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One in a million: Bristol business blazes a trail with new ultrafast broadband scheme

Press Release   •  Dec 09, 2016 16:08 GMT

A Bristol-based firm has become the first of a million British companies to benefit from a major expansion of ultrafast broadband by Openreach, BT’s local network business.

Mathias and Sons, which has been producing branded corporate clothing and workwear for more than 50 years, is now using the latest Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) technology, a service capable of delivering download speeds up to one gigabit per second (Gbps) – triple the top speeds that were previously available.

It follows an announcement earlier this year that Openreach would make FTTP technology available to one million small and medium sized businesses by the end of 2020, as part of an overall plan to reach 12 million premises with ultrafast speeds in the same timeframe.

These ultrafast speeds of more than 100Mbps will enable businesses to run more applications and critical services simultaneously and at a faster rate; and at 300 Mbps would allow a consumer to download a two hour high definition film from the internet in seconds rather than minutes.

Engineering work is currently taking place to make FTTP available to 3200 small and medium sized businesses and 2200 residential premises in parts of Avonmouth, Bedminster, Bishopsworth, Bristol Central, Bristol North, Bristol South, Bristol West, Easton, Fishponds, Henbury, Keynsham and Whitchurch.

Explaining how signing up to the new ultrafast speeds has benefited his company in Avonmouth, Jason Mathias, Mathias and Sons chief executive, said: “As a family-run business, we always act with the best long-term interests of the business in mind. Our old internet speed was serviceable, but clearly limited.

“Responsiveness is a cornerstone of the business that was being hindered by our internet speed. Following the fibre installation from Openreach, we are now able to send designs and concepts to customers in seconds where it used to take ten minutes.

“This connection is a great step forward for us and not only makes us more responsive and efficient, but it also helps to future-proof the business.”

In addition to Bristol, other areas to benefit from this ultrafast expansion include parts of Bath, Bradford, Liverpool, Manchester and Salford - as well as Westminster, Holborn and the City – in London.

Clive Selley, chief executive of Openreach, said: “This is an important milestone in our aim to make ultrafast broadband available to 12 million homes and businesses by the end of 2020.

“Some businesses have told us they want an alternative to dedicated lines and that is exactly what is being provided with this new product.

“We’ve committed to double our FTTP footprint this year and we have already begun this work in nine locations across the country.”

More than 345,000 homes and businesses already have access to FTTP today via Openreach’s network. The expansion of the FTTP footprint will also eventually benefit hundreds of thousands of adjacent residential homes in the targeted areas

Emma Howarth, Openreach programme director for the delivery of next generation broadband in the South West, said: “I’m delighted that Mathias and Sons, a local business in Bristol, is one of the first to take advantage of the ultrafast service. As a part of the team delivering this exciting technology in the South West, it’s great to see the ways it’s being used to help their business move to the next level.”

Any business can access ultrafast speeds via dedicated Ethernet lines, but the expansion of ultrafast FTTP broadband across the country will give small and medium an alternative option at a lower cost. And as the new service becomes available, service providers will be able to offer a range of ultrafast speeds and business grade service levels.

Martín O'Donnell, director of Zen Internet, which provides the communications services for Mathias and Sons, said: “Internet connectivity is becoming increasingly critical to business success, and we see Fibre to the Premises as a key enabling technology for small to medium-sized enterprises. The speed and performance advantages it offers to businesses will drive success in the digital economy.”

Businesses wishing to take advantage of this new service can find out more about which providers offer this service by visiting www.openreach.co.uk/buyultrafast

To date, Openreach has built the largest fibre broadband network in the UK – largely using Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) technology - which covers more than 26 million premises, including small and medium businesses, sole traders and home workers.