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BTOpenreach Bring 330Mbps FTTP Broadband to 3,650 Swindon Homes

Thursday, November 12th, 2015 (1:11 am) - Score 1,058

It’s sometimes easy to forget that BTOpenreach still has the largest “ultrafast” 330Mbps capable fibre optic broadband (FTTP) network in the United Kingdom (details) as they rarely promote it, but there are exceptions, such as in the case of 3,650 new houses and flats being built in Swindon.

At the last Nov 2014 count BTOpenreach said that their native FTTP network had passed 160,000 UK homes and businesses (85,000 alone are in Cornwall), but that figure looks set to rise thanks to the 3,650 properties being built as part of the Wichelstowe development in Middle and West Wichel (Swindon).

Sadly some big property developers still fail to give serious consideration to the need for superfast broadband access during the early development stages (it’s always cheaper to put cables in the ground before anything else gets built), which can result in a later over-reliance on often dated local infrastructure.

However in this instance the developer (we believe several are involved, such as Taylor Wimpey) and Openreach are working closely to ensure that residents will have access to a connection that’s significantly faster than the hybrid-fibre (FTTC) services being deployed elsewhere around the country.

Paul Coles, BT’s South West Regional Manager, said:

High-speed fibre broadband is increasingly being seen as a ‘must have’ technology. Whatever you do online you can do it better with this exciting fibre technology whether it is education and learning, e-commerce, social media, home entertainment or just staying In touch with friends and relatives.

We look forward to working with Swindon Borough Council and the developers to ensure that residents of the new residential development in Wichelstowe enjoy the full benefits of ultrafast fibre broadband.

We did a little digging and learnt that the Wichelstowe development comprises three neighbourhoods (East Wichel, Middle and West Wichel), although the press release only mentions two of those and indeed the full development size is expected to reach up to 4,500 properties (including homes, employment space, public open space, a country park, shopping and community facilities for residents and primary schools).

The first homes were occupied in 2009 and work is anticipated to start on the new phases of development in 2016, although the whole project isn’t expected to complete until “around 2025 … depending on market conditions.” In any case the addition of 3,650 extra FTTP premises is a sizeable one for such a development and confirms that Openreach still have room in their hearts for a little pure fibre optic connectivity here and there.

In the meantime we can’t help but wonder how long it will be before Hyperoptic takes the crown for having the UK’s largest (in terms of premises passed) FTTP network, particularly since they’re aiming to cover 500,000 premises by 2018. But for now Openreach remains the king, although we did once expect them to have well over a million FTTP premises passed by this point.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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