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New Ultrafast Broadband Network Launched in Birmingham and the Black Country

Press Release   •   Jan 19, 2018 09:12 GMT

The latest ultrafast broadband, known as Gfast, is now available to thousands of people in parts of Birmingham and the Black Country.

These are among the first UK locations to pilot Gfast technology, offering download speeds up to 330Mbps – about seven times the UK average.[1] People using Gfast can download a two hour HD film in just 90 seconds, a 45 minute HD TV show in 16 seconds and a nine hour audio book in three seconds.

Openreach, the business responsible for Britain’s largest phone and broadband network, has so far made the technology available to more than 390,000 homes and businesses ahead of a nationwide rollout, which will see ultrafast broadband reaching 12 million UK premises by 2020.

Locations in Birmingham and the Black Country set to benefit include parts of Aston, Great Barr, Handsworth, Lozells, Ladywood and Perry Barr, as well as areas of Cradley Heath, Dudley, Halesowen, Oldbury and Rowley Regis.

Richard Hall, Openreach’s regional infrastructure delivery director, said: “It’s great news that parts of Birmingham and the Black Country are playing a leading role in the development of this exciting new technology. Gfast will help transform the broadband picture in the UK by ushering in a new era where ultrafast speeds are widely available.

“The amount people are doing online and at the same time, from streaming high definition movies, TV, gaming and online shopping to using mobile devices over wireless broadband, is growing every year and this pace shows no sign of slowing. We need to stay ahead in order to meet the evolving needs of our customers. Gfast will allow us to do that by building on the investment we have made in fibre to date. It will transform the UK broadband landscape from superfast to ultrafast, and it will reach the largest number of people in the quickest possible time.”

Gfast technology allows ultrafast speeds, which previously required fibre optic cables to be run all the way to a property (Fibre to the Premises - FTTP), to be transmitted over existing copper lines and fibre broadband cabinets.

It’s enabling Openreach to make ultrafast speeds available more quickly to a much larger number of homes and businesses than if it focused on FTTP alone.

Gfast technology is expected to exceed a million premises by the end of the fiscal year.

So far, Openreach has made ultrafast broadband available to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses across the country – using Gfast and Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) services, which are both capable of delivering ultrafast speeds. More than 770,000 customers already have access to these ultrafast technologies.

The rollout of Gfast in areas of Birmingham and the Black Country builds on the existing deployment of fibre technology across the West Midlands, where more than 96 per cent households and businesses already have access to superfast broadband*.

Richard added: “Pilot schemes, such as the ones in Birmingham and the Black Country, are important for us to fully test the new network in a number of different situations before it reaches millions of homes and businesses across the UK. The areas we’ve chosen are carefully selected based on a variety of factors, including engineering considerations and the need to test the technology for a range of communities.

“We’d encourage anybody in one of the pilot areas to take part. You can check if you’re eligible with the Openreach fibre checker by entering your postcode or telephone number.”

Anybody wanting more information or wishing to check if they can get Gfast should visit www.openreach.co.uk/ultrafast

Note to Editors

*Source: thinkbroadband

Openreach previously announced Gfast pilots in Brierley Hill, Great Barr and the Soho district of Birmingham in August 2017. The additional Birmingham and the Black Country pilots include parts of the following wards:

Birmingham: Aston, Charlemont with Grove Vale, Handsworth Wood, Ladywood, Lozells and East Handsworth, Newton, Oscott, Perry Barr and Pheasey Park Farm.

Cradley Heath/Rowley Regis: Blackheath.

Dudley: Gornal, St James’s, St Thomas’s.

Halesowen: Halesowen North.

Oldbury / Rowley Regis: Langley, Rowley and Tividale.

ENDS

For further information

Issued by the regional press office. For more information please contact Emma Tennant on 0800 085 0660 or email: emma.tennant@bt.com

Enquiries about this story can also be made to the Openreach PR team at press@openreach.co.uk.

All news releases can be accessed on our web site.

The other UK locations where Gfast is being piloted are:

Armley, West Yorkshire; Bath; Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire; Bolton, Greater Manchester; Brighton Hove, East Sussex; Cherry Hinton, Cambridgeshire; Cheltenham, Gloucestershire; Chorlton, Manchester; Derby, Derbyshire; Donaldson, Edinburgh; Eltham, London; Gillingham, Kent; Glasgow Bridgeton; Glasgow Douglas; Glasgow Langside; Hammersmith, West London; Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire; High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire; Hunslet, West Yorkshire; Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire; Kidbroke, London; Liverpool Central; Lofthouse Gate, West Yorkshire; Luton, Bedfordshire; Manchester East; Mansfield, Nottinghamshire; Newbury, Berkshire; Newmarket, Suffolk; Parsons Green, London; Portsmouth North End; Pudsey, West Yorkshire; Rochdale, Manchester; Rusholme, Manchester; St. Austell, Cornwall; Clapham, Balham and Upton Park, London; Swansea, Wales; Swindon, Wiltshire; Sheffield; Wansdworth, London and Whitchurch, South Glamorgan.

[1] https://www.ofcom.org.uk/research-and-data/multi-sector-research/infrastructure-research/connected-nations-2017

About us

Openreach is Britain’s digital network business. That means we connect homes, mobile phone masts, schools, shops, banks, hospitals, libraries, broadcasters, governments and businesses – large and small – to the world. It’s our mission to build the best possible network with the highest quality service, and make sure that everyone in Britain can be connected.

Our 30,400 people work on behalf of more than 580 communications providers like Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone and BT. Our fibre broadband network is the biggest in the UK, covering more than 26.8 million premises. And our technology is the basis of Britain’s thriving digital economy, which is the largest of the G20 countries.

We’re working hard to give people the broadband speeds they need at work and at home. Over the last decade, we’ve invested more than £11bn into our network. And we now manage more than 158 million kilometres of cable stretching from Scotland to Cornwall, and from Wales to the east coast. But we’re not stopping there – we’re making superfast broadband speeds available to thousands more homes and businesses every week.

We’re owned by BT Group and independently governed. Our business is highly regulated, and more than 90 per cent of our revenue comes from services that are regulated by Ofcom. Any company can access our products under the same prices, terms and conditions.

In the year ending 31 March 2017, we reported revenues of £5.1bn.

To find out more about us and what we do, go to openreach.co.uk.