Super-fast, fibre-based broadband is now available to thousands more homes and businesses in the region, BT announced today.
Nearly 15,000 homes and businesses in Skelmersdale are poised to join the high-speed revolution as engineers complete the local upgrades over the next few weeks.
People living and working here are among the first in the UK to benefit from BT’s roll-out of fibre-based broadband.
They follow Chorley and Birkdale, while Childwall, Cressington Park, Fulwood, Heywood, Lark Lane, Rainford, Royal, Stanley and Upholland are set to follow later this year, with Accrington, Ainsdale, Billinge, Caldy, Formby, Liverpool city centre, Ormskirk, Prescot, Sefton Park, Southport, Stoneycroft, and Waterloo due for completion during 2012.
West Lancashire MP, Rosie Cooper, said: “I am delighted that Skelmersdale is to get super-fast broadband. Whether it is businesses, schools or people at home, there is a real demand for faster and more reliable broadband services.
“This is a significant investment by BT in Skelmersdale that will make a real difference across the community. I am sure local residents and businesses will welcome, as I do, the opportunity to be at the forefront of benefiting from this exciting new technology.”
BT has announced plans to invest up to £2.5 billion in the technology, which could become available to around two-thirds of UK premises by 2014 if investment conditions are favourable.
Fibre to street cabinets offers download speeds of up to 40Mb/s, and upload capability of up to 10Mb/s. Openreach is planning to roughly double these speeds next year. Even faster speeds are possible if the fibre goes direct to the home or premises. The super-fast speeds will power new business applications and more sophisticated home and entertainment services.
BT’s planned investment is one of the largest in the world that doesn’t rely on public sector funding and where the network is open to all service providers on an equal basis.
While BT estimates that the great majority of premises in upgraded areas will be able to access fibre-based broadband, it is likely a minority will not initially be able to receive services for a variety of technical and commercial reasons. BT’s local network business Openreach, which is deploying the technology, is actively looking at alternative solutions for these locations.
Mike Blackburn, BT’s regional director for the North West, said: “This is an exciting development in the region’s fast-moving broadband story. Households and businesses switching to super-fast broadband will soon be experiencing the internet as they have never experienced it before.
“The advent of BT fibre-based broadband in Skelmersdale will support local jobs and the local economy and is a vital part of BT’s broadband plans for the region. As our roll-out of super-fast, fibre-based broadband gathers pace, many more customers in other parts of the country can look forward to faster speeds in the pipeline.
"We are very open to holding discussions with public sector organisations, such as regional development agencies and local councils, to explore ways of bringing super-fast, fibre-based broadband to locations where the economics are more challenging.”
BT's fibre plans build on existing initiatives such as its next generation broadband programme, which has already placed faster speeds of up to 20Mb/s within reach many West Midlands homes and businesses using the existing copper network. The rollout is continuing, with plans in place to reach around 85 per cent coverage by Spring 2012.
Super-fast speeds allow users to run multiple bandwidth-hungry applications at the same time. For example, some members of a family could be watching different high definition (HD) movies or 3D TV, while others play online games or work on complex graphics or video projects.
For businesses, the new network will underpin the introduction of many new services and applications. Computer processing and storage of files will become more sophisticated and secure using ‘cloud computing’ technology. There will be faster back-up of computer systems and wider use of high quality videoconferencing within firms and between them and their customers.
Further roll-out plans are due to be announced later this year. Householders and businesses can contact their broadband service provider to place an order or register their interest.