15
July
2014
|
00:00
Europe/Amsterdam

Super-fast fibre broadband goes live in Tyne and Wear

Upgrade hailed by NewcastleGateshead Initiative as around 44,500 local homes and businesses set to benefit from BT’s £2.5 billion roll-out 

Super-fast broadband has arrived in further locations in Tyne and Wear, BT announced today.

More than 18,000 homes and businesses in Birtley, Denton Burn, Dunston, East Newcastle and Whickham now have access to the high-speed technology – and this figure will increase to around 44,500 as Openreach engineers complete the local upgrade in the weeks ahead.

Today, the BT investment was welcomed by NewcastleGateshead Initiative, who described it as great news.

Sarah Stewart, chief executive at destination marketing and management agency, NewcastleGateshead Initiative said: “Super-fast fibre broadband across Newcastle and Gateshead offers huge benefits to local residents and businesses and will help our local economy to flourish. Better, faster communications help businesses to grow and stimulate job creation. At home, local people can do more online at faster speeds and on multiple devices. This is great news for the area and I look forward to fibre broadband being rolled out across the rest of Newcastle and Gateshead.”

Fibre broadband is already available to more than 320,000 home and businesses across Tyne and Wear in more than 20 local communities with Rowlands Gill also set to follow later this year. By the end of BT’s commercial deployment, more than 390,000 homes and businesses in Tyne and Wear will be able to benefit.

Farooq Hakim, BT regional director for the North East, said: “Our roll-out of fibre broadband is advancing across the North East with more communities in Tyne and Wear the latest to benefit. More than 2.7 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 more local residents in Tyne and Wear 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 broadband network is now available to more than 19 million UK homes and businesses. This means around two thirds of UK premises can order much faster broadband from a wide variety of service providers, around 21 months earlier than planned.

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.

BT is also working with the public sector to reach more communities in Tyne and Wear through two separate local authority partnerships, Go Digital and Digital Durham.

Go Digital Newcastle, a partnership led by Newcastle City Council and BT, is a £3.8 million deal to extend the availability of high-speed fibre broadband to 97 per cent of homes and businesses in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Digital Durham is a £25 million deal to transform broadband speeds for businesses and residents across County Durham, Gateshead, Sunderland and Tees Valley.

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

ENDS

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.

Contact
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 five lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Business, BT Consumer, BT Wholesale and Openreach.
For the year ended 31 March 2014, BT Group’s reported revenue was £18,287m with reported profit before taxation of £2,312m.
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.