BT rolls out plans for fibre-optic London

BT has revealed plans to connect 87 per cent of homes and small businesses in London to exchanges enabled for fibre broadband by spring 2011.

The telco already said it would extend fibre broadband to around two-thirds of UK homes by 2015 "assuming an acceptable environment for investment".

BT said that more than 90 per cent of households and businesses in Greater London currently have access to advanced copper broadband speeds of up to 20Mb/s and BT expects this availability to rise further in the future.

Fibre-based broadband delivers speeds of between up to 40Mb/s and 100Mb/s depending on which service is deployed.

Under the plans revealed today, 114 exchanges across the capital will be upgraded to deliver super-fast services by spring 2011. BT reckons half a million premises in London will have access to the service by late summer this year.

Openreach, the part of BT that is responsible for deploying fibre, is making the technology available on an open, wholesale basis to all companies providing broadband services.

The bumbling Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: "Speed is the essence of so many Olympic sports and as the Games return to London for a third time, it's vital that we should be able to access and enjoy them at record speeds.

"The illustrious progenitor of the Internet, Tim Berners-Lee, was born in this great city and it would be the ultimate tribute to him if London had the best digital games ever, not to mention the lifetime legacy of stronger Internet infrastructure," he burbled.

BT bigwig Ian Livingston said the investment will see Londoners have access to both fibre and advanced copper broadband services well in advance of the London Olympics. "The infrastructure that we are putting in place will allow people to watch the event in high definition and engage with the Games using a range of exciting, interactive services," he said, adding a that new broadband network would be "a lasting legacy, enabling those living and work in London to prosper and the capital’s economy to thrive well into the future."

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