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Friday, 19 December 2014

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Superfast broadband will put rural businesses on a level playing field

Paul Cretney, next generation access manager for BT, answers businesses’ questions about the progress of the project.

Paul Cretney photo
Paul Cretney

When will I find out when I can get superfast broadband?

Connecting Cumbria is a two-and-a-half-year programme, with the rollout taking place until the end of 2015. Getting superfast broadband depends on us updating the network of telephone exchanges and the cabinets attached to the exchanges so they’re enabled with fibre, rather than the existing copper connections. The exchange areas will be updated every quarter as surveys are completed. We like to make superfast services available as soon as possible so when we declare an exchange is “accepting orders”, all the street cabinets in the exchange area may not have been completed yet.

Will hotspots be available for businesses that need really fast connections, of say 100 mb/s?

Fibre to the premise technology – delivering ultra-fast wholesale speeds of up to 330Mbps – will be deployed in certain areas and will be available on demand throughout the fibre footprint should local businesses want really fast connections.

What stage is the rollout at now?

The rollout has begun. At present we are working hard to lay the fibre optic cable to enable our first areas and at the time of writing, we have delivered over 25km of cable, with work underway to continue to extend the fibre circuits. We have also started building our first street-side cabinets (DSLAMs) with many more to go before the completion of the project in December 2015

Where do you hope to be at the end of the year?

By the end of 2013, we will have the infrastructure in place to extend the superfast network in areas where some properties already receive commercial superfast broadband, but others don’t. This means more properties in Carlisle, Maryport, Penrith, Dalton and Workington will be fibre-enabled by the end of 2013. In Ulverston, we’ll be upgrading the exchange with fibre for the first time – so it’s an exciting prospect for that town. We hope to be bringing fibre to 10,000 new properties by the end of this year as well as planning ahead into 2014 and 2015.

Looking way ahead, what is next after superfast? How are you ‘future proofing’?

BT will deliver an open service which means that other communication providers can use the infrastructure we install to provide services and enable competitive market rates.

Technology is always changing and new capabilities will enable to reach further with fibre broadband

As a Cumbrian business, how will it benefit me?

Superfast broadband is about much more than speeding up your email or web browsing. It can revolutionise the way you do business in the same way it transformed home entertainment, and there’s compelling evidence that companies who use ICT effectively to support growth or improve efficiency gain a real competitive advantage.

Superfast broadband puts rural businesses on a level playing field with high-tech business parks in the UK

For local businesses, the fibre broadband network will underpin the introduction of many new services and applications.

Users will be able to run multiple bandwidth-hungry applications at the same time and receive large amounts of data much more quickly and efficiently.

Computer processing and storage of files will also become more sophisticated and secure using ‘cloud computing’ technology.

There will be faster back up of computer systems and wider use of high quality video conferencing within firms and between them and their customers.

Tell us what’s surprised you about this project so far.

The interest across Cumbria in this project.

The desire for broadband is high across the county and there is a real belief in how much of difference it will make.

It is a major programme of work to deliver the infrastructure across England’s third largest county but we have started and the rollout will soon pick up pace.

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