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Openreach connects first customer in rollout of G.fast broadband service

Monday, March 13th 2017 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

A family-run business in Gillingham, Kent, has become the first paying customer to sign up to Openreach’s G.fast broadband service.

Temiz book-keeping Ltd can access ‘ultrafast’ speeds thanks to the new technology, which delivers speeds up to 330Mbps over Openreach’s existing network of copper wires.

The accountancy firm is the first of more than 10m homes and businesses set to benefit from the rollout of G.fast by the end of 2020.

Openreach will also make speeds of at least 100Mbps available to an additional two million premises by increasing its fibre broadband network.

G.fast has long been dismissed as a “compromise technology” by critics, who say Openreach should focus on full fibre connections rather than sweating its copper assets.

But the network company, which is to become legally separate from BT, insists it is a fast and cost-effective way of giving consumers faster speeds.

Openreach has been trialling the technology in Gillingham since April 2016, with about 12,500 homes and businesses in the Kent town taking part.

It has also been running trials in Huntingdon and Cherry Hinton in Cambridgeshire and Gosforth in Newcastle, and is building a total of 17 G.fast pilot areas throughout 2017.

Mehmet Uzum, who runs Temiz book-keeping with his wife Gulcihan, said upgrading to ultrafast broadband has made a huge difference to the business.

“Uploading heavy data files could take a couple of hours with the speeds we had before but now we can achieve the same in a matter of minutes – it is a big time saver.”

'Reaping the benefits'

He also said better connectivity had given them the confidence to build a new website and look at opening another office in London.

“It is a new and exciting time for us and having ultrafast broadband provides the platform to do all this on.”

Gillingham and Rainham MP Rehman Chishti said: “I’m delighted that Gillingham is at the forefront of such an important advance in broadband technology.

“Temiz book-keeping are a great example of how ultrafast broadband can give small businesses new and more effective ways to compete in the digital world.”

Openreach CEO Clive Selley said: “We want to improve the personal and professional lives of people up and down the country, and delivering high speed G.fast services at scale and pace means we can reach more of them.

“It’s great to see our the first customers being switched on and already reaping the benefits, and we’re looking forward to delivering ultrafast speeds to the largest number of people in the fastest possible time over the coming months and years.”

MP Rehman Chishti is pictured cutting the ribbon on Gillingham's new G.fast cabinet with Mehmet Uzum of Temiz book-keeping and Kim Mears, managing director for infrastructure delivery at Openreach

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