Binfield Heath partners with BT to boost broadband speeds
Funds raised by local residents to help bring fibre to Oxfordshire village
The village of Binfield Heath, Oxfordshire took the first steps towards a fibre future today, after the Parish Council signed a deal with BT to upgrade the broadband network.
Village residents have raised £56,000 to contribute towards the cost of upgrading and rearranging the network serving the village, including the installation of two new cabinets and a fibre link back to Caversham exchange. In return, the majority of local households and businesses will soon have access to broadband speeds of up to 80Mb/s.
Binfield Heath had not been included in BT’s £2.5 billion commercial fibre roll-out plans because the economics of delivering fibre broadband to this small community were too challenging. However, the local exchange at Caversham has already been upgraded to fibre, and residents were determined to find a way to enhance the network to serve their village. By contributing additional funding, villagers were able to help BT build a case for bringing fibre to the area.
Following the agreement, Openreach, BT’s local network business, will start work on installing two new street cabinets which will connect the village and surrounding properties to the fibre network, as well as providing additional duct for new fibre to be laid. The planned engineering work is expected to be completed by the end of 2013, and the majority of premises in the area will have access to broadband speeds in excess of 24Mb/s, with many premises seeing significantly higher speeds of up to 80Mb/s.
Paul Rollason, Chairman of Binfield Heath Parish Council said: “This upgrade will be a real step-change for Binfield Heath. We have all suffered from low, or even unusable broadband speeds in the past, due to our distance from the exchange. Fibre will therefore make a massive difference to everyone in the village, especially those people who run businesses or work from home.”
“The residents were determined not to miss out on faster broadband speeds, and formed an action group to talk to BT about how we could help the economic case to bring fibre to our part of Oxfordshire. They worked out the extra cost to rearrange and uplift the network, and between us, we have raised the funds. The villagers of Binfield Heath had the imagination to immediately grasp the opportunity offered by BT, due to their foresight and generosity they have ensured that the village has a viable future and will thrive in the years to come. We can’t wait to get online.”
Bill Murphy, BT’s Managing Director for Next Generation Access, said: “Binfield Heath’s residents recognised the importance of access to fibre broadband from a range of providers, which our open network delivers. They really engaged with us around the best solution for their community, and together we found a way to bring fibre speeds to almost the entire village; it’s a fantastic result.”
“We are keen for other communities to talk to us about their options; we want to provide faster speeds to as many people as possible and in many cases local residents can make a real difference in bringing fibre to their area.”
Openreach is making fibre broadband available to around 19 million UK homes and businesses on a commercial basis by the end of Spring 2014 1. More than 15 million premises can already access fibre broadband and that number is growing all the time. In Oxfordshire, over 165,000 homes already have access to Openreach’s fibre network, across 16 exchange areas including Abingdon, Cowley, Banbury and Witney.
The majority of the commercial fibre roll-out is based on Fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) technology, where fibre is delivered to new street cabinets. FTTC offers download speeds of up to 80Mb/s and upload speeds of up to 20Mb/s 2. From Spring 2013, Fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology will also be commercially available on an on demand basis in areas where fibre broadband has been deployed 3. FTTP, where fibre runs all the way from the exchange to homes and businesses, currently delivers ultra-fast download speeds of up to 330Mb/s and upload speeds of up to 30Mb/s.
Both technologies offer speeds many times faster than the current UK average, reported by the regulator Ofcom to be 12Mb/s 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 some of 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
1 BT’s deployment plans are subject to an acceptable environment for investment.
2 These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.
3 Openreach will levy an installation charge for FTTP on demand. It will be up to service providers to then decide whether they pass that onto businesses or consumers wishing to take advantage of the product.
4 According to Ofcom’s March 2013 Speed Report: http://media.ofcom.org.uk/2013/03/14/average-uk-broadband-speeds-hit-double-figures/
Openreach is responsible for the last mile of the UK access network – the copper wires and fibre connecting homes and businesses to their local telephone exchanges. Openreach provides communications providers with services and products associated with that network.
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