A team of BT engineers in Bristol gave city Mayor, George Ferguson the inside story on the leading role they are playing in the roll-out of high speed fibre broadband around the UK.
The Mayor was given a guided tour of the Access Operations Centre in Marsh Street, Bristol, run by BT’s local network business, Openreach, which is responsible for maintaining and monitoring the UK’s rapidly growing fibre network.
The 110-strong team has the responsibility of switching on every one of the thousands of new green roadside cabinets being used to deliver fibre optic broadband to communities right across the UK. Around 6,000 cabinets are already live in Bristol and the surrounding area.
The Mayor said: "I am hugely encouraged seeing BT's operation in Bristol. It's exciting to know that people here in this city are playing such a pivotal role in the fibre broadband revolution affecting the whole of the UK. High speed digital connectivity has become of vital importance to all of us and it is great to hear of the skills that are being developed in Bristol."
The Marsh Street centre boasts a working model of BT’s new fibre network – showing how it operates all the way from a living room to the central hub of a telephone exchange via a pole and the new roadside cabinets.
Chris Hughes, general manager of the Openreach Access Operations Centre, said: “This is cutting edge technology and a 24/7 operation, right here in in the heart of Bristol. We are switching on more than 300 new cabinets a week in communities throughout the UK and we have a highly motivated team of engineers who fully appreciate the significance of the work they are doing.”
BT’s fibre footprint currently passes more than 13 million UK homes and businesses. It is expanding all the time and is expected to pass around two-thirds of UK premises – about 19 million – by the end of Spring 2014, at least 18 months ahead of the original timetable 1.
The Bristol centre played a key role in communications services for London 2012 across the UK, managing 1,000 high speed fibre Ethernet circuits delivering speeds up to 10 Gigabits per second for 94 competition and non-competition Olympics venues.
Jon Reynolds, BT’s South West regional director, said: “The Centre is a key part of BT’s operations in Bristol and highlights the important role the company plays in the Bristol area as an employer of more than 1,000 people and a major investor. As a result of that investment, fibre broadband is widely available in and around the city and the rollout is set to continue with more exchanges to be upgraded this year.”
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Notes to Editors
1 BT’s deployment plans are subject to an acceptable environment for investment.