09
September
2015
|
10:08
Europe/Amsterdam

BT announces investment to expand fibre broadband rollout in Tech City

Summary
BT today announced plans for an expansion of high-speed fibre broadband in Tech City

Over 32,000 further local homes and businesses will be able to benefit from new investment

BT today announced plans for an expansion of high-speed fibre broadband in Tech City.

Openreach, BT’s local network business, will make fibre available to an additional 32,000 local homes and businesses in the next two years, taking the company’s total coverage for fibre to over 82,000 premises in the area. Tech City spans parts of a number of London boroughs from Hackney to the City of Westminster.

The new investment in Tech City is part of a city-wide programme that will increase fibre coverage in every London borough. The roll out will increase overall fibre availability across London, taking all networks into account, from around 90 per cent[1] to around 95 per cent of premises. The Openreach fibre network is already the largest in London, covering nearly three million homes and businesses.

BT is spending more than £3 billion on Openreach’s deployment of fibre across the UK, and the work in Tech City is part of an additional £50 million that the company earmarked for UK cities last year.

London is already one of the best connected cities in the world, with every business in the capital able to access speeds of 1Gb/s and above through special high capacity ultrafast dedicated lines. An independent study* already rates London second only to Seoul as the best in the world for broadband quality.

Joe Garner, chief executive of Openreach, said: “Openreach engineers have been working flat out to bring fibre to more than 23 million homes and businesses across the country in record time - and the number is continuing to grow rapidly. Our investment has helped make the UK’s broadband infrastructure among the best in Europe.

“Installing fibre in urban areas can be challenging, but thanks to new techniques and extra investment we will now be able to reach hundreds of thousands of additional homes and businesses across London.”

Gerard Grech, CEO of Tech City UK, added: "High-speed broadband is the lifeblood of the UK’s digital economy. For London to maintain its standing as a global centre of business, it’s crucial that our digital companies have access to the best possible connectivity.
“Tech City UK has been working with BT Group and other service providers to help identify where additional coverage would be of most benefit to the tech community. This investment represents a step in the right direction for digital businesses across the capital, and there is a collective responsibility – for property developers, service providers and industry bodies – to ensure that high-speed broadband is available to all.”

BT’s new investment is focusing on three areas:

  • Upgrading city cabinets that weren’t part of the original commercial plans due to technical challenges or local planning restrictions
  • Rolling out ‘fibre to the remote node’ (FTTRN) and to fibre broadband cabinets that serve multi-dwelling units, such as apartment blocks
  • Continuing to ensure the new fibre network is available on an ‘equivalent’ basis to all internet service providers that use the Openreach network. That means companies competing with BT Consumer and BT Business can deliver faster broadband to their customers, paying Openreach the same as BT’s own divisions.

Openreach’s fibre network is open to all broadband service providers on equal terms, ensuring that businesses and consumers benefit from intense competition, a wide choice of supplier and low prices.

Ends

*PwC’s “Cities of Opportunity 6” report, page 23

Notes to editors

[1] Figures based on Ofcom’s “Infrastructure Report 2014” data.

Please note: Openreach’s fibre broadband network will increase to around 90 per cent of premises in London over the next two years. The remainder will be covered by alternative networks. Business grade fibre services are available to 100 per cent of premises in London.

FTTRN involves the fibre optic cable being taken to a significantly smaller remote cabinetand these can be positioned on nearby telegraph poles or inside manholes even closer to homes.