Thousands more Somerset homes and businesses get access to super-fast broadband

More than 3,500 homes and businesses in Ilminster to benefit from BT’s £2.5 billion roll-out 

High-speed fibre broadband is becoming available to thousands more homes and businesses in Somerset, BT announced today. 

More than 3,500 households and firms in Ilminster are joining the high-speed revolution as engineers complete the local investment in the coming weeks. About 196,000 Somerset homes and businesses now have 
access to the sophisticated technology. 

Eighteen Somerset exchanges have already been upgraded in communities such as Taunton, Yeovil, Bath, Weston-Super-Mare, Glastonbury, Frome and Wellington. By the end of Spring 2014 more than 230,000 homes and businesses in the county will be able to benefit from 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. It is a major partner in the £94 million Connecting Devon and Somerset initiative, which aims to make fibre optic broadband available to around 90 per cent of premises by the end of 2016. 

Jon Reynolds, BT’s South West regional director, said: “BT’s roll-out of fibre broadband in Ilminster represents a major investment, which will provide a big boost for the local economy. 

“Whatever you’re doing online, you can do it better and faster with high-speed fibre broadband. 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.” 

BT’s fibre footprint currently passes more than 16 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. 1 

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 20Mbps 2 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 demand 3 in certain areas where fibre broadband has been deployed, and plans to expand access in due course. FTTP-on-demand offers the top current download speed of 330Mbps2. According to the regulator Ofcom, the current average UK broadband speed is 14.7Mbps. 

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 BT’s deployment plans are subject to an acceptable environment for investment. 
2 These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all broadband service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary. 
3 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.