £1.5bn fibre rollout by March 2012.

"Given the progress we're making, four million homes will have access to fibre by the end of next year," Livingston said. "2012 will be an important year for the UK given the Olympics and so I'm keen we provide 10 million homes with access to fibre by the time the Games begin."

BT's fibre deployment is due to be completed nine months earlier than the company's original December 2012 target, a BT spokesperson told ZDNet UK on Tuesday.

The next-generation broadband rollout will reach 40 percent of UK premises, according to the BT spokesperson. Twenty-five percent of that total will be fibre-to-the-home, promising download speeds of up to 100Mbps, while the remaining 75 percent will be fibre-to-the-cabinet, with speeds of up to 40Mbps, depending on how far the premises are from the nearest cabinet. Upload speeds from premises with access to fibre should be between 5Mbps and 10Mbps, the spokesperson said.

The majority of fibre will be to cities and towns. Some rural areas will have fibre-optic connections, but the spokesperson told ZDNet UK that this was "more of a commercial challenge" than urban super-fast broadband.

BT is in talks with various organisations including community groups, regional development authorities and central government to provide more fibre for rural areas, the spokesperson said.

In terms of fibre provision, BT's main competitor is Virgin Media. In July 2009, Virgin Media's fibre deployment covered 50 percent of the UK.

BT has five million broadband customers.

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