BT UPPED the stakes yesterday in the battle to deliver superfast broadband to the region by announcing speeds of up to 300Mb could be available by next spring.
The telecoms firm will expand its “ultra-fast” Openreach fibre optic network from the Spring of 2013, offering nearly eight times the speeds currently on offer.
Although the promised speeds are unlikely to be widely available for several years, BT’s announcement deals a blow to the £92m South Yorkshire Digital Region project, a council-led scheme designed to make next-generation broadband available to almost every home and business in the county.
The arrival of “ultra-fast” broadband comes as BT revealed an 18 per cent rise in underlying profits to £628m in the three months to December 31.
The company has secured 56 per cent of new broadband subscribers in the quarter, considerably ahead of Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin.
John Anderson, BT’s regional director for Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “These are major improvements to the super-fast fibre broadband network, offering big benefits for the region’s homes and businesses.
“They will play a vital part in the future growth of the region as it makes progress in these economically challenging times.”
The new cables will represent a massive increase on current broadband speeds – the national average is 7.6Mb (megabits per second) and the highest available is 40Mb.
Digital Region, which has installed miles of fibre optic cables underneath the streets of South Yorkshire but whose account revealed a £9m loss last year, declined to comment.