BT Openreach fibre broadband plans deemed insufficient by UK council

A UK council has announced plans to ensure that its local area has 100 per cent fast broadband coverage after identifying large coverage gaps in the roll-out plans of BT Openreach, the wholesale arm of UK telco BT.

Despite its proximity to London in the South East of England, Surrey council has estimated that up to 20 per cent of homes and businesses in the area will not be included in BT Openreach’s fibre optic broadband roll out. The incumbent carrier has committed to making fibre broadband available to two-thirds of British homes by 2015.

Surrey council is therefore taking matters into its own hands by asking private sector companies to submit tenders to supply coverage. The contract process will be finalised by May 2012. The council said that it was looking to get as many people as possible online by the end of 2012 with complete high speed coverage by 2013.

Surrey council did not give an indication of exactly what speeds it considers to be superfast, describing broadband in a statement as enabling users to download a music album in 30 seconds, and a movie in five minutes.

Council leader Dr Andrew Povey said in a statement that, “Fast and reliable internet access is vital for business and is central to our daily lives. Everyone should have access to this essential tool and we are committed to making sure that those in rural areas and other parts of Surrey where service is patchy are not left behind.

“Poor broadband coverage and slow speeds hold back local businesses and put rural communities at a disadvantage. Unless we step in up to 20 per cent of Surrey won’t feel the huge benefits of high-speed broadband in the near future.”

BT’s fibre-optic fibre-to-the-cabinet network, which delivers download speeds of 40Mbps and uploads of 10Mbps, is marketed as BT Infinity. Virgin Media also offers fibre optic based broadband with speeds of up to 100Mbps in certain areas.

BT Wholesale and mobile carrier Everything Everywhere, a joint venture between Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom, recently announced a trial to bring LTE based broadband to UK rural residents in Cornwall, in order to bring broadband to so called “internet not-spots”.

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