Thousands of people in Sheffield can now get some of the fastest broadband speeds in the country as Openreach has begun switching on the pilot areas for its new ultrafast broadband network.
Around 8,900 households and businesses in places like Broomhill, Sharrow Vale, Crookes, Crosspool, Manor Castle and Arbourthorne are set to benefit from the new ultrafast service, known as G.fast, which provides download speeds of up to 330Mbps – more than 10 times the UK average.
The faster speeds that ultrafast broadband brings means a two hour HD film can be downloaded in just 90 seconds, a 45 minute HD TV show in just 16 seconds and a nine hour audio book in just three seconds.
People living in the pilot areas who want to try the new service should contact their internet service provider to see if they’re offering a service, and to find out more about availability and pricing.
Emma Peace, Openreach spokesperson for Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “A huge amount of effort and substantial investment has already taken place in the development of this exciting new technology. So I’m delighted to announce that we can now start connecting people in Sheffield and at the 19 other locations around the country.
“These pilot schemes are hugely important to us and to the local households and businesses, which will be able to benefit from G.fast. Whether you are somebody aiming to work more efficiently or grow your business, or a household going online for shopping, entertainment or studies, fast access to the internet has never been more important. We know the technology works and can be a major benefit for customers, but these pilots will now help us test and improve all the factors involved in rolling out G.fast on a national scale.”
Kim Mears, Openreach managing director for infrastructure delivery, added: “The UK is ahead of its major European neighbours when it comes to superfast broadband but technology never stands still – that’s why we’re building on our existing fibre network and leading the way in deploying ultrafast speeds.
“We need to stay ahead in order to meet the evolving needs of our customers. G.fast will allow us to do that by building on the investment we have made in fibre to date. It will transform the UK broadband landscape from superfast to ultrafast, and it will reach the largest number of people in the quickest possible time.”
Engineers have spent recent months upgrading the network in several parts of the city to prepare for the arrival of Sheffield’s G.fast broadband pilot scheme.
The city was announced as a pilot location for G.fast in October 2016, as part of Openreach’s ambition to make ultrafast broadband available to 12 million UK homes by the end of 2020.
G.fast technology changes the way today’s broadband is transmitted, delivering ultrafast speeds that have previously required fibre to be run all the way to the premises (FTTP). This is significant as G.fast will enable Openreach, the local network business which is part of BT Group, to make ultrafast fibre available to a much larger number of homes and businesses and more quickly than if it had focused on FTTP alone.
It builds on the success of the rollout of superfast broadband, which has already reached around 480,000 homes and businesses in South Yorkshire.
Overall, more than nine out of ten premises across the country can access superfast speeds today with around another 17,000 homes and businesses being enabled each week.
Following the early trials of G.fast in Cambridgeshire, Gosforth and South Wales, the 20 pilot areas have extended that reach even further – already reaching more than 100,000 homes across the UK.
People wanting to take advantage of the new ultrafast technology can find out more about which providers offer this service by visiting www.openreach.co.uk/buyultrafast
Openreach is the UK’s leading digital infrastructure provider.
Its 32,000 employees are responsible for building and maintaining millions of miles of fibre and copper cables that connect every home and business in the UK to local telephone exchanges. Openreach operates and maintains this network to deliver a range of wholesale services for more than 580 retail providers, who in-turn provide telephony, broadband, TV and data services to more than 30 million consumer and business customers throughout the country.
Openreach is a highly regulated business, with more than 90 per cent of its revenues generated from services that are regulated by Ofcom. Any company can access its products under exactly the same prices, terms and conditions.
Over the last decade, Openreach has invested more than £10bn into its network and is currently building the UK’s largest fibre broadband footprint. This technology is available to more than 26 million homes and businesses, with tens of thousands more gaining access each week.
Openreach is a wholly owned and independently governed division of the BT Group. For the year ended 31 March 2017, it reported revenues of £5.1bn.
For more information, visitopenreach.co.uk