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Sheffield set to benefit from the UK’s fastest broadband speeds

Press release   •   Jul 31, 2019 12:14 BST

Robert Thorburn, Openreach with John Mothersole (chief executive, Sheffield City Council) and Cllr Olivia Blake (deputy leader of Sheffield City Council)

Openreach, the UK’s digital infrastructure company, today announced Sheffield as one of 36 towns and cities that are set to benefit from Openreach’s rollout of some of the fastest broadband speeds in the UK.

In Sheffield, new Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) technology, where fibre is laid all the way from the exchange to people’s front doors, is heading over the next 12 months.

Tens of thousands of residents and businesses are expected to benefit with work to build the new network will start early next year following a period of planning and surveying.

The work by Openreach, the UK’s largest telephone and broadband network, will complement the ongoing fibre broadband roll-out by the Superfast South Yorkshire programme, a partnership between the four South Yorkshire local authorities, UK Government and Openreach.

Councillor Olivia Blake, deputy leader of Sheffield City Council, said: “Sheffield is well covered by superfast broadband, over 96% of homes and businesses can access broadband with speeds of over 30Mbps. However, we want our residents and businesses to be able to access the next generation of technology as soon as possible.

“This announcement by Openreach will soon help our businesses to be more productive and more competitive and it will mean our homes can access the connectivity they need for modern living – such as home working, video streaming and computer gaming.

“Sheffield has an ambition that no one is excluded from the digital age and the socio-economic benefits of being online. Openreach will install full fibre broadband across the city, including council-owned social housing, meaning that everyone will have the chance to benefit from the best networks available.”

John Mothersole, chief executive of Sheffield City Council, added: “Sheffield has an ambition to be recognised as one of the best connected cities in the country: where coverage, choice and speed of communication stays ahead of demand; and where connectivity enables residents and businesses to use digital solutions to improve their lives and to sustain, grow and create new business.

“This announcement by Openreach goes a long way towards helping us achieve this, as it will mean that tens of thousands of Sheffield homes and businesses are connected to the very best broadband services available.”

Openreach recently raised its target for full fibre connections from three to four million premises by March 2021, with an ambition to reach 15 million homes and businesses by the mid-2020s if the right investment conditions are in place.

The business doubled its FTTP footprint last year and continues to ramp up the build – making the technology available to more than 20,000 new homes and businesses every week across the UK.

More than 1.5 million homes and businesses in the UK now have access to faster, more reliable and future-proof, full fibre broadband services over the Openreach network.

Since the launch of Openreach’s Fibre First build programme in February last year, its engineers have deployed around 2.6 million kilometres of fibre– enough to travel to the moon and back three times.

Kim Mears, managing director for Strategic Infrastructure Development for Openreach, said: “It’s great news that Sheffield is included in today’s announcement and we’re looking forward to bringing full fibre technology to tens of thousands of premises across the city. Our engineers will shortly begin a period of surveying and planning to ensure that when we start to build early next year we can do it quickly, efficiently and with minimum disruption to people living and working in Sheffield.

“We’re looking forward to continuing to work closely with Sheffield City Council to deliver this future proof technology which will undoubtedly open up countless opportunities for both residents and businesses to exploit all the benefits faster, more reliable broadband can offer.”

Openreach’s commitment to South Yorkshire extends far beyond making faster broadband available. Around 600 of our people live and work in the City Region and in the past 15 months we have recruited around 70 new fibre engineers.

Last year, the company hired 3,500 trainee engineers nationwide and it has already recruited 2,600 (90 per cent) of the 3,000 trainee engineer hires announced in January this year.

The new locations have been published on Openreach’s website[1] alongside a raft of information about its ‘Fibre First’ build programme. Thisshort videoexplains what full fibre technology is. Find out more about our Fibre First programme here. People interested in upgrading their broadband can see what’s available in their area by entering their postcode into Openreach’sonline fibre checker.

[1] Openreach has committed to publishing information on its websitedetailing its build plans for the next 12 months - including the total number of exchange areas to be reached in each location over the next 24 months. It will also publish details of the specific exchanges where FTTP is currently being built, has already been built, or it intends to start building within the next three months. The company will update this information every three months

About Openreach

Openreach Limited is the UK’s digital network business.

We’re 33,000 people, working in every community to connect homes, schools, shops, banks, hospitals, libraries, mobile phone masts, 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 the UK can be connected.

We work on behalf of more than 620 communications providers like SKY, TalkTalk, Vodafone, BT and Zen, and our fibre broadband network is the biggest in the UK, passing more than 27.5m UK premises

Over the last decade we’ve invested more than £13 billion into our network and, at more than 173 million kilometres – it’s now long enough to wrap around the world 4,314 times.

Today we’re building an even faster, more reliable and future-proof broadband network which will be the UK’s digital platform for decades to come. We’re on track to reach four million premises with this ‘full fibre’ technology by March 2021 and ultimately, we want to upgrade the majority of the UK if the conditions are right. We’re also hiring around 3,000 trainee engineers this year to help us build that network and deliver better service across the country.

Openreach is a highly regulated, wholly owned, and independently governed division of the BT Group. More than 90 per cent of our revenues come from services that are regulated by Ofcom and any company can access our products under equivalent prices, terms and conditions.

For the year ended 31 March 2019, we reported revenues of £5.1bn.

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