We’ll con­nect ru­ral Bri­tain su­per­fast, pledges BT

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By

Matthew Field

MORE than 3m iso­lated ru­ral homes will be given access to su­per­fast fi­bre in­ter­net by 2025 un­der am­bi­tious plans un­veiled by BT.

The com­pany’s in­fra­struc­ture arm Open­reach has pledged to plug 3.2m “hard to reach” homes into its nextgen­er­a­tion net­work over the next five years, mean­ing it will have con­nected up around a third of Bri­tain’s most chal­leng­ing prop­er­ties.

It is part of BT’s £12bn plan to con­nect 20m homes to fi­bre op­tic ca­bles in the next decade, giv­ing them access to av­er­age down­load speeds of 1 gi­ga­bit per sec­ond.

Clive Sel­ley, the Open­reach chief ex­ec­u­tive, urged the Gov­ern­ment to fol­low through on a £5bn man­i­festo pledge on ex­tend­ing gi­ga­bit broad­band to the whole of the UK by 2025.

The coun­try is seek­ing to be­come a world leader in ul­tra-fast broad­band as part of ef­forts to solve the pro­duc­tiv­ity cri­sis and en­able a gen­er­a­tion of work­ers to do their jobs from home.

Mr Sel­ley said: “They have got to go fast be­cause we’re run­ning out of time, even with five years to go.”

The Open­reach agree­ment to build in ru­ral ar­eas – which is far more ex­pen­sive than ex­pand­ing in cities – comes as Ofcom is ex­pected to re­move a pric­ing cap on parts of Open­reach’s cop­per net­work.

This will al­low Open­reach to lift prices in line with in­fla­tion when it sells whole­sale access to its net­work to op­er­a­tors, in­clud­ing Sky or TalkTalk.

Tra­di­tional con­nec­tions run at far slower speeds than fi­bre, which is fast enough to down­load a high def­i­ni­tion film in un­der two min­utes.

The plan in­cludes 250 towns and vil­lages, such as Thurso in Scot­land and Aberys­t­wyth in Wales.

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