BT unveils super-fast broadband plans for thousands more homes and businesses in West Yorkshire
Leeds, Wakefield, Bradford and Ripponden included in BT’s roll-out of high-speed fibre broadband
BT today announced a further expansion of high-speed fibre broadband in West Yorkshire. Around 49,500 local homes and businesses in Leeds, Bradford and Wakefield city centres are to benefit and 2000 in the Calderdale village of Ripponden.
The company expects these to be the final communities in West Yorkshire to be included in its £2.5 billion commercial roll-out of fibre broadband in the UK. Future announcements will focus on areas where fibre coverage is to be expanded even further via partnerships with the public sector and local communities.
Openreach, BT’s local network business, will carry out work to connect the areas announced today between now and the end of Spring 2014, subject to planning and technical constraints.
The expansion also includes further substantial investment in making fibre broadband more widely available in certain areas including Armley, Morley, Halifax, Keighley and South Elmsall which already have the high-speed technology.
Councillor Peter Gruen, deputy leader of Leeds City Council, said “Improving broadband connectivity is a priority for Leeds. A robust digital infrastructure is key to securing our ambitions around economic growth and social cohesion.
“West Yorkshire councils have been working together for the last 18 months to develop programmes which will improve access to better internet speeds for our residents and businesses and we welcome news of further investment from BT.
Today’s announcement will take the total number of premises with access to fibre broadband in West Yorkshire to around 775,000. Around 557,000 are already able to get the service - and BT is working with the public sector to reach more communities through the Superfast West Yorkshire project.
Superfast West Yorkshire plans to extend high-speed fibre broadband to 97 per cent of households and businesses across the majority of West Yorkshire by the end of Autumn 2015. As well as providing high speed fibre, the partnership aims to upgrade 100 per cent of premises in this area to speeds of more than 2Mbps. 1
Tom Keeney, BT’s regional director for Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “This is an exciting time for the digital future of West Yorkshire with widespread availability of fibre broadband services fast becoming a reality for thousands of local homes.
“With today’s further fibre broadband investment in West Yorkshire, we hope even more local people will soon experience the difference for themselves by joining the 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 is 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 2 — 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 demand3 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.
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 The Superfast West Yorkshire project is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund Programme 2007 to 2013. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund Programme, which is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs. For more information visit www.communities.gov.uk/erdf
2These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.
3 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.