Thousands of North West homes and businesses in line for super-fast broadband

Latest investment will expand fibre footprint in areas already included in BT’s £2.5 billion fibre broadband roll-out 

BT today announced an expansion of high-speed fibre broadband in the North West as part of its £2.5 billion commercial roll-out of the technology in the UK. 

More than 3,500 additional firms and households in the region will be able to get the service as a result of extra investment in communities already upgraded. The latest expansion will take place in Astley Bank, Blackfriars, Mottram, Woodley and Wigan in Greater Manchester, Leyland and Upholland in Lancashire, and Lark Lane and Stanley in Merseyside. 

Engineering works will be completed by the end of Spring 2014. 

Across the North West as a whole, more than 1.68 million households and businesses can now get fibre broadband and this figure is expected to reach more than 2.34 million by the end of Spring next year. 

Mike Blackburn, BT regional director for the North West, said: “We’re pleased to announce further investment in fibre broadband as part of our continuing commitment to make the technology as widely available as possible. Fast, sophisticated connections are the cornerstone of a successful community, impacting on many aspects of modern life and providing a platform for new businesses and jobs. 

“Future-proofed fibre broadband transforms the way people use online services – from entertainment and education to shopping and social networking. It can also enhance the competitiveness of local firms, speeding up the way they do business and giving them access to cost-saving ‘cloud computing’ services.” 

BT’s local network business, Openreach, is making fibre broadband available to two-thirds of UK homes and businesses by the end of Spring 20141. It 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 20Mbps2 and could deliver even faster speeds in the future. 

Openreach is also starting to make fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology, where the fibre runs all the way to the home or business, commercially available on demand3 in some areas where fibre broadband has been deployed. FTTP-on-demand will offer the top current download speed of 330Mbps 2. According to the regulator Ofcom, the current average UK residential broadband download speed is 12Mbps. 

Internet users with a fibre broadband connection can do much more online, all at the same time. A family can download a movie, watch a TV replay service, surf the net and play games online simultaneously. 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. 

The upload speeds are the fastest widely available to consumers in the UK, with large video and data files being sent almost instantly and hi-resolution photos posted online in seconds. And high quality voice and video calls mean businesses can keep in touch with customers while they cut down on travel. 

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 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 the selected exchange areas will not initially be able to access fibre-based broadband. Alternative solutions for these locations are being investigated.