Upgrade hailed by Derbyshire County Council as more than 21,000 local homes and businesses set to benefit from BT’s £2.5 billion roll-out

Super-fast fibre broadband has arrived in Eckington, Leabrooks, Shirebrook and Wirksworth, BT announced today. Around 17,000 homes and businesses in these areas of Derbyshire now have access to the high-speed technology – and this figure will increase to more than 21,000 as Openreach engineers complete the local upgrade in the weeks ahead. 
Today, the BT investment was welcomed by Derbyshire County Council, who described it as great news for these areas. 
Derbyshire County Council's Cabinet Member for Jobs, Economy and Transport, Councillor Joan Dixon, said: "This is great news for people living and working in Eckington, Leabrooks, Shirebrook and Wirksworth. 

"This announcement is welcome news from BT and its importance to the economy of Derbyshire cannot be underestimated. Fast and reliable broadband has never been more important for local business and for so many aspects of people's home lives. It gives businesses a competitive edge in today's marketplace and provides access to new markets with the potential of new jobs. 

"BT's announcement represents real progress which compliments the council's Digital Derbyshire programme." 

Fibre broadband is already available to more than 337,000 Derbyshire homes and businesses as part of BT’s commercial deployment. 

Owen Moody BT’s regional director for the East Midlands said: “Our roll-out of fibre broadband is advancing across Derbyshire with these four areas the latest places 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 residents in these areas 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. Outside the home, it also has huge potential for public services and local firms. 
“Businesses 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’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. 
In Derbyshire, BT is working in partnership with Derbyshire County Council on a programme which aims to build upon private sector roll-out, to provide more than 95% of Derbyshire’s businesses and residents with access to fibre-based broadband by the end of 2016. 
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.