SSE Enterprise Telecoms unbundles BT exchanges to boost broadband and Three 5G

SSE Enterprise Telecoms is to unbundle 177 BT exchanges in a move that will allow it to serve more business customers and support the rollout of 5G.

The company operates a 14,000km fibre network across the UK, providing connectivity to businesses and communications providers. It also makes use of other service provider's national fibre network to serve customers.

Fully unbundled lines allow service providers to use their own equipment at telephone exchanges, giving them greater control over the connection. It is claimed the move will double SSE’s reach, adding 180,000 business postcodes, and allow it to deliver up to 100Gbps to a BT exchange.

The rollout is expected to take two years to complete.

SSE Telecoms unbundling

“We have always placed great pride in our network and ensuring that it is in the best possible shape to serve our customers both now and in the future,” said Colin Sempill, Managing Director of SSE Enterprise Telecoms.

“Legacy networks are coming under more strain as the demands placed on them potentially outweigh their capabilities. This rollout will guarantee 100Gbps services, putting the UK on the front foot to be a pioneering digital economy and making use of new technologies like 5G. Networks will underpin the connected society that many anticipate with 5G.”

SSE is helping Three to futureproof its fibre infrastructure ahead of 5G. Work is already underway to connect Three’s 20 core UK data centres with fibre, while the unbundling will boost backhaul between sites and the core network.

Three sees 5G as an opportunity to lead the UK mobile market for the first time because of its spectrum holdings and could launch a commercial service in late 2020. Among other things, 5G networks are expected to deliver gigabit speeds, high capacity and ultra-low latency.

“We’re dedicated to investing in our network to deliver the services our consumers want,” said Bryn Jones, Chief Technology Officer at Three UK. “High capacity networks will be the foundation on which 5G is built. We’re partnering with SSE Enterprise Telecoms as their commitment to our requirements and the UK’s digital economy were clear from the outset.”

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Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.