Super-fast fibre broadband now ‘live’ in Burnham-on-Sea

More than 10,000 Burnham-On-Sea homes and businesses to benefit from BT’s £2.5 billion roll-out 

High-speed fibre broadband is now available to the first homes and businesses in Burnham-On-Sea, BT announced today. 

More than 4,000 households and firms in the town now have access to the sophisticated technology - and this will increase to more than 10,500 premises as engineers complete the local investment in the coming weeks. 

It follows other Somerset communities, such as Bridgwater, Glastonbury, Weston-Super-Mare, Worle, Taunton, Bath and Yeovil where the high-speed technology is already available.
By the end of Spring 2014 about 226,000 Somerset homes and businesses - and about 1.5 million across the South West - will be able to benefit as a result of BT’s £2.5 billion fibre broadband roll-out programme. 

The company is also working in partnership with the public sector to reach parts of the South West that lie outside its commercial fibre broadband plans. 

Jon Reynolds, BT’s South West regional director, said: “BT’s fibre network is expanding rapidly across the South West 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 homeworkers1. 

“As about one and a half million UK households and businesses 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 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.” 

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 – by the end of Spring 2014, at least 18 months ahead of the original timetable. 2 

Jon Reynolds added: “Our ambition doesn’t stop with our commercial roll-out. The Connecting Devon and Somerset partnership, of which BT is a major partner, will make a major contribution to making faster broadband available in more challenging areas not included in our commercial plans.” 

Cllr David Hall, deputy leader of Somerset County Council, said: “Today’s announcement by BT is fantastic news. The people and businesses of Burnham-On-Sea will benefit hugely from this investment. Superfast fibre broadband has the power to transform lives and change the way people access public sector services. It also has the potential to transform the local economy, enabling businesses to work more effectively, access new markets, work flexibly, collaborate and innovate. 

“I very much look forward to future announcements, as we work with our partner BT to deliver the Connecting Devon and Somerset programme, which aims to deliver high-speed fibre broadband to around 90 per cent of premises by the end of 2016, and to ensure a minimum of 2Mbps broadband speeds for all.” 

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. 

From Spring 2013 Openreach 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 330Mbps3. According to the regulator Ofcom, the current average UK broadband 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.