More than 610,000 Kent homes and businesses can now get high-speed fibre broadband

Sevenoaks, Bearsted and Loose lead Kent with highest demand

High-speed fibre broadband is now available to more than 610,000 Kent homes and businesses, BT announced today. It means that more than two thirds of premises in the county now have access to the technology.

A trio of communities, Sevenoaks, Bearsted and Loose, have the highest take up of the fibre broadband service in Kent, taking full advantage of the benefits that faster broadband brings to businesses and residents alike.

And demand continues to grow as more and more people living and working in the communities place orders for the sophisticated technology which can see their speeds increase to up to 80Mbps.

Dave Curtis, who runs his own carpentry business in Sevenoaks called DC Carpentry, said: “My website is crucial for me to win business. I get a lot of referrals online and via social media, so it’s important to update my business website quickly. Fibre broadband allows me to upload photos quicker and makes it easier for me to keep my online business fresh and relevant.

“My family started using the faster broadband early this year. We use TV on demand, smart phones, iPads and tablets. The faster broadband speed has made such a difference, for example my son can download his educational apps in a fraction of the time it used to take.”

Peter Cowen, BT’s regional director for the South East, said: “BT’s fibre network is expanding rapidly across the South East bringing a boost for local economies wherever it goes. Research suggests that within 15 years fibre broadband could bolster the economy of a typical town by £143 million and create 225 new jobs, 140 new start-up businesses and 1,000 more homeworkers1.

“The arrival of fibre in more parts of Kent can really help local firms in these economically challenging times, opening up new ways of working and speeding up vital operations, such as file and data transfers, conferencing and computer back-up, all of which may also help cut costs.”

Fibre quick facts for Kent:

  • Optical fibre is the diameter of a human hair
  • Fibre is immune to corrosion
  • Fibre is made from high quality pressed glass, called silica
  • You can’t get a crossed line on fibre
  • Currently there are over 1600 green street-side cabinets installed with more than 300 planned for the future

The “open” fibre network being rolled out by BT’s local network business, Openreach, currently passes more than 20 million homes and businesses. This means around two thirds of UK premises can order much faster broadband from a wide variety of internet service providers. The great majority of the work has been carried out under BT’s commercial programme with the remainder being enabled in partnership with the public sector.

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.

Openreach 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 20Mbps2 — and could deliver even faster speeds in the future.

In September BT unveiled the results of new field trials that show 'ultrafast' broadband - with combined downstream and upstream speeds of up to one Gigabit per second (1000 Mbps) - can be delivered via a mix of fibre and copper.

Previously it was thought such speeds would require a dedicated business line or a fibre optic cable to be laid all the way from a telephone exchange to a premise, a relatively expensive, disruptive and time consuming process.

Notes to editors
1 Report by Regeneris Consulting – Boosting Business and the UK

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

About Openreach
Openreach is responsible for the last mile of the UK access network – the copper wires and fibre connecting homes and businesses to their local telephone exchanges. Openreach provides communications providers with services and products associated with that network.