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UK South Yorkshire 25Mbps Fibre Optic Broadband Network Goes Live

Posted: 25th Nov, 2009 By: MarkJ
digital region ukThales UK and Digital Region have announced the 'Go-live' of their superfast £90m Digital Region broadband network in South Yorkshire. Some 97% of businesses and homes in the region will be able to connect to Thales’s network, boasting guaranteed speeds of 25Mbps and above. The first residents and businesses could be using the service by early 2010.

The network itself claims to be carrier-class and will eventually reach 1.2m people in 500,000 homes and 40,000 businesses. It uses an almost identical method to BT's next generation rollout. Fibre-to-the-Cabinet ( FTTC ) - fibre optic cable - is used to link with street cabinets and the service itself is then delivered into homes over existing copper wire via VDSL2 technology. By comparison the BT FTTC rollout promises speeds of up to 40Mbps, which could rise to 60Mbps in the future.

Thales UK CEO Alex Dorrian says:

“The ‘Go-live’ of our core network marks a step-change for businesses, local authorities and homes alike, throughout the whole of South Yorkshire. It is no overstatement to say that the entire community stands to benefit from this super-fast broadband network, which catapults South Yorkshire to the forefront of European broadband deployments. By bringing fibre to the curb, we are also confident that the region is well placed to face future developments in the evolution of broadband and will continue to lead the way in the UK and beyond.”

David Holt, Chief Executive Officer, Digital Region, says:

“The launch of the Network Operation Centre is a very significant milestone in delivering ‘Superfast Broadband’ across South Yorkshire. This is a truly groundbreaking project that will provide a major boost to South Yorkshire’s economy, encouraging inward investment and providing a wealth of opportunities for businesses, local residents and public sector organisations.”

The network is being delivered through the Digital Region programme, a public/private partnership between South Yorkshire’s local councils (Yorkshire, Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster), the European Regional Development Fund and Thales UK, a leading international electronics and systems group. Thales UK’s technology partners in the consortium include Alcatel-Lucent and KCOM.

The development has apparently been designed to reduce barriers to entry for third-party ISPs wishing to resell network services through a single interconnect. Thales’s claims to have a competitively priced wholesale model (open-access broadband platform), which will provide "equal opportunities for all ISPs", creating a healthy broadband market. ISPs are currently being asked to sign-up to use the network.
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