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BT fibre-to-the-cabinet rollout penetrates 73 more exchanges

No pulsing optical light to shine on premises this time

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BT has named the next 73 exchanges to be upgraded to its broadband fibre technology with all of them running optic cable as far as the street cabinets.

None of those exchanges will be kitted out to provide the national telco's fibre-to-the-premises broadband network, however, which will soon offer downstream speeds of 330Mbit/s. In contrast, the fibre-to-the-cabinet service is expected within the next few months to start delivering downstream speeds of up to 80Mbit/s and upstream speeds of up to 20Mbps.

BT recently announced its so-called "FTTP on demand" service, which means some fibre-to-the-cabinet punters should, from spring 2013, be able to access faster broadband speeds - at a cost. It will be flogging that product mainly to SMEs.

The company, which has spent £2.5bn on upgrading its broadband network, is offering what it has previously described as a "mixed economy" infrastructure to its customers.

In effect, this means that roughly 75 per cent of BT punters can eventually expect to gain access to its upgraded broadband network via FTTC, while the remaining 25 per cent get fibre blown directly to their property.

The latest round of exchanges to be upgraded by BT, which are expected to be completed in about a year's time, will mean that the firm will "pass" around 705,000 homes and businesses.

"With this announcement we have now reported exchanges covering almost 16 million homes and businesses in the UK," a BT spokesman told The Register.

"This means that we have nearly completed the announcement of our commercial footprint of approximately two thirds of the UK premises by the end of 2014."

He said that the telco would announce more exchanges in the next few months. The list of 73 exchanges earmarked for the FTTC upgrade today can be viewed here.

Separately, BT has been busy bidding for a slurp from the £530m cash pot filled by Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt. The dosh was dolled out by the Coalition to deploy decent internet access in the "final third" of the UK.

That lump of land is made up of mainly rural areas where BT couldn't find a compelling business case to invest in upgrading infrastructure. However, in recent months the bidding process, via local authorities, has proved troublesome for rival telcos - some of whom have all together backed out of attempting to secure the funds. ®

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