Super-fast fibre broadband goes live in Berwick

Upgrade hailed by Berwick Chamber of Trade as 6,400 local homes and businesses set to benefit from BT’s £2.5 billion roll-out 
Super-fast broadband has arrived in Berwick, BT announced today. 

Around 4,800 homes and businesses in the town now have access to the high-speed technology – and this figure will increase to nearly 6,400 as Openreach engineers complete the local upgrade in the weeks ahead. 

Today, the BT investment was welcomed by Berwick Chamber of Trade, who described it as great news for Berwick. 

John Haswell, chairman, said: “Super-fast fibre broadband in Berwick offers huge benefits to local residents and businesses and will help our local economy to flourish. 

“Faster broadband speeds can boost competitiveness allowing businesses to promote and build a better, more effective online presence. Whether it’s a hotel being able to offer a full online booking system or a café giving customers free Wi-Fi, better, faster communications help businesses to grow and stimulate job creation. 

“This is great news and I look forward to fibre broadband being rolled out across the rest of Berwick upon Tweed.” 

BT is also working in partnership with Northumberland County Council and Arch, The Northumberland Development Company, 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. 

Under current iNorthumberland plans Belford, Chathill, Crookham, Seahouses and Wooler are set to benefit during 2014 with further locations in Berwick upon Tweed to follow in 2015. 

Simon Roberson, BT’s North East regional partnership director, said: “Our roll-out of fibre broadband is advancing across Northumberland with Berwick the latest place to benefit. More than 2.4 million homes and businesses across the UK are already using Openreach’s new fibre network via a range of retailers, bringing speed and choice to the UK. Many local businesses and residents in Berwick now have the opportunity to join them. 

“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. 

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

“Thousands of residents and businesses in Berwick now have the opportunity to find out for themselves why there’s such a buzz about fibre broadband and I would urge people to check with their chosen service provider to see what is on offer.” 

BT’s fibre footprint currently passes more than 18 million UK homes and businesses. It’s due to pass around two-thirds of UK premises by the end of Spring 2014, at least 18 months ahead of the original timetable. 

BT recently announced plans to invest a further £50 million into its commercial fibre broadband programme over the next three years. The money will benefit more than 30 cities, helping to make high speed broadband available to more than 400,000 additional premises. Further details will be announced in due course. 

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, 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. FTTC delivers download speeds of up to 80Mbps and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps1 — 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 demand2 in certain areas and plans to further expand access. FTTP-on-demand offers the top current download speed of 330Mbps.1 

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 a few minutes; or posting photos and videos to social networking sites in seconds. Fibre improves the quality of online experiences and supports new developments in internet services. 

Benefits for businesses include faster file and data transfers, better access to cloud computing services and software, more sophisticated web-based contact with customers and support for more flexible working. 

Unlike other companies, Openreach offers fibre broadband access to all service providers on an open, wholesale basis, which underpins a competitive market and delivers real customer choice. For further information on Openreach’s fibre broadband programme visit www.superfast-openreach.co.uk 


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

2 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, which may also benefit from the local partnership activity outlined above.