BT has ceremonially switched on the first fibre cabinet in Burghfield as part of the Superfast Berkshire programme.
Hundreds of properties in the villages of Burghfield and Burghfield Common will become the first in West Berkshire to be able to order broadband services delivering download speeds of up to 80Mbps and top upload speeds of 20Mbps.
In total, 2,500 premises across the area – connected by BT’s own commercial rollout and Superfast Berkshire – will be able to sign up to FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) services from a number of ISPs, including Sky and TalkTalk.
Superfast Berkshire also plans to roll out superfast broadband to 1,000 properties in Mortimer and another 100 in Purley on Thames in July.
As well as letting customers stream content, browse the web and download files faster, businesses will also benefit from the rollout.
Paul Baird, director of Mortimer-based production studio Pink Tomato, said: “Previously our broadband service was only giving us a speed of around 1Mbps. Now we have superfast broadband installed, we used it to deliver a high definition video file to a client in the US.
“What would before have taken hours, sometimes overnight, now only takes a matter of minutes. We supplied a client with over 2GB of video within an hour of our superfast broadband being turned on in our premises. Frankly, it’s a real game changer to our business.”
By 2015, 91 per cent of Berkshire premises should be able to order in fibre-based broadband.
The majority of locations will be able to get FTTC, whereas some will get faster and more future-proofed FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) lines.
While FTTC will greatly increase the top speeds available to customers in the area, as with ADSL connections, speeds vary based on your location. The further away your house or business is from the cabinet, the slower your download and upload speeds will be.
FTTP lines on the Openreach network currently deliver top download speeds of 330Mbps and the service is not dictated by distance in the same way FTTC is. Trials in Cornwall have shown that BT’s FTTP lines are capable of going even faster, should the time arrive when every home needs a 10Gbps service.
Companies that can order FTTC will also eventually be able to make use of the FTTP on Demand programme should they want to upgrade the copper last mile of their service to a full fibre connection. This business-only service is for the time being expensive, with prices varying based on the length of the copper last mile. FTTP on Demand is currently only available from a small number of exchanges.