BT News

BT shows Rebecca Harris MP new fibre network in South Benfleet

Press release   •   Apr 12, 2013 00:00 BST

Around 11,000 local homes and businesses can 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 the Benfleet area to local MP Rebecca Harris. 

The MP for Castle Point visited one of BT’s first fibre broadband street cabinets to go live locally to find out for herself how the technology works and why it’s essential for future success and prosperity. 

She urged local people to reap the benefits of the company’s major investment in high-speed fibre broadband in Benfleet 

More than 11,500 homes and businesses in South Benfleet are able to join the high-speed revolution. Over 14,000 premises served by Canvey Island and 7,500 premises served by Hadleigh, the other two exchanges in the constituency, can also benefit from fibre broadband. By the end of next year more than 1.6 million homes and businesses across the region 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. 

Rebecca Harris MP said at the new green cabinet in Woodham Park Drive, South Benfleet: “Broadband speed is a subject close to the heart of many of my constituents, so it’s been fascinating to see today just how these powerful connections are carried across the borough. 

We all like a fast internet connection and the rolling out of fibre optic cable capable of supporting super-fast broadband is good news for consumers. 

It is however important news for local businesses too. It will help attract new inward investment to the Borough and with access to faster fibre broadband, local firms can explore new ways of working to boost their ability to compete by speeding up vital operations." 

“It’s not solely about business and industry, though; home computer users will also reap the educational and social benefits of faster internet access. Broadband speed is a subject close to the heart of many of my constituents, so it’s been fascinating to see today just how these powerful connections are carried across the town.” 

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. 

Annette Thorpe, BT’s regional partnership manager for the East of England said: “We’re very pleased that Rebecca Harries 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. 

From this Spring, Openreach aims to make fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology, where the fibre runs all the way to the home or business, commercially available on demand 4 in any area where fibre broadband has been deployed. FTTP-on-demand will offer the top current download speed of 330Mbps 3. According to the regulator Ofcom, the current average UK broadband speed is 9Mbps. 

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 


Notes to editors 
1 Research taken from Social Study 2012 – The Economic Impact of BT across the UK by Regeneris Consulting – see 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.