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Thousands more Somerset homes and businesses get access to super-fast broadband

Press Release   •   Aug 13, 2013 00:00 BST

More than 5,000 Combe Down homes and businesses to benefit from BT’s £2.5 billion roll-out 

High-speed fibre broadband is becoming available to thousands more homes and businesses in Somerset, BT announced today. 

More than 5,000 households and firms in Combe Down, near Bath, are joining the high-speed revolution as engineers complete the local investment in the coming weeks. About 196,000 Somerset homes and businesses now have access to the sophisticated technology. 

Eighteen Somerset exchanges have already been upgraded in communities such as Taunton, Yeovil, Bath, Weston-Super-Mare, Glastonbury, Frome and Wellington. By the end of Spring 2014 more than 230,000 homes and businesses in the county will be able to benefit from BT’s £2.5 billion fibre broadband roll-out programme. 

The company is also working in partnership with the public sector to reach parts of the South West that lie outside its commercial fibre broadband plans. It is a major partner in the £94 million Connecting Devon and Somerset initiative, which aims to make fibre optic broadband available to around 90 per cent of premises by the end of 2016. 

Jon Reynolds, BT’s South West regional director, said: “BT’s roll-out of fibre broadband in Combe Down represents a major investment, which will provide a big boost for the local economy. 

“Whatever you’re doing online, you can do it better and faster with high-speed fibre broadband. 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.” 

Councillor Ben Stevens, Cabinet Member for sustainable development for Bath and North East Somerset Council, which is a partner in the Connecting Devon and Somerset broadband partnership, said: “Super-fast broadband is becoming a vital part of our lives, for businesses and for residents. That’s why the Council is working with partners to ensure that we can get the fastest broadband for the biggest number of our residents. We’re delighted that the next phase of the BT commercial roll-out will benefit so many of our residents in Combe Down.” 

BT’s fibre footprint currently passes more than 16 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 – by the end of Spring 2014, at least 18 months ahead of the original timetable. 1 

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 20Mbps2 and could deliver even faster speeds in the future. 

Openreach has also started to make fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology, where the fibre runs all the way to the home or business, commercially available on demand3 in certain areas where fibre broadband has been deployed, and plans to expand access in due course. FTTP-on-demand offers the top current download speed of 330Mbps2. According to the regulator Ofcom, the current average UK broadband speed is 14.7Mbps. 

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 

ENDS 

Notes to editors 
1 BT’s deployment plans are subject to an acceptable environment for investment. 
2 These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all broadband service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary. 
3 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. 

Contact 

For further information about this news release please contact the BT regional press office on 0800 085 0660. All our news releases can be read at www.bt.com/newscentre 

About BT 
BT is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in more than 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband and internet products and services and converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists principally of four lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Retail, BT Wholesale and Openreach. 

For the year ended 31 March 2013, BT Group’s reported revenue was £18,103m with reported profit before taxation of £2,315m. 

British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.