Super-fast fibre broadband goes live in Barnard Castle

Upgrade hailed by Helen Goodman, MP, as more than 3,900 local homes and businesses set to benefit from BT’s £2.5 billion roll-out 
Super-fast broadband has arrived in Barnard Castle BT announced today. Hundreds of homes and businesses now have access to the high-speed technology – and this figure will increase to more than 3,900 as engineers complete the local upgrade in the weeks ahead. 

Helen Goodman, MP for Bishop Auckland and Shadow Minister for Culture and Media, visited one of the first fibre broadband street cabinets to go live in Barnard Castle to find out for herself how the technology works and why it’s essential for future success and prosperity. 

Welcoming the BT investment, she said: “Super-fast fibre broadband will benefit both local residents and businesses in Barnard Castle. 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. 

At a time when the local economy needs a boost, BT’s investment in fibre broadband offers the potential for new services and business growth.” 

Barnard Castle follows other parts of County Durham where fibre broadband has already been made available as part of BT’s £2.5 billion fibre programme. 

BT is also working with the public sector to reach more communities in Teesdale that lie outside its commercial footprint. In April BT signed a £24 million deal to transform broadband speeds for businesses and residents across County Durham, Gateshead, Sunderland and Tees Valley. 

The project, Digital Durham, is a partnership of eight local authorities led by Durham County Council, that will work with BT to deliver high-speed fibre broadband to around 94 per cent of premises by the end of 2016 and aims to provide a minimum of 2Mbps broadband speeds for all. 

Simon Roberson, BT’s regional partnership director for the North East, said: “Our roll-out of fibre broadband continues at a world class pace in County Durham, with Barnard Castle the latest place to benefit. 

We’re very pleased that Helen has been able to come and explore the inner workings of our roll-out of fibre broadband today. Local people may have noticed new BT green street cabinets being installed. This everyday street furniture is where the magic happens. 

““Fibre broadband opens up a whole new world to internet users, as more than two million UK households and businesses have already discovered.” 

“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 businesses. 

BT’s fibre footprint currently passes more than 17 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.2 

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 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 330Mbps4. 

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 

1BT’s deployment plans are subject to an acceptable environment for investment. 
2These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary. 
3Openreach 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. 


For further information about this news release please contact the BT Regional press office on 0800 085 0660. All our news releases can be read at www.bt.com/newscentre 

About Openreach 
Openreach is responsible for the first mile of the UK access network - the copper wires and fibre connecting homes and businesses to their local telephone exchanges. Openreach leads the deployment of BT Group’s £2.5bn commercial roll-out of fibre, delivering fibre broadband services to communities across the UK as well as installing and maintaining the communications infrastructure that links homes, businesses, public and voluntary sector organisations to their Communications Providers' networks. 
About BT 
BT is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in more than 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists principally of four lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Retail, BT Wholesale and Openreach. 
For the year ended 31 March 2013, BT Group’s reported revenue was £18,103m with r 
British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York. 
For more information, visit www.btplc.com