BT Press Releases

DC13-321                                                                        September 24, 2013

BT unveils super-fast broadband plans for thousands more Kent homes and businesses

 

Latest investment to focus on expanding areas already included in BT’s £2.5 billion fibre broadband roll-out

BT today announced a further expansion of high-speed fibre broadband to another 12,600 homes and businesses in Kent.

The extra investment is being made in 19 communities already included in the company’s £2.5 billion commercial roll-out of fibre broadband.

Openreach, BT’s local network business, will carry out the work between now and the end of Spring 2014, subject to planning and technical constraints.

It will take place in 19 communities including Canterbury, Dartford, Medway, Faversham and Sevenoaks, which have already been upgraded, and Farningham, which is due to be upgraded. A full list of locations benefiting from today’s announcement is below.

BT expects this to be the final announcement expanding the coverage of its commercial programme. Future announcements will focus on areas where fibre coverage is to be expanded even further via partnerships with the public sector and local communities.

This expansion will boost the total number of Kent premises with access to commercial fibre broadband to around 582,500. Around 517,500 are already able to get the service.

BT is also working with the public sector to reach more communities in many parts of the UK. It is a major partner in the multi-million pound ‘Make Kent Quicker’ project launched by Kent County Council and supported by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), which aims to make fibre broadband available to at least 95 per cent of homes and businesses in the county by the end of 2015.

John Weaver, BT regional director for the South East, said: “This is an exciting time for the digital future of Kent, with widespread availability of fibre broadband services fast becoming a reality for thousands of local homes.

“With today’s further fibre broadband investment in these 19 communities, we hope even more local people will soon experience the difference for themselves – by joining more than 1.7 million UK homes and businesses already using the technology.”

BT’s fibre footprint currently passes more than 16 million UK homes and businesses. It’s due to pass two-thirds of UK premises – around 19 million premises – by the end of Spring 2014, at least 18 months ahead of the original timetable.

Openreach is primarily deploying fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) technology, where the fibre runs from the exchange to a local roadside cabinet. In addition to download speeds of up to 80Mbps, FTTC also delivers upload speeds of up to 20Mbps 1 — 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 demand 2 in certain areas where fibre broadband has been deployed, and plans to expand access in due course. FTTP on demand offers the top current download speed of 330Mbps 1.

According to the regulator Ofcom, the current average UK residential broadband download speed is 14.7Mbps.

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 the few minutes it takes to make popcorn; or posting photos and videos to social networking sites in seconds. Fibre improves the quality of online experiences and supports exciting new developments in internet services.

The benefits are also considerable for businesses, which can do much more in far less time. Firms can speed up file and data transfers, collaborate with colleagues and customers on conference or video calls or swap their hardware and expensive software licenses for files, processing power and software from cloud computing. Staff can work as effectively from home as they would in the office.

Unlike other companies, Openreach offers fibre broadband access to all service providers on an open, wholesale basis, underpinning a competitive market. For further information on Openreach’s fibre broadband programme visit www.superfast-openreach.co.uk

ENDS

Kent locations where additional investment in fibre broadband will take place are:
ASHFORD FAVERSHAM SEVENOAKS
BLUE BELL HILL FOLKESTONE SNODLAND
BOROUGH GREEN GRAVESEND STROOD
CANTERBURY MEDWAY THANET
DARTFORD PADDOCK WOOD TUNBRIDGE WELLS
DOVER RAMSGATE
FARNINGHAM SANDWICH

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.