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Openreach begins rollout of ultrafast fibre broadband in Birmingham

Tuesday, May 29th 2018 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

Openreach has starting rolling out ultrafast broadband in Birmingham, with the first 100 homes and businesses now able to access speeds of up to 1Gbps.

The rollout is part of a nationwide plan to make fibre to the premises (FTTP) broadband available to three million UK premises by 2020.

Previous Openreach rollouts have used fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) technology, which relies on traditional copper telephone lines to connect individual properties to broadband street cabinets, but with FTTP fibre cables run all the way to each premises, making much faster speeds possible.

The first parts of Birmingham to benefit from the ‘Fibre First’ programme are Great Barr and Kings Norton, with 100 homes connected already and thousands more set to join them by the end of June, when building work will be complete.

Planning and survey work is taking place in Sutton Coldfield and Streetly, with Acocks Green and Stechford next on the list.

Openreach’s work in Birmingham will also incorporate two pilot projects, chief executive Clive Selley announced during a meeting with businesses, civic leaders and academics in the second city.

Preparing for the Commonwealth Games

The first will take place in Sutton Coldfield and Sutton, and look at new ways of speeding up the delivery of FTTP. Another, in Moseley, will focus on simplifying the way ultrafast broadband is installed in blocks of flats.

“Birmingham is seeing an incredible transformation and we’re proud to be playing our part in that,” Mr Selley told a breakfast meeting hosted by the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce.

“Our rollout of ultrafast broadband has been planned specifically to support important local projects like preparations for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, expansion of the Midland Metro tram network and new housing projects, as well as focussing on areas of the city with the slowest broadband speeds.

“So far, our engineers have installed around 20 kilometres of fibre optic cable and we plan to accelerate the pace of our rollout during June, increasing the number of premises that we pass from around 800 a week to 1,000.”

West Midlands mayor Andy Street said the building of new infrastructure is expected to boost economic growth and employment.

“Openreach identifying Birmingham as a key city to roll out this new, world-leading technology simultaneously indicates a recognition and a bolstering of the city as a place for innovation to flourish,” he added.

Earlier this month, Openreach announced that Edinburgh would be the first city in Scotland to benefit from its rollout of FTTP, with work getting underway in the Corstophine and Newington areas of the Scottish capital.

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