Thousands more Shropshire homes and businesses in line for a …

DC12-274 September 25, 2012

Ludlow and Oakengates among next communities to benefit;
Shropshire Chamber of Commerce welcomes development
BT today announced a further major investment in Shropshire pledging to roll-out its 2.5 billion high-speed fibre broadband network to more than 11,200 more homes and businesses across the area. Ludlow (more than 4,700 homes and businesses) and Oakengates (6,500) are among the latest communities to be included in the roll-out.

Both are due to be upgraded in 2013. The latest investment will take the total number of homes and businesses in Shropshire able to connect to the fibre network to more than 98,000. Around 82,000 already have access in upgraded areas, which include: Baschurch, Dawley, Donnington, Newport, Oswestry, Shrewsbury, Stirchley and Wellington.

BT is keen to bring more communities within reach by working with the public sector. John Dovey, BT s regional director for the West Midlands, said: Fibre broadband opens up a whole new, high speed world. This latest major investment will help the region to overcome the current economic challenges and take full advantage of the upturn when it comes.

Digital technology is fundamental to how we live and work and in an increasingly connected world, high-speed communications will become even more essential in the years ahead. Research suggests fibre broadband could give a 143 million boost to a typical town s economy and create 225 new jobs and 140 new businesses within 15 years. 1 The fibre broadband network we re building today will underpin the local economy for many years to come and we re keen to go further, working with the public sector to take technology to places outside current commercial roll-out plans.

The arrival of fibre broadband in each of these new locations will revolutionise the way people use the internet for work, education and connecting with public services. Richard Sheehan, managing director of Shropshire Chamber of Commerce, said: Today s announcement by BT is helping to deliver world-class broadband infrastructure across Shropshire. Everyone recognises the importance of super-fast broadband, not just for its contribution to the local economy and potential to create new businesses and jobs, but for every aspect of modern life.

In the current economic climate, such an investment is to be greatly welcomed. Longer term it s also essential that people and organisations take up this exciting technology and make the most of the new network. BT s local network business Openreach is making fibre broadband available to around two-thirds of UK homes and businesses on a commercial basis by the end of 2014 2 using a mix of fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) and fibre to the premises (FTTP) technologies.

More than 11 million premises can already access fibre broadband and that number is growing all the time. Both technologies offer speeds many times faster than the current UK average, reported by the regulator Ofcom to be 9Mbps. FTTC, where fibre is delivered to new street cabinets, offers download speeds of up to 80Mbps and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps 3.

FTTP, where fibre runs all the way to homes and businesses, offers a variety of download speeds with the current top speed being 330Mbps3. From Spring 2013 BT aims to make speeds of 330Mbps 3 available on demand in any area where FTTC has been deployed 4. Internet users with a fibre broadband connection can do much more online, all at the same time.

A family can download a movie, watch a TV replay service, surf the net and play games online simultaneously. A whole album can be downloaded in less than 30 seconds and a feature length HD movie in less than 10 minutes, whilst high-resolution photos can be uploaded to Facebook in seconds. The upload speeds are the fastest widely available to consumers in the UK, with large video and data files being sent almost instantly and hi-resolution photos posted online in seconds.

And high quality voice and video calls mean businesses can keep in touch with customers while they cut down on travel. For further information on Openreach s fibre broadband programme visit: www.superfast-openreach.co.uk ENDS

Notes to editors
1 Research taken from Social Study 2012 The Economic Impact of BT across the UK by Regeneris Consulting see www.btsocialstudy.co.uk for more information.

2 BT s deployment plans are subject to an acceptable environment for investment.

3 These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.

4 Openreach will levy an installation charge for FTTP on demand. It will be up to service providers to decide whether they pass that onto businesses or consumers wishing to take advantage of the product. Due to the current network topography, and the economics of deployment, it is likely that some premises within the selected exchange areas will not initially be able to access fibre-based broadband.

Alternative solutions for these locations are being investigated.

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