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Openreach to bring broadband to ‘notspots’

Technology will deliver broadband to remote areas

A graphic showing broadband related words on a blue background

Openreach, the company responsible for connecting homes to BT’s networks, is launching a project that it says will deliver broadband to remote areas of the UK.

The Broadband Enabling Technology (BET) will deliver broadband to current ‘notspots’ – homes that are too far away from their local exchange to receive a broadband service and help the government achieve its aim for a Digital Britain.

John Small, managing director, service delivery, Openreach said: ‘We’re really excited about the potential of BET to extend broadband to the remaining not-spots. By rolling out BET, we can help customers and assist the Government to realise its aim for a universal 2Mb/s broadband service.’

Faster broadband for remote areas

BET will deliver a broadband service over lines that are up to 12km away from the exchange. The BET equipment has been designed to deliver speeds of up to 1Mbps or 2Mbps downstream and up to 1Mbps upstream over copper lines.

Openreach claims that BET will offer a more reliable service than mobile broadband and satellite technologies.

Pilot locations

In initial trials in Inverness and Dingwall, Scotland Openreach has installed lines of between 7km and 12km running a stable 1Mbps services. Openreach will roll out the technology to a further eight sites in Twyford (Berkshire), Badsey Worcestershire, LLanfyllin (Wales), Leyland (Lancashire), Penteland (Northumberland), Wigton (Cumbria), Horsham (West Sussex) and Wymondham (Norfolk). 

The BET equipment for the pilot is being installed by Openreach free-of-charge and the service will be available to UK communications providers.

Openreach is also looking to work with potential partners to identify funding opportunities to allow the technology to be deployed on a wider, commercial basis from early next year.

‘We’re keen to work with local and regional authorities and other bodies with funding to discuss how the technology can be rolled out to their areas,’ said Small.

The pilot will start on September 30.

Minimum broadband speed

‘Openreach’s new ‘BET’ technology is likely to come as welcome news to the many people living in rural areas who can’t get a broadband service just because they live too far away from their nearest telephone exchange,’ says Which? broadband expert Ceri Stanaway.

‘These days a reliable broadband internet service is almost as essential to daily life as basic services like water and energy, and this is an important step in the government’s plans to bring broadband to everyone in the UK. It’s worth noting, though, that in some areas BET may only deliver a 1Mbps service, so these areas will still need further investment to meet the government’s minimum broadband target speeds of up to 2Mbps.’

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