70,000 Plymouth homes to have fast broadband access
THOUSANDS more Plymouth homes and businesses are to be signed up for super-fast broadband – bringing the city total to more than 70,000.
Telecoms giant BT is to introduce its fibre upgrade to Plymstock, Tavistock and Yelverton in a move welcomed by politicians and business leaders as a boost for internet users and the city's economy with potential to create enterprises and jobs.
The trio are among 11 South West exchanges newly included in the Openreach £2.5billion high-speed fibre broadband roll-out.
In total 58,000 homes and businesses will add to the network by the end of next year.
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It includes 8,400 in Plymstock, 4,200 in Tavistock and 2,100 in Yelverton. Already, the number of Devon homes and businesses able to connect to the fibre network has reached more than 280,000.
That includes 30,000 in the Crownhill area, 23,000 in central Plymouth, and 10,500 in Plympton.
Meanwhile, the Devonport exchange, which covers 12,000 homes and businesses, is expected to be upgraded by the end of this year, and St Budeaux, serving 8,000 premises, will be included next year.
It leaves Roborough as the only exchange in Plymouth yet to be time-tabled for conversion.
Tudor Evans, leader of Plymouth City Council, said: "In a world where time is precious and news is instant, super-fast broadband is a must-have so it's great several thousand more Plymouth homes and hundreds of businesses will have it.
"The investment means faster connections, better access to online services and more incentive for people to get online.
Pete Ashton, South West policy representative of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: "It gives a boost to business and encourages businesses to relocate into the South West, creating opportunities for small business and employment alike, making our economy more sustainable."
BT's Openreach programme bring's fibre optic cable to roadside cabinets, with copper wire still connecting to buildings.
But this advance boosts broadband speeds from 9 megabits per second (Mbps) to a download speed of 80Mbps and an upload speed of 20Mbps.
However, BT said that next year Plymouth businesses will have the option to pay for an upgrade which would see the fibre routed straight to their premises – bringing speeds of 330Mbps.
The technology is installed by BT but available to other internet providers to use.
Jon Reynolds, BT's South West regional director, said: "Fibre broadband opens up a new, high-speed world.
"This latest investment will help Devon overcome the current economic challenges and take advantage of the upturn when it comes."