Openreach connects first customers to ultrafast broadband in Meppershall trial

BT’s local network business, Openreach, today announced it had connected the first households and businesses in Meppershall, Bedfordshire, to ultrafast broadband.

BT’s local network business, Openreach, today announced it had connected the first households and businesses in Meppershall, Bedfordshire, to ultrafast broadband.

Speeds of up to 330Mbps – quick enough to download a high definition film in less than 20 seconds - are available from the new fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) network.

Openreach is trialling new ‘plug and play’ technology in the area, which reduces the cost and complexity of delivering an all-fibre connection to a home or business. It allows customers to be connected to FTTP with a simple two hour installation.

One of the first Meppershall customers to benefit from the trial is Richard Flint, owner of Xtranet-IT solutions, an educational and business support organisation, based in Shefford Road. He said: “The line and equipment installation went very smoothly. Initially we decided to subscribe to the 80Mbps down /20Mbps up plan which gave us a real-time speed from the outset of 77.5Mbps.

“Here at Xtranet-IT Solutions, we have always had to work within the restrictions of our previous 4Mbps bandwidth. As we support nearly 100 schools via remote support, limited bandwidth could make it tricky and meant we always had to be mindful of our expansion plans. With the new speed, those restrictions have immediately been eliminated.

“I can only see our revenues increasing leading to the creation of more employment opportunities as a direct result of this.

“The FTTP infrastructure Openreach has installed in the area certainly is the leap in technology we have been looking for and has to be a real winner not only for businesses but for the home user also.”

Cllr Richard Wenham, Central Bedfordshire Council's executive member for corporate resources, said: "The trial of this ultrafast broadband in Meppershall is fantastic news for the village. The first customers have already experienced the swift connection to FTTP technology and we look forward to even more residents and businesses being connected in the near future.

“The council is continuing to work with its partners to extend superfast coverage as far as possible and supporting new innovations to accelerate delivery.”

Giles Ellerton, BT’s regional partnership director for the East of England, said: “It’s fantastic that Bedfordshire is at the forefront of trialling this technology. The trial will test a number of new techniques and processes for rolling out FTTP which could, if successful, be used to deploy the technology more quickly and widely.”

Openreach has recently finished building the new FTTP trial network in Meppershall and is now working on a trial nearby in Campton. The company is also testing the technology in Haydon Wick in Swindon.

The trials will explore a number of methods that could simplify deployment, for example, by reducing the need for engineers to cut and melt fibres together, which can be a complex and time consuming process.

The full trial in Meppershall will cover 64 homes and business. Local residents who are interested in getting connected to ultrafast speeds should contact their service provider as their line will not be upgraded automatically. They can find out if they can get ultrafast fibre by asking their service provider. More information on the trials can be found visiting the Openreach ultrafast website