Small North Yorkshire village goes superfast thanks to pioneering ‘mini fibre cabinets’

Ulshaw the first village in Northern England to get superfast broadband using ‘Fibre-to-the-Remote-Node’ 

A remote village in the Yorkshire Dales has become the first place in the North of England to benefit from a pioneering new technique which brings superfast broadband to challenging and remote areas.

The news comes as the Government today announced that the nationwide rollout of superfast broadband has now reached more than two million homes and businesses.*

All 16 homes and businesses in the village of Ulshaw, Lower Wensleydale, now have access to fibre broadband with speeds of up to 80Mbps thanks to BT’s new superfast Fibre-to-the-Remote-Node (FTTrN) broadband technology.

The technology works by installing a fibre optic cable – which runs from the local telephone exchange – much closer to the properties and using a small box called a ‘Remote Node’. Traditionally BT would need to build a much larger street cabinet to bring fibre broadband to an area, but the remote node effectively acts like a miniature cabinet – and it can be positioned on telegraph poles, inside manholes or a variety of other locations. This means it can be deployed where space is at a premium or where the traditional approach is too complex or expensive to achieve.

FTTrN can also shorten the final length of copper cable which connects a home or business – so it gives more homes and businesses access to the fastest 80Mbps speeds and even provides a more stable connection. It is part of a number of innovative technologies in BT’s toolkit which the company has designed to expand the reach of fibre broadband even further.

The innovative scheme in Ulshaw was made possible by funding from the Superfast North Yorkshire programme, a partnership between BT and North Yorkshire County Council.

Paul Carlo, senior project manager for Superfast North Yorkshire, said: “Using FTTrN was the ideal solution for Ulshaw. With such a small number of premises we couldn’t really justify the cost of building and installing one of our more common green fibre cabinets. Instead we have installed this node in an existing joint box and it will serve the whole village.

“Customers’ premises are connected up to the fibre node in the same way as they would be to a green roadside cabinet, so there is no need for any special equipment in the home. The increase in speed and subsequent benefits are exactly the same.”

Resident Luke Pearce was first in the village to get signed up to a new superfast broadband service. He said: “Without the remote node technology we and everyone else in the village would have been scuppered. For me the great advantage is the sheer bulk of things we can now do online at the same time without ever having to worry about the connection falling over. I have four children between the ages of five and 13 and they’re all pretty tech savvy. At any one time there’s a huge amount of streaming and downloading going on – everything from online music services to iPlayer and Netflix.”

Investment manager Luke, who has seen his broadband speed increase from around five to 80Mbps, added: “I sometimes work from home and need to keep up with the latest online market news and for that I need a reliable and stable broadband connection, which I now have. Another advantage is that, where we are the mobile connection is very patchy, but having superfast means we can make wireless calls or video calls over broadband with services like Skype. With fibre the quality is as good as a phone line.”

County Councillor Carl Les, chairman of Superfast North Yorkshire, said: “I am proud that North Yorkshire is leading the way in pushing the boundaries of what we can do with this life-changing technology. In recent weeks the village of Westow became the first in the North of England to be connected up to fibre using BT’s wireless broadband technology and now Superfast North Yorkshire is the first project of its kind in the North to be using this latest technology to push the deployment of superfast broadband even further.”

“This is just another example of the many innovative approaches to bringing fibre based broadband to remote communities – and that innovation will continue.”

Tom Keeney, BT’s regional director for Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “This is a great example of how the Superfast North Yorkshire programme is bringing superfast broadband to communities who otherwise would not be getting it. By proving the value of this technical innovation, we hope that it will be used in other appropriate locations in the future.”

“Together, we and our public sector partners are creating a lasting legacy, which will play a vital role in the future success and prosperity of our local communities and beyond. Already nearly 22 million UK households and businesses on BT’s network can benefit from the huge opportunities offered by fibre broadband with many more joining them every month”

Superfast North Yorkshire, a partnership led by North Yorkshire County Council and BT, is making fibre broadband available to more than 140,000 homes and businesses across the county. These are in addition to more than 200,000 properties able to access fibre broadband as a result of BT’s £2.5 billion commercial roll-out programme

BT was chosen as the private sector partner in the project following an extensive selection process by the county council. The company is contributing £10 million towards fibre deployment in “non-commercial” areas whilst the county council is using its £17.8 million share of BDUK funds and a further £8.6 million coming from the European Regional Development Fund . An additional £8m is being invested to push the deployment of fibre even further with the aim to make the technology available to another 11,100 homes and businesses across England’s largest rural county by 2017. To help businesses in North Yorkshire take advantage of the faster broadband speeds a support service has been put in place to provide free services such as training workshops, skills master classes and business development events. This will demonstrate how faster broadband connections can help to develop business and increase profits by maximising efficiency and productivity.
For more information call 0845 0020021 or email: enquiries@sfny.co.uk.

For further information on the Superfast North Yorkshire programme visit www.superfastnorthyorkshire.com

Notes to Editors:
*The Government’s nationwide rollout of superfast broadband - internet speeds greater than 24Mbps – has now reached more than two million homes and businesses.

BT’s high-speed fibre broadband network now reaches almost 22 million premises. The network is open to all communications providers on an equal basis – with 140 communications providers now selling fibre broadband services.

For DCMS press release; https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-culture-media-sport

Superfast Britain is a Government investment of £1.08bn in broadband and communication infrastructure across the UK. Run by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, this investment helps businesses to grow, creates jobs and will make Britain more competitive in the global race. The portfolio comprises three linked programmes:
• £780m to extend superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by 2017
• £150m to provide high speed broadband to businesses in 22 cities
• £150m to improve quality and coverage of mobile phone and basic data network services

Administered on behalf of Government by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), Superfast Britain is transforming Britain by promoting growth, enabling skills and learning, and improving quality of life.

For further information: https://www.gov.uk/broadband-delivery-uk