Swansea leads the way as Openreach announces more ultrafast broadband pilot areas

People living in Swansea will be among the first in the UK to benefit from the new ultrafast broadband technology being developed by Openreach, BT’s local network business.

People living in Swansea will be among the first in the UK to benefit from the new ultrafast broadband technology being developed by Openreach, BT’s local network business.

The company recently announced Swansea as a pilot location for its new ultrafast technology, known as G.fast, which provides download speeds of up to 330 mega bits per second (Mbps) – more than 10 times the UK national average. This follows successful technical trials of the technology which were also held in Swansea.

Openreach plans to make G.fast available to 10 million UK homes by the end of 2020, and news of the pilot has been given a warm welcome by Welsh Government, Swansea Council and the Swansea City Regional Board.

Thousands of premises in Swansea will be given access to the technology during 2017 with details about exactly where and when to be published shortly.

Welcoming today’s announcement, Wales’ Skills and Science Minister, Julie James said: “With Welsh Government support, vast parts of Wales already have access to superfast broadband and it is great news that Swansea has been selected by BT to be one the first locations in the UK to receive this next generation of broadband technology.

“Our commitment to working with others to create a better connected and more united Wales is unwavering and we continue to work with BT to roll-out superfast broadband to homes and businesses across the country.

“As we continue to compete on a global scale, ultrafast broadband has the potential to deliver even more benefits to Wales so it is good to see this continued investment and innovation in the industry.”

Councillor Rob Stewart, Leader of Swansea Council, says of the announcement: “This is fantastic news for Swansea and supports our drive to make sure the City and the region has a first rate digital infrastructure to enable businesses to grow rapidly. It will also complement our plans to introduce a City Digital District as part of the City Deal Internet Coast proposals.”

Sir Terry Matthews, Chairman of the Swansea Bay City Region, said: “This is excellent news. The G.fast technology uses existing copper pairs and can provide up to 330Mbps throughput – this provides a basis for many new services and considerable economic benefits.”

“BT has been an excellent partner and rolled out the test bed services rapidly. We look forward to seeing the whole region served with ultrafast services as quickly as possible. Well done BT.”

Kim Mears, Openreach’s managing director for infrastructure delivery, said: “We’re delighted to be able to announce that Swansea will be one of the first locations to get ultrafast speeds using G.fast technology in the UK.”

“More people will now be able to enjoy an affordable Ultrafast service, in the fastest possible time. Through cooperation from both national and local government we’ve been able to make this possible.

“The UK already leads the way when it comes to superfast broadband. More than nine out of ten homes and businesses already have access to superfast speeds with another 20,000 more premises being enabled each week, and we’re working hard to reach the rest, as well as starting to roll out Ultrafast speeds.”

Following successful technical trials in Swansea (along with Huntingdon and Cherry Hinton in Cambridgeshire and Gosforth in Newcastle) Openreach has announced a total of 17 pilot areas to reach around 140,000 homes and businesses in 2017. The company has already made fibre broadband available to more than 1.3 million homes and businesses across Wales, through a combination of its investment and a partnership with the Welsh Government.

Across the UK, more homes and businesses are now using superfast broadband than in Germany, France, Italy or Spain, and the UK outperforms the EU’s five largest economies on measures such as availability, speeds and take-up according to Ofcom[1].