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South East to benefit from world leading broadband technology

Press Release   •   Jun 25, 2018 10:15 BST

Openreach engineer Dominic Bowers at work on the Gfast rollout.

New cutting edge broadband technology is heading to more of the South East as Openreach gets ready to make its new network available to another 31,300 homes and businesses there.

People living in areas including Aylesbury, Byfleet, Cosham, Guildford, Maidstone, Slough, Southampton, Tunbridge Wells, Windsor and Woodley Berks interested in upgrading their broadband to the new service can see if they’re able to connect by entering their postcode into Openreach’s online fibre checker at openreach.co.uk.

They are among 59 new locations across the UK set to benefit from next generation Gfast broadband technology* being used by Britain’s largest digital network builder. More than 370,000 homes and businesses will be able to order ultrafast broadband in these areas.

It’s a further boost for the South East, which was also announced earlier this year as one of the regions to benefit from Openreach’s biggest ever recruitment of more than 3,500 trainee engineers. Around 450 are being hired across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Kent, Oxfordshire, Surrey and Sussex.

The new network is more secure and reliable than existing technology. It uses special software that can detect and fix issues before customers even notice and provides a faster, more stable service. This makes it ideal for home workers and small business use, helping to boost productivity and, in turn, the local economy.

The increased bandwidth is enough to allow you to have a 4K TV running in every room of your house simultaneously, or pick a film just before leaving the house, hit download, and it would be ready to watch on your phone or tablet almost immediately.

It also provides enough additional capacity to ensure broadband connections to homes and businesses are able to support future data-hungry services and applications, such as Virtual Reality gaming and the smart homes, where a network of online sensors can coordinate and control home appliances – from thermostats, door bells and security cameras to door locks, lawn sprinklers, window blinds and washing machines.

Kim Mears, Openreach’s infrastructure development director, said: “Our engineers have been working across more of the South East installing cutting edge technology to make faster, more reliable broadband services available. We’re keen for people to check it out and experience the difference an ultrafast connection can make.

“Britons are using their home broadband connections more than ever - consuming more than double the amount of data than they did three years ago. A mass of new apps and services which demand higher quality broadband connections are finding their way into our homes and businesses – like virtual and augmented reality and more sophisticated online gaming, education and healthcare. That’s why we’re constantly investing in upgrades to the network, to make sure we stay a step ahead of that demand.”

The latest rollout is part of a much wider commitment from Openreach, who provide the telephone and broadband network used by the likes of BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Vodafone.

The company has already made ultrafast broadband available to more than one and a half million premises across the UK, and has ambitions to go even further.

An ambitious ‘Fibre First’ programme aims to reach three million premises by the end of 2020 – using ‘Fibre to the Premises’ technology – where fibre optic cables are laid from the exchange right to people’s front doors. Openreach wants to extend this rollout still further to around 10 million premises by the mid-2020s, and ultimately the majority of homes and businesses across Britain if it has the right conditions to invest.

Find out more about Openreach’s ultrafast broadband work at openreach.co.uk/ultrafast.

ENDS

Notes to editors

  • You can watch or download our ‘What is Gfast?’ video here
  • For an insight into how the ultrafast technology is already having an impact – take a look at our video case study here featuring Swansea based business Veeqo.
  • Details of the latest South East deployment are:
ExchangeLocation Number of premises reached by G.fast (to nearest 10)
AYLESBURY 850
BYFLEET 1,750
COSHAM 5,950
GUILDFORD 3,200
MAIDSTONE 4,510
SLOUGH 3,170
SOUTHAMPTON 1,290
TUNBRIDGE WELLS 7,810
WINDSOR 2,650
WOODLEY BERKS 130

What is Gfast?

*Gfast technology builds on our existing infrastructure and changes the way we transmit broadband signals to make them ultrafast without the need to install new cabling all the way to a property.

