Super-fast fibre broadband goes live in Dalton-in-Furness

More than 4,800 local homes and businesses to benefit from 
BT’s £2.5 billion roll-out; 
Invest in Cumbria welcomes latest development 

High-speed fibre broadband is now available to the first homes and businesses in another Cumbria community, BT announced today. 

More than 4,800 premises in Dalton-in-Furness are joining the high-speed revolution as engineers complete the local investment in the coming weeks. 

They follow Penrith, Barrow-in-Furness, Carlisle, Kendal and Workington where fibre is already available, and will be followed shortly Kirby Lonsdale, Maryport and Whitehaven. 

Burton-in-Kendal and Newbiggin-on-Lune are earmarked for upgrades by the end of Spring 2014, taking the total number of homes and businesses across Cumbria able to benefit as a result of BT’s £2.5 billion fibre roll-out programme to more than 111,000. 

This commercial investment by BT is in addition to the Connecting Cumbria partnership between the company and Cumbria County Council, which seeks to make fast, affordable fibre broadband to around 93 per cent of Cumbria homes and businesses by the end of 2015. 

Mike Blackburn, BT’s regional director for the North West, said: “BT’s fibre network is expanding rapidly across the region bringing a boost for local economies wherever it goes. Research suggests that within 15 years fibre broadband could bolster the economy of a typical town by £143 million and create 225 new jobs, 140 new start-up businesses and 1,000 more homeworkers 1. 

“As more than 1.5 million households and businesses across the UK have already discovered, fibre broadband opens up a whole new world to internet users. Whatever you’re doing online, you can do it better and faster with fibre. It’s great for education, shopping, entertainment, the social networking we now carry out routinely online and it also offers huge benefits for businesses and public services. 

“The arrival of fibre in Dalton can really help local firms in these economically challenging times, opening up new ways of working and speeding up vital operations, such as file and data transfers, conferencing and computer back-up, all of which may also help cut costs.” 

John Grainger, managing director at Invest in Cumbria, said: “I am delighted that BT has made another announcement that superfast fibre broadband is coming to Dalton-in-Furness. This important town, situated close to the A590 corridor, will benefit greatly from this latest development. BT have already announced that under the Openreach programme a number of our larger towns have been able to offer a range of services that are greatly enhanced by the provision of broadband technology. 

“This announcement will be followed soon by the technology reaching out to other important business and domestic locations in the county. 

“We all know that the provision of superfast broadband will help to make our businesses more competitive in the global environment. There is also an increasing demand from households to receive and then utilise the necessary bandwidth and broadband speeds that enable material to be downloaded from a number of digitally enhanced receivers and smart devices. This in turn will satisfy the ever increasing consumer demand for services that will also enhance their social networking capability.” 

BT’s fibre footprint currently passes more than 15 million UK homes and businesses. It is expanding all the time and is now due to pass two-thirds of UK premises – around 19 million premises – during Spring 2014, at least 18 months ahead of the original timetable. 2 

Mike Blackburn added: “Our ambition doesn’t stop with our commercial roll-out. We’re keen to work with the public sector to extend fibre broadband to the remaining parts of the country that are harder to reach, and in many places, including Cumbria, that’s already happening. Reaching two-thirds of the country early will mean we’re well positioned to place an even greater focus on the challenge of the final third.” 

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 offers download speeds of up to 80Mbps and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps3 and could deliver even faster speeds in the future. 

Openreach also aims to start 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 areas where fibre broadband has been deployed. FTTP-on-demand will offer the top current download speed of 330Mbps 3. According to the regulator Ofcom, the current average UK residential broadband download speed is 12Mbps. 

At home, fibre broadband enables a family to simultaneously download a movie, watch a TV replay service, surf the internet and play games online all at the same time. A whole album can be downloaded in less than 30 seconds and a feature length HD movie in less than 10 minutes, whilst high-resolution photos can be uploaded to Facebook in seconds. 

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 
1 Research taken from Social Study 2012 – The Economic Impact of BT across the UK by Regeneris Consulting – see www.btsocialstudy.co.uk for more information. 
2 BT’s deployment plans are subject to an acceptable environment for investment. 
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.