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Openreach builds ultrafast broadband network to 81 new locations

Press Release   •   Nov 26, 2018 07:30 GMT

Openreach engineer puts the finishing touches to a newly installed Gfast 'pod' attached to a fibre cabinet

Openreach, the UK’s digital network business, today announced an extension to its ultrafast broadband footprint with a plan to make faster, more reliable services available to just over a million homes and businesses in a further 81 locations across the country.

London, Leicester, Manchester, Worthing, Stoke, Birmingham, and Blackpool, are amongst the 81 locations which make up the next phase of the Openreach build programme – over the next nine months - adding to more than 250 locations where the technology has already been deployed.

The multimillion pound investment will make faster, more reliable broadband services available to local residents and businesses, helping to boost local productivity and competitiveness, and reinforce the UK’s position as the leading digital economy in the G20.[1]

The new Gfast network builds on existing infrastructure and changes the way broadband signals are transmitted from existing street cabinets to boost speeds up to 330Mbps (seven times today’s UK average), without the need to dig up roads and install new cabling. The increased bandwidth is enough for people to support simultaneous 4K video streams in every room of their house, or to hit download on a film just before leaving home and have it ready to watch on their phone or tablet almost immediately. Gfast is also more reliable than existing technology, using special software that can detect and manage service-affecting issues as soon as they occur.

The new technology will also provide enough additional capacity 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, MD for Strategic Infrastructure Development, said: “Currently, the UK is a world leader in digital infrastructure and services, but as the digital revolution rushes forwards and the demand for data continues to grow, we need to sure we stay ahead of the curve. That’s why we’re investing in faster, more reliable network infrastructure to facilitate all the activities we want to do now, and also those we haven’t even dreamt of doing in ten years’ time.”

Ultrafast broadband speeds can be delivered using both Gfast and Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) technologies, and this latest announcement complements a wider investment programme in future-proof FTTP networks, which is on track to reach three million homes and businesses by the end of 2020.

Openreach has already made ultrafast broadband - using a combination of these technologies - available to more than 1.9 million premises across the UK and has ambitions to go even further.

The business plans to reach a total of 5.7 million properties using Gfast, and also wants to extend its FTTP rollout to 10 million premises by the mid-2020s if the conditions are right to invest.

The company is also continuing to deliver FTTP to rural areas, in partnership with the Government, to make sure some of the hardest to reach communities in the UK get access to future-proofed, FTTP networks.

People interested in upgrading their broadband to new ultrafast services can see if they’re able to connect by entering their postcode into Openreach’s online fibre checker at openreach.co.uk.

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

ENDS

Notes to editors

The full list of 81 new locations (telephone exchange names) being announced by Openreach today:

Acomb, Addiscombe, Aintree, Ascot, Bargoed (Cardiff), Barking, Barnsley, Beckenham, Beulah Hill (Croydon), Blackpool, Bootle, Bradford, Broadwell, Canonbury, Chingford, Colchester, Colindale, Dalton in Furness, Daubhill, Deal, Dover, Downloand (Croydon), Earley, Eastbourne, Eastleigh, Enfield, Faversham, Felixstowe, Feltham, Forest Hill, Godalming, Greenwich, Hamilton, Harlesden, Hatch End, Healing, Hendon, Hitchin, Hyde, Kemptown, Kentish Town, Kenton, Leicester Central, Leytonstone, Lincoln, Littlehampton, Llanrumney, Lords, Lower Holloway, Malden, Midland (Birmingham), Mill Hill, Moss Side, North Wembley, Northampton, Oldham, Pendleton, Plympton, Ponders End, Prescot, Primrose hill, Purfleet, Rainham, Rock Ferry, Rushey Green, Staylbridge, Stamford, Stoke City, Sydenham (Croydon), Teddington, Tewkesbury, Tranent (South East Scotland), Upper Holloway, Urmston (South Manchester), Wallington, Waterloo, Wembley, West Kensington, West Wickham, Willesden, Worthing Central.

You can watch or download our ‘What is Gfast?’ video here

You can watch our ‘Rolling out Fibre to the Premises (FTTP)’ 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.

*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, 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 it 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 less than a minute, 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.

For further information

Enquiries about this story can be made to the Openreach PR team on: 020 7809 7950 or email press@openreach.co.uk.

All news releases can be accessed on our web site.

[1]https://www.consultancy.uk/news/1988/bcg-uk-internet-economy-the-largest-of-the-g20

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 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 and any company can access our products under 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