INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDER BT is "ready to play its part" to speed-up the roll-out of fibre-to-the-premise (FTTP) broadband across the UK, the company pledged in a trading update.
It added, despite the challenge of achieving the target set by Boris Johnson of rolling out fibre to 99 per cent of the country in just five years, that it "welcomes the government's ambition for full-fibre broadband".
Currently, it admitted, Openreach's FTTP roll-out is running at around 20,000 premises per week (averaging just over a million a year), with 267,000 premises passed in the current quarter and 3.7 million hooked up to FTTP and Gfast exchanges to date.
On current figures, therefore, BT is connecting around one million premises to fibre per year, meaning that at the current rate it will take Openreach around 30 years to achieve a full-fibre roll-out across the UK.
Nevertheless, BT CEO Philip Jansen said that the company would step-up investment in a bid to achieve Johnson's target.
"On network investment, we welcome the government's ambition for full-fibre broadband across the country and we are confident we will see further steps to stimulate investment," said Jansen.
He added: "We are ready to play our part to accelerate the pace of rollout, in a manner that will benefit both the country and our shareholders, and we are engaging with the government and Ofcom on this."
According to Reuters, he also added that achieving Johnson's target would "be a major feat of engineering that will require significant investment, planning and also manpower", and hinted that the government would need to make it worth it for BT to step-up the investment required to achieve it.
The cost, according to Jansen, would be about £30 billion and Ofcom would need to work out a return on investment formula for BT to make it work from a financial perspective.
During his leadership election campaign, Johnson had derided the existing targets to achieve full-fibre by 2033, set by the government and Ofcom, as "laughably ambitious".
"It's a disgrace that this country should suffer from a deep digital divide so that many rural areas and towns are simply left behind. The government has just set a new target for the 100 per cent roll-out of full-fibre broadband by 2033.
"As a deadline, that is laughably unambitious. If we want to unite our country and our society, we should commit now to delivering full fibre to every home in the land not in the mid-2030s - but in five years at the outside.
"Let's say goodbye to the UK's mañana approach to broadband and unleash full-fibre for all by 2025." µ
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