More than 17,000 local homes and businesses to benefit from BT’s £2.5 billion roll-out; news welcomed by Shepway Council
High-speed fibre broadband is now available to the first homes and businesses in Folkestone, BT announced today.
More than 17,000 local households and firms are joining the high-speed revolution as engineers complete the local investment in the coming weeks.
Folkestone follows other locations in the county, such as Hythe, Canterbury, Maidstone, Broadstairs, Whitstable and Ramsgate where fibre is already available. By the end of the year more than 2.7 million homes and businesses across the South East will be able to benefit as a result of BT’s £2.5 billion fibre roll-out programme.
BT is set to announce further UK locations in the coming months that will benefit from its commercial roll out of fibre broadband. The company is also seeking to work in partnership with the public sector to reach parts of South East that lie outside its commercial footprint.
John Weaver, BT’s South East regional director, said: “BT’s fibre network is expanding rapidly across the South East bringing a boost for local economies wherever it goes. Research suggests that within 15 years fibre broadband could bolster the economy of a typical town by £143 million and create 225 new jobs, 140 new start-up businesses and 1,000 more homeworkers1.
“As more than a million households and businesses have already discovered, fibre broadband opens up a whole new world to internet users. Whatever you’re doing online, you can do it better and faster with fibre. 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.
“The arrival of fibre in Folkestone can really help local firms in these economically challenging times, opening up new ways of working and speeding up vital operations, such as file and data transfers, conferencing and computer back-up, all of which may also help cut costs.”
BT’s fibre footprint currently passes more than 13 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 – during Spring 2014, at least 18 months ahead of the original timetable. 2
John Weaver added: “Our ambition doesn’t stop with our commercial roll-out. We’re keen to work with the public sector to extend fibre broadband to the remaining parts of the country that are harder to reach, and in Surrey, that’s already happening. Reaching two-thirds of the country early will mean we’re well positioned to place an even greater focus on the challenge of the final third.”
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 20Mbps3 and could deliver even faster speeds in the future.
From Spring 2013 Openreach aims to make fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology, where the fibre runs all the way to the home or business, commercially available on demand4 in any area where fibre broadband has been deployed. FTTP-on-demand will offer the top current download speed of 330Mbps3. According to the regulator Ofcom, the current average UK broadband download speed is 9Mbps.
Cllr Alan Clifton-Holt, Shepway Council’s Cabinet Member for the Economy, said the announcement was great news. “At a time when our local economy needs a much needed boost, important developments such as BT’s investment in super-fast broadband, offer us the potential to create new opportunities, services and growth - and strengthen the commitment we have made to improve broadband access for everyone.”
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 Research taken from Social Study 2012 – The Economic Impact of BT across the UK by Regeneris Consulting – see www.btsocialstudy.co.uk for more information.
2 BT’s deployment plans are subject to an acceptable environment for investment.
3 These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.
4 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.