BT has announced that it will reach its goal of giving two thirds of the UK access to fibre optic broadband a year earlier than expected – and will employ 520 engineers in its attempt to speed up the process.

BT's belated move to fibre is a welcome occurrence for Britain, bringing fast broadband to homes as the nation steadily embraces online life.

The telecoms giant explained that it is bringing forward £300 million of investment to fund the accelerated roll-out, which has been supported by the government.

Essential

Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport said: "Superfast broadband is essential for achieving sustainable growth and it is vital that homes and businesses have access to it as soon as possible.

"BT's accelerated fibre roll-out plan is great news for the UK. With access to superfast broadband UK businesses will have the infrastructure they need to grow and develop new products and services. This investment means new jobs today, but also allows us to build the digital infrastructure we need for the jobs of tomorrow.

"The Government is committed to ensuring the UK is leading the way in broadband provision and BT's accelerated roll-out will help make that a reality."

Six million

BT's £2.5 billion investment is well underway, with six million homes now with access to fibre broadband, ten million targeted by 2012 and two thirds of the UK two years later.

Ian Livingston, CEO of BT Group said: "Our roll-out of fibre broadband is one of the fastest in the world and so it is great to be ahead of what was an already challenging schedule.

"The acceleration reflects the success of the programme to date and is testament to the hard work and innovation of our people. We are investing when others are merely talking about it.

"Thousands of our engineers are busy installing fibre broadband across the UK at an astonishing pace.

"The recruitment of an additional five hundred engineers will help us go even faster and ensure we are ready to help supply other areas should we win BDUK funds. We are proud that most of these jobs will be filled by ex-armed forces personnel."