Approximately 500,000 homes and businesses will be able to connect to BT's super-fast broadband which uses fibre optic cable from the local telephone exchange to the streetside cabinet to provide speeds of up to 40meg by early 2010. Speeds could also rise to up to 60meg- a 7.5 increase over existing 'up to 8meg' services.
The first fibre enabled areas will be in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London and Greater Manchester with two non-urban areas being included: Calder Valley, near Halifax, and Taffs Well near Cardiff. A list of the exchanges which will be the first with this deployed is detailed below.
|Chelmsford||Essex||East of England|
|St. Albans||Hertfordshire||East of England|
|Watford||Hertfordshire||East of England|
|Hemel Hempstead||Hertfordshire||East of England|
|Leagrave||Bedfordshire||East of England|
|Luton||Bedfordshire||East of England|
|Bury||Greater Manchester||North West|
|Didsbury||Greater Manchester||North West|
|Failsworth||Greater Manchester||North West|
|Heaton Moor||Greater Manchester||North West|
|Oldham||Greater Manchester||North West|
|Rusholme||Greater Manchester||North West|
|Belfast Balmoral||Belfast||Northern Ireland|
|Taffs Well||Rhondda Cynon Taf||Wales|
|Halifax||West Yorkshire||Yorkshire and Humber|
|Pudsey||West Yorkshire||Yorkshire and Humber|
|Calder Valley||West Yorkshire||Yorkshire and Humber|
Trials are set to take place this summer in Muswell Hill (London) and Whitchurch (Wales) to test the technology and ensure it is ready. 10 million premises or 40% of UK homes and businesses are expected to be covered by 2012. BT hope to announce the next set of exchanges in the Autumn.
Readers should note that when your exchange and cabinet are upgraded, this doesn't mean an automatic upgrade to this service. Your service provider will need to support the new fibre products and you will have to sign up to one of these new packages. Whilst a headline speed of 40Mbps is advertised, this may not be available to everyone as speeds are still limited by distance to the cabinet as the new fibre services will use VDSL2 over the standard copper phone line from the street side cabinet to the premises. How speeds will vary when actually deployed is as yet unknown.