Ultrafast broadband coming to Swanage but delivery date is unclear

Ultrafast and more reliable broadband is on its way to Swanage in a project to upgrade services to 45,000 coastal and rural homes and businesses across Dorset. But there is no firm date on when.

It’s part of a scheme, led by Openreach, to support the Government’s target of making gigabit-capable broadband available to 85 percent of the country by 2025.

More than 440,000 premises in the South West are in line for an upgrade. However, Openreach is unable to give a precise timetable for when the installation will take place in Swanage.

Openreach engineer
Openreach

More than 440,000 premises in the South West are getting an upgrade

No more green cabinets

Connie Dixon, Openreach’s Regional Director for the South West, said:

“We’ll publish further location details and timescales on our website as the detailed surveys and planning are completed and the build progresses.” 

At the moment the majority of homes and businesses in Swanage are on Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) where the fibre optic cable goes from the exchange to a green cabinet, then a copper cable connects the cabinet to the home or business.  

This technology is usually referred to as Superfast. What is being installed is called ultrafast Full Fibre (Fibre-to-the-Premise or FTTP), where the fibre optic cable goes direct from the exchange to the home or business – so eventually there will be no more green cabinets.

There are a very small number of FTTP lines off the Swanage exchange but they are part of the infrastructure for a new housing development.

Openreach engineer
Openreach

Openreach has taken on 3,500 new staff across the country

40,000 premises a week

A total of 14 exchanges across Dorset are being upgraded, with the majority of homes and businesses in places such as Bere Regis, Charmouth, Lyme Regis, Wareham, as well as Swanage, set to benefit from what will be a five-year feat of civil engineering. 

The installation is happening at a rate of 40,000 homes and businesses a week across the UK and this is expected to rise to 75,000 a week at the peak of the project. 

It follows investment by parent company, BT Group, which means Openreach will now build Full Fibre technology to a total of 25 million premises, including more than six million in the hardest-to-serve parts of the country.

The plans also include an extension to the company’s biggest ever recruitment drive, with a further 1,000 new roles being created in 2021 on top of the 2,500 jobs which were announced in December 2020, of which around 200 were in the South West.

Openreach engineer
Openreach

Installing ultrafast broadband across the South West poses huge challenges

“Massive challenge”

Connie Dixon, Openreach’s Regional Director for the South West, added: 

“Building a new ultrafast broadband network across the South West is a massive challenge and some parts of the region will inevitably require public funding. But our expanded build plan means taxpayer subsidies can be limited to only the hardest to connect homes and businesses. And with investments from other network builders, we’d hope to see that shrink further.

“This is a hugely complex, nationwide engineering project – second only to HS2 in terms of investment. It will help level-up the UK because the impact of Full Fibre broadband stretches from increased economic prosperity and international competitiveness, to higher employment and environmental benefits.

“We’re also delighted to continue bucking the national trend by creating more jobs in the region, with apprentices joining in their droves to start their careers as engineers.”

With download speeds of 1 Gbps, the new service is up to ten times faster than the average home broadband connection. That means faster game downloads, better quality video calls and higher resolution movie streaming.

Users can also have multiple devices at once without experiencing slowdown – so more people in a household can get online at once.

Full Fibre is also less affected by peak time congestion – so consumers can enjoy a Saturday night blockbuster in 4K without buffering.

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