BT has announced the first set of locations where, from early 2010, some half a million customers will have access of up to 60Mbps to its fibre-based BT's network.
BT says its access division, Openreach, will deploy fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) technology at 29 exchanges across the UK. This will bring speeds of up to 40Mbps, and potentially 60Mbps, within reach of 500,000 homes and businesses. The maximum upload speed will be 10Mbps.
According to Ofcom, about 3.8 million homes in the UK have no access to broadband or have broadband speeds of under 2Mbps.
Areas of Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London and Greater Manchester will be amongst the first locations to benefit from this initial deployment.
Most of the locations are urban, two of them- Calder Valley (in northern England) and Taffs Well (in Wales) - are not and BT will be looking to learn lessons from deploying fibre in such environments.
The next set of locations - serving a further million homes and businesses - will be announced in the autumn.
BT stated that although Openreach will deploy the technology, it will be up to communications providers to develop services based on that technology and to sell them to customers.
BT has pledged to spend Â£1.5 billion by 2012 to ensure that 40% of UK homes and businesses - some 10 million premises - can access fibre-based services.
Steve Robertson, CEO of Openreach, the division of BT responsible for the delivery of the plans, said: "The wider industry will now be able to plan ahead as we will be making our services available on a wholesale basis. This approach will benefit customers as there will undoubtedly be fierce competition for their business.
'The regulatory picture is complex and whilst Ofcom has given us a very welcome green light, we will require a few more over the coming months. We remain confident though that Ofcom recognises the need for an environment that encourages investment.'