Merthyr Tydfil homes and businesses get connected to next generation fibre network bringing access to some of the fastest broadband speeds in Europe.
An Openreach pledge back in January to make ultrafast, ultra-reliable and future-proof broadband available to a number of market towns and rural locations across Wales is starting to become a reality in Merthyr Tydfil.
More than 1200 Merthyr homes and businesses can now access ‘full fibre’ broadband speeds of up to one gigabit per second (1000Mbps) – that’s among the fastest speeds in Europe and more than 15 times faster than today’s UK average broadband speed.
As designated key workers, Openreach engineers have been hard at work throughout the Covid-19 lockdown, building the new digital network of the future that uses the latest Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband technology – where fibre optic cables are laid all the way from the exchange to people’s front doors.
The new technology is already ‘live’ in parts of Merthyr Tydfil and people living in streets such as Heol-y-Bryniau, Farm Terrace, Coronation Terrace and Heol Nangau can now place an order. To find out if your property can place an order for full fibre visit www.openreach.co.uk/fibrecheckerpr.
More and more properties across Merthyr are set to benefit from this next generation network over the coming weeks and months as Openreach engineers connect around 300 properties a week.
Connie Dixon, Openreach’s Partnership Director for Wales, said:
‘We’re making great progress here in both Merthyr Tydfil and the rest of Wales. Despite the obvious challenges our full fibre build has continued. As well as keeping people connected using our existing network, our engineers have continued building the new infrastructure to make sure that as lockdown restrictions ease, we can support families, businesses and the economic recovery.
I’d encourage everyone who can to upgrade to the new technology and take advantage of the many benefits. Full fibre is more reliable and more resilient, meaning fewer faults and more predictable, consistent speeds. It’s also ‘future-proof’ as we expect it to easily meet the growing data demands of future technologies for decades to come.'
Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council Digital Champion Cllr David Hughes said:
‘It’s fantastic news that our residents and businesses now have access to some of the fastest broadband speeds not only in Wales, but in Europe.
It’s particularly good for our booming local economy which is constantly welcoming new companies that want to set up here because of our great location, wide range of business premises, workforce and support on offer from the Council’s economic development team and partners.
We’d like to thank Openreach for deciding to use Merthyr Tydfil to install this technology and for continuing to work right through lockdown to make it happen.'
The original pledge in January was boosted in July with a further announcement by Openreach to bring full fibre to 3.2 million more premises across the UK, including the following locations in South Wales: Abercynon, Ferndale, Mountain Ash, Llantwit Fardre, Llantrisant, Caerphilly, Cross Keys, Rhymney, Brynmawr and Cwm. (see here for full announcement of locations across Wales).
A report by the Centre for Economics & Business Research (Cebr) found that connecting everyone in Wales ‘full fibre’ broadband would create nearly a £2 billion boost to the Welsh economy, by unlocking smarter ways of working, better public services and greater opportunities for the next-generation of home-grown businesses.
The report also revealed that 25,000 people across Wales could be brought back into the workforce through enhanced connectivity – including in small businesses and through entrepreneurship.
Openreach has recently expanded its UK national plans and will now make FTTP technology available to 4.5 million homes and businesses across the UK by the end of March 2021 – an increase of 500,000 premises. By the mid-to-late 2020s the company wants to reach 20 million premises – almost two thirds of the UK – assuming the right conditions are in place to support investment.
Ten fantastic full fibre facts:
- Connecting everyone in Wales to ‘full fibre’ broadband by 2025 would create a £2 billion boost to the Welsh economy.
- Fibre optics are strands of glass around one tenth the thickness of a human hair. They transmit data using light signals.
- A single strand of fibre can provide enough capacity to serve up to 32 individual properties with Gigabit speeds.
- Pure fibre optic broadband can run at speeds of 1 gigabit per second (1000Mbps) – that’s more than 15 times faster than today’s UK average broadband speed. You can download a two-hour HD film in less time than it takes to make a cup of tea. And video gamers could download a 5-gigabyte virtual reality (VR) game in 1.7 minutes, instead of waiting half an hour.
- More people getting online at the same time is easier too – a family of four can all stream ultra HD or 4k quality video simultaneously, without waiting or buffering.
- Full fibre is more reliable than traditional copper connections. A full fibre broadband signal isn’t affected by external interference whereas copper can be impacted by outside electrical signals – including electric fences and even bad weather! One recent report stated ‘that ‘full fibre’ is 70%-80% more reliable than copper resulting in lower fault rates.’
- A fibre optic cable can send a signal over 120 miles without any real loss of quality. Traditional copper cables can lose signal at around one mile.
- Full fibre is better for the environment – the amount of electricity used to power fibre is significantly less than needed for copper cables. Better connectivity also enables more people to work from home – which cuts down on commuting. Research suggests fibering up the whole of the UK could save 300 million commuting trips – reducing carbon emissions by 360,000 tonnes.
- Full fibre can boost business productivity. It enables cheaper broadband powered phone services, and better access to cloud-based computing services. For example, full fibre connectivity combined with cloud computing means businesses can upload, store, access and download vast amounts of data in minutes instead of hours. Data is backed up and securely archived off-site so not relying on costly, ageing servers taking up expensive office space.
- Full fibre broadband will be crucial in supporting plans to give NHS patients access to ‘virtual clinics’ where patients who don’t physically need to come hospital can get a video consultation with their doctor. It can also allow hospitals to share HD quality graphics of medical scans in seconds to improve diagnosis speeds. For example, medical staff can download a 2 gigabyte CT scan in 40 seconds, instead of 14 minutes.