We’ll connect rural Britain superfast, pledges BT
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.