BT have reached the 15 million milestone of broadband connections that use its telephone network the company has announced today. Through its own retail arm, BT have around 5 million customers, but many other providers use BT's network to provide broadband as there are few alternatives for the 'last mile' which connects premises up to BT exchanges using telephone lines. BT's Openreach arm controls this last mile which is rented by both BT Wholesale and other operators such as TalkTalk, O2 and Sky who provide broadband using their own equipment located in BT exchanges through local loop unbundling (LLU).
"Broadband Britain has been a success story with widespread availability, low prices and high take-up.
BT is now investing a further £2.5bn to roll out fibre broadband to two-thirds of the UK. This will help the UK climb the league tables for speeds, one of the few areas in which we don't lead the world.Olivia Garfield, (Strategy Director) BT
Broadband has been available in the UK since around 2000 when both BT and the cable operators NTL and Telewest (before they merged and became Virgin Media) deployed ADSL and cable broadband respectively on their networks which brought a much needed boost to UK broadband speeds. In august 2002 BT had around 200,000 broadband connections on its network and the increase by 14.8 million since this date shows around 5,000 new broadband connections have been added per day on average. There has now been a decline in the rate that broadband connections are added as a critical mass of customers has been reached, but there are still customers out there to be gained.
A new focus is in place which sees BT investing in providing faster broadband. The company is in the process of rolling out ADSL2+ using its 21st Century Network which delivers up-to 24meg broadband, although actual connections speeds will be lower, allowing it to reach 18 million homes and businesses by Spring 2011. BT are also investing in fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) technology which delivers faster broadband speeds of up to 40meg, with some limited roll-outs of fibre-to-the-home (FTTH), offering 100meg broadband, also being deployed. This technology is expected to reach around 66% of homes and businesses by the Summer of 2015.