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Pioneering partnership brings superfast broadband to Brewhouse Yard, Clerkenwell

Ultrafast fibre

First apartment block to co-fund Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) technology in a basement

A pioneering project – the first of its kind in the UK – has brought together developers, property agents and BT’s local network division, Openreach, to make superfast broadband available to hundreds of residents in Clerkenwell’s Brewhouse Yard, the site of the former Cannon Brewery.

Thanks to funding from Brewhouse Yard directors, Currells property management and Openreach, a fibre broadband cabinet has been installed into the basement at the development, meaning over 200 residents can now order high speed services which are 20 times faster than before from a provider of their choice.

This new way of delivering fibre broadband technology could solve an issue posed in some inner city ‘not spots’ where crowded pavements leave little room for Openreach fibre street cabinets to be installed. Connecting a power supply, closing and digging up roads, and getting permission to access private land can all make standard installations an economic and engineering challenge in certain urban areas – especially for buildings served by “exchange only” lines (where no traditional street cabinet exists).

Elizabeth Hurry, partner at Currell, the managing agent at Brewhouse Yard, said: “Cooperating with both Brewhouse Yard residents and directors, as well as directly with Openreach, has allowed a time consuming and costly process to be undertaken relatively quickly, with the end result of greatly improving facilities for residents. Superfast broadband is becoming a ‘must have’ item in new developments across London, so this installation will make Brewhouse Yard a hugely appealing place to live for house hunters in the local area.”

Kim Mears, Managing Director of Infrastructure Delivery at Openreach, said: “The vast majority of the capital already has access to fibre broadband – and of course any business in London can order a dedicated, ultrafast service - but this is a really effective and novel way of getting fibre broadband to pockets of the city where the engineering, logistics and economics are more challenging. By working in partnership with landlords and agents like this, we can short-cut months of planning and disruption involved in closing and digging up roads. We also avoid the need to install our roadside cabinets on precious street space, so we’re piloting this approach and are working on similar projects across London to exploit those benefits and get fibre to even more Londoners."