BT Openreach has made several announcements it claims will provide a major boost to broadband in the UK.
It launched a Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) service, with initial speeds of up to 110Mbps. The service will be available in six locations from October: Ashford, Bradwell Abbey, Highams Park, Chester South, St Austell and York.
The FTTP service will increase in speed to approximately 300Mbps from spring 2012.
The company has also said that Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) speeds will roughly double, from 40Mbps to 80Mbps in 2012.
These announcements see BT Openreach moving towards its promise last summer to roll out fibre services (either FTTP or FTTC) to two-thirds of its customers by 2015. By spring 2011, the FTTP rollout will be provided to 2.5 million business customers.
Other providers will be able to piggyback BT's fibre network, enabling them to compete with the next fastest offering of 100Mbps from Virgin Media.
These moves are part of the £2.5bn investment in fibre broadband that BT has committed to making by the end of 2015.
Other ISPs will be able to hire the BT fibre network to provide their own high-speed services.
Michael Philpott, an analyst at Ovum, said: "This move is important to the market as competitors are starting to play the 'speed card'. Speed is important for video services, but it is expensive for ISPs to use this fibre network. It's hard for them to make profits and costs more to run a service over fibre than the traditional LLU service for DSL network."
Openreach chief executive Liv Garfield said: "These developments will transform broadband speeds across the country and propel the UK up the broadband league tables."
Communications minister Ed Vaizey said: "These are significant announcements for the UK. Improving the UK's broadband infrastructure will help our high-tech, digital industries grow. It will ensure the UK is an attractive place to start up and base the businesses of tomorrow."
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