More than 45,000 homes and businesses in Salford can now access the UK’s fastest broadband speeds.
Engineers from Openreach, the UK’s largest telephone and broadband network, began work to build a new ‘full fibre’ network in February last year.
Using the latest Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) technology, fibre optic cables are laid all the way from the local telephone exchange to people’s front doors. FTTP is more reliable and resilient than the traditional copper network, as well as enabling blistering broadband speeds of up to one gigabit per second (1Gbps) about 22 times faster than the current UK average.
MP for Salford and Eccles, Rebecca Long-Bailey, joined Openreach engineers on a fact-finding trip to see the new network in Eccles, where local residents were among the first in the area to get connected.
As well as visiting Eccles exchange and venturing into an underground fibre chamber, local Openreach engineers took the Shadow Business Secretary out onto the streets to see the new network in situ and explain how the technology works.
Rebecca Long-Bailey, MP, said: “I know that fast, reliable broadband is absolutely crucial for the vast majority of people living and working in Salford so I was keen to come along today and understand more about the work Openreach is doing to make even faster speeds available.
“This full fibre network will not only benefit Salford now but also in years to come when the demands on bandwidth and the need for faster speeds will be even greater than they are today. I’d encourage everyone to explore what difference this new technology could make to them. Particularly local businesses who could take the opportunity to work more efficiently and increase their online presence.”
Salford was also chosen by Openreach to pilot an important broadband project, around speeding up the delivery of FTTP technology and simplifying the way ultrafast broadband is installed in multi-dwelling units (MDU’s) such as apartment blocks, to minimise disruption to residents. Engineers were able to showcase the first social housing MDU to be upgraded with FTTP in the UK as part of the Openreach roll-out. This will be the first of thousands of MDU’s to be upgraded across the UK.
Salford is one of the first cities in the UK to be included in Openreach’s rollout of full fibre technology. The company is on track to bring ultrafast services to four million premises by March 2021 and, with the right conditions, 15 million by the mid 2020s.
The rollout is well under way in several parts of Salford, including Eccles, Swinton and Walkden.
Full fibre technology provides even greater capacity for multiple devices, the use of smart appliances, and uninterrupted video calls and will help local businesses to compete and grow. It will future-proof the city’s connectivity for decades and ensure that Salford remains competitive on the national and world stage.
Catherine Colloms, Openreach’s managing director of Corporate Affairs, said: “Salford already has a thriving digital economy with widespread access to highspeed broadband – with around 97 per cent of premises already able to access superfast speeds. A huge of amount of work is currently taking place to take this to the next level, bringing people living and working in Salford an ultrafast network and an even bigger boost to broadband speeds.
“With such fast speeds available, people living in FTTP enabled areas will typically be able to
download a 45 minute HD TV show in less than 15 seconds, compared to around three minutes on a superfast broadband connection. Faster broadband also breaks down the barriers to doing business in the digital world, empowering local businesses and supporting them to trade and compete on a global scale.”