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National broadband network builder Openreach has announced ambitious plans to give every premises in Salisbury access to full-fibre – also known as fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) – broadband within the next 12 months through a partnership with Wiltshire Council.
The network build, which Openreach claims will be the fastest city-wide full-fibre service roll-out yet to be undertaken in the UK, will see over 20,000 homes and businesses able to connect to gigabit-capable broadband.
Since launching its Fibre First programme in February 2018, Openreach has started full-fibre network builds in 25 other cities, towns and suburbs around the UK, but this is the first time it has committed to universal access.
Local MP John Glen played a key role in the project. “Following early discussions I had with Openreach last year, I am absolutely delighted by their decision to make Salisbury the first Openreach city in the UK to gain access to full-fibre broadband,” he said.
“Full-fibre will significantly improve the attractiveness of Salisbury for companies looking for a location with cutting-edge connectivity, boosting the number of high-quality job opportunities for constituents. I very much look forward to seeing how this investment will transform opportunities for local residents and businesses, as well as driving innovation in the provision of public services.”
Openreach CEO Clive Selley added: “Salisbury has a unique and inspiring history – from its medieval sites to its thriving cultural sector, it’s an icon of our national heritage – and now we’re laying the foundations for an even more exciting future.
“The city will be a focal point of our ambition to future-proof the UK’s digital infrastructure and boost the country’s economic growth and productivity.”
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Besides faster broadband, Selley said full-fibre would also mean fewer faults, and more consistency and reliability for many years to come.
“This is the first location in the UK where we’re aiming to upgrade an entire city network in a single year, so it’s a hugely ambitious project,” he said.
“As a medieval city, Salisbury’s narrow streets won’t be the easiest for our engineers to access and work in, but we’re confident it’s achievable thanks to the close partnership we’ve built with the council and the unrivalled experience and skill of our engineering teams.”
Some local businesses have already started to make plans to upgrade their services. Rich Lloyd, director at Blueflame Digital, a game-based learning company, said: “Reliable broadband is an essential tool for any business, and we wouldn’t survive without the internet – it impacts every aspect from the way we communicate as a team to how we handle our clients and projects.
“The benefits of fibre broadband will mean we can directly compete with places like London, without any of the challenges that businesses in inner cities face. Fibre will be a boost for all the businesses based here in Salisbury, and for me personally, it means I can run a world-class business and raise my family in the countryside at the same time.”