BT fibre broadband cable UK rollout accelerated
Telecoms provider BT is accelerating its fibre broadband rollout. It now plans to offer "super-fast" internet speeds to two-thirds of UK premises by the end of 2014.
The target is a year ahead of its original plan.
The firm says its main product will offer maximum download speeds about 10 times faster than at present, at 70-100Mbps on average.
That will help it compete against Virgin Media's 100Mbps offer.
BT says it is employing an additional 520 engineers and bringing forward £300m of investment to achieve the goal.
The company says six million premises already have access to its fibre broadband technology, about 25% of the total.
It aims to increase that to about 10 million properties, or about 40% of those in the UK, by the end of next year.
"Our rollout of fibre broadband is one of the fastest in the world and so it is great to be ahead of what was an already challenging schedule," said BT's chief executive Ian Livingston.
A recent report suggested the UK ranked 25th in the world in terms of average broadband connection speeds.
Akamai's State of the Internet Report said the average UK connection speed was 5Mbps compared to the Netherlands' 8.5Mbps and South Korea's 13.8Mbps.
"For a long time people thought the UK was on a low-fibre diet and it was taking us a long time compared to everyone else," said Matthew Howett, senior analyst at the telecoms consultants Ovum.
"These investments are expensive and risky - especially when you don't know if people even want the faster product. But BT has seen demand for its top speeds and that's encouraging them to roll out the fibre more quickly."
Speeds of up to 100Mbps will allow households to stream multiple high definition television programmes, music and games at the same time.
Experts say most homes will not need such fast speeds for the foreseeable future, however it will help future-proof the network against further developments.