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BT shows Paul Blomfield, MP, new fibre network in Sheffield

Press Release   •   Jul 24, 2013 00:00 BST

More than 150,000 local homes and businesses can now benefit from BT’s £2.5 billion roll-out; local communities encouraged to get connected 

BT today demonstrated the technology behind its roll out of super-fast fibre broadband in Sheffield to local MP Paul Blomfield.

The MP for Sheffield Central visited one of BT’s live fibre broadband street cabinets in Sharrow to find out for himself how the technology works and why it’s essential for future success and prosperity.

He urged local people to reap the benefits of the company’s major investment in high-speed fibre broadband throughout Sheffield.

More than 157,000 homes and businesses in the Sheffield area are now able to join the high-speed revolution. By the end of this year around 186,000 local homes and businesses will be able to benefit from BT’s £2.5 billion fibre broadband roll-out programme.

The new network is available on an open, wholesale basis to all companies offering broadband services.

Paul Blomfield, MP, said at the new green cabinet on Sharrow Lane: “High speed broadband plays an increasingly important role in everyday life and our economy. Lots of Sheffield residents, public services and businesses rely on fast internet connections and so I’m pleased to be able to see the work that BT is doing to install new technology that helps make this happen.”

Research carried out for BT by Regeneris Consulting suggests that in the next 15 years super-fast broadband could give the economy of a typical city a £296 million boost, create around 430 new jobs and 320 new start-up businesses, whilst for a typical town the figures are expected to be £143 million, 225 new jobs and 140 business start-ups 1.

Trevor Higgins, BT’s regional partnership manager for Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “We’re very pleased that Paul has been able to come and explore the inner workings of our roll-out of fibre broadband today. Local people may have noticed our green street cabinets being installed around the town. This everyday street furniture is where the magic happens.

““Fibre broadband opens up a whole new world to internet users, as more than a million UK households and businesses have already discovered.”

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 80 megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps 3 and could deliver even faster speeds in the future.

Openreach is also starting to make fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology - where the fibre runs all the way to the home or business - commercially available on demand 3 in areas where fibre broadband has been deployed. FTTP-on-demand will offer the top current download speed of 330Mbps 4. According to the regulator Ofcom, the current average UK broadband 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.

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.