Investment will build county’s reputation as “a great place to live and do business”;
Newbiggin-on-Lune included in BT’s roll-out of high-speed fibre broadband;
More than 110,000 Cumbria homes and businesses now enjoying or earmarked for new technology as part of commercial roll-out
BT today announced a further expansion of high-speed fibre broadband in Cumbria, which is expected to help create jobs and boost the local economy.
Another 1,770 homes and businesses across the county are to be included in BT’s £2.5 billion commercial roll-out of fibre broadband in the UK.
Parts of Newbiggin-on-Lune will be among the new areas to 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 – such as Kendal - or are due to receive it – including Workington, Whitehaven and Maryport. It will take the total number of premises with access to fibre broadband in Cumbria to more than 110,000 as a result of BT’s investment.
The technology is already available in Carlisle, Kendal and Penrith. Next to benefit will be Barrow-in-Furness, Dalton and Workington, followed by Kirkby Lonsdale, Maryport and Whitehaven later this year, and Burton-in-Kendal next year.
BT is also working with Cumbria County Council to make fibre broadband available to further parts of the county, with the aim being that 93 per cent will have access by the end of 2015.
Mike Blackburn, BT’s North West regional director, said: “This latest investment is a further vote of confidence in the future success of the region. 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.
“BT has now announced plans to make fibre broadband available to more than 110,000 homes and businesses across the county. And we aim to go much further. Connecting Cumbria, of which BT is a major partner, will bring faster broadband to more challenging areas not included in our commercial roll-out plans.”
John Grainger, managing director of Invest In Cumbria, said: “This is very welcome news as we move forward in another challenging year. Local firms and households will be greatly encouraged by this further investment, which demonstrates that we are making progress even in these tough economic times. It will reinforce our county’s strong credentials as a great place to live and do business. High-speed communications have never been more vital in order to succeed in an ever more competitive and connected world.”
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 20Mbps1.
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 deployed2.
BT’s network is available on an open, wholesale basis to all companies providing broadband services so the region’s 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
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.