BT has publicly committed to completing its £1.5 billion super fast broadband network in time for the London 2012 Olympics
Some customers will be able to receive download speeds up to 100Mbps via the company’s fibre-optics network. Ian Livingston, chief executive of BT, said: “Given the progress we’re making, four million homes will have access to fibre by the end of next year. 2012 will be an important year for the UK given the Olympics and so I’m keen we provide 10 million homes with access to fibre by the time the games begin.”
BT, which has a customer base of approximately five million, had originally said its super fast broadband would not be ready until 2013. The upgrade will be accessible to around 40 per cent of the population and those who receive 100Mbps will be able to watch High Definition video online.
Virgin Media already operates on a fibre-optics network and in restricted areas offers customers 50 Mbps. The government’s recent Digital Britain report has promised to roll out next generation broadband to every home in the UK – with a minimum 2Mbps speed.
Stephen Timms, Minister for Digital Britain, has committed the Labour government to introducing a new 50p a month tax on fixed phone lines to fund the roll-out – which is most urgent in the rural parts of the UK. He estimates that the tax will generate £1 billion by 2017, thus ensuring 90 per cent of the UK had next generation broadband. The tax is set to be included in next year’s Finance Bill.