Around 40,000 more West Midlands homes and business to benefit from £2.5 billion roll-out of super-fast fibre broadband

Investment welcomed by Black Country Broadband Plan 
Super-fast broadband has arrived in four more West Midlands communities, BT announced today. 

The first homes and businesses in Codsall and Halesowen now have access to the high-speed technology, as well as some premises in the Ladywood area served by Birmingham’s East telephone exchange and Great Barr’s Beacon telephone exchange. 

The number of premises to benefit will rise to more than 4,600 in Codsall, 10,650 in Halesowen, more than 14,200 in the Birmingham East area and nearly 9,500 in the Beacon area of Great Barr as Openreach engineers complete the local upgrades in the weeks ahead.

Today, the BT investment was welcomed by Black Country Broadband Plan, who described it as great news for the area. 

Ninder Johal, chair of Black Country Broadband Plan, said: “Super-fast fibre broadband in these areas offers huge benefits to local residents and businesses and will help our local economy to flourish. 

“Better, faster communications help businesses to grow and stimulate job creation. At home, local people can do more online at faster speeds and on multiple devices. This is great news for these communities and I look forward to super-fast fibre broadband being available across the rest of the Black Country.” 

Fibre broadband is already available to more than 1.58 million homes and businesses across the West Midlands. This figure will rise to more than 1.78 million by the end of BT’s commercial deployment. 

Mike Cook, BT’s regional director for the West Midlands, said: “Our roll-out of fibre broadband is advancing across the region with Codsall, Great Barr, Halesowen and Ladywood the latest places to benefit. More than 2.4 million homes and businesses across the UK are already using Openreach’s new fibre network via a range of retailers, bringing speed and choice to the UK. Many local residents now have the opportunity to join them. 

“Whatever you’re doing online, you can do it better and faster with fibre. Whether it’s shopping, downloading music and video, watching TV, social networking, studying or researching homework, once you’ve switched to fibre you’ll never look back. Outside the home, it also has huge potential for public services and local firms. 

“Businesses tell us it’s helping them in a wealth of ways, from day to day activities like downloading software, collaborating with clients and moving large data files around to big business decisions like expanding the workforce or introducing better quality IT services at less cost.” 

BT’s fibre footprint currently passes more than 18 million UK homes and businesses. It’s due to pass around two-thirds of UK premises by the end of Spring 2014, at least 18 months ahead of the original timetable. 

BT recently announced plans to invest a further £50 million into its commercial fibre broadband programme over the next three years. The money will benefit more than 30 cities, helping to make high speed broadband available to more than 400,000 additional premises. Further details will be announced in due course. 

In total, BT is spending more than £3 billion on deploying fibre broadband, including £2.5 billion on its commercial fibre footprint and further funds in rural fibre broadband projects. 

In addition, BT is working in partnership with councils in Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire to extend fibre broadband coverage to areas not covered by any commercial roll-out as part of the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme. 

Openreach, BT’s local network business, is primarily deploying fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) technology, where the fibre runs from the exchange to a local roadside cabinet. FTTC delivers download speeds of up to 80Mbps and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps1 — and could deliver even faster speeds in the future. 

Openreach has also started to make fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology, where the fibre runs all the way to the home or business, commercially available on demand2 in certain areas and plans to further expand access. FTTP-on-demand offers the top current download speed of 330Mbps.1 

Fibre broadband at home means everyone in the family can do their own thing online, all at the same time, whether it’s downloading music in minutes or watching catch-up TV; streaming HD or 3D movies in a few minutes; or posting photos and videos to social networking sites in seconds. Fibre improves the quality of online experiences and supports new developments in internet services. 

Benefits for businesses include faster file and data transfers, better access to cloud computing services and software, more sophisticated web-based contact with customers and support for more flexible working. 

Unlike other companies, Openreach offers fibre broadband access to all service providers on an open, wholesale basis, which underpins a competitive market and delivers real customer choice. For further information on Openreach’s fibre broadband programme visit www.superfast-openreach.co.uk 


Notes to editors 
1 These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary. 

2 Openreach will levy an installation charge for FTTP on demand. It will be up to service providers to decide whether they pass that on to businesses or consumers wishing to use the product. 

Due to the current network topography, and the economics of deployment, it is likely that some premises within selected exchange areas will not initially be able to access fibre-based broadband. Openreach is considering alternative solutions for these locations, which may also benefit from the local partnership activity outlined above.