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Turning swords to fibres: Broadband Rollout Roundup 26/10/2012

BT’s announcement of more engineers joining its ranks from the Armed Forces set the scene for a busy week of broadband speed improvements.

Digital Region was also busy again, and we’re hoping to see announcements from some of the UK’s smaller rural providers in the next few weeks. Welcome to Broadband Rollout Roundup for the week ending October 26, 2012.

BT Openreach hires Armed Forces personnel

BT breaks work record with new engineers

New engineers have helped BT to complete a record 129,000 jobs in a week, with more than 1,000 more engineers set to help with broadband rollout and repairs.

Up to 250 new engineers are being recruited from British Armed Forces leavers, with the prospect of full-time employment following a three month Civilian Work Attachment.

Around 1,000 new engineers will also be on hand by the end of the year, adding to the 500 who joined Openreach over the summer.

The new recruits have brought BT 40,000 jobs ahead of expectations, and reduced the waiting time for repairs and installations to under 22 days.

Openreach warned that bad weather has caused up to 3,000 more repairs than its worst-case predictions for the season, with further bad weather expected into November.

More than 70,000 superfast fibre connections hit the south

Around 74,000 homes and businesses in West Sussex and Kent are now in with a chance of getting fibre-optic broadband.

BT Openreach has fibred-up exchanges and cabinets for both fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) and fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) in some cases.

However, it’s still a street-by-street lottery as to which streetside cabinets have been equipped for FTTC, with some cabinets still to be completed.

The upgraded exchanges are:

  • West Sussex (50,000 homes and businesses): Southwater, Littlehampton, Worthing Swandean, Worthing West and Rustington
  • Kent (24,000 homes and businesses): Swanley, Faversham and Sheerness

Faster copper broadband for more than 200,000 British homes

A few areas may be getting superfast fibre, but this week saw 214,500 homes in England and Scotland delivered up-to-20Mbps broadband over old-fashioned copper wires.

The ADSL2+ improvements typically also mean that the improved exchanges are now open to a wider range of ISPs so there’s more choice as well.

Actual speeds depend on how far you are from the exchange, and the quality of the wire between you and your exchange.

The improved areas in England are:

  • Buckinghamshire (18,000 homes and businesses): Wing, Woburn Sands, Iver, Brill, Naphill
  • Cheshire (6,400 homes and businesses): includes Kelsall, Mobberley and Tarporley
  • Cumbria (10,000 homes and businesses): includes Brampton, Walney Island and Wetheral
  • Hampshire (16,000 homes and businesses): Sway, Alton, Bentley, Cadnam New, Fair Oak, Bassett
  • Kent (26,000 homes and businesses): West Kingsdown, Lyminge, Sevington, Minster, Ramsgate, Boughton, Chestfield, Leysdown, Langton Sturry, Benenden, Wingham
  • Lancashire (10,700 homes and businesses): includes Barnoldswick, Hest Bank and Knott End-on-Sea
  • North Lincs (6,000homes and businesses): Winterton and Healing
  • Oxfordshire (6,000 homes and businesses): Yapton and Eastergate
  • Surrey (6,000 homes and businesses) Frensham and Wentworth
  • East Sussex (5,000 homes and businesses): Heathfield
  • West Sussex (12,000 homes and businesses): Yapton and Eastergate
  • North Yorkshire (7,500 homes and businesses): Loftus, Dunnington and Settle
  • South Yorkshire (16,400 homes and businesses): High Green, Settle, Askern, Loftus, Silkstone, Winterton, Dunnington, Knottingley, Healing, Thrybergh, Arthington, Burley-In-Wharfdale, and Watton

The Scottish exchanges reach 68,500 homes and business, and are (by county):

  • Aberdeenshire: Inverbervie, Macduff, Alford, Turriff
  • Dundee City: Baxter
  • East Ayrshire: Galston
  • City Of Edinburgh: Rose St
  • Falkirk: Bo’ness, Bonnybridge
  • Fife: Lochgelly, Buckhaven
  • Moray: Fochabers
  • North Ayrshire: West Kilbride
  • North Lanarkshire: Harthill
  • Perth And Kinross: Scone
  • Scottish Borders: Galashiels
  • South Lanarkshire: Larkhall
  • West Lothian: Whitburn

Digital Region ferrets out more superfast fibre

South Yorkshire FTTC provider Digital Region has had a busy week switching on connections in Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield.

Its service is now available in:  

  • Barnsley: DN5 7BE, DN5 7DW, S63 9JN, S63 9JE, DN5 7BB, S74 9ET
  • Doncaster: DN8 4BX, DN8 4BU
  • Rotherham: S60 3JB, S60 3JD, S60 3LT, S61 1BW
  • Sheffield: S2 5BH, S2 5BG