Homes and businesses throughout Wales are set to get access to some of the fastest broadband speeds in the country, thanks to a multi-billion-pound investment by Openreach – the UK’s largest phone and broadband network builder.
The company is on-track to make future-proof, full fibre connections available to more than four million premises by March 2021, and ultimately wants to reach the majority of the UK.
Wales is one of dozens of new locations where work has already started to make Openreach’s Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) broadband network available – laying fibre-optic cables all the way from the local exchange to people’s front doors.
You can find out when it is coming to your area by entering your postcode on Openreach’s online fibre checker .
Clive Selley, Openreach CEO, says: “Through our Fibre First programme, we’re building a new network that delivers more than just speed.
“Full-fibre broadband provides a reliable, future-proof, consistent and dependable service that will be a platform for economic growth and prosperity throughout the UK for decades to come.”
There’s no doubt the demand for faster, more reliable broadband speeds is growing. Every year, Openreach experiences a staggering 40% increase in the amount of data passing through its network.
In homes all over the UK, people and families are gaming online, streaming movies and music, talking to their home assistants, reading their tablets, checking social media, chatting with friends and doing homework – sometimes all at the same time.
Building a new full fibre broadband network will allow people to do whatever they need to do online at the same time, without having to worry about content grinding to a halt or buffering.
Communications providers like BT, Plusnet, Sky and TalkTalk use the Openreach network to offer customers faster speeds of up to 1GBps – enough bandwidth for a family of four to stream Ultra HD or 4K-quality films or TV at the same time.
The network will also support the Internet of Things (like smart fridges that order your milk when you’re about to run out, for instance), health and social care applications, and everything in between.
And that’s not all. More and more of us are working from home or even running our own business from the kitchen table.
Once upon a time software had to be installed manually on each work computer and employees could only access files, messages, and systems from a terminal at the office.
Full fibre will help Welsh firms, start-ups and home-workers free-up processing power to be more efficient and compete around the world.
Faster internet speeds and joined-up computing will make transferring and backing up large files much quicker and easier, and let widely-used companies and services, like Google Docs, Gmail, Adobe and Skype, use the cloud to seamlessly provide their products and interact with customers.
It’s not just about speed, though. It’s about a consistent and reliable service that has longevity and will be there for decades to come.
Looking ahead, the next 10 years of cloud computing promises even more ways to collaborate from anywhere, using mobile devices.
David Shanks regularly uses YouTube to upload footage to his subscribers’ page, and was quick to sign up as soon as the new full fibre technology became available.
He explained: “I produce YouTube videos to share my passion for gaming with my subscribers but sadly, even after compressing the videos and reducing their quality, it could often take an entire day to upload just one.
“Since the upgrade I can now live stream to a global audience and broadcast my gameplay in ultra-HD at a constant 60-frames-per-second.
“I can also play the latest online games while still making videos – before it was one or the other. Being able to directly interact with my viewers really helps me to build up a relationship with them, too.”
The UK Government and devolved administrations in Wales and Scotland have already pledged to roll out fibre broadband in hard to reach areas. Engineers building the new full-fibre network have laid around 2.6million kilometres of fibre – enough to travel to the moon and back three times.
Openreach’s role in Wales extends beyond making faster broadband available. Recent research shows that making full fibre broadband to every property across the country by 2025 would create a £1.98bn boost to the Welsh economy, as well as lead to thousands of people being brought back into the workforce.
More than 1,800 Openreach people live and work in Wales, and earlier this year it was announced that 200 engineers are being recruited locally.
For more information about Openreach’s ‘Fibre to the Premises’ technology and how it will benefit you, visit the website at www.openreach.com