BT's Openreach fiber network to pass 5 million homes by the end of June

BT (NYSE: BT) Openreach is confident that by the end of this month its fiber network will pass five million homes and businesses.

To reach its goal, Openreach will equip 66 additional telephone exchanges with fiber that will enable its wholesale customers like Talk Talk and Carphone Warehouse to deliver higher speed broadband services.

Spread across Britain, the 66 new locations cover almost one million homes and businesses with the majority of them being enabled in 2012 and others set to go give live by the end of this year. Openreach added that it would name other locations in the next few months.

“Being able to bring faster broadband speeds within reach of more than five million premises is a significant milestone and we are well on our way to passing 10 million in 2012 and two-thirds of UK premises by the end of 2015″, said Liv Garfield, CEO for Openreach, adding that” this is the largest single commercial investment in fiber-based broadband infrastructure ever undertaken in the UK and is one of the biggest civil engineering projects running in the country at this time.”

Complementing the fiber deployment in areas where loop lengths are too long to deliver VDSL2-based copper broadband or too cost prohibitive to run fiber directly to homes and businesses is a new wireless broadband access technology on the Isle of Bute in Scotland.

Developed in tandem with the University of Strathclyde, BBC Research and Development, Steepest Ascent, Berg Design and Netpropagate, the new wireless technology is set on assessing how the “white spaces” in the Ultra High Frequency (UHF) TV can be used to deliver broadband services.

These so-called "white spaces" are the unused portions of digital TV spectrum that are becoming available as more consumers switch from analog to digital TV services.

Garfield said that while “it’s still early days but our hope is that this technology may provide an effective solution for ‘not spots’ and ‘slow spots'” Openreach is using the trial to see if white space can help homes that either can’t get wireline-based broadband service or can only get dial up speeds service due to the length of their line from the nearest telephone exchange.

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