UK government praises BT's fiber deployment push

Additional engineers are being brought on to help with the fiber installations, said the company.

As reported by Cablinginstall.com's sister website, Lightwave, in the UK, BT said it will step up the pace of its fiber-optic network deployment.

The service provider says it now expects to pass two-thirds of UK premises by Spring 2014. The announcement marks the second time BT has moved back this milestone date, now placing it month ahead of its most recent target of the end of 2014, and well ahead of its original goal of the end of 2015.

BT said the earlier date derives from the fact that Openreach, the part of BT in charge of the deployment, has improved its processes. Openreach also is bringing on additional engineers to help with the fiber installations.

The fiber deployment, when complete, should pass around 19 million homes and businesses in the UK, making it the country’s largest fiber footprint. BT says it has passed more than 12 million premises so far predicts it will surpass Virgin Media’s cable footprint “in the coming months.”

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Representatives of the UK Government praised BT's move toward an expanded fiber footprint as beneficial to the government's own broadband initiatives. “Our broadband program is a key element of our growth and investment agenda and a real priority,” said Secretary of State for Culture Maria Miller. “Fiber technology is a major driver of economic growth and I am delighted to see BT make such good progress in helping to get the UK connected."

Miller added, "Connectivity is a key issue for people across the country whether in rural or urban areas and I now look forward to seeing rapid progress in the Government-backed projects to connect hard to reach areas.”

During its announcement of its 2Q12 financial results, BT revealed it has connected more than 950,000 premises to fiber-based broadband. The open access network is available to more than 70 communications providers, BT added.

“Fiber is at the heart of our broadband plans for both town and country," said Ian Livingston, BT's chief executive. "We plan to step up our efforts yet again to complete our commercial fiber roll-out early as this will allow us to focus even further on the next exciting stage of our fiber broadband strategy. This will see BT working hand in hand with the public sector to extend fiber broadband to UK homes and businesses in the ‘final third’ of the country that are harder to reach.”

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