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Sheffield leads the way as openreach announces more ultrafast broadband pilot areas

Press Release   •   Nov 23, 2016 09:00 GMT

People living in Sheffield will be amongst the first in the UK to benefit from the new Ultrafast broadband technology being developed by Openreach, BT’s local network business.

The company recently announced Sheffield as a pilot location for its new ultrafast technology, known as G.Fast, which provides download speeds of up to 330Mbps – more than 10 times the UK national average.

Openreach plans to make G.fast available to more than 10 million UK homes by the end of 2020, and news of the pilot has been given a warm welcome by Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Thousands of premises in Sheffield will be given access to the technology during 2017 with details about exactly where and when to be published shortly.

Sir Nigel Knowles, Chair of Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “The decision to choose the Sheffield City Region as one of the first pilot areas for Openreach’s new ultrafast broadband is not only testament to our leading position for ground-breaking technology, but also our straightforward approach to supporting enterprise. One of the strengths of our investment case is our connectivity to the rest of the UK and internationally. This ultrafast broadband, combined with the wider roll-out of fibre broadband by the Superfast South Yorkshire programme, shows how businesses and local government are working hand-in-hand together to get things done.

“Fast and reliable broadband connectivity has never been more important and this pilot will open up opportunities for residents, making Sheffield City Region even more attractive to investors and enabling thousands of enterprising businesses to grow and grow in our thriving, super-connected and successful economy.”

Clive Selley, Openreach’s CEO, said: “The UK already leads the way when it comes to superfast broadband. More than nine out of ten homes and businesses already have access to superfast speeds with another 20,000 more premises being enabled each week, and we’re working hard to reach the rest, as well as starting to roll out ultrafast speeds.

“I’m pleased that Sheffield will be one of the first locations to get Ultrafast speeds using G.fast technology, it’s a technology we’ve chosen because it enables us to get an affordable Ultrafast service to as many people as possible in the fastest possible time.”

Early trials of G.fast have been taking place in Cambridgeshire, Newcastle and South Wales, and Openreach has just announced the 17 pilot areas – including Sheffield – to reach around 140,000 homes and businesses by the end of March 2017.

Openreach has already made fibre broadband available to more than 490,000 homes and businesses in South Yorkshire, through a combination of the company’s investment and a partnership with the four South Yorkshire local authorities.

Across the UK, more homes and businesses are now using superfast broadband than in Germany, France, Italy or Spain, and the UK outperforms the EU’s five largest economies on measures such as availability, speeds and take-up according to Ofcom[1].

You can find out more about G. Fast at openreach.co.uk/ultrafast.

[1]**Ofcom’s European Broadband Scorecard shows the UK is ranked as leader of the five major EU economies - France, Germany, Italy, Spain - on a range of independent broadband measures