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Openreach has pledged to introduce ‘ultrafast’ internet connections to three million premises by 2020, increasing internet speeds from 24 megabits a second under superfast broadband to 100 megabits.
Openreach, which operates independently from BT, said Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester would form the first phase of the programme that will connect ‘up to 40 UK towns, cities and boroughs’.
The news follows the government’s announcement that 95 per cent of the country are now able to experience high speed broadband. However, Openreach says that the landmark, whilst ‘momentous’, is only a ‘stepping stone to something much bigger’.
Clive Selley, chief executive of Openreach, said: "Our focus over the last two years has been to achieve the government's target of getting 95 per cent superfast coverage. Now having got to 95 per cent the mandate is twofold: fix the last five per cent and move on to the upgrade from superfast to ultrafast speeds."
Culture Secretary Matt Hancock said: "I'm glad that Openreach have begun to make this shift in strategy, away from reliance on copper based systems and in favour of the best modern technology. We want to encourage a competitive market to rollout this technology and we will work with Openreach, Virgin, CityFibre, Gigaclear, TalkTalk and the growing number of full fibre broadband providers to build a Britain fit for the future."