Swansea has been announced as the latest city to benefit from Openreach’s ‘Fibre First’ programme, where fibre optic cables are laid from the exchange right to people’s front doors.
The UK’s largest telephone and broadband network is making new, more reliable, and more resilient Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) technology available to tens of thousands of homes and businesses across the city, with SA1, SA2 and SA5 being the first areas set to benefit.
As well as adding even more reliability and resilience to the network, meaning the connection is less likely to drop out, FTTP brings speeds of up to one gigabit per second (1Gbps), which is about 24 times faster than the current UK average of 46Mbps.
Fibre technology provides even greater capacity for multiple devices, the use of smart appliances, and uninterrupted video calls. The fibre connection will future proof the homes and businesses of Swansea for decades to come and ensure that the city remains competitive on the national and world stage.
Welcoming the announcement, Rob Stewart, Swansea City Council Leader, said:
“Swansea is a city of ambition and we want to become a hotbed of innovation. This investment by Openreach in Swansea will provide us with the best internet connectivity possible and enable companies to turbo charge their business opportunities. The roll-out of ultrafast broadband across the city will prepare Swansea for the future, provide the right conditions for our businesses to thrive and support our economy.”
Welsh Government Leader of the House with responsibility for digital Julie James said:
“This is great news for Swansea, as it will be able to benefit from some of the fastest broadband speeds available. Wales already leads the way with fast fibre broadband as we have the largest rural Fibre to the Premises network in the UK with speeds of over 100 Mbps as a result of our Superfast Cymru programme. It’s good to see Openreach taking this further by investing their new Fibre First technology in Swansea.”
Swansea based company Vortex produces remote sensors that can be used in several different fields – ranging from tracking air quality to parking spaces. With customers across the globe, having reliable and fast broadband connectivity is essential for their business.
Adrian Sutton, managing director of Vortex, explains:
“Connectivity is everything for us. We deal with customers that have a global footprint - from Doha to Paris, Amsterdam to Singapore. Without a fast and reliable broadband connection we can’t remotely access our data or communicate and work with our customers instantaneously. It cuts down on our travel which in turn cuts down on our costs, so we can remain competitive. Ultrafast broadband enables us to punch above our weight, collaborate globally and remain in Swansea.”
Kim Mears, Openreach’s managing director for Strategic Infrastructure Development, said:
“Making Swansea a Fibre First city complements the aim and ambition of the Swansea Bay City region as we’ll be putting in place the digital infrastructure that’s required for the future economic growth and prosperity of the city. We’ve already done an incredible amount of work across Wales in improving access to better broadband connectivity – both in rural and urban parts of the country.
Our Fibre First programme is about future proofing that network so that it meets the needs of both families and businesses for generations to come. Despite the challenges of planning, street works and permissions, our engineers are already reaching thousands of homes and businesses every week and I’m delighted that Swansea is the latest city to benefit from this commitment.”
Earlier this year Openreach announced that Cardiff was to be the first city in Wales to benefit from its Fibre First programme. This was then followed by a further boost as the business announced it was looking to recruit more than 250 new trainee engineers across Wales to help maintain the network and deliver ultrafast broadband.
The build is part of Openreach’s nationwide investment programme in future proof FTTP networks, which is on track to reach three million homes and businesses across the UK by the end of 2020. The ambition is to build FTTP to around 10 million premises by the mid-2020s and ultimately to the majority of the UK under the right conditions.