BT smashes fibre broadband target

Superfast fibre’s now within reach of over 19 million homes and businesses up and down the county, almost two years ahead of BT’s ambitious roll-out schedule…

BT's announced that its superfast fibre optic broadband network has now been stretched to more than two-thirds of the UK, meaning millions more households can switch to superfast packages from a wide range of internet providers.

The company had originally planned to cover 19 million homes and businesses by the end of 2015, but the target was smashed in March this year - about 21 months earlier than promised.

And BT has said its fibre broadband footprint will grow "considerably" over the next 12 months as the nationwide roll-out continues apace.

Gavin Patterson, BT Group chief executive, said: "Fibre broadband's the future and BT's invested billions of pounds to ensure as many people as possible can benefit.

"The early achievement of this milestone marks the culmination of several years of hard work by our engineers and planners. They've pulled out all the stops to bring fibre to a vast expanse of the country over a very short period."

Thanks in no small way to BT's progress, fibre is now available to an impressive 73% of properties in the UK - better than in Germany, Spain, Italy or France, where coverage is as low as 20%, according to data from communications regulator Ofcom.

But it isn't just BT Infinity we're talking about here. BT's network is used by other providers - such as Plusnet, Sky and TalkTalk - that pay a wholesale fee to use BT Openreach infrastructure to deliver their own fibre broadband.

So, the likes of Sky Fibre and TalkTalk Superpowered Fibre could soon be an option in more UK homes than ever before as the network grows.

The one major exception is Virgin Media, which isn't affected by the roll-out of BT's fibre optic, because it operates its own cable broadband network.

But this hasn't stopped Virgin Media passing its own superfast milestones. In fact, as we reported yesterday, it's still by far the country's most popular provider for superfast speeds of 30Mb and above.

Virgin Media has the fastest widely-available broadband, offering speeds of up to 152Mb - over eight times the national average and twice as fast BT Infinity - and is also the only major provider with 'quad play' bundles of mobile, TV, internet and home phone.

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