Investment will build the county’s reputation as “a great place to live and do business”;
BT today announced a major expansion of high-speed fibre broadband in South Yorkshire, which is expected to help create jobs and give a big boost to the local economy.
Another 47,000 homes and businesses in the area are to be included in BT’s £2.5 billion commercial roll-out of fibre broadband in the UK.
The six latest communities to benefit – Tickhill, Conisbrough, Mexborough, Wath-upon-Dearne, Thrybergh and Rawmarsh Parkgate – will be upgraded by the end of Spring 2014. The expansion also includes a substantial investment in making fibre broadband more widely available in areas which already have the high-speed technology or are due to receive it.
Doncaster Chamber of Commerce and the CBI both welcomed the investment and said it would help to build confidence of an economic recovery among local households and businesses.
It will take the total number of premises with access to fibre broadband in South Yorkshire to more than 460,000. More than 330,000 are already able to get the service in the county.
Tom Keeney, BT’s regional director for Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “This latest investment is a further vote of confidence in the future success of South Yorkshire. It will be an important part of our economic revival as we finally shrug off the effects of the downturn and create a better, more prosperous future.
“Fast, sophisticated communications are the cornerstone of a successful community, helping local people to build their skills and knowledge and encouraging the creation of new businesses and jobs. This exciting technology will transform on-line education, training and leisure for households and enhance the competitiveness of local firms.
Daniel Fell, deputy CEO of Doncaster Chamber of Commerce, said: “Businesses thrive on good connectivity. Doncaster has a great position on the UK’s transport infrastructure and local businesses jump on that opportunity to reach new markets, promote their goods and services and create wealth for the town. Hidden infrastructure works no differently. If businesses have improved connectivity they will use it to communicate with customers faster, better and to deliver results for the local economy. The Chamber therefore welcomes any investment that helps boost the town’s competitiveness and that works for business.”
BT’s local network business, Openreach, will be making fibre broadband available to two-thirds of UK homes and businesses by the end of Spring 2014. The roll-out uses a mix of fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) and fibre to the premises (FTTP) technologies. More than 13 million UK premises can already access fibre broadband and this number is growing by around 100,000 every week.
Both technologies offer speeds many times faster than the current UK average, reported by the regulator Ofcom to be 9Mbps. FTTC, where fibre is delivered to new street cabinets, offers download speeds of up to 80Mbps and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps 1.
FTTP, where fibre runs all the way to homes and businesses, offers a variety of download speeds with the current top speed being 330Mbps1. From Spring 2013 BT aims to make speeds of 330Mbps1 available on demand in any area where FTTC has been deployed 2.
Andrew Palmer, CBI regional director, said: “This is great news from BT. I really welcome the news that another 47,000 homes and businesses in South Yorkshire will soon be able to take advantage of a technology, which will play a key role in our economic growth and future development.
“More than ever, high speed communications are crucial in the fast-moving and changing world that we work and live in and I’m looking forward to the benefits this faster broadband will bring to the whole region.”
BT’s network is available on an open, wholesale basis to all companies providing broadband services so local households and businesses will benefit from a highly competitive market.
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
Locations in Yorkshire and the Humber included in today’s announcement: Tickhill, Barton-on-Humber, Grimsby, Healing, Scartho, Conisbrough, Mexborough, Wath-upon-Dearne, Thrybergh and Rawmarsh Parkgate.
Notes to editors
1These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.
2 Openreach will levy an installation charge for FTTP on demand. It will be up to service providers to decide whether they pass that onto businesses or consumers wishing to take advantage of 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.