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BT to Accelerate $4 Billion Broadband Fiber Plan by a Year

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BT to Accelerate $4B Fiber Plan by a Year
An engineer for BT Openreach part of the BT Group Plc connects customers to a high speed fibre optic network in Enfield, U.K. BT is building out high-speed fiber services to counter declining revenue from traditional fixed-line offerings. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

BT Group Plc, the U.K.’s largest Internet service provider, will accelerate its 2.5 billion-pound ($4 billion) rollout of fiber broadband as it competes with operators including Virgin Media in high-speed Web services.

BT will advance the rollout by one year by bringing forward 300 million pounds of funding, the London-based company said today in a statement. BT now plans to reach two-thirds of British homes by the end of 2014, rather than 2015.

“Our rollout of fiber broadband is one of the fastest in the world and so it is great to be ahead of what was an already challenging schedule,” Chief Executive Officer Ian Livingston said in the statement. “We are investing when others are merely talking about it.”

BT is building out high-speed fiber services to counter declining revenue from traditional fixed-line offerings. The company, which won market share from rivals including Virgin Media and TalkTalk in its fiscal first quarter, announced plans this month to double the speed of its main fiber product to as fast as 80 megabits-per-second. Virgin Media, based in Hook, England, is already rolling out a 100 megabits-per-second service.

The company also faces potential competition from Fujitsu Ltd., Japan’s biggest computer-services provider, which said this year it wants to tap BT’s infrastructure to build a rival fiber network to 5 million homes and businesses for as much as 2 billion pounds.

BT, which reports second-quarter results on Nov. 3, rose 0.4 percent to 188.7 pence at 8:56 a.m. in London trading.

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