Upgrade hailed by Wakefield Council as more than 20,000 local homes and businesses set to benefit from BT’s £2.5 billion roll-out
Super-fast broadband has arrived in Wakefield, BT announced today.
Around 3,000 homes and businesses in central Wakefield now have access to the high-speed technology – and this figure will increase to more than 20,000 as Openreach engineers complete the local upgrade in the weeks ahead.
Today, the BT investment was welcomed by the leader of Wakefield Council who described it as great news for Wakefield.
Councillor Peter Box CBE, said: “I welcome the news that superfast fibre broadband is now available to many homes and businesses in central Wakefield. I know there is a strong appetite for high-speed fibre broadband and it is great to see that a further 20,000 premises will benefit from this investment by BT.
“High-speed broadband services are a vital ingredient for a local economy’s competitiveness and future success so this is fantastic news for Wakefield.”
Fibre broadband is already available to around 110,000 homes and businesses in Castleford, Crofton, Hemsworth, Horbury Ossett, Knottingley, Lofthouse Gate, Normanton, Pontefract, Sandal and South Elmsall . By the end of BT’s commercial deployment, more than 129,600 homes and businesses in the Wakefield area will be able to benefit.
BT is also working with the public sector to reach more communities in Wakefield through the Superfast West Yorkshire project.
Superfast West Yorkshire plans to extend high-speed fibre broadband to 97 per cent of households and businesses across the majority of West Yorkshire by the end of Autumn 2015. As well as providing high speed fibre, the partnership aims to upgrade 100 per cent of premises in this area to speeds of more than 2Mbps. 1
Tom Keeney, BT’s regional director for Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “Our roll-out of fibre broadband is advancing across West Yorkshire with Wakefield the latest place to benefit. More than 2.4 million homes and businesses across the UK are already using Openreach’s new fibre network via a range of retailers, bringing speed and choice to the UK. Many local residents in Wakefield now have the opportunity to join them.
“Whatever you’re doing online, you can do it better and faster with fibre. Whether it’s shopping, downloading music and video, watching TV, social networking, studying or researching homework, once you’ve switched to fibre you’ll never look back.
“Outside the home, it also has huge potential for public services and local firms. Businesses tell us it’s helping them in a wealth of ways, from day to day activities like downloading software, collaborating with clients and moving large data files around to big business decisions like expanding the workforce or introducing better quality IT services at less cost.”
BT’s fibre footprint currently passes more than 18 million UK homes and businesses. It’s due to pass around two-thirds of UK premises by the end of Spring 2014, at least 18 months ahead of the original timetable.
BT recently announced plans to invest a further £50 million into its commercial fibre broadband programme over the next three years. The money will benefit more than 30 cities, helping to make high speed broadband available to more than 400,000 additional premises. Further details will be announced in due course.
In total, BT is spending more than £3 billion on deploying fibre broadband, including £2.5 billion on its commercial fibre footprint and further funds in rural fibre broadband projects.
Openreach, BT’s local network business, is primarily deploying fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) technology, where the fibre runs from the exchange to a local roadside cabinet. FTTC delivers download speeds of up to 80Mbps and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps1 — and could deliver even faster speeds in the future.
Openreach has also started to make fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology, where the fibre runs all the way to the home or business, commercially available on demand2 in certain areas and plans to further expand access. FTTP-on-demand offers the top current download speed of 330Mbps.1
Fibre broadband at home means everyone in the family can do their own thing online, all at the same time, whether it’s downloading music in minutes or watching catch-up TV; streaming HD or 3D movies in a few minutes; or posting photos and videos to social networking sites in seconds. Fibre improves the quality of online experiences and supports new developments in internet services.
Benefits for businesses include faster file and data transfers, better access to cloud computing services and software, more sophisticated web-based contact with customers and support for more flexible working.
Unlike other companies, Openreach offers fibre broadband access to all service providers on an open, wholesale basis, which underpins a competitive market and delivers real customer choice. For further information on Openreach’s fibre broadband programme visit www.superfast-openreach.co.uk
Notes to editors
1 These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.
2 Openreach will levy an installation charge for FTTP on demand. It will be up to service providers to decide whether they pass that on to businesses or consumers wishing to use the product.
Due to the current network topography, and the economics of deployment, it is likely that some premises within selected exchange areas will not initially be able to access fibre-based broadband. Openreach is considering alternative solutions for these locations, which may also benefit from the local partnership activity outlined above.