Openreach (BT) has today announced that the next UK cities and towns to benefit from their “Fibre First” programme, which aims to roll-out a 1Gbps capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband ISP network to cover 3 million premises by the end of 2020, will be Nottingham and Belfast.
So far the national telecom operator’s new “full fibre” network, which takes their optical fibre cable all the way to your home or business, has covered 682,000 premises (homes and businesses) across the United Kingdom and thousands more are expected to benefit from today’s expansion (as usual they haven’t given us a solid ‘premises passed’ figure).
The roll-out in Nottingham (East Midlands of England) has already begun around Gedling, while over in Belfast (Northern Ireland) their initial focus will be on the Crumlin, Falls, Shankill, Shore, Malone, Ormeau, Lisburn and Upper Newtownards Road areas.
Kay Cutts, Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, said:
“Our partnership work with Openreach through the Better Broadband for Nottinghamshire programme in recent years has helped make us one of the best connected counties in the country, with more than 98 percent of homes and businesses able to access superfast broadband.
Being part of the first Fibre City roll out will ensure Nottinghamshire remains at the forefront of digital infrastructure, with all the economic and social benefits that provides. Having access to the fastest and most reliable broadband is not only great for today, but future-proofed for generations to come. I am delighted that Openreach is supporting our ambitions for growth in Nottinghamshire.”
Cllr Donal Lyons, Chairman of Belfast’s City Growth Committee, said:
“It is brilliant news that Belfast will be the first full fibre city in Northern Ireland. At the heart of our Belfast Region City Deal vision is a drive to deliver inclusive growth and to focus efforts on areas such as the digital sector where we can become genuinely world class.
Improving our infrastructure is absolutely vital to our future success, so it is very exciting to know that Belfast is leading the way again in becoming a fibre city. In laying fibre optic cables directly to people’s front doors, Openreach is supporting the next generation of faster broadband technology, and helping to secure our digital future for years to come.”
Kim Mears, Openreach’s Managing Director, said:
“This announcement in Nottingham is building towards our target of reaching three million premises by the end of 2020/21 and we want to get to 10 million by the mid-2020s, if the conditions are right.”
Openreach’s commitment to Belfast comes just weeks after the announcement of a Belfast Region City Deal, which separately proposes significant co-investment in a range of catalytic digital innovation projects across the city and wider region to help embed a culture of innovation and drive increased productivity.
As usual the biggest problem for Openreach in both areas is that Virgin Media’s 363Mbps cable network, which will reach Gigabit speeds once the DOCSIS 3.1 upgrade arrives, can already cover the vast majority of premises in both cities. Not to mention the presence of rival “full fibre” networks from Hyperoptic and Cityfibre etc. in Nottingham.