Belfast Telegraph

BT pledges faster broadband upgrade for 700,000 homes and businesses

Company also said it is bringing forward plans for call centres to return to the UK and Ireland 12 months ahead of originally scheduled.

(Yui Mok/PA)
(Yui Mok/PA)

By Jamie Harris, PA Science Technology Reporter

BT has pledged to upgrade 700,000 homes and businesses to faster broadband by summer 2020.

The telecoms provider said it plans to boost customers with average speeds of around 10Mbps to 50Mbps, with improved Wi-Fi to be delivered through upgraded smart hubs, at no extra cost.

BT intends to stop selling standard broadband connections on the legacy BT copper network to 90% of the UK and promised to use all available technologies to provide the fastest connections possible for the 10% unable to get superfast connections.

The company has already said it is aiming to reach four million homes and businesses with its next generation full fibre offering by the end of March 2021.

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BT’s chief executive Philip Jansen (PA/BT)

Among a raft of announcements, the FTSE 100 firm revealed a new combined plan called Halo from BT, which includes unlimited data and calls on mobile and at home, as well as support from a team of home tech experts to help people get devices running the service.

BT Mobile, which runs on the company’s EE’s network, is set to get access to 5G, starting with BT Plus and Halo users from October 11.

The firm also said it was bringing forward plans to bring call centres back to the UK and Ireland 12 months earlier.

BT promised 100% of calls would be answered in the UK and Ireland from January 2020, with the aim of connecting people to the closest call centre possible so that staff have local knowledge.

The company is set to return to the high street, transforming 600 EE stores into dual branded stores across the UK for the first time.

“We’re helping families and communities across the UK, and companies in Britain and around the world, to remove the barriers of today to realise the potential of tomorrow,” said Philip Jansen, BT’s chief executive.

“We’re starting a journey today with real changes that will have a positive impact for people and businesses – connecting more customers to full fibre, boosting customers’ speeds right across the UK, keeping customers connected wherever they are with our new converged Halo products, and helping to give them the skills to make the most of today’s connected world.”

Paolo Pescatore, an analyst from PP Foresight, said: “Convergence represents a key pillar of BT’s strategy and one of the few areas for future growth in a cut-throat market.

“While BT is well placed given its network assets, this move should have been made some time ago. There are no more excuses, it must execute.”

PA

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