25 March, 2009
The Northwest will be among the first regions to benefit from the largest investment in super-fast broadband ever seen in the UK.
Super-fast speeds available to more than 140,000 customers in Bury, Didsbury, Failsworth, Heaton Moor, Oldham and Rusholme by next year.
BT today announced that it would be installing fibre-based broadband in parts of Bury, Didsbury, Failsworth, Heaton Moor, Oldham and Rusholme early next year as part of a £1.5 billion project.
Speeds of up to 40Mb/s will initially be available to more than 140,000 homes and businesses in the seven communities and to 500,000 customers in the UK as a whole with the prospect of them rising to 60Mb/s. These speeds are more than ten times those experienced now by most UK households. The next set of locations, serving a further million homes and businesses, will be announced in the Autumn.
It is the first major phase of the UK’s biggest ever investment programme in super-fast broadband. BT has pledged to spend £1.5 billion by 2012 to ensure 40 per cent of UK homes and businesses – some 10 million premises – can enjoy fibre-based super-fast broadband. The UK already leads the way in terms of DSL broadband access and penetration and BT’s plan will ensure the UK climbs the speed tables as well.
Mike Blackburn, BT’s regional director for the North West, said: “Super-fast broadband is essential to this region’s future so it is great to announce this initial set of locations. Once again, the North West is at the forefront of one of the most important projects to take place in recent years. It will play a vital role in the UK’s future as a knowledge-based economy.
“The wider industry will now be able to plan ahead as we will be making our services available on a wholesale basis. This approach will benefit customers as there will undoubtedly be fierce competition for their business.”
BT’s local network business Openreach will be making fibre based services available in early 2010 to nearly 16,000 homes and businesses in Didsbury, more than 23,000 in Failsworth, more than 18,000 in Heaton Moor, more than 21,000 in Rusholme, more than 22,000 in Bury, and more than 41,000 in Oldham.
Steve Robertson, chief executive of Openreach, said: “We have worked very closely with industry, development agencies and local authorities to choose these sites and I would like to thank everyone who has worked with us to make this happen. We are in discussion with others so expect similar announcements in the months to come.”
Steve Broomhead, chief executive of the Northwest Development Agency, said: “This is very good news, particularly in these recessionary times when so much investment by UK industry is being either shelved or delayed.
“Broadband has been a vital part of the success story of this region. Businesses are using it to boost their competitiveness and find new customers, whilst households are benefiting from new entertainment and educational opportunities. But we are still only at the start of a very fast journey – a journey in which super-fast broadband will play an ever more important role.”