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super-fast fibre broadband goes live in Port Talbot

Press Release   •   Jul 29, 2013 00:00 BST

More than 17,500 local homes and businesses to benefit from 
BT’s £2.5 billion roll-out; 

Neath Port Talbot Council leader welcomes development 

High-speed fibre broadband is now available to the first homes and businesses in Port Talbot, BT announced today. 

More than 17,500 premises in the town are joining the high-speed revolution as engineers complete the local investment in the coming weeks. 

They follow Briton Ferry, Gorseinon, Mumbles, Neath, Ravenhill and Sketty where fibre is already available. 

BT’s commercial investment, which includes Port Talbot, is in addition to the Superfast Cymru project announcement by the Welsh Government and BT which will help the Welsh Government achieve its aim of taking fibre broadband to 96 per cent of Welsh homes and businesses by 2016. 

Ali Thomas, Neath Port Talbot Council leader, said: “The arrival of fibre broadband in Port Talbot is an important step forward. The internet is an integral part of daily life for local residents, both at home and at work, offering the opportunity to connect to this fast and resilient new technology. Fibre broadband can also bring new opportunities and a competitive edge to our businesses, so this is very welcome news for the town.” 

Ann Beynon, BT director for Wales, added: “BT’s fibre network is expanding rapidly across the region 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 homeworkers 1. 

“As more than 1.5 million households and businesses across the UK 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 Port Talbot 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 15 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. 

Openreach also aims to start 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 areas where fibre broadband has been deployed. FTTP-on-demand will offer the top current download speed of 330Mbps 3. According to the regulator Ofcom, the current average UK residential broadband download speed is 12Mbps. 

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 

ENDS 

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. 

*Excludes Telford and Wrekin where there is a separate authority.