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Thousands in the South East to get broadband boost

Press Release   •   Nov 28, 2018 09:55 GMT

Openreach engineer working on the Gfast rollout

People living in parts of the South East are set to benefit from access to some of the fastest broadband speeds available (up to 330 Mbps), providing enough bandwidth for a family of four to all stream ultra HD or 4k quality movies or TV simultaneously.

It’s after Openreach, the UK’s largest telephone and broadband network, announced the next 81 locations – including parts of Berkshire, Essex, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, London, Surrey and Sussex - to be upgraded under their ultrafast broadband investment.

As well as adding even more reliability and resilience to the network - meaning the connection is less likely to drop out - ultrafast broadband brings faster speeds and greater capacity for multiple devices and applications like on-demand video, Virtual Reality gaming and smart home technology.

Openreach’s Managing Director Kim Mears, said:

“We are delighted to be upgrading our network and extending our ultrafast broadband reach to dozens of new locations across the UK, benefitting hundreds of thousands more homes and businesses. The amount people are doing online, often at the same time, is growing every year and the pace shows no sign of slowing. We understand people need to have a fast and reliable connection at home and at work, and our ultrafast broadband network is at the forefront of making that happen.

“Our engineers are working hard to extend the reach of our network as quickly as possible. We’re building the infrastructure Britain needs to stay ahead in the global digital economy, and it’s great that the South East is able to benefit from our early work.”

As well as making everything happen more quickly, ultrafast broadband also provides greater capacity. This means you can reliably stream music or watch TV, at the same time as other members of your family are using the connection for things like online gaming or social media.

The technology also has huge benefits for small businesses and people working from home, who can do things like video conferencing, with the confidence that their internet connection won’t slow or drop out.

Nearly 27.6 million homes and businesses in the UK can already access Openreach’s fibre network. And with a wide choice of service providers, people are free to choose the best internet package for them. Local people will be able to place an order for an upgrade to the new, faster speeds with their chosen service provider once the work is complete.

Openreach has made ultrafast broadband – using a mix of technologies - available to more than two million premises across the UK, and has ambitions to go even further.

This latest work in the South East uses a technology called Gfast, which builds on existing infrastructure, changing the way broadband signals are transmitted to make them ultrafast without the need to dig up roads and install new cabling all the way to the property.

The rollout will see Openreach engineers building on the existing high speed broadband network across the South East where 97 per cent of homes and businesses already have access to superfast (speeds of 24Mbps and above) broadband[1]. With superfast broadband, things like uploading and downloading music, films and photos all happen quickly and it’s great for studying or working from home.

Across the South East of England more than 4,600 people are employed by Openreach, most of them engineers. And that team is expanding, after it was announced earlier this year that more new engineers are being recruited throughout the wider region to help with the ultrafast broadband rollout.

Openreach provides the telephone and broadband network used by the likes of BT, Sky and TalkTalk. This means residents and businesses will still be able to choose from a wide range of broadband deals – they are not restricted to just one supplier.

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

Notes to Editors

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

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, Downland (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, Midland (Birmingham), Mill Hill, Moss Side, New Malden, North Wembley, Northampton, Oldham, Pendleton, Plympton, Ponders End, Prescot, Primrose Hill, Purfleet, Rainham, Rock Ferry, Rushey Green, Stalybridge, 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.

The number of homes and businesses that will benefit in the South East are as follows:

Berkshire  20,000

Essex  15,000

Hampshire  11,000

Hertfordshire  6,000

Kent  21,000

London  464,000

Surrey  10,000

Sussex  32,000

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

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

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.

[1]According to independent thinkbroadband.com

Openreach is the UK’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 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