BT pumps billions into broadband

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BT pumps billions into broadband

Alex Scroxton

BT has announced it is investing £1.5bn to roll out fibre-based, super-fast broadband to over 10 million homes by 2012. The incumbent telco has claimed this will allow it to offer top speeds of up to 100Mb/s with potential to offer up to 1,000Mb/s in the future.

Chief executive Ian Livingstone, who stepped into outgoing boss Ben Verwaayen's shoes last month, hailed a "bold step" that marked a "new chapter in Britain's broadband story".

Livingstone said BT would be working extensively with the government and Ofcom to decide where and when to focus the deployment, and promised that it would not just be focused on urban areas - although predictably 'new build' sites such as the Thames Gateway and 2012 Olympic Village will be among the first beneficiaries.

He also reaffirmed BT's commitment to making fibre-based services available on an equivalent basis to other comms providers.

Keith Humphreys, managing consultant at comms analyst house euroLAN, pointed out that BT had not yet come up with a satisfactory solution to bridge the crucial pipe into homes and businesses, the infamous 'last mile'.

"I just worry there will still be a bottleneck; nobody will want to put optical networking up my driveway," he said.

Earlier in the month, MicroScope reported that ISPs might have to look at introducing emerging technologies, such as WiMAX, to bridge the gap. Several comms providers are already understood to be considering this kind of solution.

BT has also launched its new consumer Home Hub product set - incorporating 802.11n capability - with a new twist in its long-running ad campaign that sees its trademark 'BT Family' on the verge of breakdown.

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