Millions set to get Gigabit broadband from BT

Superfast broadband and 4G coverage to reach 95% by 2020

BT has announced that it intends to invest £6 billion over the next three years to further push both superfast broadband and mobile coverage across the UK.

In fact, the company wants to reach 95% coverage of the country in terms of superfast fixed broadband and 4G by the year 2020.

BT also committed to deploying ultrafast broadband to at least 10 million homes and business premises by the end of the decade, with the firm hoping that it might hit the 12 million mark with the wind blowing in the right direction.

The expansion of ultrafast coverage will use G.fast technology, which effectively supercharges current FTTC (fibre to street cabinet) connections, but will also see an increase in FTTP (fibre run directly to the premises) deployment.

BT says two million new premises will get FTTP, mainly in high streets across the UK, new housing estates and business parks. FTTP will boast truly blazing speeds of up to 1Gbps, and G.fast trials are currently offering speeds of up to 300Mbps which is expected to increase to 500Mbps as the rollout progresses.

Stone Age sufferers

As well as pushing forward with faster speeds in already connected areas, BT said it hadn't forgotten about the final few percent of the UK who are still stuck in the Stone Age in terms of their internet connection. The company noted Long Reach VDSL is being mulled as a potential solution for remote areas, with trials to start in the "coming months".

BT also wants to improve customer service with a number of measures including a reduction of 24 hours in the standard time taken to fix a line fault. The company also wants to reduce missed appointments from the current level of 5% down to 2.5% within a year.

BT CEO Gavin Patterson commented: "The UK is a digital leader today and it is vital that it remains one in the future. That is why we are announcing a further £6 billion pounds of investment in our UK networks, subject to regulatory certainty.

"Networks require money and a lot of it. Virgin and BT have both pledged to invest and we will now see if others follow our lead. Infrastructure competition is good for the UK and so is the current Openreach model whereby others can piggyback on our investment should they want to."

Virgin Media's announcement that it's ramping up its own FTTP rollout came at the end of last month, with a promise that it will be bringing FTTP to at least a million homes and business premises across the UK as part of its Project Lightning expansion. Consumers benefiting from these FTTP connections will get broadband speeds of up to 200Mbps and businesses will be able to hit 300Mbps.