Gfast works by running a fibre from the telephone exchange to the fibre street cabinet – a side pod is bolted to the street cabinet and new electronics provides a more powerful signal that then travels over existing copper lines into the home or business.

Once the side pod’s attached and connected, and specialist equipment has been installed in the exchange - we’re ready to take orders from communications providers. Our online fibre checker is updated so that people can see if they can get a Gfast service. The information also appears on the systems our communications providers use to order service.

Using Gfast we can make ultrafast fibre available more quickly to a much larger number of homes and businesses than if we focused on ‘Full Fibre’ (FTTP) technology alone.

Gfast ultrafast speeds let you download a two hour HD film in just 90 seconds, a 45 minute HD TV show in just 16 seconds, or a nine hour audio book in just three seconds.

What difference does it make?

Ultrafast broadband makes everything happen so much more quickly. For example;

  • Downloading a typical HD film (size 5GB) would take less time than it takes to make a cup of tea. Ultrafast broadband would download it in a few minutes, meaning there will be no waiting or buffering.
  • With ultrafast broadband, it enables people within your home to go online at the same time. You’ll be able to do a number of things simultaneously such as gaming online, streaming live music, and uploading large files to social media. There’s enough bandwidth for a family of four to all stream ultra HD or 4k quality movies or TV simultaneously.
  • Uploading is quicker and easier too, posting 100 photos to Facebook (size 300Mbps) takes a matter of seconds with ultrafast.
  • Businesses, or small businesses operating from home, will be able to complete on a level playing field with competitors from all over the UK and around the world. Uploading and downloading large files will be easier as will things like remote monitoring, video conferencing and streaming.For example, ultrafast speeds mean businesses can transfer data over the internet faster that you can write data to a thumb drive. Plus you can download data as fast as many computers can save the data to a hard drive.

The latest Openreach exchanges to benefit from this Gfast upgrade are:

Aberdeen Denburn, Acocks Green, Altrincham, Aylesbury, Bedford, Birmingham Central, Bishops Stortford, Boscombe, Bowes Park, Bury St. Edmunds, Bury, Byfleet, Cardiff, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Chester, Cosham, Didsbury, Erdington, Gipsy Hill, Guildford, Hampton, Harlow, Harrogate, Headingley, Heywood, Kingston, Lancaster, Leamington Spa, Leeds, Llantrisant, Maidstone, Market Harborough, Mile End, Morley, Narborough, North Finchley, Paignton, Plymouth, Rugby, Shipley, Slough, South Kensington, Southampton, Southend Town, St Albans, Stockton Heath, Swadlincote, Tamworth, Taunton, Telford Wellington, Tunbridge Wells, Walthamstow, Weston Super Mare, Windsor, Wolverhampton, Woodhouse (Berkshire), Woodley, York.

About Openreach

Openreach is Britain’s digital network business.

We’re 30,400 people who connect homes, mobile phone masts, schools, shops, banks, hospitals, libraries, broadcasters, governments and businesses - large and small - to the world.

Our mission is to build the best possible network, with the highest quality service, making sure that everyone in Britain can be connected.

We work on behalf of more than 600 communications providers like SKY, TalkTalk, Vodafone, and BT, and our fibre broadband network is the biggest in the UK, passing more than 27 million premises. We’re also the platform for Britain’s thriving digital economy, which is the largest in the G20.

We’re working hard to give people the speeds they need to run and enjoy their daily lives. Over the last decade, we’ve invested more than £11 billion into our network and we now manage more than 160 million kilometers of cable stretching from Scotland to Cornwall, from Wales to the east coast. And we’re continuing to take that network further - making superfast broadband speeds available to thousands more homes and businesses every week.

Openreach is a wholly owned and independently governed division of the BT Group, and it is a highly regulated business, with more than 90 per cent of our revenues generated from services that are regulated by Ofcom.

Any company can access our products under exactly the same prices, terms and conditions.

For the year ended 31 March 2018, we reported revenues of £5.1bn.

For more information, visit openreach.co.uk