Openreach, BT’s local access business, announced on Friday 1 April that it has connected its first customers to ultrafast broadband in the Oakhurst area of Haydon Wick parish council in Swindon.
These customers now have access to Openreach’s Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network, which offers speeds up to 300Mbps, enough to download a high definition film in less than 20 seconds.
Openreach is trialling new ‘plug and play’ technology in the area which reduces the cost and complexity of delivering an all fibre connection to a home or business.
It allows customers to be connected to FTTP with a simple two hour installation appointment instead of multiple appointments.
One of the first customers to benefit from the trial is local homeworker David Stevens. He said: “We had standard broadband before which gave us around 2Mbps in speed. I work from home and rely on a broadband connection for things like Skype calls, sharing files or data transfer. If anyone else in the house was online at the same time the signal would drop out, which is very frustrating.
“Now I’ve got ultrafast I no longer suffer dropouts in signal and haven’t had anyone tell me they can’t understand me or that I sound like a Dalek so that’s been great.”
“The real advantage of fibre is knowing that there is enough capacity there for the entire family to use at the same time. I have three children, two of which are teenagers and everyone has at least two devices each. Before we would have to compromise over who could use the internet for what and when.”
Local parish councillor and vice-chair of Haydon Wick Parish Council Damon Bower said: “Just five and a half weeks ago we were discussing plans for Fibre-to-the-Premises in the village, and now the first customers have been connected. It’s fantastic that in that time we have an active network delivered and working. All the engineers on site have generated a real buzz in the area. The trial will cover 500 homes so we can look forward to even more residents being connected in the near future.”
The company will also conduct trials looking at new ways to deploy FTTP in other areas of the UK, including Campton and Meppershall in Bedfordshire to get a better idea of how the technology will work with more challenging network topography. The trial will explore a number of methods that could simplify and speed up installation, for example, by reducing the need for engineers to cut and melt fibres together, which can be a tricky and time consuming process.
Openreach will continue to build on the trial in Haydon Wick with the number of upgraded lines ramping up over the coming weeks and months.
Residents interested in getting connected to ultrafast speeds should contact their service provider as their line will not be upgraded automatically. They can find out if they can get ultrafast fibre by asking their service provider. More information on the trials can be found on the Openreach ultrafast website.