BT unveils super-fast broadband plans for 1,800 more Somerset homes and businesses
Latest investment to focus on expanding areas already included in BT’s £2.5 billion fibre broadband roll-out
BT today announced a further expansion of high-speed fibre broadband to another 1,800 homes and businesses in Somerset.
The extra investment is being made in communities already included in the company’s £2.5 billion commercial roll-out of fibre broadband.
Openreach, BT’s local network business, will carry out the work in Bath, Bridgwater, Nailsea, Taunton and Portishead between now and the end of Spring 2014, subject to planning and technical constraints.
BT expects this to be the final announcement expanding the coverage of its commercial programme. Future announcements will focus on areas where fibre coverage is to be expanded even further via partnerships with the public sector and local communities.
This expansion will boost the total number of premises with access to fibre broadband in Somerset to around 230,000. About 200,000 are already able to get the service - and BT is working with public sector partners in the Connecting Devon and Somerset programme to expand coverage even further (see Notes to Editors for more details about this programme).
Jon Reynolds, BT South West regional director, said: “This is an exciting time for the digital future of the South West with widespread availability of fibre broadband services fast becoming a reality for thousands of local homes.
“With today’s further fibre broadband investment in the region we hope even more local people will soon experience the difference for themselves – by joining more than 1.7 million UK homes and businesses already using the technology.”
BT’s fibre footprint currently passes more than 16 million UK homes and businesses. It’s due to pass two-thirds of UK premises – around 19 million premises – by the end of Spring 2014, at least 18 months ahead of the original timetable.
Openreach is primarily deploying fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) technology, where the fibre runs from the exchange to a local roadside cabinet. In addition to download speeds of up to 80Mbps, FTTC also delivers upload speeds of up to 20Mbps 1 — 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 demand 2 in certain areas where fibre broadband has been deployed, and plans to expand access in due course. FTTP on demand offers the top current download speed of 330Mbps 1.
According to the regulator Ofcom, the current average UK residential broadband download speed is 14.7Mbps.
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 the few minutes it takes to make popcorn; or posting photos and videos to social networking sites in seconds. Fibre improves the quality of online experiences and supports exciting new developments in internet services.
The benefits are also considerable for businesses, which can do much more in far less time. Firms can speed up file and data transfers, collaborate with colleagues and customers on conference or video calls or swap their hardware and expensive software licenses for files, processing power and software from cloud computing. Staff can work as effectively from home as they would in the office.
Unlike other companies, Openreach offers fibre broadband access to all service providers on an open, wholesale basis, underpinning a competitive market. 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.
About Connecting Devon and Somerset
Councils across Devon and Somerset are working together to bring faster broadband to the area and deliver improved broadband to the “final third” - rural areas that are unlikely to benefit from commercial investment in broadband.
The Connecting Devon and Somerset project covers Devon County Council, Somerset County Council, Bath and North East Somerset Council, Plymouth City Council, Torbay Council, and North Somerset Council areas.
The project has secured £32 million of funding from the government agency Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) and both Somerset and Devon County Councils will be putting in up to £10 million each and further funding from Bath and North East Somerset Council brings the public sector total close to £53 million. With the £41 million additional investment from BT, Connecting Devon and Somerset is now a £94 million project.
For more information, visit www.connectingdevonandsomerset.co.uk