BT’s commercial roll-out of its next generation fibre network has been brought forward by several months.
BT has now said that it will complete its national fibre broadband roll-out during spring 2014, instead of the end of 2014. The original target was the end of 2015, which was previously brought forward to 2014 after greater progress was made.
BT says the quicker fibre roll-out will contribute to the government's aim of the UK having the best "superfast broadband" network amongst major European countries by 2015.
Culture minister Maria Miller said, “Fibre technology is a major driver of economic growth and I am delighted to see BT make such good progress in helping to get the UK connected. Connectivity is a key issue for people across the country whether in rural or urban areas."
BT is recruiting additional engineers to help with fibre installations, with greater numbers expected to be hired as the fibre footprint expands. When complete, BT says its commercial fibre footprint will be the largest in the UK, covering around 19 million homes and businesses.
BT says it has passed more than 12 million premises with the fibre technology to date and that it will "overtake Virgin Media’s cable footprint in the coming months".
So far 950,000 premises are connected to fibre broadband over the BT network, the company said. BT previously said it had 750,000 fibre customers at the end of July.
Fibre connections are still a small part of BT's customer base, however, as it has a total of 17 million broadband customers connected to its network, most of them through traditional and much slower copper wires.
Last month BT said it had boosted the speed of its top-of-the-range BT Infinity broadband package from 100mbps to 160mbps. BT Infinity 160mb is a fibre-to-the-premises (FTTH) broadband service, and is currently only available from a limited number of exchanges.