More than 32,000 local homes and businesses to benefit from BT’s £2.5 billion roll-out; news welcomed by Wrexham politicians
High-speed fibre broadband is now available to the first homes and businesses in Gresford and Wrexham, BT announced today.
More than 32,000 local households and firms are joining the high-speed revolution as engineers complete the local investment in the coming weeks. The towns follow Buckley, Connahs Quay, Mold and Hawarden where fibre is already available.
Prestatyn and Rhyl are amongst others due to be upgraded and by the end of next year nearly 600,000 homes and businesses in Wales will be able to benefit as a result of BT’s £2.5 billion fibre roll-out programme.
BT’s commercial investment, which includes Gresford, Wrexham and Wrexham North exchanges, is in addition to the recent announcement by the Welsh Government and BT of an ambitious project to take world class broadband speeds to 96 per cent of Welsh homes and businesses by the end of 2015.
The initiative will take the total amount invested in Welsh fibre broadband to around £425 million when BT’s commercial investment is also taken into account.
Ann Beynon, BT director for Wales, said: “BT’s fibre network is expanding rapidly across Wales 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 about 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 Gresford along with the Wrexham and Wrexham North exchange areas, 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.”
Lesley Griffiths, Assembly Member for Wrexham, said: “BT’s investment has resulted in a significant improvement in the communications infrastructure of Wrexham North and Gresford.
“The speed of internet connection is becoming increasingly important in everyone’s daily life. This new fast access will give our local businesses a competitive edge in today’s crowded marketplace.
“It marks a significant milestone in the development of next generation communications in Wrexham.”
Ian Lucas, MP for Wrexham, said: “I welcome the news that BT has invested in bringing super-fast broadband to Wrexham. Fast broadband is an essential tool for local businesses and will be a catalyst for the creation of new jobs by making the town an even more attractive place for businesses to start-up and invest.
“It will also transform the lives of local families, whether they’re using the technology for social networking, entertainment or education. I now want more investment to benefit more Wrexham families and businesses."
BT’s fibre footprint currently passes more than 12 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
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 speed is 12.7Mbps.
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.