Think about the telephone line that runs from your home to the green box on your street corner. Then think about that line going from there to your telephone local exchange. And then think about all the lines from all the houses and buildings round about doing the same thing. And then multiply that for the whole of the UK.
Then imagine someone asked you to upgrade most of these lines and their connections in each exchange. Well, that's the task we've set ourselves.
Now you know why we're calling it the Big Build.
The local access network covers 30 million customers and 8 million broadband lines from approximately 5,500 local exchanges. 300 million telephone calls and 350 million internet connections are made across this network every day.
We're investing £2.5 billion to upgrade the local access network, bringing superfast fibre broadband within reach of two-thirds of UK homes and businesses by end Spring 2014.
This is one of the biggest engineering projects this country has ever seen. No other company in the world is spending as much money on fibre without either public sector support or a regulatory regime that allows the investing company to make far greater returns.
And it's well underway.
Bigger, faster, better
Our fibre broadband rollout is one of the fastest in the world. We're currently upgrading 2,400-3,000 cabinets a quarter and connecting between 100,000 and 150,000 premises with fibre every week. That means we're increasing the reach of superfast fibre to as many premises as there are in the whole of Singapore – every three months.
But it's not easy. We have to lay 3 million km of fibre across the UK and install 50,000 new cabinets serving 3 million distribution points.
At the peak of demand we expect to be connecting about 2,000 people every day.