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More than half a million Kent homes and businesses can now get high-speed broadband

Press release   •   Jun 16, 2014 00:00 BST

Two thirds of Kent premises now have access 

High-speed fibre broadband is now available to more than 550,000 Kent homes and businesses, BT announced today. It means that around two thirds of premises in the county now have access to the technology.

BT’s £2.5 billion commercial roll-out of fibre broadband across the UK has so far reached 550,000 Kent homes and businesses. The roll-out is continuing at a rapid pace, many Kent communities that already have widely available access to high-speed broadband include: Ashford, Maidstone, Folkestone, Broadstairs, Dartford, Thanet, Gillingham, Sittingbourne, Ramsgate, Gravesend and Tunbridge Wells.

Peter Cowen, BT’s regional director for the South East, 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 millions of 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 more parts of Kent 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 open fibre network currently passes more than 19 million homes and businesses. This means around two thirds of UK premises can order much faster broadband from a wide variety of internet service providers, BT passed the 19 million total at in March this year, around 21 months earlier than planned, with the vast majority of that footprint being enabled by BT under its commercial plan. The remainder has been enabled in partnership with the public sector.

BT recently announced plans to invest a further £50 million into its commercial fibre broadband programme over the next three years. The money will benefit more than 30 cities, helping to make high speed broadband available to more than 400,000 additional premises. Further details will be announced in due course.

In total, BT is spending more than £3 billion on deploying fibre broadband, including £2.5 billion on its commercial fibre footprint and further funds in rural fibre broadband projects.

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 delivers 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 and plans to further expand access. FTTP-on-demand offers the top current download speed of 330Mbps.2

Fibre broadband at home means everyone in the family can do their own thing online, all at the same time, whether it’s downloading music in minutes or watching catch-up TV; streaming HD or 3D movies in a few minutes; or posting photos and videos to social networking sites in seconds. Fibre improves the quality of online experiences and supports new developments in internet services.

Benefits for businesses include faster file and data transfers, better access to cloud computing services and software, more sophisticated web-based contact with customers and support for more flexible working.
Unlike other companies, Openreach offers fibre broadband access to all service providers on an open, wholesale basis, which underpins a competitive market and delivers real customer choice. For further information on Openreach’s fibre broadband programme visit www.superfast-openreach.co.uk

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

Notes to editors

1 Report by Regeneris Consulting – Boosting Business and the UK
http://www.btplc.com/Thegroup/BTUKandWorldwide/BTRegions/England/Factsandfigures/Superfast-broadband.pdf

2 These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all 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.

The above information relates solely to BT’s commercial fibre broadband programme in Kent.

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, which may also benefit from the local partnership activity outlined above.