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New ultrafast broadband network launched in Bath

Press Release   •   Dec 27, 2017 10:44 GMT

The latest ultrafast broadband, known as Gfast, is now available to thousands of people in Bath.

The city is one of 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 UK homes and businesses ahead of a nationwide rollout, which will see ultrafast broadband reaching 12 million UK premises by 2020.

Gfast is now available in parts of all of Bath’s 16 wards. Anybody wanting more information or wishing to check if they can get Gfast should visit www.openreach.co.uk/ultrafast

Emma Howarth, Openreach’s programme director for next generation access in the South West, said: “It’s great news that Bath is 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.

The availability of 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 Bath builds on the existing deployment of fibre technology across the South West where more than 2.2 million households and businesses already have access to superfast broadband.

Emma Howarth added:“Pilot schemes, such as this one in Bath, 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.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

 All news releases can be accessed on our web site.

The UK locations where Gfast is being piloted are:

Armley, West Yorkshire; Bath; Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire; Bolton, Greater Manchester; Brierley Hill, West Midlands; 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; Great Barr, West Midlands; Halesowen, West Midlands; 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; North Birmingham; 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 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 580 communications providers like SKY, TalkTalk, Vodafone, and BT, and our fibre broadband network is the biggest in the UK, passing more than 26.5 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 158 million kilometres 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 2017, we reported revenues of £5.1bn.

For more information, visitopenreach.co.uk