Super-fast fibre broadband goes live in Alnwick

Upgrade hailed by Northumberland County Council as more than 4,000 local homes and businesses set to benefit from BT’s £2.5 billion roll-out 

Super-fast broadband has arrived in Alnwick BT announced today. Hundreds of homes and businesses now have access to the high-speed technology – and this figure will increase to more than 4,000 as engineers complete the local upgrade in the weeks ahead. 

Today, the BT investment was welcomed by Councillor Allan Hepple, policy board member for planning, housing and regeneration at Northumberland County Council, who described it as great news. He said: “Super-fast fibre broadband in Alnwick will benefit both local residents and businesses. Broadband is an essential part of our present and future. It’s vital that we embrace this latest generation of technology in order for our local economy to remain competitive. 

“Better, faster communications boost businesses, helping them grow, and create more jobs. What’s more, local residents can enjoy faster browsing and downloading at home. This is great news for Alnwick.” 

Further Northumberland communities including Amble, Seaton Delaval and Berwick are also due to be upgraded and by the end of Spring 2014 more than 98,000 homes and businesses across the region will able to benefit as a result of BT’s £2.5 billion fibre roll-out programme. 

BT is also working in partnership with Northumberland County Council to reach parts of Northumberland that lie outside its commercial footprint. In April 2013 BT signed a £18.9 million deal to transform broadband speeds for businesses and residents across the county . 

The project, iNorthumberland, will see 95 per cent of Northumberland homes and businesses gain access to fibre broadband speeds of up to 80Mbps by the end of January 2016. 

Farooq Hakim, BT regional director for the North East, said: “Our roll-out of fibre broadband continues at a world class pace in Northumberland with Alnwick the latest place to benefit. More than 1.7 million homes and businesses across the UK are already using our new fibre network. Local residents now have the opportunity to join them and find out for themselves why there’s such a buzz about fibre broadband. 

“Whatever you’re doing online, you can do it better and faster with fibre. Whether it’s shopping, downloading music and video, watching TV, social networking, studying or researching homework, once you’ve switched to fibre you’ll never look back. Outside the home, it also has huge potential for public services and city businesses. 

“Businesses working better with fibre tell us it’s helping them in a wealth of ways, from day to day activities like downloading software, collaborating with clients and moving large data files around to big business decisions like expanding the workforce or introducing better quality IT services at less cost. 

“BT is not just building a national communications network fit for 21st century Britain; we’re doing it at speed, making fibre broadband available to around 80,000 more premises a week.

”We’ve always said we’d like to work with the public sector to expand the fibre footprint beyond the commercial boundaries and we are excited to be doing exactly that through our partnership with iNorthumberland.” 

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.1 

Openreach, BT’s local network business, 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 20Mbps3 — 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 demand4 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 3. 

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 


3 These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary. 
4 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. 

BT’s deployment plans are subject to an acceptable environment for investment.